Note: This "Rusty Bumpers" column is from the May 1993 issue of "Solid Copy", the Richmond (VA) Amateur Telecommunications Society's monthly newsletter. Most of the examples used by "Rusty" have happened on the local repeaters exactly as written, although some of the items are exaggerated slightly for humor. (Step 35 was written before the 1993 "no business" rule change.)

by Rusty Bumpers, N4LID

On two meters lately, I have noticed a tendency of people making a concerted effort to sound like a Lid (i.e. poor operator). Since this appears to be the new style in amateur radio, I thought I would present this handy guide to radio nerd-dom. The following is what I call: "How to sound like a Lid in one easy lesson."

1) Use as many Q signals as possible. Yes, I know they were invented solely for CW and are totally inappropriate for two-meter FM, but they're fun and entertaining. They keep people guessing as to what you really meant. i.e. "I'm going to QSY to the kitchen." Can you really change frequency to the kitchen? QSL used to mean "I am acknowledging receipt," but now it appears to mean "yes" or "OK." I guess I missed it when the ARRL changed the meaning.

2) Never laugh, when you can say "hi hi." No one will ever know you aren't a long time CW ragchewer if you don't tell them. They'll think you've been on since the days of Marconi.

3) Utilize an alternative vocabulary. Use words like "destinated" and "negatory." It's OK to make up your own words here. "Yeah Bill, I pheelbart zaphonix occasionally myself."

4) Always say "XX4XXX (insert your own call) for I.D." Anything that creates redundancy is always strongly encouraged. That's why we have the Department of Redundancy Department. (Please note that you can follow your call with "for identification purposes" instead of "for I.D." While taking longer to say, it is worth more lid-points.)

5) The better the copy on two-meter FM, the more you should phonetically spell your name, especially if it is a short and/or common one. i.e. "My name is Al...Alpha Lima" or "Jack...Juliett Alpha Charlie Kilo." If at all possible, make up unintelligible phonetics. "My name is Bob...Billibong Oregano Bumperpool."

6) Always give the calls of yourself and everyone who is (or has been) in the group, whether they are still there or not. While this has been unnecessary for years, it is still a wonderful memory test.

7) Whenever possible, use the wrong terminology. It keeps people guessing. Use "modulation" when you mean "deviation" and vice-versa. And even if the two-meter FM amplifier you're using is a Class C type amp, and thus not biased for linear amplification, be sure to call it your "linear." Heck, refer to all FM-style amplifiers as "linears." You'll be king of the "wrong terminology" hill.

8) If someone asks for a break, always finish your turn, talking as long as possible before turning it over. Whenever possible, pass it around a few times first. This will discourage the breaker and, if it is an emergency, will encourage him to switch to another repeater and not bother you.

9) Always ask involved questions of the person who is trying to sign out. Never let him get by with a yes or no answer. Make it a question that will take a long time to answer.

10) The less you know about a subject, the more you should speculate about it on the air. The amount of time spent on your speculations should be inversely proportional to your knowledge of the subject.

11) If someone on the repeater is causing interference, you should talk about that person at great length, making sure to comment on at least four out of six of the following: (1) His mental state; (2) His family; (3) His intelligence, or lack of same; (4) His sexual preference; (5) His relationship to small animals; (6) His other methods of self entertainment.

12) If you hear two amateurs start a conversation on the repeater, wait until they are 20 seconds into their contact, and then break-in to use the patch. Make sure that it's only a simple routine phone call. It's also very important that you run the autopatch for the full three minutes. This way, once the two re-establish contact, they won't even remember what they were talking about.

13) You hear someone on the repeater giving directions to a visiting amateur. Even if the directions are good, make sure you break-in with your own "alternate route but better way to get there" version. This is most effective if several other Lid trainees join in, each with a different route. By the time the amateur wanting directions unscrambles all the street names whizzing around in his head, he should have mobiled out of range of the repeater. This keeps you from having to stick around and help the guy get back out of town later.

14) Use the repeater for an hour or two at a time, preventing others from using it. Better yet, do it on a daily basis. Your quest is to make people so sick of hearing your voice every time they turn on their radio, they'll move to another frequency. This way you'll lighten the load on the repeater, leaving even more time for you to talk on it.

15) See just how much mobile flutter you can generate by operating at handheld power levels too far from the repeater. Engage people in converations when you know they won't be able to copy half of what you're saying. Even when they say you are uncopyable, continue to string them along by making further transmissions. See just how frustrated you can make the other amateur before he finally signs off in disgust.

16) Give out wacky radio advice. When a newcomer's signal is weak into the repeater, tell him he can correct the problem by adjusting the volume and squelch knobs on his radio. Or tell people they're full quieting except for the white noise on their signal. Or....well, you get the idea.

17) Use lots of radio jargon. After all, it makes you feel important using words average people don't say. Who cares if it makes you sound like you just fell off of Channel 19 on the Citizen's Band? Use phases such as "Roger on that," "10-4," "I'm on the side," "You're making the trip," and "Negatory on that."

