19 October 19

From the ARRL page, Ham Radio History

Ham: a poor operator; a ‘plug’ (G. M. Dodge; The Telegraph Instructor)

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, 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. Frustrated commercial operators would refer to the ham radio interference by calling them “hams.” Amateurs, possibly unfamiliar with the real meaning of the term, picked it up and applied it to themselves. As the years advanced, the original meaning has completely disappeared.

From RF Magazine Article

Why radio amateurs are called “HAMS”
(from Florida Skip Magazine – 1959)

Have you ever wondered why radio amateurs are called “HAMS?” Well, it goes like this: The word “HAM” as applied to 1908 was the station CALL of the first amateur wireless stations operated by some amateurs of the Harvard Radio Club. They were ALBERT S. HYMAN, BOB ALMY and POOGIE MURRAY.

At first they called their station “HYMAN-ALMY-MURRAY”. Tapping out such a long name in code soon became tiresome and called for a revision. They changed it to “HY-AL-MU,” using the first two letters of each of their names. Early in 1901 some confusion resulted between signals from amateur wireless station “HYALMU” and a Mexican ship named “HYALMO.” They then decided to use only the first letter of each name, and the station CALL became “HAM.”

In the early pioneer days of unregulated radio amateur operators picked their own frequency and call-letters. Then, as now, some amateurs had better signals than commercial stations. The resulting interference came to the attention of congressional committees in Washington and Congress gave much time to proposed legislation designed to critically limit amateur radio activity. In 1911 ALBERT HYMAN chose the controversial WIRELESS REGULATION BILL as the topic 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 with the thesis is that he asked HYMAN to appear before the committee. ALBERT HYMAN took the stand and described how the little station was built and almost cried when he told the crowded committee room that if the BILL went through that they would have to close down the station because they could not afford the license fees and all the other requirements which the BILL imposed on amateur stations.

Congressional debate began on the WIRELESS REGULATION BILL and little station “HAM” became the symbol for all the little amateur stations in the country crying to be saved from the menace and greed of the big commercial stations who didn’t want them around. The BILL finally got to the floor of Congress and every speaker talked about the “…poor little station HAM.” That’s how it all started. You will find the whole story in the Congressional Record.

Nation-wide publicity associated station “”HAM” with amateur radio operators. From that day to this, and probably until the end of time in radio an amateur is a “HAM.”

18 October 19

The ITU standards were upgraded to grant the entire “K” prefix to the US, in addition to the existing “W” and “N” prefixes. (Remember that Germany had the “KAA” to “KCZ” prefixes issued previously). The Navy was reserved the “N” prefix, while starting in 1928 the “W” and “K” prefixes were authorized for civilian services, such as amateur radio. As new amateur licenses were issued, and old ones were renewed, the “W” prefix was simply added to the existing call sign. For example, the call sign of 6UO, (or the unofficial nu6UO), became W6UO. The “K” prefix at that time was reserved for US possessions, such as Alaska, Hawaii, and other islands. (Note that “A” block letters were unassigned until 1947, when the US received the “AA” through “AL” prefix blocks). The US amateur radio call sign had finally taken its modern shape we all know today.

More at Eham

17 October 19

The National Carbon Company was founded in 1886 by the former Brush Electric Company executive W. H. Lawrence, in association with Myron T. Herrick, James Parmelee, and Webb Hayes, son of U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes, in Cleveland, Ohio.  In 1890, National Carbon merged with Thomson-Houston, Standard Carbon, and Faraday Carbon.

The American Chemical Society designated the development of the Columbia dry cell battery as a National Historic Chemical Landmark on September 27, 2005. The commemorative plaques at Energizer in Cleveland and at Energizer headquarters in St. Louis read:

In 1896 the National Carbon Company (corporate predecessor of Energizer) developed the six-inch, 1.5 volt Columbia battery, the first sealed dry cell successfully manufactured for the mass market. The Columbia, a carbon-zinc battery with an acidic electrolyte, was a significant improvement over previous batteries, meeting consumer demand for a maintenance-free, durable, no-spill, inexpensive electrochemical power source. Finding immediate use in the rapidly expanding telephone and automobile industries, the Columbia launched the modern battery industry by serving as the basis for all dry cells for the next sixty years.

More At Wikipedia

14 October 19

Much more is at Wikipedia, below is the section on Israel….


The September before the creation of the State of Israel, the station ZC6AA identified its location as “Tel Aviv, Israel.”

4X and 4Z were activated when the state of Israel was proclaimed, however afterwards some individual operators adopted call signs assuming that the territory was still “Arab Palestine”. The UN Headquarters signed “Jerusalem” in 1947 and “Jerusalem, Palestine” in 1957, with callsigns ZC6UNJ and ZC6UNU.

