The personal website of Scott W Harden
April 30th, 2009

A Foot in the QRSS Door

I've been very busy over the past couple weeks. Last Thursday my boss approached me and asked if I could work over the weekend. He wanted to complete and submit a grant by the deadline (Monday at 5 pm). To make a long story short I worked really hard (really long days) on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to accomplish this. Monday afternoon when it was done (at about 4 pm), after which I went home and collapsed from exhaustion. I don't know how my boss does it! He worked on it far more than I did, and over that weekend he didn't sleep much. Anyway, in exchange for my over-weekend work I got Tuesday and Wednesday off.

I knew in advance that I'd have two days off to do whatever I wanted. I prepared ahead of time by ordering a small handful (I think 4?) of ATMEL AVR type ATTiny2313 chips from Digi-Key at $2.26 per chip. They arrived in the mail on Monday. Unlike the simple PICAXE chips which can be programmed a form of BASIC cod from 2 wires of a serial port, the AVR series of chips are usually programmed from assembly-level code. Thankfully, C code can be converted to assembly (thanks to AVR-GCC) and loaded onto these chips. The result is a much faster and more powerful coding platform than the PICAXE chips can delivery. PICAXE seems useful for rapid development (especially if you already know BASIC) but I feel that I'm ready to tackle something new.

I built a straight-through parallel programmer for my ATTiny2313 chips. It was based upon the dapa configuration and connects to the appropriate pins. To be safe I recommend that you protect your parallel port and microcontrollers by installing the proper resisters (~1k?) between the devices, but I didn't do this.

I decided to dive right in to the world of digital RF transmission and should probably go to jail for it. I blatantly violated FCC regulations and simply wired my microcontroller to change the power level given to a 3.579545 MHz oscillator. The antenna is the copper wire sticking vertically out of the breadboard.

These crystals release wide bands of RF not only near the primary frequency (F), but also on the harmonic frequencies (F*n where n=1,2,3...). I was able to pick up the signal on my scanner at its 9th harmonic (32.215905 MHz). I think the harmonic output power is inversely proportional to n. Therefore the frequency I'm listening to represents only a fraction of the RF power the crystal is putting out at its primary frequency. Unfortunately the only listening device I have (currently) is the old scanner, which can only listen above 30 MHz.

Remember when I talked about the illegal part? Yeah, I detected harmonic signals being emitted way up into the high 100s of MHz. I don't think it's a big deal because it's low power and I doubt the signal is getting very far, but I'm always concerned about irritating people (Are people trying to use Morse code at one of the frequencies? Am I jamming my neighbors' TV reception?) so I don't keep it on long. Once I get some more time, I'll build the appropriate receiver circuits (I have another matched crystal) and install a low-pass filter (to eliminate harmonics) and maybe even get a more appropriate radio license (I'm still only technician). But for now, this is a proof-of-concept, and it works. Check out the output of the scanner.

Something I struggled with for half an hour was how to produce a tone with a microcontroller and the oscillator. Simply supplying power to the oscillator produces a strong RF signal, but there is no sound to it. It's just full quieting when it's on, and static noise when it's off. To produce an AM tone, I needed amplitude modulation. I activated the oscillator by supplying power from the microcontroller with one pin (to get it oscillating), and fed it extra juice in the form of timer output from another pin. The fluctuation in power to the oscillator (without power-loss) produced a very strong, loud, clear signal (horizontal lines). I wrote code to make it beep. Frequency can be adjusted by modifying the timer output properties. The code in the screenshot is very primitive, and not current (doesn't use timers to control AM frequency), but it worked. I'm sure I'll write more about it later.

Thoughts from Future Scott (August 2019, 10 years later):

What a good start! But what a bad design =P

Driving a can oscillator's power pin with two microcontroller pins is not a good idea. Also, you were SO CLOSE to getting frequency shift keying to work! Rather than turning the can oscillator on/off with the microcontroller, just leave it on continuously and send a microcontroller pin to the can oscillator's VCO pin. I'm sure I didn't know what that 4th pin does when did when I originally wrote this (and most diagrams of can oscillators online leave that pin disconnected).

Either way, I'm happy this day happened - this was the start of years of hobby radio frequency circuit design!

