Fifty Years of ARRL

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<p>COPYRIGHT 1966THE AMERICAN RADIO RELAY LEAGUE. INC.Copyright secured under the Pan-American ConventionInternational Copyright securedNo part of this work may be reproduced in any form except bywritten permission of the publisher. AU rights of translationare reserved. Printed in U.S.A.Ouedan reservados todos los derechosLibrary of Congress Catalog Card Number: 65-21043First Edition3rd printing, 1981rew rIn May, 1914, a small band of radio amateurs led by the lateHiram Percy Maxim, YV1AW, of Silencer fame, and ClarenceTuska, started a national organization and named it the AmericanRadio Relay League. Since that time the story of amateur radio hasbeen the history of the League, the chronicle of amateurs workingtogether for the public welfare and for their common good.In 1964, the Golden Anniversary of the League, its magazineQST covered this tale in serial form. At the suggestion of numerousmembers, this material is now gathered here as a historical ref-erence, supplementing but not replacing the only other compre-hensive history, Two Hundred Meters and Down, by Clinton B.DeSoto. Through these pages "Old Timers" can relive their ownamateur experiences and "Young Squirts" can learn the fascinatingtale of amateur radio's early years, and appreciate the heritageof hamdom so painstakingly built up.-JOHN HUNTOON, W1LVQGeneral ManagerNewington, ConnecticutMay, 1965Years of In\..!I;l,&amp;1.JIdANNIVERSARY MESSAGEFROM OUR PRESIDENTTo my fellow League members:The coming new year, 1964, marksa very special event for amateur radio- the 50th anniversary of the found-ing of the American Radio RelayLeague. It will be a year in which wecan justly take a great pride in ourpast accomplishments, and yet rea-lize at the same time we have thechallenge of many difficult problemsstill ahead.In this and succeeding 1964 issuesof QST, the editors plan to tell some-thing of the history and accomplish-ments of amateur radio during thelast 50 years. They will show how itgrew originally from a few hundreddedicated enthusiasts in America andEurope to more than 350,000 amateursnow scattered in almost every countryof the world. They will recount thestory of our technical progress fromthe early times, when we could workeach other for a few hundred mileswith spark sets on 200 meters; to themodern era of vacuum tubes andtransistors with which we can nowtalk almost anywhere in the worldon s.s.b., a.nu., c.re., and RTTY, usingthe harmonically related bands thatare assigned to us throughout theh.f., v.h.j., and u.h.j. spectrum.There were the exciting days in the1920's, for instance, when Reinartss,Schnell, and Deloy turned the ac-cepted theories of long-distance radiocommunications upside down, andprooedfor thefirst time the enormoususefulness of short wave. This spirit oftechnical progress and scientific ad-venture has persisted steadily downthrough the years, and there hasyielded many solid contributions toradio communications. Whether largeor small each of them has been astep forward - and another featherin the cap of amateur radio. In recenttimes the achievements of ProjectOscar have been a vivid demonstrationthat this pioneering tradition is stillvery much alive.As we delve into past history it alsobecomes apparent that the foundersof the League, particularly HiramPercy Maxim and Clarence T'uska,realized from the beginning that ifAmateur Radio was to persist it hadto have a firm foundation of publicservice. It was undoubtedly for thisreason they included the word "relay"in the League's name, for that was theonly known way of handling trafficin those early days. They continuallystressed the need for operating skillas one of the basic prerequisites forour existence, as they foresaw thatnowhere could these skills be betterdeveloped and put to constructive usethan in handling traffic and emer-gency communications. We must beeverlastingly grateful to those oldtimers for handing down to us thesetraditions of public service, technicalprogress, and operating skill. Withoutthem ham radio would have perishedlong ago.In our concern with today' prob-lems we sometimes forget that theold timers had plenty of troubles, too.But they met them with courage andforesight, and they have left us witha great heritage for the future. Weowe the founders of the League agreat debt of gratitude,for their visionand leadership provided the basis forour growth and have made amateurradio and the League what they aretoday.-HERBERT HOOVER, JR. W6ZH-r-Presiden.t; ARRL4A MemorableBY C. D. TUSKA *eatingMy FAMILY moved to Hartford, Connecticut,and entered me in the ninth grade elemen-tary school at a time when Hiram Percy Maximhad already made a name for himself. Whilehe might have rested on the laurels of hisdistinguished father, Sir Hiram S. Maxim1-inventor of the Maxim machine gun - or hisequally distinguished uncle, Hudson Maxim-inventor of maximite (a high explosive) hewas known for his pioneering in the automotivefield 2 and for his invention of the Maximsilencer for firearms. I shall report the firstmeeting of the schoolboy and the distinguishedcitizen that preceded the formation of theAmerican Radio Relay League by several years.About 1909-1910 the rubber-powered modelaeroplane craze came into being. While myfirst love was wireless, I learned how to build dualpropeller pushers in which pairs of rubber-bandmotors were simultaneously wound with con-verted egg-beaters to provide motive power.Pocket money had to be earned, so I made andconsigned model planes to the Harris Parker toystore on Asylum Street, Hartford. When badflying weather came, wireless took over.I had arrived in Hartford with an untuned* 401 Mercer Rd., Princeton, N.J.Author's Note: Throughout I have tried to use the vocabu-lary of the earlier years.1 Maxim, Hiram Percy A Genius in the Family, NewYork, Harpers &amp; Brothers 1936.2 Maxim, Hiram Percy Horseless Carriage Days. NewYork, Harpers &amp; Brothers 1936.Clarence D. Tuska, ex-l WD, co-founder, ARRL and QST.5spark coil transmitter and a coherer-decohererreceiver (both with small dipole aerials) thatoperated across the room. I also possessed a two-slide tuning coil and an E. 1. electrolytic detectorthat did not operate at all well because theWollaston wire kept burning out. Before longthese crude instruments were replaced with ahomemade loose coupler, a crystal detector, anda pair of Brandes