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Category: Ham Radio (Page 1 of 2)


Mike the Headless Chicken Operations Guide

Special Event, Saturday May 30, 2020

Western Colorado Amateur Radio Club


Suggested Frequencies

  • SSB – 7.230 and 14.235
  • FT8 – 7.074, 10.136 or 14.074

PSKReporter link for last 15 minutes of FT8 activity for WØM.

We have applied for, and received permission to use, the 1X1 callsign WØM from May 29-31. We can, and will, operate all modes (SSB, CW, FT8, FM) during this time, and you are welcome to sign up on a first-come, first-served basis. If you don’t have the link to access the spreadsheet to enter your callsign, check the emails you’ve received, or the member’s area of the WCARC web page.

During your scheduled time, you may operate as your FCC license allows, within the band and/or mode you have signed up for. Except for CW, This is an event, not a contest, so that means the purpose is to have fun and talk to as many people as you want. Here are some general comments.

  • UHF and VHF contacts on 2M and 440 are fine, if you’ve signed up for them, as is the use of repeaters, IRLP, Echolink, DMR and any other mode that may strike your fancy.
  • If you have a hankering to operate on 60, 30, 18 or 12 meters, please contact me before May 28. Even though these bands are closed to contesting, this isn’t a contest.
  • Coordination of the event will occur on the 146.94 repeater. I should be monitoring it all day, and if you’re operating, sharing comments and ideas and experiences is a great idea.
  • If you hear someone else calling CQ, but it’s not your time, go ahead and answer to add the QSO.
  • If you’re operating SSB, please stay as close to possible to the advertised frequencies, 7.230 and 14.235. These are only suggestions; use your own discretion to QSY up or down to avoid QRM. Call “CQ WØM Mike the Chicken Event” and have fun explaining to the responding hams just who Mike was and why we’re celebrating him.
  • Digital contacts may be made on the mode of your choice – FT8, FT4, PSK31 or JS8Call.
  • If you want to quit early, and the person scheduled after you wants to jump in, that’s fine. It’s not OK, though, for you to operate beyond your scheduled time slot, and it’s really not OK to have two different operators using the same callsign on the same band and same mode.
  • KØUK will be operating CW using the WØM callsign on the very popular CQ WPX contest . Please contact Bill directly if you are interested in learning more about contesting or if you want to work him. He’ll slow down to work you if 35wpm CW is a little above your skill level.

Spotting & Logging

The best way to publicize this event is to spot other operators (or youself) using your logging program, or DX Summit. Please contact Dave, AKØMR, who knows a lot more than I do about the use of spotting networks and DX Summit, if you have any questions or problems.

Logging: You must log each and every QSO. I will arrange to upload the results to LOTW, and will handle the generation of QSL labels for those who send us a QSL with a SASE or $$ to the club address as set out in the WØM listing on qrz.com.

You can make my life much, much easier by entering each QSO directly yourself into the WØM logbook on qrz.com. All of us should be authorized to enter QSOs on qrz.com directly; here’s a brief tutorial on how to find the WØM logbook, and here is a long video on how to enter a QSO into the online logbook. In addition to the other benefits, this will let everyone see how we’re doing and who we’ve contacted during the day. The logbook is open now for you to practice, but all entries will be erased on May 29. Please try the qrz.com logbook now so you feel comfortable using it.

If you’re operating CW, or a digital mode, or can’t or don’t want to enter the QSO directly on qrz.com, you may send me an ADIF file of your event contacts from your logging program, no later than June 1. Even if it’s possible, please don’t try to upload an ADIF file directly to the qrz.com logbook; send it to me first. If you use paper logbooks, please contact another club member to have them enter the information into their logging program to create an ADIF file for me to upload.

mike festival-final

Well, things don’t always work out as we’d expected. We were going to have a booth at the festival in Fruita on May 30, but COVID-19 intervened, and so we’re going to do a proper social distancing event from our home QTHs. The purpose of doing this is to have fun and to spread the word to other hams about the many activities to enjoy in western Colorado.

In order to fully understand and appreciate Mike, you need to know a little of his history. At least read his Wikipedia page. And check out the listing for WØM on the QRZ.COM page

Who is Mike and what happened to his head? Is there really a festival about Mike? Sure is.

In 1945, a farmer in Fruita, Colorado, Lloyd Olsen, whose mother-in-law “loved” the neck of a chicken, always chopped the head off as high as possible when butchering his chickens. On September 10, 1945 he cut a little too high and the chicken survived the beheading with at least part of his brain intact. Gruesome huh. It gets worse. Mike, the now headless chicken, was fed with an eye dropper and lived for eighteen months and gained five and a half pounds. Mike became nationally famous, and was taken on a tour of local fairs and exhibitions.  Unfortunately, he choked on a piece of corn while being exhibited in Phoenix, Arizona, and died.

Mike was the inspiration for a punk rock band, the Radioactive Chicken Heads, who recorded an … interesting … music video. Somebody posted a tribute to Mike on YouTube. He was the subject of a BBC documentary, a British quiz show, and has his own Facebook page, website and Wikipedia page.