Markdown source code last modified on January 18th, 2021
---
title: A Foot in the QRSS Door
date: 2009-04-30 09:26:40
tags: qrss, microcontroller, amateur radio, old
---

# A Foot in the QRSS Door

__I've been very busy over the past couple weeks.__ Last Thursday my boss approached me and asked if I could work over the weekend. He wanted to complete and submit a grant by the deadline (Monday at 5 pm). To make a long story short I worked really hard (really long days) on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to accomplish this. Monday afternoon when it was done (at about 4 pm), after which I went home and collapsed from exhaustion. I don't know how my boss does it! He worked on it far more than I did, and over that weekend he didn't sleep much. Anyway, in exchange for my over-weekend work I got Tuesday and Wednesday off.

<div class="text-center">

![](attiny2313.jpg)

</div>

__I knew in advance that I'd have two days off to do whatever I wanted.__ I prepared ahead of time by ordering a small handful (I think 4?) of [ATMEL AVR](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmel_AVR) type [ATTiny2313 chips from Digi-Key](http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?Detail&amp;name=ATTINY2313-20PU-ND) at $2.26 per chip. They arrived in the mail on Monday. Unlike the simple [PICAXE](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PICAXE) chips which can be programmed a form of BASIC cod from 2 wires of a serial port, the AVR series of chips are usually programmed from assembly-level code. Thankfully, C code can be converted to assembly (thanks to AVR-GCC) and loaded onto these chips. The result is a much faster and more powerful coding platform than the PICAXE chips can delivery. PICAXE seems useful for rapid development (especially if you already know BASIC) but I feel that I'm ready to tackle something new.

__I built a straight-through parallel programmer__ for my ATTiny2313 chips. It was based upon the [dapa configuration](https://wikis.mit.edu/confluence/download/attachments/20512/dapa.png) and connects to the appropriate pins. To be safe I recommend that you protect your parallel port and microcontrollers by installing the proper resisters (~1k?) between the devices, but I didn't do this.

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](img_1555_thumb.jpg)](img_1555.jpg)

</div>

__I decided to dive right in to the world of digital RF transmission__ and should probably go to jail for it. I blatantly violated FCC regulations and simply wired my microcontroller to change the power level given to a 3.579545 MHz oscillator. The antenna is the copper wire sticking vertically out of the breadboard.

__These crystals release wide bands of RF__ not only near the primary frequency (F), but also on the harmonic frequencies (F\*n where n=1,2,3...). I was able to pick up the signal on my scanner at its 9th harmonic (32.215905 MHz). I think the harmonic output power is inversely proportional to n. Therefore the frequency I'm listening to represents only a fraction of the RF power the crystal is putting out at its primary frequency. Unfortunately the only listening device I have (currently) is the old scanner, which can only listen above 30 MHz.

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](img_1550_thumb.jpg)](img_1550.jpg)

</div>

__Remember when I talked about the illegal part?__ Yeah, I detected harmonic signals being emitted way up into the high 100s of MHz. I don't think it's a big deal because it's low power and I doubt the signal is getting very far, but I'm always concerned about irritating people (Are people trying to use Morse code at one of the frequencies? Am I jamming my neighbors' TV reception?) so I don't keep it on long. Once I get some more time, I'll build the appropriate receiver circuits (I have another matched crystal) and install a low-pass filter (to eliminate harmonics) and maybe even get a more appropriate radio license (I'm still only technician). But for now, this is a proof-of-concept, and it works. Check out the output of the scanner.

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](ss_thumb.jpg)](ss.png)

</div>

__Something I struggled with for half an hour__ was how to produce a tone with a microcontroller and the oscillator. Simply supplying power to the oscillator produces a strong RF signal, but there is no sound to it. It's just full quieting when it's on, and static noise when it's off. To produce an AM tone, I needed amplitude modulation. I activated the oscillator by supplying power from the microcontroller with one pin (to get it oscillating), and fed it extra juice in the form of timer output from another pin. The fluctuation in power to the oscillator (without power-loss) produced a very strong, loud, clear signal (horizontal lines). I wrote code to make it beep. Frequency can be adjusted by modifying the timer output properties. The code in the screenshot is very primitive, and not current (doesn't use timers to control AM frequency), but it worked. I'm sure I'll write more about it later.

