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It's 'All Chicks, All the Time' at W9IMS:

Brian D. Smith (W9IND) on May 21, 2008
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"Chick Factor Night': Making A Special Event More Special!

Fewer than 15 percent of all American amateur radio operators are female, but special event enthusiasts should have no trouble finding YLs on the air this Saturday evening, May 24, thanks to a first-time "event-within-an-event" presented by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Amateur Radio Club.

Since early May, the club has been operating its annual special event station, W9IMS (, in commemoration of the upcoming Indianapolis 500.

But for three straight hours on the night before the race 2100 UTC Saturday to 0000 Sunday the club will observe "Chick Factor Night," allowing only YLs to get behind the microphones at W9IMS. During that time, any OMs on the premises will be required to serve snacks and beverages to the busy ladies.

The chivalrous celebration seems appropriate, considering that the legendary 500-mile auto race will feature a record number of female drivers (three Danica Patrick, Sarah Fisher and Milka Duno) for the second straight year. W9IMS, the official amateur radio station of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has operated an Indy 500 special event station annually since 2004, but the upcoming "all chicks, all the time" event is a first.

So what's a Chick Factor? As explained in the November 2007 QST article "Girl Meets Brickyard," which highlighted 11-year-old Extra Class YL Amanda Feriante, Chick Factor refers to the ham radio phenomenon in which a female operator instantly attracts a pile-up with the mere sound of her voice. It also applies to the YLs themselves in addition to being the name of a new YL-oriented club, still in the process of organizing, called Chick Factor International (W9YL).

Amanda, AF6YL, will be back at W9IMS this year, and she'll be joined on Chick Factor Night by several other female members and guests of the club. The "scheduled to appear" list includes mom Kortnee Feriante, KF6Y; Heather Heininger, KB9ZLB; Kim Oberc, KC9IRN; and Emily Bishop, WE4MB. The club has also issued an open invitation to other YLs who reside or plan to be in the Indianapolis area Saturday evening.

The W9IMS Comm Center can put several transmitters on the air simultaneously, so there should be no shortage of opportunity to work the YLs. Look for W9IMS on several of the following frequencies (plus or minus): 3.840 MHz, 7.240, 14.240, 18.140, 21.340, 28.340, 50.140, 144.240 SSB and 146.52 simplex FM. For updated frequency information, look for DX spots at sites such as DX Summit --

As a special tribute to a Chick Factor pioneer, a YL op will conduct a CW sked at 2100 UTC Saturday with Denice Stoops (KI6BBR) on 14.050 MHz. Denice the first female telegrapher hired at historic maritime radio station KPH ( will operate K6KPH, the Maritime Radio Historical Society station, located at the KPH facility at Point Reyes National Seashore in California.

Any station that works W9IMS (and any SWL who receives it) during the month of May is eligible for a special Indy 500 QSL card, and the club also awards a certificate for working or receiving all three of its annual special event operations in any combination of years.

But nothing additional will be awarded for working/tuning in one or all of the Chick Factor participants.

Then again, when it comes to chatting with YLs, when have awards ever mattered?

Member Comments:
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It's 'All Chicks, All the Time' at W9IMS:  
by ND6N on May 22, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
It should be a fun event. There is nothing that brings hams out the woodwork like the sweet voices of YLs. I'll be trying to break thru the pile-ups and make a contact or two.....
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