• Ham Radio History (A)

    From Daryl Stout@1:2320/33 to All on Fri May 19 00:04:50 2023
    The term "Ham", Q signals, CQ, 73, SOS, Prosigns, The Wouff Hong, and more ==========================================================================


    "Ham: a poor operator. A 'plug.'"

    That's the definition of the word given in G. M. Dodge's "The Telegraph Instructor" even before radio. The definition has never changed in wire telegraphy. The first wireless operators were landline telegraphers who
    left their offices to go to sea, or to man the coastal stations. They
    brought with them their language, and much of the tradition of their
    older profession.

    In those early days, spark was king, and every station occupied the same wavelength-or, more accurately perhaps, every station occupied the whole spectrum with its broad spark signal. Government stations, ships,
    coastal stations, and the increasingly numerous amateur operators all
    competed for time and signal supremacy in each other's receivers. Many
    of the amateur stations were very powerful. Two amateurs, working each
    other across town, could effectively jam all the other operations in the
    area. When this happened, frustrated commercial operators would call the
    ship whose weaker signals had been blotted out by amateurs and say "SRI

    Amateurs, possibly unfamiliar with the real meaning of the term, picked
    it up and applied it to themselves in true "Yankee Doodle" fashion, and
    wore it with pride. As the years advanced, the original meaning has
    completely disappeared.

    -Louise Ramsey Moreau W3WRE/WB6BBO

    Another possible source of of the term "ham" is from an article that was originally written by Gerry Crenshaw, WD4BIS, Garland, Texas.

    Have you ever wondered why we radio amateurs are called "HAMS"?? Well, according to the Northern Ohio Radio Society, it goes like this...

    The word "Ham" was applied in 1908, and was the call letters of one of
    the first Amateur Wireless Stations operated by some members of the
    Harvard Radio Club. There were Albert S. Hyman, Bob Almy, and Peggie
    Murray. At first, they called their station Hyman-Almy-Murray. Tapping
    out such a long name in Morse Code soon called for revision...and they
    changed it to HY-AL-MU, using the first two letters of each name.

    Early in 1909, some confusion resulted between signals from amateur
    wireless HYALMU, and a Mexican ship named HYALMO...so, they decided to
    use only the first letter of each name, and the call became HAM.

    In the early pioneer unregulated days of radio, Amateur operators
    picked their own frequency and call letters. Then, as now...some Amateurs
    had better signals than some commercial stations. The resulting
    interference finally came to the attention on Congressional committees
    in Washington...and they gave much time to proposed legislation designed
    to critically limit Amateur Activity.

    In 1911, Albert Hyman chose the controversial Wireless Regulation Bill
    as the top for his thesis at Harvard. His instructor insisted that a copy
    be sent to Senator David I. Walsh...a member of one of the committees
    hearing the bill. The Senator was so impressed, he sent for Hyman to
    appear before the committee. He was put on the stand, and described how
    the little Amateur Station was built. He almost cried when he told the
    crowded committee room that if the bill went through, they would have to
    close up the station, because they could not afford the license fees, and
    all the other requirements that were set up in the bill.

    The debate started, and the little station HAM became a symbol of all the little Amateur stations in the country crying out to be saved from menace
    and greed of the big commerical stations who did not want them around.
    Finally, the bill got to the floor of Congress, and every speaker talked
    about the poor little station "HAM".

    That's how it all got started. You will find the whole story in the Congressional Record. Nationwide end of time, in radio, an Amateur
    is a HAM.

    GL and 73's de Gerry, WD4BIS
    --- SBBSecho 3.20-Win32
    * Origin: The Thunderbolt BBS - Little Rock, Arkansas (1:2320/33)