<blockquote class="wp-block-quote"><p><strong>Thoughts from Future Scott (August 2019, 10 years later):</strong></p><p>What a good start! But what a bad design =P</p><p>Driving a can oscillator's power pin with two microcontroller pins is not a good idea. Also, you were SO CLOSE to getting frequency shift keying to work! Rather than turning the can oscillator on/off with the microcontroller, just leave it on continuously and send a microcontroller pin to the can oscillator's VCO pin. I'm sure I didn't know what that 4th pin does when did when I originally wrote this (and most diagrams of can oscillators online leave that pin disconnected).</p><p>Either way, I'm happy this day happened - this was the start of years of hobby radio frequency circuit design!</p></blockquote>

April 22nd, 2009

Puxing 777 Radio Headset Schematic

I successfully created a speaker/microphone/transmit button circuit for the puxing 777 which probably works for all puxing radios. Instead of simply using circuits found on other websites (always for other radios), I decided to reverse-engineering an earphone/microphone headset that came with the radio to determine how it worked. I can't claim that I'm an expert in electronics theory, but I can say that I faithfully rebuilt the circuitry within the factory-shipped headset and it worked. The result allows me to leave my handheld radio in its charger while casually listening/transmitting with a button that I made instead of having to reach around and awkwardly squeeze the transmit button on the side of the radio. Once again, I built this circuit and it was successful for me, but there may still be a better way to do it.

The microphone is a 20-cent electret microphone with no special modifications. The speaker I used is a standard 8ohm loudspeaker with no special modifications. The switch is a keyboard-style (push-to-talk) switch, and the capacitor I used is good for 10nF.

If you have any ideas for improvements, let me know! I'll post some photos once I have my completed little "base station" set up. My ultimate goal is to turn an el-cheapo handheld VHF radio into a decent desktop transceiver by combining it with a nice antenna (located on a balcony at 30ft) and a convenient, easy-to-use switches/buttons/microphone/speaker/etc on a desktop panel.

Markdown source code last modified on January 18th, 2021
---
title: Puxing 777 Radio Headset Schematic
date: 2009-04-22 11:56:42
tags: amateur radio, circuit, old
---

# Puxing 777 Radio Headset Schematic

__I successfully created a speaker/microphone/transmit button circuit for the puxing 777__ which probably works for all puxing radios.  Instead of simply using circuits found on other websites (always for other radios), I decided to reverse-engineering an earphone/microphone headset that came with the radio to determine how it worked. I can't claim that I'm an expert in electronics theory, but I can say that I faithfully rebuilt the circuitry within the factory-shipped headset and it worked.  The result allows me to leave my handheld radio in its charger while casually listening/transmitting with a button that I made instead of having to reach around and awkwardly squeeze the transmit button on the side of the radio.  Once again, I built this circuit and it was successful for me, but there may still be a better way to do it.

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](puxing_thumb.jpg)](puxing.png)

</div>

The microphone is a 20-cent [electret microphone](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electret_microphone) with no special modifications.  The speaker I used is a [standard 8ohm loudspeaker](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:3.5_Inch_Speaker.jpg) with no special modifications.  The switch is a keyboard-style (push-to-talk) switch, and the capacitor I used is good for 10nF.

<div class="text-center img-border">

![](headset.jpg)

</div>

__If you have any ideas for improvements, let me know!__  I'll post some photos once I have my completed little "base station" set up.  My ultimate goal is to turn an el-cheapo handheld VHF radio into a decent desktop transceiver by combining it with a nice antenna (located on a balcony at 30ft) and a convenient, easy-to-use switches/buttons/microphone/speaker/etc on a desktop panel.
April 15th, 2009

Scott is now Licensed! (KJ4LDF)

I've taken the plunge into the geek world by becoming a licensed amateur radio operator. My wife and I both took our technician exam last week, and this morning I discovered that our call signs have been processed. I'm KJ4LDF, she's KJ4LDG. I'm a little disappointed that my call sign has an "F" in it. On the air, "F" and "S" sound similar, so I'm more likely to have people asking me to repeat it. The phonetics are Kilo, Juliet, Four, Lima, Delta, Foxtrot. Foxtrot! How silly is that? [sighs] Either way, I'm glad I've been added to the database, and am now legally able to begin broadcasting on VHF/UHF.

Beacon stuff (like I wrote about in the last post) would best involve lower frequencies, which would mean I have to take another exam to get a higher license class.

