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Ham Practical Jokes




 
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WD5JKO
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WD5JKO


« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2020, 01:57:05 PM »

Back around 1980 I was working for a lighting company. We also did fountain controls, and UPS systems. I worked in the R&D lab with 4 other hams, a former ham, and a bootleg ham that once did 2m moon bounce. Boy were we a ragged crew! One guy named bill (SK now) was easily agitated, and therefore a subject to see who could set him off first. In hindsight, we crossed the line a few times. Some of the things we did:

1.) Hooked a Tesla coil to his chair.
2.) Wound his solder spool with buss wire that looked and felt just like solder. At the same time we put a variac on his soldering iron, and set it to 90v. That took a day for him to overcome.
3.) turned his desk around, and glued the drawer handles on the new front side.
4.) Bill was working on a complex D size schematic on the drafting table. We carefully put his drawing away, and took out another that was trash. Then laid a 100w soldering iron over the drawing until a toasty brown spot emerged. Then left it that way. Boom!
5.) Bill was making PCB artwork. This was back when you used a light table, clear Mylar, and red and blue tape. We kept bugging him with comments like, "isn't red supposed to be the top layer"? After about a week, Bill was almost finished. It was a work of art. The comments kept coming, and then one day, he has a fit, wads it up and throws it in the trash! He was almost done!!
6.) We had a bag full of 800uf 3V electrolytic capacitors that were not of much use. Also had a roll of AC line Zip cord about 1000' long. One thing led to another, and plugging in the zip cord at one end and placing one of those caps at the other end was the making of a small time delay explosion. One day, one was planted in Bill's workstation. Bill had scopes going, and all kinds of things powered up. Bill also had a large fuzzy beard. The Cap caught him by surprise, and his beard ended up full of capacitor juice, and foil fragments. Bill not happy.
7.) We had a roll of surgical tubing, and a big syringe. The plan was to put the tubing over the ceiling tiles, across the lab, and exit over Bill's desk. The tubing was then purged of air, and primed with water. Over a period of days with Bill working on his desk, head down, a drip of water would land on his bald spot! This went on for days until he discovered what the hell was going on.

Jim
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Tom WA3KLR
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« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2020, 08:34:53 PM »

I racked my brain for a ham practical joke but only came up with this one, not exactly ham radio but very close.

This would have been in the late 1970’s. My brother is a volunteer fireman and I set him up with a used GE pocket pager I bought at Gregory Electronics in Paterson NJ I think is where it was.  I had to buy two reeds of the tones for his fire company’s sequential tones. I guess I ordered a crystal from International Crystal also.

At one family gathering I got the idea to set off his pager. My dad had a good workbench setup in his basement including a nice Motorola rf signal generator which covered the 2-way fm bands, which I think was a spin-off of the basic Measurements Model 80.  Also he had a frequency counter and audio generator plus other test gear.
 
I went down to the basement and warmed up the r.f. generator, freq. counter and audio generator. I knew that it was o.k to run the first tone continuously so after setting the rf frequency to 154.13 MHz, I set the audio generator by the period mode to the first tone. I ran the r.f. generator into a piece of wire.  Then I swished the audio generator around the second tone frequency and set off my brother’s pager.  I heard the alert screech go off in his pager upstairs on the first floor and heard his scrambling to get his keys and run out the back door of the house.   I ran out after him and told him there was no fire, I had set it off.  HA HA.

I did this again on one other occasion and decided that was enough!
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« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2020, 08:54:00 PM »

My first EE job out of college ('81) was for a very small defense contractor. We had some engineers with a well-developed sense of humor, including myself of course.

The receptionist was a scatterbrained young woman who didn't know much about computers (a time-shared PDP-11 system). One day we wrote a small program of a Pac-Man figure marching around the screen deleting characters as it chomped. We sent it to her terminal line, then peered over the railing to the lobby... she was jumping up and down shrieking, "It's eating my typing!!!"  Cool

Another good trick was to place a 1/4 or 1/8 watt carbon comp resistor across the victim's bench power supply. The proper value would do a slow burn and the engineer or tech would go nuts trying to find out where the scent of "Eau de Allen-Bradley" was coming from and why the current draw on the board was so high.

