Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bad Day for Macho

Last week Macho Cuesew, the World's Most Extreme Contester, stopped by the Lost Island DX Society club station. Macho was obviously feeling very down.

"What's the matter, Macho? Another solar flare hit and wipe out the bands?"

"No. No solar flares."

"Well, what's got you so down in the dumps?"

"Macho is very sad. First, when they announced the team leaders for WRTC 2014, Macho was not included in the list."

"Well, don't take it so hard. There were a lot of top notch operators who didn't make it as a team leader. Maybe someone will pick you for a teammate."

"Macho already has a teammate - Leche Dinero. Macho and Leche were going to be Team Cuesew! We would win it all. We would be unstoppable - the World's Most Extreme Contester. And Leche."

"There's still a chance, Macho. There are those sponsored teams left to fill. If you can find a sponsor to pony up the cash, they could name you and Leche as their team and you'd be in. Maybe you could sponsor the team yourself?"

"No. Macho lost most of his money trying to buy an Alpha 77 over the Internet from a guy in Nigeria. And I still don't have the Alpha. I just need a little more money to pay the export registration paperwork fee. And the import registration paperwork fee. And shipping turns out to be very expensive from Nigeria. You have to pay for everything up front."

"Hmmm, does sound like a sticky situation. You said the WRTC was the first thing upsetting you. What else is wrong?"

"Macho is very sad to learn that the CQWW committee has eliminated the Extreme category. That was Macho's home in the greatest contest of all. It was the only contest that recognized the greatness of Macho as the Most Extreme Contester in the World."

"The WW is still the greatest contest on the planet. You just have to compete with the rest of us plebes now is all."

"Yes. I now compete with you puny ordinary contesters. Where is the challenge in that?"

"I see your point, Macho. Guess its time to hang up the tights and start hanging out on 75m phone in the evenings and relive the glory days."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

DXpedition to Mud Island

Thanks to an earthquake on September 24, a new island has appeared off the coast of Pakistan near the town of Gwadar. The new island, named Zalzala Koh, is made of erupted mud, spewed from the seafloor when either gases escaped or subsurface water was violently expelled. The new island is approximately 576 feet by 525 feet and has an elevation of 60 to 70 feet. It is located approximately 2 km from shore.

News of the new island sent a titter through the international DX community. New Ones of any sort difficult to find. But there is no denying that Zalzala Koh is a true New One.

An international group of DXpeditioners is being assembled to mount a expedition to newly formed mud island as I write this. Sponsorship is being secured and travel arrangements are almost complete. It is hoped that the call AP4ONY can be secured for the DXpedition.

Although Zalzala Koh has not been approved by either IOTA, DXCC, or any other award program, the DX spirit of WFWL (Work First, Worry Later) is at play here. If past history is any indication, Zalzala Koh may disappear within a year succumbing to the erosive power of the pounding of waves from monsoon storms, so work 'em while you can!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

CQWW Is Just Around The Corner

Last week while hanging out at the Lost Island DX Society clubhouse, SSB operator extraordinaire Rusty Key stopped by. Someone mentioned that CQWW was quickly approaching. While the other LIDS were excitedly discussing the prospects for banner propagation this year, I noticed Rusty was awfully quiet.

 "Hey, Rusty, you planning another big operation for WW phone this year?" I asked.

 Rusty turned exceedingly shy, looked at the ground and said, "Naw, don't reckon I'll do much."

 For one of the most prominent LIDS phone operators this was shocking and suspicious. It took a little prying to find out what was going on, but eventually Rusty fessed up.

"I was DQ'd last year."

"What!? Were you running Uncle Percy's amp that has the tube with handles again?" I asked.

"Naw," Rusty replied indignantly, "I won't even running the limit. My fancy digital wattmeter sat on 1495 all weekend!"

"Well, what was it then?"

"If you must know, they said I was operating outside the contest time period."

"Rubber clocking?! Who in the world gets nabbed for rubber clocking in this day and age of computers? Besides, the contest is 48 hours long and there ain't no less than 48 hour categories, at least until this year. How did you end up 'operating outside the contest period'?"

"Well, come 2359Z on Sunday night I had been up for over 48 hours straight. I guess I just zoned out and kept calling CQ. Guys kept coming back to me, so I kept working 'em."

"You mean guys kept calling you after 0000Z? Didn't, uh, your rate drop quite a bit?"

"Well, yeah it did, but you know the secret to contest success is Butt In Chair even when the rate drops. I figured it was just a lull, so kept CQing and kept working 'em even at 5-10 an hour."

"Hmmm, well guess fatigue can come into play and anybody can have a lapse of judgement. Well how long did you operate?"

"You mean when did I stop?"

"Yeah, when did you stop?"



