Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Poisson d'Avril Contest 2010

We are once again about to witness one of the most blatantly corrupt, nefarious, perfidious, and unscrupulous events of the year. No, it’s not time for another congressional election. I refer to the Poisson d’Avril Contest, held every April 1st, whether anyone cares or not. This is advertised as the 56th running of the Poisson d’Avril Contest, although records only seem to exist back to 2006.

K1DG, by his own proclamation, has won every running of the contest since its inception. That should make K1DG fast approaching an age that should give others hope of winning this contest soon. Very soon.

Despite rule changes and calls for more openness in adjudication of the results, K1DG has maintained a steadfast attitude of “Nana nana na-na”. He has even gone so far as to retain the services of the law firm of Hungadunga, Hungadunga, Hungadunga, Hungadunga, and McCormick to defend his grip on control of the contest. Frankly, we are impressed. But we’ll still put the LIDS official law firm of Howe, Dewy, Cheatham, and Wynn up against them any day.

The LIDS considered funding a CQWW-style observer to go to K1DG’s station and observe him during the contest. But the plan was abandoned when it was pointed out that the problem was not in the contest, but in the scoring. As LBJ once said, “Let ‘em vote for who that want to, just as long as I get to count the votes.” DG is our LBJ.

So, once again this Thursday, the electorate will sheepishly head to the polls and re-elect the same scoundrels to office. Wait. That’s not for another six months.

So, once again this Thursday, the hopeful and the brash will attempt to de-throne the king of Poisson from his self-appointed throne. Regardless of the band conditions, regardless of the QRM, regardless of activity level, we think we know how this will all turn out.

New 4Q Expedition Announced

Despite the mysterious and possibly tragic end to the LIDS DXpedition to Sri Lanka, another fearless group is mounting their own temptation of fate. May God have mercy on their souls.....

Monday, March 22, 2010

LIDSfest 2010 Opens Up Spring Hamfest Season

One of the sure signs of the coming of spring is the beginning of the hamfest season. While not limited to spring time, spring hamfests are as sure a sign of warm weather as flip flops and tank tops, a combo preferably not seen at hamfests.

Last weekend saw the 2010 LIDSfest hamfest and swap meet sponsored by the Lost Island DX Society held at the Far And Away Community Center in Lake Lid. LIDSfest brought many LIDS and others out of winter hibernation to renew old acquaintances and pick over the goodies in the flea market. Being early in the spring, it appeared that some of the LIDS had not gotten around to taking their spring bath just yet. But any odiferous offenders were masked by the perfume from the lady at the Avon table in the flea market.

The LIDSfest flea market had the usual expected vendors - the Avon lady, the knock-off wallet and purse vendors, the crochet tea and toilet paper cozy lady, and even the Girl Scout cookies - peppered in among the electronic detritus brought in by the diehards. Most of the electro-mechanical bits and pieces appeared to have been originally manufactured during the 50' or 60's and have probably not seen daylight since the last hamfest of the fall. There was a plentiful assortment of flea market vendors selling two and three generation old laptops and even a few Apples manufactured during the period when Steve Jobs was not the head of the company.

A few boatanchor aficionados held court with a collection of Hallicrafters, Harvey-Wells', and Swans, all looking very uncollectable. For the ESSB enthusiast, a multitude of audio mixer boards and other devices that could be dual purposed for the shack or the garage band were readily available.

Beside the LED light and battery dealer sat a lone table containing a modern vintage HF transceiver and a CW paddle, the only one visible in the flea market.

Original plans for LIDSfest 2010 included a forum highlighting the LIDS' UP5LID and 4Q2LID Dxpeditions conducted back in October 2009. However, the loss of the UP5LID laptop containing the DXpedition logs, also containing all the digital photos taken during the DXpedition, made a presentation problematic. As no word to date has been heard from the 4Q2LID team, despite efforts to locate the camp of the Tamil Tiger's baseball training camp, a small memorial service was held in their memory.

Many hamfests also include forums with local or regional officials from the ARRL to discuss current issues of vital importance to the amateur community. Unfortunately, all local ARRL officials, even down to ORS appointees, were previously engaged and could not attend.

No hamfest is complete with the requisite hamfest food. Not to disappoint, the local volunteer fire department, which was providing the food, managed to find some three month old hot dog buns and freezer burned weenies to insure that patrons left LIDSfest with a taste, and heartburn, they would remember all year long. In keeping with other hamfests, the prices of hot dogs were kept equal to the admission ticket price. Plans to offer BBQ at LIDSfest were derailed when a local PETA group threatened to demonstrate. PETA representatives were, however, satisfied that the hot dogs contained so little actual animal product, they would not object to their sale.

