Monday, May 6, 2019

Boris' Soviet-era QSL card

This QSL card between UA3-9 in Moscow, USSR, and W3AIT in Frackville, Pennsylvania, was filled out in 1962, at the height of the Cold War. I know that W3AIT was in Frackville, because I have other QSL cards sent to that operator, who was named Melvin C. Reed. He's also listed, with that call sign, in the Fall 1952 Radio Amateur Callbook. If I found the correct Melvin C. Reed on Find A Grave, he lived from 1906 to 1987.

Melvin made a lot of international connections with his ham radio hobby. And that includes this one with Boris in 1962. I wonder if they had a short conversation. Did Boris understand English? Did Melvin understand Russian? Or did they only know enough mutual ham radio lingo in order to log the connection over the airwaves? QSL cards are wonderful ephemeral evidence of past exchanges. But they leave so much that can never be known. I find it fascinating that, in the same year as the Cuban Missile Crisis, someone from a small town in Pennsylvania was connecting directly with a fellow ham enthusiast in Moscow. (Also, since there's no stamp or address on this QSL, I have to assume that Boris sent it to Melvin in an envelope.)

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