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à la mode


with permission ©2014 K8JTK "à la mode"

Digital modes have created a whole new screen-based amateur aesthetic and it's pretty neat to be paintin' pixels in these yet Wild West days of evolving interfaces. Jeffrey K8JTK is well into our digital future as one of Ham Nation's D-Star After Show net controllers. Jeffrey and I closed-in on something evoking an APRS display, and exercised some, shall we say, graphic license to adapt the screen look to a QSL card format, with a little bit of added punnery. BTW, some of the fun was cobbling together the trailer shack, tower & beam icon in our trusty old Caligari TrueSpace 3D modeling app, a wonderfully simple and early iteration we once used a lot might well press back into service on more projects.


Aw Shucks

with permission ©2014 AC0OB "Aw Shucks"

Appropriately enough, Iowa operator Phil AC0OB requested a corn crib theme and we were happy to oblige, adding our own cornball retro rural QSL humor to the mix. Plus we got the agricultural color scheme going on with Farmall Red, John Deere Green and IH Yellow.



Winning SmileW9MZD
with permission ©2014 NF1R "Nice Ride"

Besides hamming it up as W9MZD, Blake teams up with his family as SCCA and MC wheel to wheel racers, competing in spec Miatas. Normally pooch George doesn't drive, but for fun QSL purposes Blake and I put him behind the wheel in a mock race and Gorgeous George quickly seemed to get the drift. Blake brings his playful passion to work as well with dad Willy Thompson in their family busines BTDT Racing, a Midwestern Spec Miata team and Miata Parts Sales Company. Click BTDT or isellmiataparts.com for a winning smile all your own!


CQ Test

with permission ©2014 NF1R "Nice Ride"

Cali contester and cyclist NF1R likes a challenge. So Clayton and I combined his passions in a fun way by means of an Easter Egg thing going on here, besides the contestant number tag. Seems like a lot our customers are taking their state-of-the-art radios en plein air these days. In addition to radio contesting, Clayton enjoys SOTA activations along some of this planet's most beautiful coastline. Catch him if you can!


Escape Ladder

W1RE QSL Stairway

W1RE QSL Dogbone

W1RE QSL LadderGuy

with permission ©2014 W1RE Ladder Guy"

Bob W1RE asked us to come up with something to dramatize his evocative callsign and as old wire array nut, we jumped at the chance, offering him three options. Surprise suprise, Bob went for all three QSL designs - plus one more bit of graphic fun that will eventually appear on W1RE's QRZ page...stay tooned! It was one of our bigger jobs and Bob was very encouraging and supportive. Many TNX OM!



The Designs.

portfolio splash



Our custom QSL portfolio provides a complete look at the card designs we've created for hams around the world.

What might we create for you?

Click to browse!







images ©2014 AA5D courtesy Mitch Fortner


The Details.


photo courtesy Andrew Haworth ©2013 KK4DSD

Our bespoke front-side QSL art is most often a collaborative effort with our clients, a mutual sharing and development of ideas that are translated into images. No worries if you're not yet sure what's right for your card. We'll figure it out together. Clients receive printer-ready digital art files and own the design as well as all rights to reproduce it. All images here appear by generous permission.

Read our eHam Reviews!


How does it work?

No big deal.

Start us sketching for $30 up front via PayPal, and we'll deliver an initial design proposal, reasonable back and forth included. The design mock-up includes your QSL art, callsign, simple QTH and handle text.

No surprises. The design proposal will give you a good idea how it's going to look and we'll make changes as needed.

Once you approve the final draft design, remaining work is billed at $40 per hour for finished, QSL printer-ready high resolution digital art files, plus web-resolution files for convenient posting online.


At no additional charge, you'll also receive an 8.5 x 11" signed print on 11.8mil heavyweight Epson Ultra Premium photo paper printed with genuine Epson inks, as a tangible, decorative keepsake of what we created together.


Altogether how much does a custom QSL design package typically cost?

Most designs will be $150, which covers three hours to finish the 300 dpi digital art, delivered via Hightail file service. This also includes the start-up fee and a hand-signed print of your custom QSL design inscribed with our "Dashie" mark, shipped postpaid in a stout, capped, reusable Yazoo brand heavy- duty Kraft mailing tube. Always ask for Yazoo, whenever you acquire FB ham radio art.



QSL printing is up to you.

We're happy to meet specs of your QSL printer of choice.

We're pleased to recommend Randy KB3IFH. His customers tell the story in their eHam Reviews.

Most of our clients have tapped KB3IFH QSL Cards and received the benefit of Randy's savvy advice and superior customer service. And Randy contacts me directly if he has technical questions, so you needn't sweat the details.


What about the QSO report form?

We recommend putting that on the back of your card, along with mailing info, awards, rigs, and other personal details, easily arranged with your QSL printer. Most offer a variety of reverse side formats in customizable styles. The expense is not much more than a single-sided card, and allows maximum, uncluttered space for your custom design.

Can I print your designs on my own printer?

Yes you can, but you must remember that our designs are default standard QSL size, 3.5 x 5.5" which is a bit differently proportioned than the usual 4x6" photo print format. While not wildly far off, it makes a difference.

If home printing is your plan, you're welcome to opt instead for a design that's standard 4"x6" photo paper size no extra charge. It's also possible to do a design that works in both formats, but it's easier and quicker for all concerned if I know that's your intent before I start.

Use BV7 Freeware by DF3CB to print your own QSL report labels for the back and you're good to go. Of course, your print quality will vary, depending on printer, photo paper, inks and settings. Mailing self-printed photos like postcards is risky business, so envelopes are a must. Also before buying envelopes, make sure they'll fit your 4"x6" cards.

Contact me, Jeff K1NSS, for a free consultation. I'd be delighted to discuss your ideas and answer your questions.

Still Just Looking? Click this customer blog write-up with pictures by Frank KØJQZ and have a independent look at a K1NSS Custom QSL experience. You don't buy a pig in a poke. It's plenty of back and forth with ample opportunity for feedback and mid-course corrections. It's gotta be right. It's that simple.


About us.

I'm a bona fide OM who first became airborne in his 1963 boyhood bedroom, slipping Earth's surly bonds by means of my humble Heathkit DX-20 and laughable Lafayette HE-40 , feeding a legendary Gotham Vertical.

Between me and you-know-who, our radiosportin' life is an open couple of books starring Dash! The Dog-Faced Ham. Plus my homepage of ham funnies and fun Dashtoons.com is followed by discriminating fans around the amateur world.


QSL art aside, our ham graphics clients have included RF Concepts/Alpha Amplifiers, who featured our cartoon art on their Dayton 2012 posters. For more of our work for Alpha, click here.



YASME Foundation President and ARRL Contributing Editor Ward Silver, N0AX tapped us to design the cover of his ham radio crime thriller Zone of Iniquity.



And our logo art has received international attention promoting ham radio special events for young people, sponsored by one of northern Italy's most active and forward looking amateur organizations, Insubria Radio Club.

In addition, Jeff K1NSS Design created graphics for :

    K9YA Telegraph's latest book publication
    The Art & Skill of Radio Telegraphy

    Brooklyn-Based Radio Producer David Goren
    Shortwaveology.org site graphics & Shortwave Shindig logo



First time visitor?

Safe to say that under this ionosphere, there's nothing quite like Dashtoons. So if you're new to our decidedly different take on ham radio, give 'er a click!