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

First Band, Top Band

On 20 March 1923 Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover convened his second national radio conference and, as before, the ARRL was there in force. A May QST photo shows Maxim at center flanked by C. F. Jenkins, identified as “inventor of radio transmission of photographs,” and Major General G. O. Squier, US Army, Chief Signal Officer. Paul Godley of transatlantics fame and ARRL Secretary Kenneth Warner can be seen in the background. Besides Maxim and crew, other prominent participants from … Continue reading

Twenty-two in ’22

Driven by rapidly expanding and radically changing uses of radio, a fitful and frustrating process of legislative and regulatory proposals and counterproposals was just beginning and would continue for a decade or more before it would begin to stabilize. As spring arrived in 1922, new broadcasting stations packed the air with signals as growing crowds of listeners in the general public clamored for even more. Ten years had brought changes unimaginable in 1912 when the first radio law was enacted.  … Continue reading

What is an Amateur?

As the number of phone broadcasts exploded in late 1921, radio amateurs and the ARRL were ambivalent about it. On one hand, the great increase in the number of people owning receivers was a good thing—radio technology was being embraced by the general public. On the other hand, the shared airwaves were getting even more crowded. There were now thousands of broadcast stations operating, both commercial and amateur. Furthermore, a fuzzy line separated amateur from non-amateur that had nothing to … Continue reading

Naval Maneuvers

Despite the political and regulatory-control disputes between amateurs and the Secretary, the Navy well understood how much it had benefited from all the trained amateurs ready to volunteer for service during the war and the likelihood of needing them again someday. In August the Navy announced it would begin broadcasting test messages containing weather information and text for code-copying practice at 15 and 25 words per minute every night on 476 meters from NAJ, the Great Lakes station, “in order … Continue reading

The First Regulations

The air began to fill with signals from military, commercial and amateur transmitters. By mid-1904 the Navy had established 20 coastal stations to make special broadcasts and communicate with 24 wireless-equipped ships. Perhaps a hundred or so high-power amateur stations were also operating in the US at this point. Companies started to be established around 1908, many based on wild claims impossible to satisfy, which therefore fed public skepticism about radio. But as the business environment stabilized, companies consolidated and … Continue reading