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QSLogBook was launched in February of 2011 as a website-based social networking service. It allows users to create a profile. From there, they can view the profiles of other users, send messages to other users and join groups that are based on common interests or other factors. As well, users can also post classified ads.
The name QSLogBook reflects the fact that the site is intended for use by amateur radio operators. It acts as a way for them to exchange QSL cards as a way to open a two-way conversation between operators. As part of their profile, users can post a QSL card that can be personalized with their image and information in much the same way that a paper QSL card would have been used in the past.
Broadcasters have been using QSL cards as a way to confirm two-way radio communication for years. The cards would often contain a user’s call sign as well as information on or images of the amateur radio operators. Exchanging cards was often a problem especially in areas where postal service was unreliable. Large companies would be able to send out massive numbers of cards but for smaller operators, this was much more difficult.
While it was possible for individuals to send out QSL cards to local amateur radio clubs it was not guaranteed that the members would be able to receive them especially if there were no local clubs to join. As well, it was often difficult to send out records of individual transactions and so postal QSL card distribution was an imperfect solution that could be easily corrected using a social networking site. As a result, site founder Don Dubuque wanted to create a website that would make it easier for QSL operators and amateur radio operators to communicate and exchange information with one another.
QSLogBook is not the only site that has been set up for HAM radio operators but it has advantages over other sites such as Hamwave. Other sites such as those listed provide specific information for either an individual club or for HAM radio news and information in general. While QSLogbook does allow users to post news and information it is a site that is mainly set up to allow users from around the world to communicate and to send each other wavelength and call sign information. There are a number of tools that make social networking easier when using QSLogBook. Not only can users view their contacts (called “friends”), they can also see contacts that are linked to their friends. In this way, it is possible for users to see their entire extended social network.
Another feature allows users to post GMaps of their current location as well as blogs, classified advertising and other information that may be of interest to other users. The website does not cost anything in order to become a member. There is also a chat function which allows users to communicate directly with one another rather than through messages. Unlike other social networking sites, it is possible to communicate with users who have not been added as friends.
The look of a user’s profile can be customized although a person’s real name needs to be used in order to create a profile. This ability to change the look of a profile makes it different than social networking sites such as Facebook which requires users to stick with a specific style of profile. The site generates revenue through the sales of advertising although at present the advertising is mainly related to ham radios and related topics.