Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Possible P5 Activity

This morning the Lost Island DX Society email box contained the following gem. We're warming up the amp in anticipation:

Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2011 11:21:57 -0500
Subject: P5 DXpedition
From: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To: biggundx@gmail.com

Dear Friend,
I hope this email finds you well. I got your address from a close friend who assured me that you are a good and trustworthy person and a serious DXer. With the recent death of Beloved Leader Kim Jon Il, there is a unique window of opportunity to activate the top Most Needed DX Entity, P5. As the country transitions power from Kim Jon Il to its next leader, the state of uncertainty that exists makes it possible to obtain the cooperation of certain officials that will allow an amateur radio operation from P5. This is an unprecedented opportunity to hand out QSOs to The Deserving worldwide, of whom, of course,you are one.
Needless to say, the cooperation of certain officials and the logistics involved in a DXpedition of this nature does not come cheap. Time for organizing this operation is short as the window of opportunity is small, so we are urgently reaching out to Top Gun DXers to ask for assistance to help pull off this unique operation. For generous contributors, we will make special accommodations to insure you will make it into the log and you will receive priority service in QSL processing. Special times and publicly undisclosed frequencies will be arranged to insure you get the needed QSO.  Generous contributors will be those contributing $1000 or more. Our QSO scheduling will begin with the most generous contributors and continue down the list, assuming the window of opportunity for this operation doesn’t close too quickly.
If you wish to be included among the generous sponsors of this historic DXpedition and insure your needed QSOs with P5, please respond with your name and bank account information so that we may facilitate your contribution. We must act quickly to avoid missing this unique window of opportunity.
73, Romeo 5N0LID

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Contesting Explained

The particular form of inanity that we enjoy called “contesting” or “radio-sport” is often difficult for fellow radio amateurs to understand, much less the family and friends who occupy our non-radio existence (if it exists). The hours of listening to high levels of QRM and QRN, yelling endlessly into a mic, or mindlessly hitting the F1 key, for 24, 30, or 48 hours while a beautiful fall weekend beckons outside with rapidly fleeting mild weather and sunlight. The hundreds of hours of work and thousands of dollars spent building towers and antennas, buying new radios and amplifiers, all to exchange a meaningless nugget of information with the same couple of thousand similarly addicted hams around the world. Why?

That is a much deeper philosophical question than we can address here, but the answer is really no different than for those who spend their time and money chasing a little white ball around in the woods trying to knock it into a small hole in the ground. Hmmm. Sort of makes our avocation seem almost normal, doesn’t it?

The trouble is that it is difficult to explain what we do in a contest, much less why.  The key to explaining foreign things to the unknowing is that you need to couch it in terms that are familiar to them. This requires using a frame of reference they can relate to. What is needed is a good metaphor. The Lost Island DX Society presents here a universally understood metaphor for at least some of the aspects of contesting – dating and sex.

The activity of Search and Pounce (S&P) is the cornerstone of any contester’s toolbox. Unless, and until, you reach Big Gun status, as a contester you probably spend a majority of your time in S&P mode. How can you explain this technique to mere mortals? The S&P hunt is not unlike the game played at every singles bar on every night of the week. The goal of every Harry Horndog at the local singles bar is to collect as many phone numbers from lovely ladies as possible, knowing full well that most of those numbers will be disconnected or belong to a pizza delivery place. It doesn’t matter. Harry is playing the odds. The more numbers he collects, the faster he’ll get a real one. Contest S&P is just like that, except you don’t have to buy the other station some fru-fru drink, make small talk and pretend you really like cats. You don’t care about the number you get from the other station – as long as you get A number from the other station. He with the most numbers wins! The measured pace of scanning the bands and working stations S&P is a lot like cruising the bar early before the crowd gets there. Pickings are relatively easy and you can cover a lot of space in a small amount of time.

But sooner or later, the hot blond in the miniskirt shows up. Once that happens, all the Harry Horndogs are stumbling all over themselves and each other to get HER number. This is a pileup.