Markdown source code last modified on January 18th, 2021
---
title: Scott is now Licensed! (KJ4LDF)
date: 2009-04-15 08:56:37
tags: amateur radio, qrss
---

# Scott is now Licensed! (KJ4LDF)

<div class="text-center img-border">

![](qrss.jpg)

</div>

__I've taken the plunge__ into the geek world by becoming a licensed amateur radio operator. My wife and I both took our technician exam last week, and this morning I discovered that our call signs have been processed. I'm KJ4LDF, she's KJ4LDG. I'm a little disappointed that my call sign has an "F" in it. On the air, "F" and "S" sound similar, so I'm more likely to have people asking me to repeat it. The phonetics are Kilo, Juliet, Four, Lima, Delta, Foxtrot. Foxtrot! How silly is that? [sighs] Either way, I'm glad I've been added to the database, and am now legally able to begin broadcasting on VHF/UHF.

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](radiospec_thumb.jpg)](radiospec.png)

</div>

Beacon stuff (like I wrote about in the last post) would best involve lower frequencies, which would mean I have to take another exam to get a higher license class.
April 1st, 2009

Post-Defense Day 1

Two hours after getting home from work I'm already basking in the newfound carefreeness thanks to the successful completion of my thesis defense (and graduation requirements). Yesterday I went to SkyCraft, early this morning I posted a schematic diagram of a basic circuit concept for a radio/microphone interface box with tone generating functions, and this afternoon I finished its assembly. It's hacked together, I know, but it's just a prototype. What does it do? It's complicated. It's basically just an exercise in microchip programming.

Future Scott reacts to this in August, 2019 (10 years later)

LOL! That's a pipette box! A chip socket was sunk into a plastic enclosure somehow! And that "regulated power supply" is an LM7805 on non-metallic perfboard screwed to two Jenga blocks!

Here's the little setup with the main control unit and a DC to DC regulated power supply / serial microchip programmer I made.

Here's the main control box. Notice the "2-way lighted switches" which I described in the previous entry. I found that proper grounding (floating pin prevention) was critical to their proper function. I'm still new to these chips, so I'm learning, but I'm making progress!

Getting a little artsy with my photographs now... this is the core of the device. It's a picaxe 14m!

This is a 5v regulated power supply I built. The headphone adapter is for easy connection to the serial port. It has a power switch and a program/run switch (allowing use of pin 13, serial out) while still "connected" to the PC.

I've slightly improved the connection between my radio's coax cable to the J-pole antenna I made.

I'm able to get pretty good signals from this antenna, but it's probably not likely to do much to my assembly skills (and lack of tuning), and more likely due to the fact that I have an unobstructed view of middle/southern Orlando from the 3rd story of my apartment balcony. I could probably wire up a rubber duck on a stick and get good results with that location! I'll miss my reception when I move.

Markdown source code last modified on January 18th, 2021
---
title: Post-Defense Day 1
date: 2009-04-01 18:46:34
tags: old, microcontroller, amateur radio
---

# Post-Defense Day 1

__Two hours after getting home from work__ I'm already basking in the newfound carefreeness thanks to the successful completion of my thesis defense (and graduation requirements). Yesterday I went to SkyCraft, early this morning I posted a schematic diagram of a basic circuit concept for a radio/microphone interface box with tone generating functions, and this afternoon I finished its assembly. It's hacked together, I know, but it's just a prototype. What does it do? It's complicated. It's basically just an exercise in microchip programming.

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](img_13771_thumb.jpg)](img_13771.jpg)

</div>

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](picaxe_all_thumb.jpg)](picaxe_all.jpg)

</div>

<blockquote class="wp-block-quote"><p><strong>Future Scott reacts to this in August, 2019 (10 years later)</strong></p><p><em>LOL! That's a pipette box! A chip socket was sunk into a plastic enclosure somehow! And that "regulated power supply" is an LM7805 on non-metallic perfboard screwed to two Jenga blocks!</em></p></blockquote>

__Here's the little setup__ with the main control unit and a DC to DC regulated power supply / serial microchip programmer I made.

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](picaxe_panel_thumb.jpg)](picaxe_panel.jpg)

</div>

__Here's the main control box.__ Notice the "2-way lighted switches" which I described in the previous entry. I found that proper grounding (floating pin prevention) was critical to their proper function. I'm still new to these chips, so I'm learning, but I'm making progress!