"Yeah, I don't know what happened. I was so tired I finally fell asleep at the mic and didn't realize what had happened until I woke up Thursday. I apparently hit the macro button I had written to automagically send my log to the contest sponsor when I fell asleep. It was too late then."

"So the Contest Committee automatically disqualified you?"

"No, not a first. They wrote and asked me for an explanation. I panicked and responded with some gibberish about the compression and expansion of time due to Einstein's Theory of Relativity and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. I think I even worked in something about leap years. It was desperate and stupid. That was when they disqualified me."

"Can't say as I blame them. So you're sitting the old 'WW out this year?"

"I guess so. I was thinking I might borrow the club call for the contest. It would be a good year to run Uncle Percy's amp again."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

3rd Annual Talk Like a Pirate Radio-Sport Contest

The closest thing the Lost Island DX Society has to a tradition is the annual Talk Like A Pirate Contest. Every September 19, corresponding to Talk Like A Pirate Day, the LIDS take to the air in an unholy amalgam of radio contesting and piratey behavior. 

So once again starting at 0000Z September 19, hoist the Jolly Roger, tune up your best Death Ray Amplificator and call "Sea-Q, Maties!" Exchange Aahhrr-est-tee reports and ye pirate nom de plume (that be what da' Cap't calls you for you unedumacated scallywags). Work as many other pirates as you can and scribble it all down on a piece of foolscap, roll it up, and stick it in an empty rum bottle and toss it in the sea. Eventually it will wash ashore on Lost Island and we'll tabulate the results. An added doubloon or two in the bottle might make the bottle here a bit sooner and encourage the log checking crew to not look so closely at yer scribbles.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Get You Log In On Time

The CQWW Contest Committee has announced that starting with the 2012 contests, the time period for log submissions after each contest has been reduced from thirty days to just five days.

As with any change to a contest rule, the contestsenti are all atwitter with opinions pro and con. The hyper-competitive type-A proto-Big Gun types greeted the announcement with a hearty huzzah and only complained that the committee didn't adopt a WRTC-style rule requiring log submission within ten minutes after the end of the contest. A contingent claiming to represent those whose lives don't revolve around the weekend's contest du jour thought five days a bit too restrictive as some people like to do things like eat, sleep, and go to work in addition to contesting. No mention was made of finding time to sit around a campfire and have a drum circle. Their proposals for a reasonable log submission time ranged from 8 to 14 days.

The staff at the Lost Island DX Society Research Center have applied their best brain cell to the issue and after extensive research, which coincidentally lasted precisely as long as two six-packs did, have arrived at the optimum time period for log submission. The precise optimal time period for log submissions is 7 days, 3 hours, and 52.8 minutes.

No need for the CQWW Contest Committee and the contest community as a whole to thank us. We at the Lost Island DX Society are happy to contribute where we can. That should end the controversy and we can go back to discussing what 'assistance' really means.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Field Day on Lost Island

The Lost Island DX Society hosted Macho Cuesew and Lech Dinero  for Field Day. For those looking for the location of Lost Island, there might be some clues in the video.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Original Box

We’re BAAAACCCCKKKKK! Not that anybody seems to have missed us. The last couple of months Cousin QRM has been severely depressed due to SADD (Sunspots Ain’t Doing Diddly), which have made the bands about as exciting and sluggish as day old cold oatmeal. As a result, activities around the Lost Island DX Society clubhouse have been at a lull.

But now it’s SPRINGTIME. A time when a young Big Gun’s (or Old Phart’s) fancy turns to ANTENNAS! It’s time to nurture those small springs of aluminum and steel that were planted last winter in hopes that they will blossom into magnificent spires reaching to the heavens and sprouting stacked arrays, or at least tribanders.

But even QRP DX’ers know that big antennas require an infusion of See Eh Ess Ach to grow to the heights needed to bust that new Yemen pileup. Short of a well-crafted Ponzi scheme involving P5 QSL cards, the quickest way to raise some See Eh Ess Ach is your local hamfest. Those lovingly cared for (cough) veteran rigs and amps of many past pileups and contests can be traded to a sucker fellow ham for that all important infusion of See Eh Ess Ach to feed your current habit of power and tower.

Every flea market scrounger knows that the one feature that differentiates treasure from trash is ………The Original Box. Any radio or accessory, regardless of its condition immediately doubles in price if it is accompanied by The Original Box. Just catch an episode of one of those Roadside Antique Picking shows and watch as the professionals wet their pants over the most insignificant trinket, looking old and dirty, but …. in …. its ….. Original Box.

Let’s be honest though. How many of us still have an Original Box for any of our gear? If we do, it beaten and dog-eared with the corners rounded off. And the styrofoam inserts? Forget it. If they’re still there, they’re cracked and crumbling. If you’re anything like me, and I hope you aren’t, the Original Boxes you do have certainly won’t have any Antique Picking Roadshow guru getting his undies even slightly damp.
But now there’s a solution! Dr. DX’s DX Industries and Pig Pharma Industries have combined in a joint effort to bring you The Original Box Company.

