Welcome! This is a tour of amateur radio history, beginning around the turn of the last century. It unfolds blog-style in periodic installments or chapters.
This table of contents is useful whether you’re new to this site or have been following it for a while. It presents stories in chronological order. The Chapters page lists the same contents but with the most recent first, proceeding backward in the order in which they were posted (which is also nearly always historically reverse chronological order). The site reads best chronologically, but you are welcome to jump in at any point. Reading in random order might get confusing, though, since some installments refer back to events described in earlier ones.
If you’re new here, the best way to start is to begin at the beginning with the Introduction, followed by the Prologue. At the top of each page are links (at left and right) to the next and previous posts in the sequence.
Table of Contents
Beginnings – The first amateurs
The Squeak Box – Kids with keys
The First Regulations – The end of free range hams
Getting Organized – Collaboration extends range to a continent
QST at the Beginning - A new amateur wireless magazine
A Patriotic and Dignified Effort - Relevance to the nation, public service
Humor, Poetry and Rotten Rants - It’s fun too
Technical Writing - Professionals and amateurs, sometimes the same
Spark Radio – The damped wave
Aerials, Attachments, and Audibility – Wires, gaps, and phones
The Audion – The third electrode’s the charm
The Relay’s the Thing – A blueprint for passing messages
Trunk Lines – Cross-country paths and star stations
Cooperation and QRM – Sharing the air
Regulations and Enforcement, Hard and Soft - A process forms around the 1912 law
Strangely Behaving Signals – Propagation is more complicated than it seems
Transcons – Relaying across the country and back.
The Lid – The war puts an end to amateurs’ operations
Shut Down and Called Up – Hams are off the air at home, then back on overseas
Waking up – Hams begin to return home from war
Naval Maneuvers – Amateur radio comes under renewed threats
Liberty – The ban on operating is finally lifted
New Hams(F.) – The “fraternity,” not
Armstrong in QST – Scientist, engineer… amateur
Freaks – What makes signals fade?
QSS Tests – Hams and the Bureau of Standards seek an answer.
Spark to CW – Renewed experimentation and an inexorable trend
Radiotelephone - Beginnings of phone transmissions and broadcasts
Strays – The Twenties Begin
Transcons at Record Speed – The air falls silent as hams run for records
The Chicago Plan – Urban hams get rowdy – a model of cooperation results
Crossings – The first amateur radio transatlantic tests (in three parts)
Crossings, I – Aquitania
Crossings, II – Ardrossan
Crossings, III – Accolades
What is an Amateur? – Distinguishing transmitting from broadcasting
Broadcast Boundaries – A first national radio conference