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](picaxe_artsy_thumb.jpg)](picaxe_artsy.jpg)

</div>

__Getting a little artsy__ with my photographs now... this is the core of the device. It's a picaxe 14m!

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](picaxe_power_thumb.jpg)](picaxe_power.jpg)

</div>

__This is a 5v regulated power supply__ I built. The headphone adapter is for easy connection to the serial port. It has a power switch and a program/run switch (allowing use of pin 13, serial out) while still "connected" to the PC.

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](jpole_antenna_diy_thumb.jpg)](jpole_antenna_diy.jpg)

</div>

I've slightly improved the connection between my radio's coax cable to the J-pole antenna I made.

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](jpole_location_thumb.jpg)](jpole_location.jpg)

</div>

__I'm able to get pretty good signals__ from this antenna, but it's probably not likely to do much to my assembly skills (and lack of tuning), and more likely due to the fact that I have an unobstructed view of middle/southern Orlando from the 3rd story of my apartment balcony. I could probably wire up a rubber duck on a stick and get good results with that location! I'll miss my reception when I move.

February 7th, 2009

Cheaply Create Double-Sided QSL Cards in 1 Day

I'm posting this information hoping that someone else in a position similar to mine can benefit from the experience I gained through trial and error while trying to rapidly design and develop professional-looking QSL cards at low risk. I Googled around for this information, but didn't find anything too helpful, so I figured I'd come up with something on my own and share my story.

QSL cards are like postcards which amateur radio operators often mail to one another after making long distance contacts.__ In addition to providing tangible proof of the communication, they're cool mementos to tote around to remember who you've made contact with over the years. QSL cards display information bout the contact (time, date, call sign, frequency, signal report, etc.) and sometimes contain extra pictures/graphics which make them unique and appealing.

Once I got a HF rig for my apartment (a Century 21 CW-only HF rig which puts out ~30 watts), I started making contacts and getting QSL cards myself, so I wanted to send some nice ones in return. Being a poor college student (and a graduate student at that), I was extremely cash-limited, and didn't want to sit around for weeks while my cards were professionally printed. This post describes how I created nice looking QSL cards in a few hours, for less than $0.25 each!

Step 1: Design the cards with the correct dimensions. The most cost-effective way to print nice digital images is my local Target (a store with a 1-hr photo lab which accepts JPEGs as the image source for $0.20 cents a picture), but the snag was that they only print 4'' x 6''. QSL cards need to be 3.5'' by 5.25''. I used Inkscape to create an image exactly 4'' by 6'', and inside of it I drew a border 3.5'' by 5.25''. Everything outside that border I made black. I designed my QSL card _inside _that border, such that when the images would be printed I could trim-off the black border and have a perfect 3.5'' by 5.25'' QSL card.

Step 2: Print the reverse side on full-size label paper. All I needed was some framed boxes for QSL information, so I quickly sketched up the design in Inkscape and saved it in the same format as before (4'' by 6''). I left a LOT of white space around the edges so it's very forgiving down the line. I then printed the design on full-page label paper (full-sheet stickers, available at most office stores cheaply in the printer paper section), placing 4 "backs" per page.

Here's what the adhesive paper looked like after printing:

Step 3: Attach backings to QSL cards. This part is easy if you have a paper cutter. I purchased mine ~5yrs ago and I *LOVE* it. It's almost as useful as my soldering iron. Seriously, so convenient. I wouldn't dream of doing this with scissors! Anyhow, roughly cut the sticker paper into quarters.

Next, peel and stick on the backs of cards. Don't worry about overhang, we'll take care of that later...

Step 4: Trim the edges. Make sure you do this step _after _applying the sticker. This was the secret that I wish I realized a while ago. If you trim first, sticker placement is critical and difficult. If you place the sticker _before _you trim, you get perfect edges every time.

How nice does that look? If you did your math correctly, your new dimensions should be exactly 3.5'' by 5.25''.

Step 5: fill-out information. I decided to use a metallic Sharpie to write the name of the call sign I send this to on the front of my card. How cool does that look? This is what the front/back of this card looks like after filling it out.

I hope this information helps you. If you print your own QSL cards using this (or a similar) method, let me know about it! I have to say, for ~5 / $1, these don't look to bad. It's especially useful if you only want to print a few cards! Good luck.