The goal of every contester is to be the hot blond in the miniskirt. These are the Big Guns.  They command the crowd who want to get their number. When a pileup continues for an extended length of time, it’s called a RUN. The run is to contesting what sex is to, well, sex. There are definite similarities between a run and sex. You never know when you’ll get a run. When you get a run, you never how long it’s going to last. You never know how good a run will be until it’s over. When it’s over, you miss the run and want another one. You never know if or when you’ll get another run.

So there you have it, Contesting Explained. Well, maybe not all of it, but if your non-contesting friends can’t understand the above explanation of what contesting is, well, maybe you should look for some new friends.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What really happens on 14.300?

If you've spent much time on 20m SSB, surely you've run into the Maritime Mobile Net. and probably wondered what they really do other than making sure their frequency is kept clear "just in case." Finally, there's video evidence of the important service they provide to the world at large, keeping sailors the world over safe.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Second Annual Talk Like A Pirate Contest - September 19

September 19 is once again the annual Talk Like A Pirate Day. Last year the Lost Island DX Society (LIDS) sponsored the first Talk Like a Pirate Radio-Sport Contest. LIDS, both formal and unformal, were encouraged to take to the airways and make Qs with other pirate-minded LIDS and lids. The suggested call was "Sea-Q ye Scallywags!" or "Ahoy Pirates!" with an exchange of signal Aahhrr-est-tee and yer pirate name.

To say we were underwhelmed with the contest response would be akin to saying that Cousin QRM has a slight taste for the rum. Oh, there were plenty of LIDS on the air that day and quite a few pirates, but the scoundrels were mighty stingy in offering up any pirate booty to sway the adjudication  committee.

Nevertheless, we’re game to try it all again this year. So September 19, 0000Z-2359Z, plus or minus a couple of hours, work as many pirates as you can. Score is the total number of unique pirates worked, work 'em once per band, times the total number of Pirates and landlubbers ye work. Count any beauties ye work double. Triple if they "Aahrrr" you back with a lassie pirate name.

Submit scores and lies in the comments below. Send pirate booty to Cousin QRM to improve your chances of winning. Judging will be by a council of Pirate LIDS and will be as fair an' honest as the Poisson d'Avril contest. Deadline for entry - when you get around to it.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Another On-The-Air Award

Following the announcement of the Lost Island DX Society’s LIDS-On-The-Air (LOTA) award, we discovered yet another unique On-The-Air style award. The Interstate Highway Rest Area Society sponsors the Rest Areas On The Air (RAOTA) activity and (soon coming) award. This is one of the more interesting concepts for an On-The-Air activity. Its easy to envision weekend DXpeditions to activate rare rest stops in the wide open west. Although award details are not available at press time, we assume that you’re not required to actually operate from within the restroom of the rest stop, which would be a little awkward not to mention potentially, umm, un-aromatic.

 The LIDS give a hearty endorsement to the nascent RAOTA award and look forward to the Worked All Rest Areas (WARA) award that must certainly be on the way. Perhaps we can cooperate and have the LIDS mount an activity weekend to activate some of the rest areas. We see a Toilet-LIDS-On-The-Air weekend as sure to attract much attention and hopefully not cause much stink.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Gearing Up For Contest Season

While we’re still wringing out the water left by Irene and patching the cracks in the drywall from the earthquake, a hint of autumn floats through the air in recent mornings. For ordinary folk that means football season. They’re gathering their tailgate accouterments and digging out their favorite team jersey in preparation for the Big Game.

As a Big Gun Contester or DXer, fall means the start of the contest and DX season. Time is running short for completing those antenna and shack improvements. Have you got your required multi-radio lockout rigged yet?

There is still time to order the Big Gun equivalent of a team jersey. Proudly proclaim your proclivity for the Lost Island DX Society. At some level, we’re all LIDS, so order your LIDS wear today from the official LIDS store on Cafepress. You can also get Dr. DX’s Antenna Wax wear for the antenna farmer looking to coax that last 0.01 dB out of his antenna system. And there’s even items for those who’ll work phone when they pry the J-38 from their cold, dead hand. 394600898v7_480x480_Front_Color-White

Saturday, August 27, 2011

LIDS On The Air

Recent years have seen a surge in popularity and activity of various ‘On The Air’ types of awards. The largest being the Islands On The Air (IOTA) award, but there is also the Summits On The Air (SOTA) and the Wainrights On The Air (WOTA) as well as several others.

