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A century of amateur radio licensing--December 13, 2012

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N0NB, Dec 11, 2012.

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  1. N0NB

    N0NB Subscriber QRZ Page

    December 13, 2012 marks the centennial anniversary of perhaps the the most important event in amateur radio history in the USA. The Radio Law of 1912, passed in August 1912 became effective on December 13, 1912. Radio schools at naval yards and army posts were crowded with amateurs of all levels of experience to get a license from the Department of Commerce.

    Irving Vermilya, 1HAA, later W1ZE, became the first licensed amateur in the USA being issued Certificate of Skill #1 and is known for all time as Amateur Number One. A number of other amateurs followed suit and rather than seeing amateur radio die out as the Law's authors obviously intended, amateur radio began to flourish with a combination of adopting new technology (Edwin H. Armstrong invented the regenerative receiver in September 1912) for reception and later transmitting (CW emissions became feasible after the World War) along with organizing message relay routes. Amateurs led the way finding that the wavelengths shorter than 200 meters were not useless through the new technologies and, by the early 1920s, a declining solar cycle that enabled communications not only for transcontinental paths, but intercontinental as well.

    A century later we enjoy this hobby of amateur radio precisely due to the unintended consequence of a law designed to kill amateur radio that did not state its intention exactly and instead allowed it to live and thrive for 15 years! In 1927 more comprehensive radio legislation was enacted and in 1934 the Communications Act created the FCC that we know today.

    For more information visit the United States Early Radio History site by Thomas H. White. Thomas' site is not limited to amateur radio, however, and is quite comprehensive on a lot of radio topics. The ARRL publication, 200 Meters and Down by Clinton B. Desoto documents much of the early amateur radio history. An article by David Newkirk, ex WJ1Z, now W9VES, The Coming of The Law (available to ARRL members), published in the November 1993 issue of QST also documents the forces behind the enactment of the Radio Law of 1912 and how radio amateurs responded to it. The December 2012 issue of CQ has The Radio Act of 1912: A Century of Radio Regulation and Licensing by Rich Moseson, W2VU, providing another perspective on this red letter day. Certainly, more articles on this topic have been published over the years and make for good reading.

    As of December 13, 2012 amateur radio will officially be 100 years old complete with examinations and licenses. Happy anniversary!
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Damn, seems like it was yesterday.
  3. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    WoW a hundred years of jammers and malcontents. ;)
    And the few,
    The Proud,
    The real
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    When ham #2 got on the air for the first time, he worked ham #1 and then started complaining about interference from him.
  5. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I could believe it, maybe hated the short waves due to poor propagation.
  6. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    W1ZE was hilarious....kinda like John Troster. Didn't take his status too serously. :)
  7. N0NB

    N0NB Subscriber QRZ Page

    Absolutely! I wished he would have written more, but we only have the linked article written by him that I'm aware of. I would have really loved to have been a fly on the wall when the one chap energized his cannon-based electromagnet in his apartment!
  8. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Every time someone posts complaints about the recent rude behavior being conducted on 75m or 20m, I laugh. Irving's articles prove that bad behavior is nothing new to hamdom, because Irving was in the thick of it! ;)
  9. W5DQ

    W5DQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Interesting sidenote that in researching previos activity pertaining to my call W5DQ, I am only 4 years shy of hitting this centennial mark. I bet that if others were to take a look at their old 1x2 formats, they'd also find that their calls have a long proven history too.
  10. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, it IS a bit harder to cuss on spark gap. :)P

    It really is amazing though.....the tenacity to build an amateur LAND LINE! When I hear someone ask "How do I build a dipole" with three gillion web links to tell you how...and this guy builds an entire telegraph network with a few NEWSPAPER articles as his only information...

    One must wonder.
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