The Original Box Company can provide genuine Original Box replicas for your old gear. Have a TS-520 or Drake 2B collecting dust in the bottom of your closet? Double its value at the flea market or on ebay with an Original Box, including foam or cardboard inserts. It might have 10,000 hours of operation on the tubes, but with an Original Box it can pass for a gingerly babied shelf queen and bring top dollar.

If you’re worried that showing up at the local swapmeet with a battle worn KWM-2 in a pristine box will raise a few eyebrows, The Original Box Company offers appropriate box aging as an option with all its boxes. By giving an Original Box signs of gentle wear and aging, the value of the gear can be enhanced without raising suspicions. Collectors and eagle-eyed flea market junkies expect a modicum of wear and tear on an Original Box. A gently worn box is testament to the excellent condition of the equipment inside it.

Original Boxes will be offered for Drake, Kenwood, Yeasu, and Icom radios and accessories. Original Boxes for equipment prior to 1975 by special order only. Box aging additional. See us at Dayton. Blue van with Texas Bugcatcher on the rear bumper in the grass field across from HARA. Catch us before you setup in the flea market.

Original Box

NOT in the Original Box

Thursday, February 23, 2012

End of the World As We Know It

Don’t worry about waiting for the end of the world in December. It’s already happened. It happened five years ago today. February 23, 2007. The effective date the FCC eliminated the code requirement. The day that ham radio ended. Yup. We’ve been walking dead for five years now, whether we knew it or not.

Of course that was the most recent end of ham radio. Previously, ham radio ended on April 15, 2000. That was the date when the FCC dropped the 13 wpm and 20 wpm code tests, leaving only the 5 wpm code test required for obtaining a license. Brain damaged monkeys can be taught to copy code at 5 wpm.

Prior to that, ham radio died in February 1991 when the FCC dropped the code requirement for the Technician class license. For the first time, it was possible to get on the air without any code test whatsoever. Of course, we kept them corralled to the repeaters on the VHF bands, so no real harm done. Except that’s where they started and stayed, for the most part.

Of course, the end of REAL ham radio began September 2, 1984. That’s when the FCC got out of the license testing business. No more facing the grim faced FCC examiners. No sweating the code tests as they rattled off on a decrepit code player. They even started publishing the questions.

We’re just zombies. Walking dead playing our paddles and working DX. Sooner or later we’ll wake up and realize it. In the meantime there’s a 3C on 30m that I need.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Changes to ARRL Contests

ARRL Contest Czar and all around tall guy, Sean Kudzu, announced changes to the list of multipliers for ARRL sponsored contests using ARRL/RAC sections for multipliers. The changes affect the November Sweepstakes and ARRL 160m contests.

The changes include combining the sections of North and South Dakota into the plain Dakota section. Surveys show that most Americans can’t identify the Dakotas on a map and aren’t even aware there are two separate states, including most of the residents of North and South Dakota.

Two new sections are being created. The Florida Keys will become their own section and will be known as the Conch Republic Section. While the full time ham population of the new Conch Republic section is relatively small, lots of portable activity from CO and HK ops transiting the region is expected.

The second new section to be created is Northern Virginia, or NoVa section. The region of Virginia consisting of the suburbs of Washington,DC have long held a separate cultural, political, and economic identity from the rest of the Old Dominion state. The rest of Virginia finally got tired of the NoVa belly aching and decided to cut them loose.

In a bit of irony, Washington, DC remains part of the MDC section with Maryland despite the vocal protestations of quite a few Washington amateurs demanding their own section. The only explanation for denying separate status for DC is that doing so is an opportunity to do to DC what its most prominent occupants do to the rest of the country.

There are also some changes slated for the Canadian sections which are part of RAC, ARRL’s sister organization north of the border. It involves splitting one big providence into a couple of smaller sections. The details are confusing and obscure, as even several of the affected VE’s response to the announcement was, “Eh?”

The announcement of changes to the ARRL contests brought forth the expected shrugging of shoulders from most of the contest community, but a few of the internet contestsenti erupted with the usual roar they exhibit to any change to a contest. The most hardcore claim that the November Sweepstakes rules are carved in stone and carried down from Mt. Athos by Saint Hiram himself and should never be changed.

Monday, February 6, 2012

CW Twits

Here's just the thing for combining my two favorite worlds - cw and the intertubes. Only wussies use a keyboard. Real Big Guns use a key. For everything.

Here's a cool project that uses a straight key to post inane Twitter posts (are there any other kind?). Now if we can just hook up a real paddle and crank the speed up to 35 wpm this would be a Big Gun Twitter Telegraph. Dit dit.