Since 1997, I have been participating in the 'Hunting Lions in the Air' Contest.
I am the sole Ham-cum-Lion representing my Lions District 324-A1 (Lions Club of Mylapore).
I have secured 62nd place (Single Operator - Worldwide) in 1997, 17th place in 1998, 13th place in 2001, 15th place in 2002 and 16th place in 2003.
Hunting Lions in the Air is an international contest that combines interaction between amateur radio operators and Lions clubs on a world-wide basis. It takes advantage of Ministry of Communication permission that allows non-radio amateurs (Lions) to speak on the air to other non-radio amateurs (other Lions) under the supervision of a licensed radio amateur. The contest is run in January of each year on the weekend closest to the Birthday of Melvin Jones, the founder of Lionism.
The HLITA contest
As a competition, HLITA is ideal for introducing inexperienced radio hams to contesting. At the same time it is challenging to the more experienced hams. It is also a great opportunity for fellowship and socialising on a National and International basis. For the radio ham, the contest can be as cut-throat as any 48 hour international contest or as laid back as you want to make it. For the Lion, keen to make contacts with other clubs and find opportunities for twinning and future liaison, the contest is a must. Having said this, HLITA is also a difficult contest since it combines knowledge of the best time and band for radio propagation with having to find an opportunity to sleep and even say hello to the family. The latest rules have a number of changes that purists will frown over but the majority will, I think, be pleased. So, what has changed?
To begin, the contest has become a 48 hour contest; a standard that is accepted in the Amateur community as it gives everybody, conditions permitting, a chance to work and to be worked, by anyone else in the world at least once any time of their day. You don't, of course, HAVE to work for all 48 hours unless you are a multi operation or superman! The bands remain the same but the mode has been restricted to SSB only. The purists will scream but for the purpose of the contest, which is for Clubs to exchange greetings and salutations between each other, it makes sense. The points distribution has changed to give greater emphasis to the importance the present Contest Committee places on contacting other Lions Clubs. This extends to the efforts of the Melvin Jones Radio Club members and to the Melvin Jones Memorial station W7YU. The points for contacting them on each band are increased in proportion to the stature of their efforts and location. Finally, the multiplier. This has caused much confusion although it is fairly straight forward to work out. To simplify matters, the multiplier is now the number of Lions stations worked (counted ONCE irrespective of how many times they have been worked on other bands). The emphasis will hopefully encourage contestants to seek out other Lions Clubs.
As an example, a single band station that has worked 500 contacts, including 30 Lions Club stations, will score 18 600 points ([470 + (30 x 5)] x 30). It will find itself losing to the club that has worked 450 contacts and 35 Lions station prefixes for a score of 20 650 points ([415 + (35 x 5)] x 35). Scoring is based on 1 point for each non-Lion contact and 5 points for each Lions club.
Hunting Lions in the Air is a Lions Project of District 410B and an excellent opportunity to develop international social activity and twinning.
First find your Radio Ham
Preparing for Hunting Lions is a straight-forward process but, as in most things, easier said than done. Contact has to be made between the Radio Ham and the Lions Club. If you don't know anybody, look in your telephone directory for the Radio League/Lions District Office and get some names of radio hams/Lions Clubs in your area. Once a connection has been made, the radio ham(s) and Lions should meet to find common ground and discuss the rules to ensure familiarity.
Fortunately the rules are a bit simpler than in previous years and essential differences put into the 2000 rules are explained above. We must make sure that we as Lions understand the process of logging contacts during the contest and the scoring process that follows. When we need help, because of the amateur radio terminology, we'll ask for it, won't we? The rules may be downloaded from the Internet at
Scoring and administration
Don't leave the radio ham to work out the score. Lions do the scoring and the score sheet administration. It is after all our competition and the scoring is not difficult. The Radio Ham is opening his radio station to the Lions club for the day or is moving his equipment to an alternative venue for our advantage, so let that be the limit of his responsibilities. A Lion may even become a radio ham or a radio ham may become a Lion.
Organise your Club members for the Weekend
Organise a club roster for Lions to be there while the radio amateur is operating. Do the logging; on paper or preferably on computer using a conventional spreadsheet like Lotus, Quatro, Excel or any one of a number of specially designed logging programmes. Arrange food and refreshment and above all be supportive of the efforts being made by the radio hams on behalf of Lionism and your club. Arrange at least one club member to be there at all times to speak to Lion members across the world and be prepared to keep notes of what is said and get the names right first time. There is nothing nicer than in the following year to remember who's who and to use their name straight away. Also there is also no better opportunity for twinning clubs and increasing international co-operation. First prize is to have Cabinet and Club Board members visiting the station and speak to the other clubs.
Get the scores in on time
Completed score sheets should be channelled to:- Local Co-ordinators, to one of the email addresses below or posted direct to the Lions Club of Midrand. Remember, no prisoners will be taken for lousy unclear score-sheets.
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