39 Years for a QSL Card?: Canal Zone

2013 marks my 40th year as an amateur radio operator. I passed my Novice exam when I was 13, and received my ticket (WN2QHN) on my 14th birthday. At that time, my station was a Hallicrafters HT-40 75 watt “Novice” transmitter, a Heathkit SW-717 receiver that I built myself, a Dow Key tube TR Switch and a dipole.


Way back in 1974 (when dinosaurs still roamed the earth), I worked Ted, KZ5VV in the Canal Zone. Its one of the few QSL cards I either never received or lost over the years. I wasn’t a DX-er back then – I was a CW  “traffic man”, and if I worked DX it was only because I called CQ for a rag chew QSO and DX came back to my call. I was inactive from 1977 until 2001 – when I jumped back in as a DX-er.

After doing some sleuthing, I found Ted, and have asked him to send a signed letter to act as a QSL card. I will update this blog if this happens. It will put me at 336 / 331 in the DXCC Standings. Now I really understand why Deleted’s do count and are important!


Canal Zone was added to the DXCC list in 1938 (it was added along with all of the US Possessions that at that time the FCC had just issued prefixes for these possessions / territories) and became a Deleted entity in 1979. The DXCC List had 319 entities on it with 47 Deleted at that time. The Canal Zone was a US Territory from 1903 – 1979.


It was a major engineering project and a very critical shipping route for the US – and still is today.

I couldn’t find a reference to any DX-peditions to the Canal Zone, probably because there were quite a few people stationed there – either due to civilian work or in the military. If you do a Google search for Canal Zone QSL card and click on images, you will find quite a few pages of these old QSL cards. K8CX has a great gallery:


For now, I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can get #336 confirmed.

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6 responses to “39 Years for a QSL Card?: Canal Zone

  1. I just received an email telling me that I should expect a QSL letter in the mail. This is only part of the story – there is a “sideways” connection to the FT5ZM DX-pedition – all part of my 40th year as a ham and re-kindling these old acquaintances. “The Rest of the Story” will be featured in The DXCoffee Blog, and possibly a few other places.

  2. Hi… what a great Blog you have here! Heard you work JT5DX on 80m and visited your QRZ.com page. Great stuff on the Blog. In fact, I’ve just “skimmed” it and see there are many stories I want to follow up on, ie: Don Miller and P5.

    I just got on the DXCC Honor Roll as well, using 100 watts and a HF6 vertical.

    Now have your Blog “bookmarked” and expect I’ll be spending quite some time reading over the history of DXCC. Many good links as well. This might take awhile to read it all!

    • Thanks, and congrats on HR, especially using a vertical. I update this blog infrequently – usually while waiting for the next activation that I need.



      • I see you’re handling the Blog for the upcoming T33 dx-pedition. I expect great details and photos are sure to be included.

        If you haven’t had a chance to read “W6AM” by Jan (N6AW) it’s available I believe via ARRL bookstore. Lots of very interesting early DX into.

        By the way, Jan (N6AW), Tom (W6KP) and I worked P5/OK1DTG while at the Visalia DX Convention in 1992. Had a TS-930 and inverted dipole off the top floor of the Holiday Inn. Got his QSL confirming the contact but, sadly, the ARRL did not allow it for DXCC. Apparently he did not have permission.

        Just watched the T33T dxpedition video from the link you posted. Thanks!

        Jan and I headed up the W6BA contest station for several years. W6KK and N7CQQ were both visitors. Several 100′ towers and big amps made contesting fun.

        Good luck with the upcoming T33A effort…

      • Thanks Bill. Check out ky6r.com and you will see how TX5K went. Expect that style with Banana.

        That must have been very exciting working P5 from Visalia, that’s funny. Too bad it didn’t count.

        I will order that book for sure.



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