During the Suez crisis in 1957, some Israeli operators signed in the Sinai with an Israelis prefix, but with a /SINAI appended to their call sign.

Israel can issue a National Israeli call sign in the series 4Z8 to foreign amateurs whose countries participate in the CEPT Recommendation T/R 61-02.

The Israeli Amateur Radio Club (IARC) was founded on February 18, 1948, and is a member at IARU.  Presently call signs are issued within Israel by the Ministry of Communications according to this table:

Call sign block License Category
4X0, 4Z0, 4X2, 4Z2, 4X3, 4Z3, 4Z6, 4X7, 4X9 Special Events
4X1AA–4X1ZZ, 4Z1AA–4Z1ZZ Extra/Class A
4X4AA–4X4ZZ, 4Z4AA–4Z4ZZ, 4Z5AA–4Z5ZZ, 4X5AA-4X5ZZ, 4X6AA–4X6ZZ General/Class B
4Z9AAA–4Z9ZZZ Novice/Class C
4Z7AAA–4Z7ZZZ Technician/Class D
4X8AA–4X8ZZ Honorary
4Z8AA–4Z8ZZ Foreign

In July 2012 a 4Z5 operator was upgraded to class A without a callsign change.

9 October 19

In 1924, Hiram Percy Maxim, President of the American Radio Relay League, realized that amateur radio had become international, and that there should be a global organization to take advantage of that growth. He was also aware that radio frequencies thought to be of little use, which had been assigned to amateurs, were capable of long range communication with low power and simple antennas. This resulted in administrations reconsidering the reassignment of these frequencies from amateur use into commercial and military applications.

In March of 1924 Hiram P. Maxim met in Paris with an international group of talented radio amateurs from France, Great Britain, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, Canada and the USA which made preliminary plans for an international organization to be known as the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). A Congress was arranged in Paris in April 1925 to create the permanent global amateur organization. Amateur Radio representatives of 23 countries then met in Paris to create the International Amateur Radio Union and to adopt a constitution.

While most of the 23 countries represented at the April 1925 meeting were from Europe, there were also delegates from North and South America, and from Japan. On April 17,1925 the first constitution of the IARU was unanimously adopted. At the final plenary session on April 18 some 25 countries were in attendance. All actions of the organizing Congress were approved and the International Amateur Radio Union was born, with Hiram P Maxim as its first President.

From the IARU history page and much more is on it IARU

7 October 19

The Pilot Radio Corp. was founded by Isidor Goldberg. He was born in Manhattan, New York, in 1893 and graduated from Hebrew Technical Institute in Mechanical Arts in 1908. From 1910-1914, Isidor Goldberg was a test pilot for Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Corporation and Curtiss Airways. Afterwards he sold aeronautical supplies and model airplanes. In 1915 Goldberg was granted a U.S. patent for his invention of an emergency lamp.

In 1919, Isidor Goldberg founded Pilot Electric Manufacturing Co. in Brooklyn, New York, to manufacture parts and kits for home radios. In 1930 a second plant was established in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The name of the company was later changed to Pilot Radio and Tube Corp. and, in 1932, to Pilot Radio Corp. By 1936 Pilot products were being sold in more than 90 countries. In the late 1940s and early 1950s plants were built in Britain (prior to World War II), South Africa (by 1953), and Israel (in 1947). All three plants were sold in 1959. Goldberg was president of the company from its inception until his death in 1961. 

As president of Pilot Radio Corp., Isidor Goldberg was a leader in developing and introducing new products and new uses for communications equipment. The company was the first to introduce a civilian short wave radio (WASP, 1925) and a battery-powered, portable radio (1937). In 1930, he also developed long distance ground-to-air communications with his “flying laboratory”.




25 September 19

The 1899 Americas Cup Race was the first time that reporters could send back information on the progress of the race thanks to Marconi…..

From Wikipedia:     The 1899 America’s Cup was the 10th challenge for the Cup. It took place in the New York City harbor and consisted of a best of five series of races between the defender, Columbia, entered by the New York Yacht Club, and Sir Thomas Lipton’s Shamrock, representing the Royal Ulster Yacht Club. Columbia won all three races against Shamrock.

From Wikipedia about Columbia:    Columbia, a fin keel sloop, was designed and built in 1898-9 by Nathanael Herreshoff and the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company for owners J. Pierpont Morgan and Edwin Dennison Morgan of the New York Yacht Club. She was the third successful defender built by Herreshoff.

Columbia had a nickel steel frame, a tobin bronze hull, and a steel mast.