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.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

DX - Before It Disappears

The Indian island of Ghorama is slowly disappearing thanks to rising sea levels. Yeah, yeah, yeah, global warming, yada, yada, yada. Above is a picture of one of the natives of Ghorama standing on what's left of the island. Due to disappearing land mass the island may now qualify as a new DX entity under separation by water rule. If so, it will still have more dry land mass than BS7, Scarborough Reef. Separate chartered boats from Japan, Finland and a joint US/British boat are headed to Ghorama hoping for first activation.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Prognostications

2012 New Year’s Predictions

New Year’s resolutions never work out well. Let’s face it, we’ll never lose that 20 lbs until we can give up the Dayton kielbasa (and neither will our heartburn stop). So instead of making a lot of promises we’ll never keep, we present our predictions for 2012. They’re about as likely as any resolutions we’d make.

1. In an unexpected or explainable development, sunspots will begin to roar across the surface of the sun. The solar flux index will hit 250 for weeks at a time. Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific F2 contacts on 6m will be daily occurrences.

2. Washington DC will finally count as a separate multiplier in all contests. Except those sponsored by the ARRL or CQ magazine.

3. New North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un will take an interest in ham radio and will open up North Korea for any and all DXpeditions. The only stipulation is that all DXpeditions must be willing to transport small, heavy rods encased in lead lined containers. By the end of the year P5 will have fallen to #200 on the Most Wanted List just ahead of Italy.

4. In a twist on the Occupy movement, a group of DX’ers will attempt to Occupy Scarborough Reef to protest the ludicrousness of it counting as a separate entity. Unfortunately, since the reef is only able to accommodate at most five people at any one time, their protest will be overlooked.

5. In reaction to years of complaints that the CQ DX contests are just callsign copying contests, the CQ DX Contest Committee will change the rules and adopt a Sweepstakes style exchange. High error rates reduce top scores by one-half.

6. The topic of cut numbers will still be debated on the CQ-Contest email reflector. No consensus will be reached.

7. In a stunning development, there will be a universally accepted definition of “assisted” for contest categories. In an unrelated development, reports of airborne porcine will appear from around the world.

8. During a major phone contest, a net will vacate their frequency to allow a contester to establish a run frequency after admitting that they really didn’t have anything important to talk about.

9. The Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) will gain sentience and turn itself off during a major DX contest with a final spot of “Find the DX yourself, you lazy lids!”

10. The Lost Island DX Society will surpass the ARRL in membership.