The Lost Island DX Society is not above hopping on an already crowded bandwagon, so with great pride we announce the LIDS On The Air (LOTA) award. This award should be relatively easy to qualify for since LIDS can be readily found in just about every DX pileup and most contests. But don’t discount finding LIDS on the air during casual operations. To qualify for the LOTA award, work 100 or more LIDS. An SWL version of the LOTA award is also available with the same requirement to copy 100 or more LIDS. To qualify, send in a listing of the LIDS worked/heard and you will receive an impressive Certificate of Radio Achievement and Participation (CRAP). So if you would like to receive a LOTA CRAP, send your LIDS list to the Lost Island DX Society DX Society World Headquarters and we will be happy to comply.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Perpetual Energy

While the grammar police were combing our previous reports, the Lost Island DX Society was sending a group of representatives to Washington, DC to see if we could help break the impasse on the debt ceiling. Or barring that, see if while distracted by budget issues we could sneak a request for permission to land on Navassa Island (KP1) past the Fish and Wildlife folks. Sadly, the answer is still 'no' on both accounts.

While attempting to find the back entrance into the Capital building, where we hear their cafeteria has a dynamite Francis Scott Key Lime pie, we came upon a sight which set us back on our collective heels for a moment. On the grounds of the Botanical Gardens at the foot of the Capital building sits a windmill that never stops turning. Despite the lack of any wind, this windmill turns continuously. We stopped and observed it for quite some time, and it continued to turn, again, without any evidence of natural wind.


Our delegation sought out one of the groundskeepers of the Botanical Gardens to ask about this miraculous windmill, thinking it must be motorized. Nope, we were informed, the windmill runs off of wind only. The secret is its location. Being at the foot of Capital Hill, it has an inexhaustible supply of hot air to power it, day and night.

Once informed of this, the answer was obvious. So, what does this have to do with Big Gun DX'ers and Contesters? Easy. Every Big Gun station has a similar, though smaller, supply of hot air available. If windmills could be installed at these stations in the proper location, it should be possible to generate enough power to supply at least one Alpha for the contest weekend. Green technology - it's not just for Al Gore anymore.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

IAMRU Contest This Weekend

This weekend the Lost Island DX Society will be participating in the summer festival of QRN, otherwise known as the IAMRU contest. This annual contest, under the guise of an everybody-works-everybody DX contest, is THE platform for a jingoistic radiosport competition between national radio societies. In the past, certain national radio societies have worked the contest rules looking for loopholes like a tax lawyer with an offshore bank account. This year should be no different.

The LIDS are testing some new performance enhancing hardware for the contest this year. The logging computer has been outfitted with some additional hardware and software. For every new multiplier worked, the computer triggers a dispenser and gives the operator an M&M. Green ones if it's a really rare mult. If the rate meter falls below a preset level, the computer trigger a power source connected to the operator's seat which administers a mild shock. If after two minutes the rate has not reached an acceptable level, the voltage of the shock is increased. This continues until either an acceptable run rate is attained or it is necessary to replace the op. If these enhancements work out, expect support for them to be included in a future release of N1MM and Writelog.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Survey of Field Day Activites

The meisters of mediocrity heavily promote the annual Field Day Not-A-Contest-Even-Though-We-Keep-Score-And-Report-Them Event as a giant on-air kumbaya gathering of clubs and friends who take to the wilds of the local park and rough-it for 24 hours while trying to demonstrate that, given 12 months notice and plenty of time to plan and recruit volunteers, we amateurs can respond in a snap to provide communications in an emergency. If it falls on a weekend with nice weather.

Many group Field Day outings also provide ample opportunity for members of the group to channel their inner Bobby Flay and demonstrate what may be lacking in RF readiness is more than made up for in gastronomical extravagance.

