Are You a Lid?

What is a lid? Originally, early landline telegraphers coined the term. It was used as a term of derision,
and applied to inept operators, some of whom placed the lid of a tobacco can on their sounders, which
had the effect of amplifying and adding a “ring” to the clacking of the sounder. Amateurs adopted the
term to describe incompetent operators. Here’s a little test to see if you are a Lid. Be honest!

1. Do you ever “clear” and stay on the same frequency?

2. Do you ever say “W9XXX, for ID,” when giving your call?

3. Do you ever call another amateur, and receiving no answer, say “Negative contact”?

4. Do you use the word “personal” when you mean name?

5. Do you use phonetics on repeaters, when you know your signal is full quieting?

6. When someone asks you a question, and you’re not totally certain of the answer, do you
give an answer anyway, just because you’re afraid of appearing less than knowledgeable?

7. Do you use the word “break” when trying to get into a QSO or roundtable?

8. Do you (it pains me to ask, but I have to) use 10 signals, as in 10-4, 10-20, etc.?

9. If you’re DXing, do you just go ahead and join the pile-up, without knowing exactly whom
you’re calling…and then have to embarrass yourself by asking for the DX station’s call?

10. Do people clear, QRT or QSY when you try to join a QSO or roundtable?

11. Do you think Macedonia is that town near Cleveland where Paul Brown first coached the
local high school team?

12. Do you think the word “feedline” has something to do with fishing?

13. Do you think “copystick” is a synonym for a vertical antenna?

14. Do you use the term “flatside” to describe a horizontal antenna?

15. Do you break into a QSO or roundtable by announcing W8XXX “listening”?

16. Do you carry your station on your hip and think you’re a real ham?


1 to 3 yesses–you’re like the rest of us

4 to 8 yesses–you’re a borderline Lid. Straighten up your act

9 to 12 yesses–you’re a Lid. You need a lot of work. E-mail me. I can pound you into shape

13 to 16 yesses–you’re a dyed-in-the-wool, hardcore, tin-plated Lid. Cut up your license and send
it back to the FCC, sell your ham gear, and explore the wonders of the chicken band!