phones. About that time thesales of model aeroplanes petered out and soonafter my supply of pocket money nearly vanished.In an attempt to replenish the pocketbookI made a wooden box with a hinged lid. The boxwas big enough to hold a single slide tuner, acrystal detector and a single telephone receiver.Based on the successful sale of model planes, Mr.Parker did not hesitate to take my small wirelessset on consignment and to put the outfit in hiswindow.Harris Parker's store Wj1S on my way to highschool to which I had been promoted. I usuallywaited in front of the store for the trolley carthat took me out Farmington Avenue. Youmay be sure that I watched the store windowand my set every day. There was great excite-ment the day the set was not in the window.That afternoon on my way nome I went to Mr.Parker to collect. The conversation went aboutas follows:"Mr. Parker, I saw the wireless set was goneso I am here to collect.""Well now, son, I let a customer take it andif it works O.K., he'll be in to pay for it. If itdoesn't work to his satisfaction, he'll return it.Drop around in a day or so."Perhaps two days later, I went to Mr. Parkerand there was the set on a rear counter and Iwas told: "The man who took the set returned itand said it was no good."Since I had successfully operated the set thesewere" fighting words". I volunteered: "Probablythe man did not know how to operate a wirelessset and undoubtedly he failed to adjust eitherthe tuner or the crystal detector."My words probably went completely over Mr.Parker's head but he gave me a stopper for ananswer: "Oh, I think he knew how. You see, thiswas Mr. Maxim, the inventor, and I am surehe'd know all about wireless sets."When I arrived home my mother could feelthat something was wrong and she finallydragged the story out of me. During mostof my youth she had to be both father andmother. This time I got fatherly advice: "Yougo promptly to see Mr. Maxim and ask him to tellyou what was wrong!" It took alot of persuadingbut finally I agreed; provided my good friend,William Ball, who was my partner for the saleof enameled wire, Brandes phones and custom-built loose couplers, went with me.Bill and I started for Mr. Maxim's one eveningwithout an appointment. Mr. and Mrs. Maximand their two children were living on ProspectAvenue, just south of Farmington Avenue.It was quite a long trolley ride from where welived. Although I did not admit it, my enthusiasmfor the confrontation diminished with thedistance.It was after dark when we found the house,rang the doorbell, and waited for the door toopen. A man appeared. He was in his earlyforties, of medium height, his hair (which wasbeginning to gray) stood straight up,3and he washaving obvious trouble with one of his garters.When the garter was fixed, we were given afriendly look of inquiry.I came directly to the point, and give or takea word or two, I can almost remember saying inone breath: "Mr. Maxim I am the boy who madethe wireless set you got at Harris Parker's andyou returned it saying it was no good and I wanttoknow why!"This was obviously no trivial matter to behandled at the open door. Either we were to beshut out or invited in. I was never sure whatprompted him to ask us in other than he wasnaturally kindly and always gentlemanly. * Hequickly disposed of the "no good" commentabout the set by explaining: "I did not tell Mr.Parker that it was no good or did not work. I toldhim it would not serve my purpose and thatI wanted something better - something moreprofessional.' ,Before we said good night, Ball and Tuskahad Mr. Maxim's order fora loose coupler, avariable condenser, a crystal detector and apair .of Brandes Navy Phones. The rig was in-stalled in due course and gave satisfactoryservice for a number of years. Throughout thoseyears, and for many years thereafter, my friend-ship with Mr. Maxim grew. Looking back, it wasmore of a father-foster-son relationship. It washe who urged me to go to college. It was he whotook the time to drive me over to Trinity Collegeand to introduce me to dear old Dr. Lutherand to Professor Henry Perkins. But I am gettingahead of the story.Mr. Maxim and his young son, Hamilton,acquired a spark coil transmitter and we com-municated by wireless in the days before amateurlicenses were required. At that time most of thecall letters around Hartford began with SN towhich one added any third letter not previouslypre-empted. I believe Maxim's was probablySNW and mine was SNT. We became membersof the Radio Club of Hartford. The informal3 Maxim, Hiram Percy "Practical Relaying". QST, Vol.1, No.3, page 19, Feb. 1916.* About seven years later in a very personal letter hespecifically referred to that night and indicated that he"was impressed ".This picture of Mr. Maxim's station was published in TheHartford Times on January 17, 1914. Mr. Maxim is at theright-the other operator is not identified. This engravingwas made directly from a clipping furnished us by DavidMoore, first prexy of the Hartford Radio Club and now awinter-time resident of Florida.call letters soon gave way under the new lawto station licenses with assigned call letters. Thestations were operated by licensed amateurs.The power limitations of spark coil trans-mitters led to power transformers, first with fixedspark gaps and then with numerous styles ofrotary gaps. Our signals went well beyond thecity boundaries. It was not long before we hadintercity and interstate communications. Thegrowing communication range lead me to discusswith Mr. Maxim the possibility that amateurstations' operators with whom we were in com-munication must also know other amateuroperators beyond our range and beyond themstill others. Therefore it would be interestingto organize a relay - say from Hartford toBuffalo or even farther.While I was thinking of a one-shot proposition,Maxim, who had no end of imagination." foresawan amateur communication network. He dreamedof a network from the East to the West, fromthe North to the South.! I have no doubt that healso saw the lasting advantages that banding theamateurs together would give to our country 6and lio the amateurs. Thus came the first stepleading to the founding of the American RadioRelay League.To Hiram Percy Maxim wireless must havebeen a romantic thing, a new tool, a great adven-ture in which thousands and then tens of thou-sands of amateurs could communicate freely andeasily and instantly over greater and greate...</p>