The Pileup BULLY LID Problem Explained

    Guest post by Rick, K6VVA

    I coined the term Pileup “BULLY LID” which others have acknowledged in direct emails as being absolutely appropriate for the issue at hand.

    To put things in perspective, in the non-radio World, “BULLY” behavior among youth has tragically resulted in many suicides. This is a sad commentary on the human condition. Before becoming a College Professor, my father was a school Superintendent and Principal. He did NOT tolerate “BULLY” behavior of any kind in the school, or on the school grounds. I do not tolerate “BULLY LID” behavior in my Expedition pileups. It is as simple as that.

    It is obvious when listening to any pileup on the bands these days that there are some grown adult men who continue to behave like arrogant, selfish little children…like “BULLIES” who will trample on anyone else to try and get what they want without regard for anyone else. Unfortunately, most of these “BULLY LIDS” have big stations and big signals. Worse yet, many of the pileup “BULLY LIDS” here in the U.S.A. are listed as “#1 HONOR ROLL”, and some are Directors and Officers of Ham Radio organizations. Such behavior does NOT set a good example to others. The DX CODE of CONDUCT has not brought about the behavioral changes necessary for these operators to behave as “Gentlemen” in accordance with the tradition of “International Goodwill & Friendship” this hobby was once known for.

    When grown adult men behave like arrogant, selfish children in the on-air pileups, then they rightfully deserve to be treated like children and verbally spanked by public embarrassment. As a very young kid, I seem to recall it only took 2 real spankings by my father for me to realize whenever he said “no”, that meant “NO !!!”. Yes, those were the good old days of “fair but firm” (on ye old butt) discipline, and I always respected him for that.

    Time and time again in other pileups I have heard Expedition operators repeat over and over statements like “Europe standby”, or “Italian stations standby”, or “Europe only, only Europe” to no avail and the OUT-OF-TURN “BULLY LID” calling continues. Very few Expedition operators have had the “stones” to directly confront offenders by individual callsign. But of course, the U.S.A., Canada and other Countries have their share of “BULLY LIDS” as well. In the few situations where I have heard an Expedition operator exercise real Leadership, I clap, whistle and shout out “right on”. One such incident was a savvy Argentinean operator on the LU6W IOTA Expedition who confronted a pileup “BULLY LID” with: “UA0___ … STANDBY OR SHUT DOWN !!!”. It was an appropriate and deserved “verbal spanking” publicly on-air.

    The innocent callers in the pileups deserve an advocate, and the primary advocate must be the Expedition operator. Absent of that, pileups become “unruly” mobs riddled with never-ending “BULLY LID” callers causing unnecessary QRM instead of venues of “reasonably managed chaos” involving “Gentlemen” callers with a degree of “self-restraint” expected of an adult.

    During one of my 15 IOTA Expedition and Contest-Pedition trips over the past few years, I will say that by far the most “polite” and “gentlemen” operators have been the JA’s. They are also the keenest when it comes to moving “UP UP UP” away from the jam packed core of the pileups, and this has resulted in working many “Little Pistol” JA stations who would never have been heard otherwise.  “Little Pistol” European operators would be wise to learn from the JA’s.

    That being said, during my recent K6VVA/KL7 IOTA NA-152 Expedition to Sarichef Island in June, 2013, out of 770 JA QSOs, I’m sorry to say there were 4 of the most devious, hard-core “BULLY LID” JA operators I have even encountered on any Expedition. These 4 “BULLY LIDS” would immediately find, zero-beat and begin calling OUT-OF-TURN on top of the JA station who I had just sent an exchange to, or a “partial” callsign that I was trying to get the full callsign of. This behavior was NOT “International Goodwill & Friendship”. I am providing an audio clip of one such “BULLY LID” encounter as an example. You can hear my attempts to complete a QSO with a “Partial Callsign” copied. I will always make diligent attempts to complete a QSO in spite of QRM or “BULLY LIDS”. The QSO was ultimately completed.

    Anyone who has listened to me on-air knows I will make considerable effort to complete a QSO in spite of QRM, and do NOT just “blow off” a weak station unless they have faded into the noise and cannot be copied (especially in heavy polar path QSB). That is part of my responsibility as an Expedition operator. And I certainly do NOT work any “BULLY LID” who has tried to take over an attempted conversation (QSO) in progress. But what I also started doing 4 Expeditions ago as C6AVA (IOTA NA-054) and ever since, is to publicly confront the repeat OUT-OF-TURN “BULLY LIDS” callers who cause unnecessary QRM in my pileups without regard for the “Gentlemen” callers. Although the message changes, if I can copy the “BULLY LID” callsign, it is usually something like this in reduced QRS WPM:

    {BULLY LID Callsign} {BULLY LID Callsign} {BULLY LID Callsign}

    (OR)  {BULLY LID Callsign} {BULLY LID Callsign} {BULLY LID Callsign}

    So if you ever hear this on-air, you will know WHO is behaving as a “BULLY LID”, and likely preventing you from making a needed QSO.

    I also frequently use “KN” when trying to complete a QSO if others cause QRM. If someone does NOT understand what “KN” means, they had better learn fast…especially before I (hopefully) end up QRV as P5/K6VVA. “BULLY LID” operators will be in for a big shock if they repeatedly call OUT-OF-TURN on that Expedition. A big shock… during and AFTER the Expedition is over.

    My goal is always to work as many unique station callsigns as possible, but I have also made it very clear that I do NOT tolerate any “BULLY LID” behavior in my pileups. In the future, “BULLY LID” audio recordings may likely end up on a special “BULLY LID HALL OF SHAME” website. Especially, any audio from a P5 Expedition.

    As I have stated publically before, no one is obligated to call me during any of my Expeditions. If you don’t like the reasonable “rules of engagement” for pileup conduct as “Gentlemen”, go find another pileup. Either that, or risk being “verbally spanked” publically on-air as a pileup “BULLY LID”.


    Rick, K 6 V V A * The Locust