Follow the steps below to create a QRZ page that is useful, friendly, and easy to read. The simple steps provide a road map for amateur radio operators to use. With them, you can write an appealing biography page and avoid haphazard or blank biographies from the “I didn’t know what to say” syndrome.
Once a ham radio operator gets on the air, other hams will look them up, usually on QRZ. As an amateur radio operator, it is to your own benefit and the benefit of your amateur radio friends that you have biographical and contact information readily available and up to date on QRZ. Until the first version of this article was written, there were no guidelines, formulas, tips, or suggestions on what information to should be included, and equally important, what should not. So follow along and you will quickly and easily create a QRZ page to be proud of.
QRZ is the amateur radio Q Code for “who is calling me?” The website www.qrz.com allows radio amateurs to look up information about each other. They do this to find address labels, to e-mail after a contact, or to simply find out more about the person they met on air. QRZ allows us to post contact and biographical information on a page dedicated to each of us under our own amateur radio callsign. If you have your license, then you already have a page on QRZ. If you have not put your information on your page, then it will be basically blank other than the basic FCC provided information.
When you get your license, your base page is created automatically on QRZ from the FCC database. To edit your information, you must register for your free QRZ account. From the QRZ home page, click on Help/Register. Next click register for a new account. The rest is self explanatory, and once you are done, you should be able to edit your own QRZ page.
Work Offline First
I recommend gathering and writing the following information on your computer instead of trying to start in the online QRZ editor. Organize the information in a document almost like you are answering the following questions for a friend.
Your Job – What do/did you do for a living? Tell your readers what you do or did for a living. If you are retired you can mention that too. Nobody expects you to be a superstar athlete, a Nobel winning physicist, or a billionaire. Be honest and say, “I am a carpenter and I became interested in the hobby when I was fixing a chimney that a tr-ibander broke a chunk out of. I asked the home owner, ‘is this some kind of TV antenna’ and the next thing I knew he showed me his shack, became my Elmer, and I was a ham.” Perhaps you are retired and used to work for the telephone system. Possibly you became interested in radio during your service in the military. Maybe you are a truck driver and make all your contacts while mobile in a big rig. Telling the reader what you do helps them to relate to you.
What club(s) you belong to– Avoid laundry lists if you belong to lots of clubs. Instead, write a sentence about each one of them. “I enjoy going to XYZ club meetings because they are fun and educational. I also belong to the ABC DX club because they focus on DX and contesting.” It is worth emphasizing that amateur radio operators should belong to a local club. It may simply be you and one other OM that get together and call yourselves the Hillbilly Old Farts Radio Club just for a chuckle. Regardless of if your club is you and a friend or you have multiple clubs to choose from, I hope you are in a club of some kind. With that said, it is a great piece of information to put on your QRZ page. Your local club may grow from you advertising them on your QRZ page. Growth is good and advertising is important because clubs are the backbone of our hobby.
What are your other hobbies – A small tidbit about your other hobbies says volumes about who you are. Perhaps you play a sport, play music for fun, drive a race boat, SCUBA, or sky dive. Maybe you volunteer for an important cause or weave baskets out of horse hair. What ever else it is that you do, putting these hobbies on your QRZ page brings your readers closer to understanding who you are.
What bands and modes do you use most often – I speculate that most readers enjoy this part the most. Do not fall into a trap of listing every band and mode you use. The “every band list” is tedious and your reader probably does not care. Instead, write a summary like you might say if you were talking on the radio. For example, “I enjoy 80m through 10m, except 30m because I only like to ragchew on sideband.” Or, “I only use 10m and 12m digital because I am temporarily living in an apartment. I like to use really low power with small antennas for my stealth HF station mostly with JT65.” Those two statements tell me a great deal about these two (fictitious) gentlemen. If you only do 2m mobile, that is just as good to mention as a bunch of bands and modes on HF. It tells the reader the kind of operator you are, and how lucky they may have been to work you!
