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