18) Use excessive microphone gain. See just how loud you can make your audio. Make sure the audio gain is so high that other amateurs can hear any bugs crawling on your floor. If mobile, make sure the wind noise is loud enough that others have to strain to pick your words out from all the racket.

19) Be as verbose as possible. Never say "yes" when you can say "He acquiesced in the affirmative by saying 'yes'."
(No kidding, I actually heard that one.)

20) Start every transmission with the word "Roger" or "QSL." Sure, you don't need to acknowledge that you received the other transmission in full. After all, you would simply ask for a repeat if you missed something. But consider it your gift to the other amateur to give him solace every few seconds that his transmissions are being received.

21) When looking for a contact on a repeater, always say you're "listening" or "monitoring" multiple times. I've always found that at least a half dozen times or so is good. Repeating your multiple "listening" IDs every 10 to 15 seconds is even better. Those people who didn't want to talk to you will eventually call you, hoping you'll go away after you have finally made a contact.

22) Give out repeater FM signal reports using the HF SSB R-S system ("You're 5 by 9 here"). Sure it's considered improper for FM operation and you may even confuse some people, but don't let that spoil your fun!

23) Always use a repeater, even if you can work the other station easily on simplex -- especially if you can make the contact on simplex. The coverage of the repeater you use should be inversely proportional to your distance from the other station.

24) If you and the other station are both within a mile or two of the repeater you are using, you should always give a signal report. ("I'm sitting under the repeater and I know you can see it from there, but you're full quieting into the repeater. How about me?")

25) In the same vein as the previous step, when monitoring a repeater, you should always give signal reports as if the repeater didn't exist. ("Yep, I'm right under the repeater. You've got a whopping signal. You're S-9 plus 60. That must be a great rig.")

26) On repeaters with courtesy tones, you should always say "over." Courtesy tones are designed to let everyone know when you have unkeyed, but don't let that stop you. Say "over," "back to you," or "go ahead." It serves no useful purpose, but don't worry -- it's still fun.

27) Think up interesting and bizarre things to do to tie-up the repeater. The goal here is not to facilitate communications, but to entertain all the scanner listeners
out there. Do something original. Try to hum CTCSS (PL) tones. Sing pager tones. You're getting the idea.

28) Use the repeater's autopatch for frivolous routine calls. While pulling into the neighborhood, call home to let them know you'll be there in two minutes. Or call your spouse to complain about the bad day you had at work. After all, the club has "measured rate" service on their phone line, so they get charged for each autopatch call. Your endeavor is to make so many patches in a year that you cost
the club at least $20 in phone bills. That way you'll feel you got your money's worth for your dues.

29) Never say "My name is....". It makes you sound human. If at all possible, use one of the following phrases:

A) "The personal here is...."
B) "The handle here is...."

Normally, handles are for suitcases, but it's OK to use them anyway. Don't forget, this has worked just fine for CBers for years.

30) Use 73 and 88 incorrectly. Both are already considered plural, but add an "'s" to the end anyway. Say "73's" or "88's." Who cares if it means "best regardses"
and "love and kisseses." Better yet, say "seventy thirds." (By the way, 70 thirds equals about 23.3.)

31) Make people think you have a split personality by referring to yourself in the plural sense. When you're in conversation and are alone at your radio, always say "We're" or "We've" instead of "I'm" or "I've" (i.e. "we've been doing this...", "we're doing that...", "we're clear"). Everyone knows you're by yourself, but when they ask you who is with you, make up somebody important like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bill Clinton.

32) Always attempt to use the higher functions of the repeater before you have read the directions. Nothing will work, but you'll have great fun and get lots of people to give you advice.

33) Test repeater functions repeatedly (that's why they call it a repeater). Test your signal strength from the same location several times every day. Concentrate on testing the things that really matter, like the number of time the repeater has been keyed-up. That stuff is fun to track. Test the outside temperature as often as possible. The farther the temperature goes from the norms, the more often you should test it. Also, if you get a pager set to the repeater's output frequency, as soon as you receive it set it off every 30 seconds or so until the battery runs down. Better yet, interrupt conversations to test it.

34) If the repeater is off the air for service, as soon as it's turned back on complain about the fact that it was off the air. Act as though your entire day has been ruined because the repeater wasn't available when you wanted to use it.

35) Find ways to get around the "no business" rule on autopatches. Your plan is to try and fool the repeater control operators. Invent code words your secretary at work will understand to disguise any business talk so it sounds like personal chatter. Or get to be friends with the local Domino's Pizza manager. Make it so that when you call him on the patch and ask him to bring over the "floppy disk" you need to your house, he shows-up 30 minutes later with a piping hot large pepperoni and sausage pie. The possibilities are endless....

Just using a few of these easy steps should put you well on the way to Lid-hood. I hope these helpful hints will save you some time in your quest to sound like the perfect Lid.


Rusty Bumpers, N4LID

P.S. "Rusty Bumpers" is a pen name. He maintains anonymity so he can sit peacefully at club meetings and avoid the wrath (and breath) of the uninformed.