Sometimes we'd put the resistor into a vacant outlet on the bench power strip. When turned on first thing in the morning, either a slow burn as above, or with a lower value (I think 1200 ohms was optimal), there would be a ladyfinger-sized explosion and smoke cloud almost immediately.

My best trick was never discovered - I took a co-worker's desk phone apart and swapped two columns on the touch-tone pad. But for many days he never tried to call anyone but his wife at home, and the wrong number just rang without ever answering... so he just thought she wasn't home. Oh well  Roll Eyes
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Patrick J. / KD5OEI
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« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2020, 02:58:46 PM »

There is a report from the 1920s of a prankster at a broadcasting station filling a tin with powdered bakelite and placing a live coal in it. This was then 'secreted' this behind the transmitter racks. Sounds painful. But it was said that the building was searched for hours in an attempt to find out what was about to catch fire.
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« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2021, 02:06:04 AM »

Belatedly, I'll add this from decades ago, not a ham prank but a radio 'bootlegger' prank I witnessed. For the record I was not in any way part of it. Hilarious at the moment, but not something that should ever be done. It was so long ago that the one gentleman I could name has gone to his reward. This needs to be told.

A frequent customer of the electronics repair shop at which I was employed had come in with four Motorola UHF 2-way radios and wanted them re-crystalled. I explained that we didn't work on those, but he went on to say he wanted them on the "best repeater in town". Those were high end radios at the time, big brick-sized units, the same kind of Motorolas the police used. I suggested he contact the repeater companies in the phone book and find what company owns the 'Green building' repeater. The 72-story so-called Green Building is still the tallest one in town, and that repeater reached 40 miles in the early 80s. That was pretty much the end of the discussion.

So, on a matter of information, we have probably all experienced the 'raspberry' noise that comes from the old restaurant-style soft-plastic tabletop ketchup dispensers when they are almost empty and get a good squeeze. PLBPLBPLBPLB or poooooo.. how to even spell that.


A couple months after his visit with the radios, I was in a local bar & grille, a very small place with large, greasy, good burgers and mugs of ice cold beer from the tap. Dimly lit, not too dank, and above all, cheap. It was the kind of place with those little red candle jars on each table or booth, no kids, and my peaceful, relatively non-annoying dinner spot a couple nights a week.

Well, in walks that same customer with a couple of his buddies (I presume because they all have said radios in-hand) and he says HI and they sit at the next table over. So I start hearing reception on those radios, they are turned down, but I can hear they are listening to one of the police channels because the dispatcher said 'elements check your mikes'. . No big deal, a policeman's belt-holstered radio had got in a position where it was being keyed while he was seated in the squad car. Happened a lot with those big old radios. They have several channels on them, so I figured the guys had added a couple of crystals for listening in.

The next thing I hear is the poooo sound of the empty ketchup bottle -one of them was trying unsuccessfully to put ketchup on his burger. I happened to look and a couple seconds later I see a radio held up to the ketchup bottle, and POOOO!!.. The dispatcher comes back with "Who did that?" "Element making noise - identify!" and those guys are snickering, barely containing themselves. The same guy who did it keyed up his radio and officiously stated, "Elements check your PANTS". It was too much for me, I spewed my beer out through my nose and sprayed it all over my plate, which was thankfully mostly empty. Half coughing and half laughing.

The server came over at that point to see if everything was ok, 'Sure, no problem I just sneezed, and could I have the check please'. I waited outside for those guys and clued them in on what would happen if they ever got caught with those radios. They seemed properly chastised and sheepish, but then the Customer said, "Yeah, but we're on the best repeater in town!". I asked if that's what he would tell the federal judge in felony court. That seemed to make a more sober impression and pledges not to do that again.

