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Meet Mike.

Soldering Iron Mike, to be formal, is Dashtoons' original Maker movement mascot, created to cheerleader the exciting grassroots return to making our own fun - electronically, robotically, all the new and old school varieties of homebrew technical monkey business.

short sleeve shirtWe're introducing our new line of Soldering Iron Mike merchandise in our CafePress shop and we hope you cool slingers of hot lead will cotton to our hotheaded mascot swag – the proceeds of which will ploughed right back into Dashtoons to keep us flying in these days of living precariously.

long sleeve TImagine the swath you and Mikey will cut at the next local club meeting. All the Geezers will be all aflutter with stories about their first kerosene soldering iron. All the kiddos will be like WT_ is THAT?! And imagine the fun you'll have explaining the doubly-feared ELECTRIC Wouff Hong.

Click your choice and get your Iron Mike on!




Our hobby recently lost its best-known least-known ham. Or maybe not.

Archie Andrews' tragic purported passing made all the papers, but lost among the sensational headlines was the bittersweet behind-the-strip story of a real amateur radio operator whose rich fantasy life was non-stop funny book fodder for generations of comics fans.


No, the real AA never dated Betty or Veronica. His high school status was such that he never rated a nemesis named Reggie, or so much as a single friend outside of Radio Club, skeeved as they were by the entire student body, Jughead included.

Like not a few of us, the real AA found solace on the shortwaves and ham friends in many lands. He poured his heart and soul into building radios, stringing antennas and chasing DX. He got good at it. And he stayed at it, able to do so from his basement for decade after decade, funding his hobby by means of various work-at-home schemes he dug out of the Popular Mechanics classifieds. Addressing envelopes. Casting concrete lawn ornaments. Raising Live Bait. Somehow, he made all these mugs' games pay enough to keep himself in radios since cars had fins.

Yeah, the real AA also loved to ragchew. He chewed rag like crazy every week on his local 75 Meter 3900 Sunday roundtable net and nothing he said was true. Oh yeah. Utter fiction. About a popular kid who never gets fat or old, who has a certain luck with the ladies, but not too much, just to keep it real. Stories full of silly adventures, goofy gags and good times.

Well, without naming names, somebody was listening very intently and writing all this stuff down and just as quickly sketching it up. Somebody turned these stories into a comics franchise that proved among the most strangely durable of all during the second half of the twentieth century.

And somehow, all those years, the real AA never knew his fantasies led a life all their own, translated into umpteen languages, animated, syndicated and merchandised.

A thoughtful reader might ask, "Did the real Archie Andrews also shed this mortal coil?"

Good question. My sources tell me he hasn't checked into the net for awhile. Like, OM AA was no spring chicken, that's for sure. Maybe he finally caught wind of what was going down. Maybe he's holding out for a piece of the action. And who could blame him?

After addressing all those envelopes, raising all those night crawlers, casting all those lawn ornaments, the OM must be ready to RIP, at least from that crazy quilt of part-time revenue streams.

Let's hope somebody does right by the real AA. Throw him a decent dog bone and you never know what SK might start clattering again.





qsl story


Big Picture.

Dash!Chums, thanks for putting us on on the map.

K1NSS Custom QSL and Dashtoons are going global thanks to your support. To our customers and fans, a big thank you for rocking our world.



la Collection YL
de K1NSS.

You're invited to step back into YL QSL history in our new online gallery.

We're a long way from hanging the whole shootin' match, and we're a little short on Chablis and cheese and crackers for the opening, but we do offer a some curious, cool and sweetly retro YL cards for your appreciation.



photo link

Short Wave, Long Term.

Calling all Friends of the Short Waves!

We're spreading the word about Ears To Our World, a charity founded by Dash!Chum Thomas Witherspoon, K4SWL.

ETOW distributes wind-up radios to isolated villages around the world, an effort inspired by the beguiling radio magic about which we're all mad as hatters.

Here at Dashtoons, we kid radio because we love radio, make no mistake about that. So smitten, we support Ears To Our World as a vital 21st century force for public education and personal liberation. Plain and simple, radio is all about becoming airborne – that's what it was to us and remains so in this digital age, especially in remote and developing areas beyond the internet, cell phones and electric power.

Featured in Wall Street Journal magazine, ETOW makes it very easy to contribute whatever you can to foster communications where it's needed most.

Check out the Ears To Our World site now and join us in supporting a good thing for a better world.

Just between you and me and Dash!, it's personal.