Mike has a permanent sculpture downtown. 

Mike sculpture

In order to honor the town’s most famous chicken, the Fruita city fathers in 1999 established the annual Mike the Headless Chicken festival held every year at the end of May.  The 22nd annual festival, originally scheduled for the weekend of May 29-31, was expected to attract thousands of visitors.

Mike Logo

Unfortunately, because of Covid-19, the festival had to be postponed until 2021.

But most of all, have fun!

73’s Steve, KØGUZ

Logging into the QRZ Logbook

This is a tutorial on how to log into the QRZ.COM logbook to enter contacts in the Western Colorado Amateur Radio Club “Mike the Headless Chicken” event which is scheduled for May 30. It will be meaningless to anyone else.

First of all, you need to log into qrz.com using your own username (probably your call sign) and password. From the opening screen, hover the mouse over your callsign, which is on the right of the title bar. A dropdown box should appear.

Click on “My Logbook”. This will take you to your qrz.com logbook (even if you have never used it). There is a drop down box which has your logbook highlighted.

Click on it and if you have been authorized to access it, you should see an option to log into the “WØM Mike the Headless Chicken” logbook. Once you do that, you should see any entries entered by anyone else, and using the “Add QSO” button, you can add some of your own. For help, please consult the qrz.com documentation.

Feel free to play around with it and practice entering QSOs. I’ll erase them before the event.

Thanks, and thanks for participating in the Mike the Headless Chicken QSO party!

Steve, KØGUZ

QCX Part 1

Now that Floyd, AAØGU, has his kit in hand (it took three days to arrive), I decided to start with the assembly. As with Heathkits, I sorted the parts in an egg carton,


and sat down to install the IC socket and the IC’s.   At that point,  KI0G (and the manual, and every suggestion on the listserver) suggest that you jump to section 3.55 of the manual and wind then install the T1 transformer.  I had to wind a number of toroids for the Hardrock 50 amplifier I built last summer, and after a while developed a technique that involved sticking the core on a pencil .  Unfortunately, that skill has atrophied and I don’t remember exactly how I did it. There are at least 5 YouTube videos on how to do it, and they’re all different. 

Continue reading

QCX Single Band Transceiver

Update:  Those who have expressed a desire to build this kit: KØGUZ, KDØVDV.  I ordered it on November 11, and when it hadn’t arrived by January 1, I emailed QRP-Labs, and received a prompt response that they were holding my kit until the enclosure was shipped to them, and they were having supplier difficulties. I asked them to ship the kit immediately; they did, and it arrived from Sedalia, Missouri in two days. Moral: when you place your order, either don’t order the enclosure at the same time, or ask that they send the electronics and the enclosure separately.

The completed transceiver

As I mentioned at the last meeting of the Western Colorado Amateur Radio Club, I bought a QRP-labs QCX single band transceiver kit, and hope to build it in time for Field Day this summer.  It’s a very sophisticated yet easy to build unit that will let you work the world on 5 watts CW.

Continue reading

Fort Laramie

If any ham radio operators read this, are interested in the NPOTA contest and are looking for a great place to activate, I can recommend the Fort Laramie National Historic Site, NS-20.

Ft. Laramie Entrance

It’s located about 2 hours north of Cheyenne, is in a beautiful location, is quite interesting with several restored buildings, has some very helpful rangers and reenactors. And if they aren’t occupied, you can operate out of a tepee. There has been a fort there since 1834, and according to the rangers, every pioneer who traveled west stopped there, so if you set up in the shaded picnic area (or in the tepee) you’re bound to be on the spot where hundreds of covered wagons passed 150 years ago. There aren’t any places to camp on the site, and the nearest motel is about 25 miles away, but it would be worth spending an entire day there. With four trails + a National Historic Site + Wyoming, anyone who sets up there is sure to make lots of contacts, and every one of them will be happy when the log is uploaded.  I only had a brief time yesterday to activate the site, and only got 18 contacts on 20M CW, and wish I could have stayed several hours longer.

Ft. Laramie NHS

The best part is that admission is free!

Crystal Radio

My first radio

My dad bought me a Knight Kit crystal radio for my tenth birthday. I assembled it myself, without help, in a weekend. Probably the most tedious part of the job was winding the huge coil on what looked like a thick toilet paper roll. I then had to lacquer it, and waiting for the lacquer to dry was the worst part.  Like all crystal radios, this one operated without batteries and had a minimum of parts.

Luckily, we lived in Chicago at the time, and there were several very strong (50,000 watt) AM radio stations with nearby transmitters, so it worked really well.  The reception quality was good, with none of the annoying hum that came from a standard AC operated radio.  Furthermore, there were no telltale pilot lights to alert my sister or parents that I was listening to “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar” or “Dragnet” or  “Philip Marlowe” or “Sherlock Holmes” or any other great old time radio detectives well past my bedtime.


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