A month later our Customer showed up with a rack of Showco concert audio amps to be fixed, and I casually asked if he'd ever 'gotten those radios fixed'. He had.. They were now bootlegging the Green building's repeater. That business was owned by a ham. I just let sleeping dogs lie at that point. I figured those hams would get 'em sooner or later. No idea what ever happened there but some people never learn.

 
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« Reply #30 on: June 02, 2021, 09:52:50 AM »

This is a joke, and I'm a ham, so here goes:

A lonely guy home alone asks "Siri, why do I have so much trouble with women?"

I'm Alexa, you moron...

73DG
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« Reply #31 on: June 02, 2021, 10:42:57 AM »

I'm a ham too, and this was a practical joke...

My first week on the job as a customer support engineer for Hewlett Packard, I asked one of the administrative assistants to insert an escape sequence into a message to be sent to my manager.  He was the only one who had a terminal with graphics capability.  The escape sequence put the terminal into graphic text mode, with text inverted (upside down), and caused the text to scroll from the bottom to the top of the screen.   Shortly, he came over to my desk and informed me that he was having trouble reading his mail messages.  This was long before email as we know it now.  

I walked over to his desk, took one look, and promptly lifted the monitor and set it back on his desk upside-down, then I asked him if he could read it now.  His response: "Our customers are really going to love you!"  He is now horizontally polarized, and I am retired, so I suppose the statute of limitations has now expired, making it safe to share this story.
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Rick / W8KHK  ex WB2HKX, WB4GNR
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« Reply #32 on: June 02, 2021, 12:17:34 PM »

 Grin Grin Grin

And the hits keep on coming....


Back in 1980 I bought/shared a house with a ham buddy up on a high hill. We each had a homebrew 4-1000A in our bedrooms. We shared an OWL dipole, so only one of us could operate at a time. It was the sunspot peak, so the bands were hopping on the higher bands.  

He used to like working pileups on CW into Eu and other areas.  But there were rare ones he just could not work, like China (BA), and many of the rare DX ones we never hear.

PUNK TIME!  One evening I was in my room reading and I could hear the sounds of him working 20M CW DX coming from his room on the other side of the house. I quickly made up a list of the rarest DX callsigns I could think of and then fired up my CW rig to a few milliwatts into a dummyload. I adjusted the power so that he could barely copy me and put in some fake QSB to make it more authentic.

Over the next 15 minutes he worked DX stations that were a ham's dream. A couple of times I heard his footsteps walking towards my room -  suspicious of what I was doing, but each time I quickly shut off the rig and pretended I was reading.

He fell for it like a cheap pimp buying a polyester suit. Half of the rare DX world was calling him one after another - so he thought.  He finally realized it was too good to be true and figgered it out. It was one of the funnier ham pranks I've ever pulled.

T  
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« Reply #33 on: June 02, 2021, 12:30:12 PM »

I would never lower myself to such a pleabian level of jocularity. The TTY " holes" in my friends '68 Dodge Dart defroster vent, well, could not be associated with me.

Same friend.... after his wedding reception, someone strung togerthere  beer cans and tied them to the rear springs. He got maybe 100 feet, pulled over, disconected them,  said " thats funny" and drove away. Somewhere in Penn on I81, the paper bags full of beer cans let loose and followed the happy couple at 55 MPH.

The " Nair" in someones shampoo bottle got a roomie to notice that his eyebrows were disapearing.



KLC
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Lou W9LRS
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« Reply #34 on: June 02, 2021, 01:34:36 PM »

Back in the late 80's , I was listening to our local 2 meter dx chaser frequency when some one reported RG8U from the Belden Congo was in 20 meters.
 It was funny to listen to the guys trying to find the station. It took them a while to figure out they were punked
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« Reply #35 on: June 03, 2021, 03:27:41 PM »

RG8U Priceless!
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Steve - K4HX
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« Reply #36 on: June 03, 2021, 07:48:45 PM »

The thing is, RG8U is a now a legitimate call.

