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FCC Notice To Cease All Amateur Radio Activity

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by AD0EC, Aug 18, 2013.

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  1. AD0EC

    AD0EC Ham Member QRZ Page

    There's a picture of the FCC notice that basically cancelled all amateur radio licenses and thus transmissions for the duration of WWII. I know the President can invoke his "war powers" today and do something similar.

    Anyone remember this event in 1942? I think it's outrageous the FCC did that. I mean..really now. If there were spies that notice wasn't going to stop them from transmitting. But, it did take away a comforting or relaxing activity of lots of people.

    I wonder how hams of today would react if the government revokes all radio licenses during WWIII.
  2. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    The notice says it is by order of the FCC, not the president. Considering the fact that it was a declared war, I'm surprised it took them a month!

    I wasn't there - wouldn't be born for another dozen years. But I know a bit about the history, and it wasn't outrageous at all.

    You have to consider what amateur radio, and all of radio, was like in 1942. HF was prime radio territory for all radio services, particularly military. The HF ham bands were 160, 80/75, 40, 20 and 10 meters, and almost all amateurs were on the first four. It would have been easy for spies to hide their transmissions in the ham bands, posing as amateurs. FCC couldn't guarantee the ability to track them all down.

    Plus there were wartime requirements for bandwidth. For example, 160 meters was used for LORAN. A lot of military radios operated in what used to be the 80/75 and 40 meter bands - did they really need to dodge amateur QRM?

    Considering that most of them would be dead less than an hour after such a war started....
  3. K1OIK

    K1OIK XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes it was outrageous, didn't the FCC consider the contest schedule? And the Special event planned for December 7, 1942?
    All those who signed up for military service, their prime objective was safeguarding comforting or relaxing activity of lots of people.
    They were the greatest generation, your post is not in that spirit.
  4. AB1QP

    AB1QP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The licences were not cancelled. OPERATION'S were suspended.
  5. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Amateur radio operators were still allowed to operate on the 2.5-meter and 1.25-meter bands as members of WERS (War Emergency Radio Service).

    Glen, K9STH
  6. WG7X

    WG7X Ham Member QRZ Page

    I thought that the original "Special Event" was actually planned for December 7th 1941?

    ...And another series of "Special events" were planned for August 1945, but got canceled after the first two due to the intended audience declining to attend any future events?

  7. W5WAY

    W5WAY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Depends. Define WWIII, please.

    Just out of curiosity, do modern transceivers have any sort of RF "taggant" like all computer devices have a MAC address which uniquely identifies them? I would doubt it, but these days in the surveillance age I wouldn't be all that surprised.
  8. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, but such operation wasn't really ham radio as we or they knew it. WERS required that you become a member of a WERS group, and operation was only allowed for WERS purposes.
  9. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    As I understand it, operations were suspended by the suspension of all amateur radio station licenses. FCC continued to issue amateur operator licenses, but since there were no amateur stations, there was nothing to operate. Note that in those days there was a big distinction made between the operator and station license, and the callsign was part of the station license, not the operator license.
  10. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page


    Having an amateur radio operator's license was generally, but not absolutely, required for WERS operation. Although, technically, operation was to be confined to "official" purposes, equipment tests, etc., were allowed and a lot of the operation basically resembled amateur radio operation before the war.

    The first practical amateur radio repeaters were established for WERS use primarily on the 2.5-meter band. Those were "split sites" with the receiver and transmitter being separated, usually, by 100-feet to 200-feet. Audio was carried by a hard copper line between the 2-sites.

    Until the early 1970s, the FCC did issue "additional station" licenses which allowed operation, without indicating "portable", for locations, away from the primary station location, for those operators who spent time away from the primary location.

    Glen, K9STH
  11. K0MB

    K0MB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    High Power amateur stations were also appropriated by the govt for govt/war use.

  12. N0IU

    N0IU Ham Member QRZ Page

    This really is a generational thing and with all due respect, you have no idea what it was like during that time or you wouldn't ask such a question. Obviously your parents did not live through WWII, but your grandparents most likely lived through it and they probably never talked to you at any length about it. My parents however, did live through it. As a matter of fact, even my 91 year old mother served in the Marine Corps during the war.

