Friday, June 5, 2009

LIDfest '09 DX Convention Report

Cousin QRM here! I was supposed to report on the Lost Island DX Society International DX Convention (LIDfest '09) held last weekend in Las Vegas, but when they say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, they also apparently include your camera and laptop. TSA says I should get them back in 6-8 months, but I'm not holding my breath. The address they gave me for inquires was in Guantanamo Bay. My memory is a little fuzzy, thanks to those accommodating casino waitresses and the free 807's, but I managed to piece together a report from some notes written on cocktail napkins I found in my clothes.

The weekend started with a seminar entitled "Working by Numbers" by Stan Orhit, C21BJ. It involved some advanced number counting methods for working through the pileup, regardless of how deep it is. Stan talked about an advanced technique called Double Down, but I could never figure it out.

Since the LIDS didn't have a budget to rent meeting space, we usually had our gatherings wherever we could find an open area, usually somewhere on a casino floor. The QRM from the slot machines is reminiscent of a Chinese Over-the-Horizon radar on 40m, but our DXing skills helped in filtering it out. Also helping were the free 807's, as long as we kept pulling the arms on the slot machines. After a long session discussing pileup busting techniques, the cacophony of the casino floor gave way to cw among the QRM. Somewhere around 2AM, I managed to copy 62 callsigns from the Kansas City DX Club's pileup tape out of the bells and rings, besting the Skimmer by one. Now if I could just do it while listening to the tape.

According to my notes, sometime in the early morning there was a seminar called "Greenstamps - Not Just for QSLing". The featured speaker was G/STR1NG, must be some special event station call. The op's name was Brandy, or Candy. Might have been Mandy. The ink on the napkins is smudged. Apparently it was held at the Olympic Gardens Gentlemen 's Club according to the napkin the notes were written on.

One night, several of the LIDS managed to sneak a K2 over to the Paris casino and hooked it up to the Eiffel Tower replica they have out front and loaded it up on 160m. They managed to work two KH6's and a JA, but got complaints of choppy keying. What they didn't tell anyone was that they had rigged up the arm on a slot machine to work as a straight key. They lost $60 trying to break the pileup on the JA.

I spent an evening trying to parlay my remaining savings into a new rig at the craps tables. Yells of "Daddy needs a new K3" didn't impress the gods of random chance but I managed to return home with enough to pick up a HW-101 at the next hamfest. As long as it isn't in too nice shape.

Next time, we'll try to send out some publicity before the next LIDfest, in case any other Big Guns want to join us. But odds are, that won't happen. In the meantime, look for us LIDS in the pileups!

Cousin QRM

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