Field Day has a place and function for amateurs of every streak and interests. In order to demonstrate the variety of Field Day activities, the Lost Island DX Society commissioned a survey of Field Day activities among a plethora of active amateur operators. (FYI, plethora has nothing do to with that fake zebra-leather looking stuff that covered the headboard of Cousin QRM's bed in his bachelor days - just to save you the trouble of looking it up like we did.) The question asked was "What did you do for Field Day this year?" Results below are about as accurate as the surveys printed in a popular radio magazine.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

World Ending This Weekend, Dayton Hamvention To Be Held As Scheduled

Despite warnings from California preacher Harold Camping that the world will end Saturday, May 21, 2011 beginning at 6 PM, the Dayton Hamvention will be held as usual. Hamvention chair Michael Kalter, W8CI, said “In the past we’ve dealt with thunderstorms and even tornadoes, and the Hamvention has continued on. We’re not going to let a little thing like the world ending preempt the premier amateur radio gathering in the world.”

As radio amateurs the world over began to converge on Dayton, OH for the Hamvention, organizers of the QRP-centric Four Days in May conference and the Contest University, two events held prior to the official start of the Hamvention, reported no concerns about the end of the world. “Contest University is over on Thursday, so an apocalypse on Saturday won’t bother our plans at all,” said Tim Duffy, K3LR, head of Contest University. “However, if the start time of the apocalypse is correct, it will kind of screw things up for the Contest Dinner on Saturday night,” according to Duffy.

Several regular attendees of the Hamvention, when questioned about the impact of the impending end of the world on the Hamvention reported that having experienced the Hara Arena bathrooms on Saturday afternoon, they have already experienced hell and are well prepared.

Hamvention officials reported that in the event of the world ending as predicted, Sunday's events for the Hamvention will continue as planned but attendees are advised to dress appropriately in the event of hail and brimstone.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Secrets of the CW DX Pileup

Meaningless statistics up 26%!

How do you tackle that nasty DX pileup on cw? Check below and see where you fit in.


All data accurate +/- 400% - about as accurate as CBO predictions of the federal budget and GDP.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Survey Says...

Remember that old TV show called Family Feud when it was good? Yeah, me neither.

The hottest trend in reporting these days is the presentation of data in the form of big colorful graphs. Whether it’s showing how many people with size 8 shoes think the president is doing a wonderful job versus the number of left-handed albinos who think he isn’t, the infograph is a staple of modern journalism. This data is from the murky world of statistics, a branch of mathematics only slightly less confusing than new car warranty exceptions. Surveys and statistics have two really important attributes going for them that make them a lazy reporter/blogger/whatever’s dream: 1) 67.9% of all statistics are made up on the spot, and 2) big colorful pictures means you don’t have to write as many words.

Being one to never look a Trojan horse in the mouth, the staff of the Fi-Ni Report is hopping on the infographic bandwagon. Just like our favorite magazine publisher in Connecticut, we’re going to start filling up blank space with pretty pictures that may or may not accurately reflect the habits and attitudes of the amateur radio community. Make of them what you will.



Friday, April 1, 2011

The A-R-Double-L

Amateur radio is an activity governed by rules and regulations more than almost any other non-commercial activity. Firstly, amateurs are bound by the rules for amateur radio operation established by their governments regarding frequency, power and other limits of their operation. Those who pursue the art of DXing are bound by the rules of the various DX programs in which they participate. Contesters are bound by the rules of the contests in which they operate.

Where ever there are rules, there are inevitably rule breakers, intentional or not. Some are blatant, others, not so much. For every rule there is an interpretation of what the rule actually means. In the case of award programs and contests in particular, there is even room to argue that rules are wrong.

Opinions on these matters, like certain body parts, are universally widespread among the populace. This has lead to a sub-genre of activity in the amateur radio world defending or attacking various rules and interpretations. To date, this activity has been haphazard and un-organized. Amateurs, however, love clubs and organizations. Except for those who hate clubs and organizations - another argument for another day. But for those who feel a need for organization and recognition, we are proud to announce the founding of the Armchair Radio Lawyers League (A-R-Double-L).