By day's end, many happy LIDS left with new connectors and batteries, as well as LED lights. They got to see old friends and make some new ones and tell them both their latest lies. Attendance was good, despite the economy and everyone is looking forward to next year's LIDSfest - same time, same place.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

CQ-Contest Schedule

The CQ-Contest email reflector is a wonderfully open, free flowing forum for the world of competitive contesters to discuss the matters of the day within the contesting community. Whether it is the latest for the contester's toolbox to maintain or gain a competitive edge, or merely airing frustrations about the current band conditions or latest contest rule change, CQ-Contest is the predominant forum for active, and not so active, contesters.

Newcomers or occasional readers of the CQ-Contest traffic may have a hard time following the flow of the reflector. Long time avid readers, and contributors, will notice that certain threads make periodic reappearances with some regularity, i.e. everything old is new again. And again. And again.

To help followers of CQ-Contest, the Fi-Ni Report is offering the following schedule for common discussion topics along with an approximate schedule of their appearance. Hopefully this will help the newbie, occasional, and avid reader from committing a faux pax by bringing up a topic out of season. It is also useful in helping contributors plan their arguments for the next round of "discussions".

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hopes for a New One Dashed

A recent announcement of a DXpedition to the Principality of Seborga briefly raised the hopes of The Deserving that a New One was one the horizon. HA3HK announced an operation from the small enclave in Italy using the callsign T03HK (Tango Zero Three Hotel Kilo), but within days announced he would not be using the daring T03 call.

The Principality of Seborga, also known as a micro-nation, has claimed independence since the early 1960's, due to being overlooked in the Act of Unification for the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, and has even had an informally elected prince, Prince Giorgio Carbone, know locally as 'Your Tremendousness'. We point out the prince's titular title in order to avoid any confusion with the leader of the Lost Island DX Society, Cousin QRM. The LIDS have actively encouraged the promotion of micro-nations for classification as separate DX entities, and the Principality of Seborga certainly adheres to the requirements.

The decision by HA3HK to not use the T03 call (an unassigned ITU prefix) is purported to be motivated by the encouragement of the Seborga ruling council and his desire to adhere to Italian law. Given the proliferation of '300 Watt' amplifiers in Italy, this seems akin to worrying about a smoking ban in the middle of a forest fire, but adherence to law and order is always safest.

Sources close to the Serborga administration have given the Fi-Ni Report exclusive background on why they discouraged HA3HK from using the T03 callsign.

When the Seborga town council learned of the planned DXpedition, they began researching ham radio and in particular the peculiar world of DXing. After reviewing stories in QST, the DX Magazine, and other sources with reports of DXpeditions, they began to comprehend the full impact of the possibility of the Principality of Seborga becoming a New One. While the international recognition of Seborgian independence was attractive, the town council feared the small enclave could not withstand the inevitable invasion of Finns, Germans, English, and American DXpeditioners desiring to activate the newly declared DX entity. Last fall, a bus load of errant Estonians on a weekend drinking binge had broken down in Seborga and nearly destroyed the village square in their revelry and terrorized the local livestock to the point where milk and cheese production was down almost 50% for the following month. On the bright side, they did manage to exhaust the previous year's vintage of a particularly nasty local Cabernet Sauvignon that the residents had begun using as a degreaser.

The local council officially proclaimed that they did not want to antagonize the Italian government and thought the T03 DXpedtion might be considered an act of aggression, hence they discouraged HA3HK from using his desired callsign. HA3HK has announced that he will adhere to the Italian rules for operation by a visiting amateur, including the use of a I-prefix for the operation. There are rumors, though, that he has invited a contingent of ES amateurs to join him on the operation. No word on if they have accepted.

Monday, March 1, 2010

15m Band Reappears After Long Absence

The 15 Meter Band recently reappeared after an unexplained absence of more than three years.

The 15 Meter Band, a workhorse for contesters and DX'ers worldwide, has been missing for over three years but recently made an unexpected, but long overdue, reappearance during the recent ARRL DX CW contest. No explanation of the long absence was offered by the band. When approached for a comment, the sometimes cantankerous band responded with "Wha'sit to ya? Bugger off."

The band, which performed brilliantly at its peak, was often undependable and erratic in the years before it's disappearance. It was known for periodic, unexplained absences, at time failing to show up for weekend contests with no explanation or apologies offered.

The recent three plus year absence has been attributed by supporters to certain solar conditions. However the band has been hounded with allegations of substance abuse for years. It was rumored that the 15 Meter Band has shared time in rehab with such celebrities as Charlie Sheen and Brittney Spears, with whom it was rumored to have been romantically linked.

Representatives for the band claim it is in good health and will only continue to improve with each contest and will soon be demonstrating the performance that made it a superstar at its peak.

The 15 Meter Band's cousin, the 10 Meter Band, is still missing in action with the exception of some small, weak flurries of activities.