RG8U 
Asiatic Russia 
Sergey G. Klyanchenko
Novoselov street 34-81
Novokuznetsk, Kemerovskaya oblast 654054
Russia


And a few years ago, some jokester in the USA added that call sign into pileup a Russians I was working. I thought it was suspicious, even though it could have been a legitimate call. But when the guy said his name was Beldon, just said, "Do svidaniya" and moved on to the next contact.
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K1JJ
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« Reply #37 on: June 03, 2021, 08:10:43 PM »

And a few years ago, some jokester in the USA added that call sign into pileup a Russians I was working. I thought it was suspicious, even though it could have been a legitimate call. But when the guy said his name was Beldon, just said, "Do svidaniya" and moved on to the next contact.

Yep, ya never know who you're gonna hear down there.

Back around 1989 there were no web receivers or remotes and no way to identify directions on HF unless you had a directional antenna.

One night on 3795 I was listening to this very loud Russian (with the proper accent) working a US pileup.  He went thru about 60 excited guys, many pissweakers. Some were shocked but pleased that they could work Russia with their modest stations for the first time. After a while I got suspicious and realized he was 20 dB louder to the Southwest USA and weak towards the NE, Russia. This was using my 75M Yagi at 120' at the time.   Beaming SW, I talked over the guy and announced that he was a fake, a boot.  Nevertheless  the USA guys kept calling and working him.  I said it once more and the "Russian" laughed and said, "You got me."  "I'm really Russian, but I'm here in Louisiana visiting my friend....   Grin

T


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Use an "AM Courtesy Filter" to limit transmit audio bandwidth  +-4.5 KHz, +-6.0 KHz or +-8.0 KHz when needed. 

Nothing like a new homebrew rig. Come into the shack, flip on the switches and everything works perfectly.

And, nothing like an old dog.
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« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2021, 03:12:19 PM »



The " Nair" in someones shampoo bottle got a roomie to notice that his eyebrows were disapearing.

[/quote]

Excellent...right up there with Diane’s sorority pledge class filling the shower heads of the house’s bathrooms with strawberry jello powder...looked like blood flowing out, scared the hell out of a number of the sisters...

Or a first class spiking the Heinz ketchup bottle on the Chief’s table in a crew’s mess with super hot ghost pepper sauce!


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Chris, AJ1G
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« Reply #39 on: June 04, 2021, 05:29:54 PM »



Yes, the  thief  roomie never did find out what was happening. Maybe it was the X Rays from sitting too close to the TV that did it to him.

klc
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« Reply #40 on: June 24, 2021, 11:38:00 PM »

Not exactly Ham, but kind of related, My wife's father worked for NBC (engineer), in the 60's in the evening he would call home, and tell my wife to watch the channel, and he said " I can make everybody watching get up from their chair" and he adjusted the horizontal frequency at the station and the TV started rolling, it was a great story.
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« Reply #41 on: June 25, 2021, 05:12:56 PM »

In high school, many years ago [graduated in 1962], we hung our class jackets in the hallway when not being worn.  Seems somebody liked to go through the pockets while walking down the hall.  Now, consider our graduating class was about 100, so the HS was small.  Had 3 hams there total.

We fixed the theft problem:  Got a metal can electrolytic capacitor rated at 20+ MF [don't remember the exact rating] at 450 VDC.  Wrapped the bottom half of the can with electrical tape then with aluminum foil over the tape.  Ran a wire from the aluminum foil to the positive terminal of the cap.  Charged up the cap from the transmitter HV supply of the 6 M AM rig and VERY carefully slid it in one of the jacket pockets.

We found our suspect from the yelling and cursing in the hall where the jackets were and from the small, distinctive burn mark on the hand.  That was the end of the problem.  And I even got my cap back.

Unfortunately, I'm the only one of the 3 that is not a SK.  Those were good days.
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Vulcan Theory of Troubleshooting:  Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
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