The A-R-Double-L is predicated on the assumption that everyone has watched enough episodes of Law and Order to be a self-educated lawyer and can apply that astute thinking to interpreting the rules of the DXCC program or the 10-minute rule for CQWW and can argue their opinion persuasively without resorting to childhood epithets involving bodily parts. Hence, it is not expected to attract a large crowd of 75m ragchewers.

A new list-serv dedicated to A-R-Double-L arguments will be created. As needed, special list-servs may be created for individual topics such as “Should Scarborough Reef be considered ‘land’?” and “What actually constitutes ‘assistance’ during a contest?”. The hope is that these will remove some of the dreck from CQ-Contest*.

The Armchair Radio Lawyer League will be administered by the law firm of Howe, Dewey, Cheatham and Wynn.

* The Armchair Radio Lawyer League has no affiliation with the CQ-Contest website, the CQ-Contest list-serv or Major League Baseball.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cheaters Rejoice – Your Day is Near

The recent mast up the posterior for some of the contestcenti over on CQ-Contest is cheating in contests. Or more specifically, how to prevent and detect suspected cheating in contests. To date, the Russian DX Contest is setting new standards in either cheating prevention and detection or paranoia, depending on one’s viewpoint. To date, only the CQWW Contest Committee (CCC -hmmm, seems to be an old acronym) has had the cojones to start disqualifying serious competitors and naming names, or calls at least. If you are an avid reader of CQ-Contest (which should probably qualify for some sort of entry in the DSM), then you might suspect there’s a cheating contester under every other bed. I think the last time we heard such prognostications it came from a fellow going by the name of McCarthy, and he didn’t have an EI call.

Of course every contestcenti worth his monobanders proclaims their innocence. Everyone they know operates above board and clean as a whistle. It seems everyone knows who the cheaters are, but no one actually admits to knowing one.

Well, the day is fast approaching when contest cheaters can throw caution to the wind and fully and openly participate in a contest that not only celebrates but encourages cheating in the most extreme manner. I speak of the Poisson d’Avril Contest, held annually on April 1 since 1896. Yes, this contest pre-dates radio itself.

By its very nature and lack of meaningful rules or organization, the Poisson d’Avril Contest demands stretching the limits of propriety and common sense and, perhaps, the laws of several states. In the spirit of the contest, for 2011, contest logs are due within 48 hours BEFORE the contest begins. Work quickly, as time is shorter than you think!

The prima donna, kingpin, and perennial winner of the Poisson d’Avril Contest, K1DG, is claiming to relinquish his top spot this year. However, it will cost you to replace him. Literally.

The winner of the 2011 Poisson d’Avril Contest will have to buy the win. Not with sweat, hardware, BIC time, and good propagation, but with cold hard cash. That’s right – cheaters of the world rejoice! There is no need to waste 24 or 48 hours of battling the bands and other cheaters to eek out a Top Ten finish. You can BUY a FIRST PLACE FINISH from the comfort of your Lazy-Boy. This contest is not about a boy and his radio, but a boy and his wallet. It's not who has the biggest tower, but the deepest checkbook.

Lest you think K1DG has finally revealed his true nature, sadly no. The proceeds from the Poisson d’Avril Contest will go to support WRTC2014, an event we’ll never be invited to, so this is as close as we can get to participating.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

This note showed up in the LIDS inbox from Xtreme contester Macho Cuesew.

Hola Amigos! With the recent report in the news about an unidentified dead man found on a 1000 foot tower wearing only a tee-shirt and underwear, I have heard rumors being circulated that it was myself, Macho Cuesew. Have no fear, friends. Macho is alive and doing well!

Anyone who knows Macho would realize that the poor unfortunate dead man could not have been Macho Cuesew. Macho would never have been climbing dressed so improperly. When Macho climbs a tower, he wears his mask, a pair of gloves, and some steel shanked boots. That’s it. Macho truly believes in “free climbing”! There is no greater pleasure than being over 100’ up on a tower and feeling the wind blow through your, how you say,....hair? No, Macho Cuesew is much too macho to go out in a fetal position on a tower.