    It was a different time back then. Sure, we all remember 9-11 when a group of rogue terrorists hijacked commercial airpliners and flew them into New York, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania. But on December 7, 1941, a sovereign nation amassed the bulk of their naval forces and attacked Pearl Harbor. 353 Japanese airplanes were launched in 2 waves from 6 aircraft carriers. Over 2400 Americans were killed and almost 1300 wounded. All this was happening as Hitler was marching through Europe. It was called a "world war" for a reason.

    Once we were committed to the war, every American did the part willingly to support the war effort. Everything was rationed including food and especially gasoline. People even planted "victory gardens" to grow their own food so that commercially produced food could go to the military. Factories that made civilian products converted their factories to make military vehicles and airplanes. Americans made many sacrifices during that time and amateur radio was no exception. Pretty much anything the president wanted for the war effort, he got. Never since then has there ever been such a unified effort by Americans to support the defeat of an enemy. It was a horrendous time in history that no one wants to repeat.

    So how would amateurs today react if something similar happened? I have been to Pearl Harbor twice and walked on the ground where the concentration camp at Dachau once stood. If something of that magnitude ever happened again and if giving up amateur radio would somehow help in the effort to bring this to an end, I would do it without question.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
  13. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My dad was a ham at the time, but I don't think it bothered him much. He was on patrol in the Aleutians on a seaplane tender that had been docked next to the U.S.S. Arizona on the previous December 7th. Dad really didn't talk about the war that much, but he did tell two stories about the early days of the war.

    At that time, the Navy used TRF receivers. The problem with these were that they emitted a signal that could be detected at some distance, much like a regenerative set. One of their first duties was to fit their shipboard TRF receivers with converters, so they would not radiate a signal that the Japanese could detect.

    Also, they didn't want the Japanese to locate the fleet by radio triangulation. The seaplanes of the day had a transmitter with a readily identifiable 'chirpy' signal - they sounded crummy. The shipboard operators purposely mistuned the ship's transmitters to make them chirp like the seaplane rigs, and they used seaplane callsigns on the air.
  14. K5MIL

    K5MIL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Every transmitter leaves it's "fingerprint" on the leading and trailing edge of the waveform when it keys and unkeys.

  15. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    If WWIII were to go as most would expect, ham radio would be at the very bottom of your concerns.

    Many younger people don't have any clue as to how close we were to WWIII during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
    The US was nose to nose in a stare down with the Soviet Union for a few days. The Soviet Union blinked.
  16. WY5V

    WY5V Ham Member QRZ Page

    No worries guys. WERS was sorta/kinda replaced by RACES in the early 1950's. In the event of WWIII, all your communications needs will be handled by RACES commandos.

  17. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page


    TRF receivers do not have any oscillators in them and, as such, they don't radiate. It was the regenerative receivers and super-heterodyne receivers that radiated signals that might be "picked up" by enemy submarines which were of concern to the Navy. The regenerative receivers were the most likely to radiate and, in many cases, an r.f. stage was added to reduce radiation. Some super-heterodyne receivers, which did not have an r.f. stage, were also candidates for having an r.f. amplifier stage added.

    Glen, K9STH
  18. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think "dreaded" is a huge unsubstantiated overstatement. I also view it as a disservice to those many ham operators who served in the war who gave their skills in communications, and many also gave their lives. Also many who could not serve gave their radio equipment to the war effort.
  19. K7IOA

    K7IOA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The action by the FCC was no different than the actions by the FAA during 9/11. Hobbies take a back seat during wartime.
  20. AD0EC

    AD0EC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, most of our grandparents should be applauded for their actions. I say most..because not everyone has forgotten about Executive Order 9066.

    No, taking away radio licenses made no sense. Same could be said for taking away/banning guns. The rogue element is not going to follow the laws. All that FCC action did was take away a way for Americans to talk to each other. Demoralized a few hams, I'm sure.

    I guess all this could be blamed by the motto, "loose lips sink ships." Knee jerk reaction by the commission back then, in my opinion.

    Anyway, I'm not trying to argue with any of you fellas. Just thought this was an interesting thing to share. Not everyone (new hams) knows about it.
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