Amateurs had been operating radiotelephone on the 80-meter band between 3,500 and 3,600 kHz since it had first been permitted in late 1925.1 To do so they had to return their licenses to their local radio supervisor for endorsement. On the 150-meter band, phone already dominated operation. And as the broadcasting boom continued, phone’s popularity grew as a specialized pursuit for some amateurs on both bands. For others it was a source of QRM since every phone allocation shared space … 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

Strays—The Twenties Begin

If you’ve been following along you know that strays is a word hams used in the early years to mean static or other noises caused mostly by nature that would interfere with reception of signals. QST adopted the word as a heading for a collection of unrelated short topics of interest. In the first issues they were all grouped together and sometimes would take up a full page or more. Today, Strays lives on in QST, but distributed around the … Continue reading


As vacuum tubes were making CW practical, they were also making voice transmissions possible. Experimental broadcasts using radiotelephone—or just “phone” to hams—began as experiments by amateurs and some of the wireless telegraph companies, including Marconi and DeForest. In these early years of radio, just having a receiver to listen to the limited number of phone broadcasts was sufficient to be regarded as a radio amateur. The Marconi Wireless Telephone was demonstrated publicly for the first time on 12 June 1916.  … Continue reading