Some have wondered where I have been for so long. I have been consulting with a wealthy client I am not at liberty to name. This client, who is very famous as well as wealthy, has sought out the talents of Macho Cuesew to teach him all about Winning! As the most famous and successful Xtreme Contester, I am uniquely qualified to teach others about Winning! For the record, Macho Cuesew has been drinking Tiger Blood long before anyone else.

I will soon be back to training and competing on the world contesting stage. So, friends, rejoice, I am healthy and happy and will soon return to the air to dominate. To my competitors, resume quaking in your boots as you await my return.

73, Macho Cuesew

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Giving it up for Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday. Adherents of certain trains of philosophical traditions are nursing hangovers and beginning a period of atonement known as Lent. Lent usually involves acts of self-sacrifice to demonstrate the adherents moral superiority or tendencies toward masochism. While Cousin QRM is not a follower of any organization that purposefully restricts his dietary regime or demands public displays of smudginess and self-flagellation, even if figuratively, the occasional exercise of self-restraint is not a bad thing, and, if mother is to be believed, may even build ‘character’. I don’t think that’s the same thing as being called a character.

In faux observance of Lent, Cousin QRM is giving up the following for as long as he can stand it (give it a week):

- Reading CQ-Contest and trying to follow the arguments on the debate topic de jour. Especially those of a certain Irishman that are absolute. Except when he feels an exception should be made.

- Performing my duties as a DX Frequency Cop. Yes, all bedlam may result if I don’t helpfully direct the clueless that the DX station is listening ‘UP’, but for the next month or so, they’ll have to figure it out on their own.

- Posting yet another complaint about the lack of sunspots and paucity of DX on the bands despite the fact that recent events contradict this.

- Cick and pounce DXing and contesting. I will just that big round thing in the middle of my radio’s face to find stations on the air. My carpal tunnel isn’t so bad that my wrist can’t twist a little from side to side.

- Ever using the term ‘desitinated’ anytime. Anywhere. Period.

I know it looks like a set of tough goals, but one of the LIDS gave me some funny beads on a string that he said would help me get through it. Last time I had beads on a string, they were candy. I don’t think I can eat these.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ham Discovers New Band

Last weekend, Tom Sharp, NE1CLU, discovered a new amateur radio band. While tuning around last weekend during the ARRL DX contest, Sharp accidentally hit the band button on his radio marked “10” and heard signals.

“Ever since getting on HF four or five years ago, I’ve never heard anything on my radio when I pushed the ‘10’ button. I used to think the radio was busted, but it seemed to work fine everywhere else. So I figured that must be a band the FCC hadn’t let us on yet.” said Sharp. “I’d just forgotten about it and never bothered pushing the ‘10’ button anymore. Then, last weekend I accidentally hit it and there were signals on the band. Guess I missed the announcement from the AR-double-L about the FCC opening that band up to hams.”

Sharp worked several South American and Caribbean stations that were in the contest as well as hearing numerous US stations. “Wow, it great having a new band to play on. That ‘10’ band was a lot of fun.”

However Sharp noted that that day after the contest the band was again devoid of signals. “I hope last weekend wasn’t just a one time thing. Maybe the FCC only gave us access to the ‘10’ band just for the contest weekend?”

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dear Cousin QRM

Dear Cousin QRM,
My YL has corralled me into finally tying the knot. I’m trying to save money on the wedding so I can buy a K3. So I had the brilliant idea of printing our wedding invitations on the back of my QSL cards. Most of my friends are hams, so I know they’ll appreciate it. My YL isn’t too keen on the idea. What do you think?

Desperate in Des Moines

Dear Desperate,
Cousin thinks it’s a wonderful idea to print your wedding invites on the back of your QSL card. Ever since the A-R-Double-L started up that online log program, LoLTW, our stack of custom printed QSL cards from The Little Print Shop has been sitting pretty constant and gathering dust. Sounds like a good plan to use those cards up, but make sure you use the one with both of your calls on them. What? She doesn’t have a callsign? Wellllllll, good luck. In our experience those mixed marriages don’t work out too well.

Dear Cousin QRM,
How many radios are too many?