-- Scott, AJ4VD

Markdown source code last modified on January 18th, 2021
---
title: Cheaply Create Double-Sided QSL Cards in 1 Day
date: 2009-02-07 16:29:28
tags: amateur radio
---

# Cheaply Create Double-Sided QSL Cards in 1 Day

__I'm posting this information__ hoping that someone else in a position similar to mine can benefit from the experience I gained through trial and error while trying to rapidly design and develop professional-looking QSL cards at low risk. I Googled around for this information, but didn't find anything too helpful, so I figured I'd come up with something on my own and share my story.

__[QSL cards](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QSL)__ are like postcards which amateur radio operators often mail to one another after making long distance contacts.__ In addition to providing tangible proof of the communication, they're cool mementos to tote around to remember who you've made contact with over the years. QSL cards display information bout the contact (time, date, call sign, frequency, signal report, etc.) and sometimes contain extra pictures/graphics which make them unique and appealing.

__Once I got a HF rig for my apartment__ (a Century 21 CW-only HF rig which puts out ~30 watts), I started making contacts and getting QSL cards myself, so I wanted to send some nice ones in return. Being a poor college student (and a graduate student at that), I was extremely cash-limited, and didn't want to sit around for weeks while my cards were professionally printed. This post describes how I created nice looking QSL cards in a few hours, for less than $0.25 each!

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](12_donefront_thumb.jpg)](12_donefront.jpg)

</div>

__Step 1: Design the cards with the correct dimensions.__ The most cost-effective way to print nice digital images is my local Target (a store with a 1-hr photo lab which accepts JPEGs as the image source for $0.20 cents a picture), but the snag was that they only print 4'' x 6''. QSL cards need to be 3.5'' by 5.25''. I used [Inkscape](http://www.Inkscape.org) to create an image exactly 4'' by 6'', and inside of it I drew a border 3.5'' by 5.25''. Everything outside that border I made black. I designed my QSL card _inside _that border, such that when the images would be printed I could trim-off the black border and have a perfect 3.5'' by 5.25'' QSL card.

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](florida_thumb.jpg)](florida.png)

[![](01_qsl_photos_thumb.jpg)](01_qsl_photos.jpg)

</div>

__Step 2: Print the reverse side on full-size label paper.__ All I needed was some framed boxes for QSL information, so I quickly sketched up the design in Inkscape and saved it in the same format as before (4'' by 6''). I left a LOT of white space around the edges so it's very forgiving down the line. I then printed the design on full-page label paper (full-sheet stickers, available at most office stores cheaply in the printer paper section), placing 4 "backs" per page.

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](03_backs_thumb.jpg)](03_backs.jpg)

</div>

Here's what the adhesive paper looked like after printing:

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](04_cutback_thumb.jpg)](04_cutback.jpg)

</div>

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](05_back_thumb.jpg)](05_back.jpg)

</div>

__Step 3: Attach backings to QSL cards.__ This part is easy if you have a paper cutter. I purchased mine ~5yrs ago and I \*LOVE\* it. It's almost as useful as my soldering iron. Seriously, so convenient. I wouldn't dream of doing this with scissors! Anyhow, roughly cut the sticker paper into quarters.

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](06_peel_thumb.jpg)](06_peel.jpg)

</div>

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](07_overhang_thumb.jpg)](07_overhang.jpg)

</div>

Next, peel and stick on the backs of cards. Don't worry about overhang, we'll take care of that later...

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](09_cut_thumb.jpg)](09_cut.jpg)

</div>

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](10_nice_thumb.jpg)](10_nice.jpg)

</div>

__Step 4: Trim the edges.__ Make sure you do this step _after _applying the sticker. This was the secret that I wish I realized a while ago. If you trim first, sticker placement is critical and difficult. If you place the sticker _before _you trim, you get perfect edges every time.

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](11_niceback_thumb.jpg)](11_niceback.jpg)

</div>

How nice does that look? If you did your math correctly, your new dimensions should be exactly 3.5'' by 5.25''.

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](12_silver2_thumb.jpg)](12_silver2.jpg)

</div>

__Step 5: fill-out information.__ I decided to use a metallic Sharpie to write the name of the call sign I send this to on the front of my card. How cool does that look? This is what the front/back of this card looks like after filling it out.

<div class="text-center img-border">

[![](14_scribe_thumb.jpg)](14_scribe.jpg)

</div>

__I hope this information helps you.__ If you print your own QSL cards using this (or a similar) method, let me know about it! I have to say, for ~5 / $1, these don't look to bad. It's especially useful if you only want to print a few cards! Good luck.

-- Scott, AJ4VD

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