What is special about your particular station – Be careful, because this subject can be a booby trap. In my opinion, nobody cares to read a laundry list of your equipment. Unless you are asking to be robbed while away on vacation, just leave the laundry list out, period. Instead, focus on what is special, unique, or something you are particularly proud of. Perhaps you have a really unique boat anchor (antique radio). Maybe you have a interesting antenna, or stealth arrangement. If you have 8 towers, one of which is loaded as a quarter wave 160m vertical, your readers will want to know that. Do not complicate it. Simple statements such as, “I run mostly wire dipoles suspended from trees and do most QSOs with 20W or less,” is what is most informative to your reader.
What special radio facets do you like – Perhaps you enjoy the Strange Antenna Challenge. Maybe you are a county hunter. Or perhaps you live for roving during QSO parties. You might use amateur radio for RC airplanes or really enjoy satellite work. These are nice tidbits to add if it applies to you, so consider including this kind of information as well.
How do we QSL – This is one of the most important parts of your QRZ page. As I mentioned earlier, when you use an amateur radio frequency, chances are someone will want to look you up and contact you afterwards. So how does someone get in touch with you specifically for the purposes of the QSL? Make sure to have this in a paragraph by itself. My preference is to see this information near the bottom of a QRZ page.
Cover your bases in this section of your QRZ page. Do you QSL direct? If so, do you require a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE) within your country, and do you prefer IRC or green stamps for international QSLs? Do you use a QSL bureau? For bureau users, it may be important to mention which bureau. Do you have a QSL manager? If so, you need to include that information as well. Do you use Logbook of The World? What about eQSL (www.eqsl.cc)? One important thing to mention here is that if you do not QSL at all, then say it and save your reader some time and effort. I consider this to be one of the few places you can word your information in a simple list. “I use LoTW, eQSL, and QSL through the XYZ bureau only please.”
Post Your Page to QRZ
Now that you have all your information gathered and have put it together the way you like, you are ready to post it on QRZ. Once you are logged into QRZ, go to your own page by typing your callsign into the search field. In the navigation bar, click on the Edit link. Next, click on “Add or edit your biography text, fonts, etc.” The page that comes up will allow you paste and edit your newly crafted biography. For the more advanced folks you can do CSS and HTML editing to really make your page look the way you want. Make sure to click the Save button at the bottom of the page when you are finished. I recommend saving a copy of your information on your computer for later editing. You can also upload images by clicking on the “Add or edit your pictures and QSL images” link. There are many other categories you can edit and maintain here. When you are done, click on the “Done. Return to the [your callsign] listing…” link to see how your new page looks.
Here are some other tips to keep in mind for your QRZ page:
- Put some pictures on your QRZ page. It makes the page more interesting for your reader. The old cliche about pictures being worth a thousand words is true here. BUT WAIT! Do not cover your QRZ page in electronic QSLs. It takes too long to load and nobody will wade through them. So do not waste their time or yours showing off eQSLs. My rule of thumb is to keep the web page three “page downs” or less which is enough to make it interesting but not boring.
- In the text, be sure to tell the truth without exaggerating. On that same note, do not sell yourself short either. People are coming to read about you, so just give it to them straight.
- I recommend against using humor unless you are a writer by trade. Humor can be difficult to understand by people who are from other countries.
- Do not write about yourself in the third person (unless you are famous). Third person writing is appropriate in some venues, but not on a QRZ page. Do not write, “John is a computer scientist and he enjoys the challenge of 80m mobile.” Instead, write in the first person because you are introducing yourself to your new amateur radio friend.
- Make sure to keep it simple. An easy to read, elegant QRZ page gets read. A ten page diatribe about how you helped invent the Internet will not.
- Keep your e-mail address current. People want to e-mail you. Have your e-mail address on QRZ and keep it up to date. QRZ does a good job of making it difficult for the spammers. Hams do need to get in touch with each other from time to time, so make it easy for them.
Keep it up to date
Be sure to visit your own QRZ page and update annually so the information does not get too far out of date. For me, I try to visit and update my QRZ page at least every December 31st. The day you choose is not as important as remembering to make updates at least annually.
Hopefully this article helps get your QRZ page going in the right direction. It is your page after all, so feel free to make it your own. Following these guidelines as a template should help you create a QRZ page that is easy for others to use to contact and to get to know you better. If you found this article helpful, please share the link so other amateur radio operators can find this information also.