Broke in Bangor

Dear Broke,
This is one of those rhetorical questions, ain’t it? Like, if a tower falls in the forest and there’s no one to hear it fall, can you still work the ZL7? After great deliberation, Cousin’s answer to your question is ‘two more than you currently have’.

Dear Cousin QRM,
The FCC rules say we’re supposed to use the minimum power necessary to make a contact. But my QRP signal is always getting blown away in the pileups by all these guys running amplifiers. Because they are running excessive power, I can’t work the DX. I spent five days in the pileup for the South Orchid DXpedition, calling and calling and calling before I ever worked him. Obviously, if I could work them with 5W, they don't need a thousand. If it wasn’t for all those QRO fellows QRMing me, I could have worked them a lot sooner.

QRP in Quantico

Dear QRP,
You spent FIVE DAYS calling in the pileup? Cousin flipped on the Alpha and worked them in about 15 minutes, after which he went back to catching up on episodes of Desperate Housewives. Who caused more QRM?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Contester/DXer Files Disability Claim

Avid contester and DXer, Melvin Blouhard, K6LID, has filed a claim for disability with the Social Security Administration claiming physical impairment of his left index finger has made it impossible for him to work. He is applying for benefits claiming to be permanently disabled.

Carpel tunnel of the left index finger, know as F1-finger, is emerging as a major threat to active contesters and DXers. The constant, repetitive motion of pressing the F1 key on the computer keyboard to call CQ produces stresses on the index finger and can in extreme cases result in painful inflammation of the finger’s ligaments.

“A typical contest weekend I might press the F1 key two to five thousand times,” says Blouhard. “Then add in all the hours sitting in pileups or rare DX stations - I use F1 to send my call when DXing - that’s probably another three to four thousand times a week. It starts to add up.” “We’ve had a lot of good DXpeditions the last couple of years,” he added.

When questioned how impairment of his left index finger would make him completely disabled, Blouhard responded,”Everybody has to use a computer these days, regardless of the type of work you do. My left index finger is so sore and painful, I can’t hardly type anymore. I can barely stand to type out responses to some of that bull bleep stuff on CQ Contest, let alone set those boneheads on QRZ straight. The pain is just constant. Even when I’m not in front of the computer, it hurts so much I can hardly do anything using my left hand. I’m single so my, uh, personal life has also suffered tremendously.”

It is not known just how many active amateurs suffer from F1-finger, but it is thought that this is the first time a claim for disability from the syndrome has been filed. If successful, Blouhard’s claim may open a floodgate of claims based on contest and DX related injuries. The law firm of Howe, Dewy, Cheatham, and Wynn is considering adding disability claims to their radio related portfolio of services offered to the amateur radio community.

In the meantime, Blouhard continues to suffer with the pain of F1-finger as he sits in the VP8ORK pileup and attempts to log a new one.

Monday, January 3, 2011


A belated Happy New Year to all the Lost Island DX Society members around the world! While we’re all still nursing our hangovers and SKN glass arms, the staff of the Fi-Ni Report have decided to announce our New Year’s resolutions.

1. For 2011, we resolve to not spend so much time fact checking the Fi-Ni Report. This is all to insure we get out the latest, most up-to-date news and information on Big Gun DXing and Contesting out to you, the Big Gun DXer and Contester. We’ll leave accuracy to radio-sport.net. Titillation and fear mongering are our goals.

2. We resolve to use software defined anything to help us win a contest. I’m currently looking into a software defined toilet to eliminate those bothersome bio-breaks required every 4 or 5 hours, especially after 807s. Shhhh. The CQWW committee might outlaw it before I get to use it.

3. We resolve to win the Poisson d’Aviril Contest, regardless of how much cheating is required. Likewise, we intend to take top spot in the 2011 Talk Like A Pirate Contest, which K1DG will NEVER win.

4. We resolve to operate at least one contest this year completely unassisted. We already have a piece of galena for the receiver and have scrounged a spark gap coil for a Model-T off of Craigslist for the transmitter, and got a box of Ticonderoga #2’s and a Big Chief writing pad in our stocking for Christmas. We should be ready by WPX.

What are your resolutions for the New Year, fellow LIDS?