Wireless in Washington

The fourth National Radio Conference convened on 9 November 1925, with seven hundred delegates from all sectors of the radio community present. Although attendance was larger than at any previous conference, it concluded its work in only three days, the shortest of any.1 As before, Maxim, Stewart, and Warner represented ARRL and the US amateurs. Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover once again presided over the conference and set the tone. In his opening remarks he said that amateur radio “has found … Continue reading

Rare International Sport

The Transcons, Transatlantics, relay speed record attempts, short wave tests, and the other group-oriented on-air events all owed their popularity to shared goals and objectives, but they were also simply fun to operate and involved an element of competition. The festive atmosphere generated by all the radio bugs coming on the air at once was not lost on the organizers who named these events parties. Described as a “worldwide contact contest” the ARRL planned an International Relay Party for spring, … Continue reading

Strays – Traffic, 200, and 20

Relaying in the DX Age In spring 1926, Fred Schnell resigned as ARRL communications manager after six years in the job, which included holding its former title, traffic manager.1 He was leaving to join the C. F. Burgess Laboratories in Madison, Wisconsin, well known for its batteries and other radio apparatus. Citing the “faithful, efficient and progressive manner” in which Schnell worked as a League official, the ARRL Board extended its appreciation and best wishes for his future endeavors. F. … Continue reading

North Again

As ARRL traffic manager Fred Schnell was beginning his voyage to the southern hemisphere with the US Navy,1 arctic explorer Donald MacMillan2 announced he would once again sail north with shortwave radio aboard the Bowdoin.3 The trip would begin in June 1925, and this time he planned to explore the north polar region using airplanes to determine whether any land existed there. The Bowdoin would be accompanied by a second ship, the Peary, captained by Commander Eugene F. MacDonald, Jr., … Continue reading

Army Vacation or Navy Cruise

In the fall of 1925, the US Army worked out a plan for transmitting amateurs1 to take part in a cooperative operation in support of Regular Army, National Guard and Reserve units, to handle traffic and provide communications in times of emergency, provide a reserve of trained operators, and exchange ideas about radio.2 Those interested (Official Relay Stations of the ARRL’s Traffic Department were already interested, with 80% responding in a survey) were asked to send a station card (not … Continue reading

DX Records and Shortwave Reflections

…or, The Heaviside Road to the Antipode Summer 1924 brought the first explorers to the four new, shorter wavelength bands that were opened up to amateur use in July. Amateurs anticipated interesting times ahead based on their earlier experimental work that produced the first transatlantic QSOs.  Those had been achieved at 100 meters under special licenses for operating below 150 meters, a region the government designated as “reserved” the previous year without explanation.1 No one knew how the shorter waves … Continue reading

April in Paris

A year or so after QST first began its International Amateur Radio department, amateurs were discussing linking amateur radio organizations around the world. In a speech at the second ARRL National Convention in late 1923, Maxim said he believed it was time for an international meeting to organize something he called a “World Amateur Radio League,” and asked members to submit their ideas for the ARRL board to consider.1 ARRL secretary and QST editor Kenneth Warner echoed the sentiment, declaring … Continue reading

Six Segments, Sans Spark

For nearly a year, hams had been operating in their first assigned band of wavelengths, 150 to 200 meters. They had also been experimenting below 150 meters by special government permission, dramatically demonstrating the effectiveness of the shortwaves with the first transatlantic two-way contacts, and marking the birth of international amateur radio. But why, they wondered, had the government designated the spectrum below 150 meters as “reserved?” Clearly that was a temporary state of affairs. What would come next for … Continue reading