K8GP Grid Pirates Contest Group and DVMS History
The K8GP Grid Pirates Contest Group is the result of Ken Ramirez’s, N4UK, search for a way to activate rare Maidenhead Grid Squares during various V/U/SHF and Microwave band contests. The first sojourn as a “Grid Pirate” was a solo trip by Ken, to activate FM26 in the June 1993 ARRL VHF Contest. The other three original pirate “Captains” (Terry W8ZN, Gene W3ZZ, and Chuck W4XP) joined Ken on a “voyage” to FM19 in the VERY cold January of 1994 (referred to by those of us who were there as the “ice and snowfest”). The Grid Pirate’s QSL card depicts the Skull and Crossed-bones flag which has flown over all but the 1993 FM26 expedition. Since the “Arctic Expedition” to Clear Springs, Maryland in 1994, grids activated in Contests and Sprints by the Pirates, individually and as a group, include DM79, DN70, EM84, EM85, EM92, EM96, EM97, EM98, EM99, FM06, FM07, FM08, FM09, FM15, FM16, FM17, FM18, FM19, FM25, FM26, FM27, FM28, FN00, FN01, FN10, FN11, FN12, FN13, FN20, FN21, FN22, FN23, FN30, FN31, FN32, FN41, FN42 AND FN43.
Another “Chicken and Egg” Question?
How does the DVMS fit into all of this? Well, you might say that it is difficult to get anyone in authority to take anything you say seriously if you tell them the name of your organization is “Pirates” anything! And as it turns out, after the Pirates got to know each other better, we discovered that we had common interests in “tinkering,” and experimenting with new (and in some cases old) technologies that went beyond just our mutual interest in contesting. Building antenna arrays for EME operation, designing and constructing high-power amplifiers, comparing state-of-the-art transverters and transceivers with home brew equipment, are a few of the areas of interest shared by members of the group. We also found out that it is possible to get some government agencies, and other organizations, to give you really neat stuff like Rohn SSV tower and microwave test equipment, and a lot more, to support some of these other interests! But, not if your name is The Grid Pirates Contest Group. So, the Delmarva VHF and Microwave Society was formed as part of the ongoing growth and diversity of interests of members of the group.