Contesting Technical


Don't Be a Lid

by Tony, N3KTA

What, pray tell, is a lid you may ask?  Well, the word lid is ham jargon for an amateur radio operator who exhibits poor operating practices.  Intentional, incidental, or otherwise...if you make a procedural mistake, it is almost certain that someone listening will label you as a lid.  And yes, it is an insult.

I think we are all guilty of some level of "lidness" at one point or another in our amateur radio practices.  Some of us get past it, some of us don't, and some of us just plain don't know that we are being lids.  Many hams have no tolerance for lid-like behavior and get quite irate at even the simplest of liderations.  I truly believe that a great majority of these poor operating practices are not overt acts.  They are simply derived from the ignorance of proper procedures.  People will list various causes of lid behavior but I am not going to delve into that field.  I believe that you learn proper operating procedures in at least 3 simple and effective ways: 

  1. Research:  reading about proper practices and asking questions
  2. Experience:  getting on the air: operating AND listening
  3. Elmering:  getting help from an operator w/ experience who has already made plenty of mistakes.

So I will offer some simple elmering tips in an effort to help try to curb common lid mistakes.  Hey, I am not perfect.  I have had my fair share of lidness so I will pass on some things I have learned (and am learning) along the way.  Like my dad always says, "You learn something new everyday".  Amen.


'Don't Be a Lid' Tips of the Week

January 6, 2009

  • Don't tune up on the exact frequency of an ongoing QSO, CQ, or pile up.  Remember, there are others trying to listen to that frequency as well.
  • Many DX stations will operate split mode:  transmit on one frequency and listen up (QSX) on another.  Take this DX spot for instance:

W60AR had a 80M CW QSO with ZD8UW @ 0513 UTC on 07 Jan 09.  ZD8UW was transmitting on 3509 KHz and listening on 3510.4 KHz.  SO W6OAR transmitted on 3510.4 KHz and listened on 3509 KHz.  See how that works?

This is a common practice with many DX stations...especially rare ones.  So if you hear/see a DX station working a pile up but don't hear anyone coming back to him/her on that frequency, there is a good chance they are working split.  So DON'T transmit on their calling frequency.  Instead, tune around a little bit (a few KHz up) to see if you hear stations calling the beloved DX.

A great way to see how this works is to monitor DX spots on sites like DX Watch.  The usually friendly ops will normally post a QSX frequency along with the spot.

January 12, 2009

  • Don't use spotting websites for comments not conducive to good amateur radio practice.  Some comments I have seen in the last week and copied from
    • An op posted some disparaging remark about another which generated "I dare you to say that to my face"...response "your face is too ugly".
    • to a DXpedition station "Why don't you go home?"
    • Worse- very derogatory comments...some even in other languages:
    • EA1** to E44M    14000.0 FAFANCULOS 1815z 11 Jan
    • F6*** to E44M    7000.0  expedition de MERDE 1812z 11 Jan
    • K2**  to N4MJ-114000.0  PH U CK - Y O U!  2150z 11 Jan

    This is mega lid behavior! Please don't get caught up in this non-sense.  I am ashamed for the hobby when I see these kinds of things going on.  Ignore them and they will hopefully go away.  Or as I say...QSY and they do go away!


  • Using pirated or made up call sign is not only another mega lid behavior but it's also illegal.  Four times this week on HF I had the same (?) station come back to me using a fraudulent SV0 call.  Don't be a weinous like this guy.  ID properly.  If you don't like something I am doing just tell me in a nice, friendly manner.






73 de N3KTA SK