Saturday, May 31, 2014

Historical Events in Amateur Radio

Guglielmo Marconi
1894-1899-- Marconi conducts his wireless experiments in Europe and sends a message across the English Channel.

1901-Marconi sends a wireless signal across the Atlantic.

1900-1908--Thousands experiment with wireless. Few at this time are interested in it as a hobby only.

1904-J.A. Fleming develops the 2 element (Diode) vacuum tube.

1906-Lee deforest develops the 3 element (Triode) vacuum tube. R.A. Fessenden uses the Alexanderson Alternator to make the first voice & music transmissions.

1908-A possible beginning of amateur radio. Prior to this time, interest in wireless had primarily been either as an experimenter or as an entrepreneur. By 1908, definite hobby interests exist among users.

1909-The first radio clubs are formed. Spark and the long-waves (300-6000 meters)

1912-The Titanic disaster points out the need for Wireless Regulation. The Radio Act of 1912 is passed, which limits amateur radio stations to 200 meters.

1913-Edwin Armstrong develops the regenerative receiver and also discovers that the "Audion" (Triode) can oscillate. CW is born.

1914-The ARRL is organized by H.P. Maxim to help relay messages, given the limited range on 200 meters at that time. (25 miles).

1914-1917--The number of amateur radio stations increases. The ARRL starts a little magazine, called "QST".

1918-Major Armstrong develops the superheterodyne receiver while serving in France. C.W. is used by the military during the war.

1919-Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels tries to get the Navy a total monopoly on all wireless communications.

1920-"Amateur Police Radio" becomes popular. Amateurs operated as an intersystem police communications service to relay broadcasts of crimes and stolen vehicles.

1921-1922--The National Amateur Wireless Association becomes active. It's main success is the broadcast of the Dempsey-Carpenter fight. Many amateurs helped in this broadcast, from acting as relay stations to setting up receivers and loudspeakers in public places.

1923-The amateur radio census is at 12,000. Shortwave development continues.The MacMillan Arctic Expedition is the first to carry two way radio; an amateur 200 meter station.

1924-Amateur radio get new bands at 80, 40, 20, and 5 meters. Spark prohibited on the new bands.

1925-The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) formed 1925.

1926-Radio Act of 1912 to be unenforceable in regards to broadcasting & the Shortwave radio.

1927-The Radio Act of 1927 creates the Federal Radio Commission.

1929-1936--Despite the Depression, Amateur Radio, low cost components make it possible to build a quality station . VHF phone operation becomes popular with the superregenerative receiver (developed by Armstrong) and the modulated oscillator. Phone operation begins to appear on some HF bands. But C.W. & crystal control are still number one.

1933-1934--The Communications Act of 1934 creates the Federal Communications Commission. Amateur radio Licenses are reorganized into Class A, Class B, and Class C. Major Edwin Armstrong develops wide-band FM.

1936-H.P. Maxim, founder of the ARRL & it's first President, dies.

1938-The Cairo Conference. Amateur radio lose the exclusive use of 40 meters, now shared with Broadcasters. The FCC gives us 2 new "UHF" bands, 2 1/2 meters (112 Mc) and 1 1/4 meters.

1939-1940--We are joined in the "UHF" range by two new users--the first FM Broadcast Band .

1942-1945--Except for the War Emergency Radio Service on 2 1/2 meters, no amateur radio operations take place. New "UHF" tubes and circuits are developed as a result of the war.

1945-A major battle develops over postwar frequency allocations. Major Armstrong (FM Broadcasting), and Brigadier General David Sarnoff (RCA/NBC Television), all fight over the low end of the VHF spectrum between 44-108. At one point, the FCC submits 3 Alternatives--one gives us a 7 meter band , two our 5 meter band , and three a 6 meter band . 6 meter band  wins and  is located between TV Ch 1  and Ch 2 .The FCC moves our 2 1/2 meter band to 144-148 MHz.

On November 15, 1945, amateurs are allowed back on the air--but just on 10 & 2 meters only. 1945-CQ magazine is first published.

1946-The military leaves our HF bands in stages, amateur radio operators gradually get their frequencies back, all except for 160 meters, which will be used for the LORAN Radio navigation system. The FCC creates the Tenth Call District (using the numeral -0-), and realigns the District boundaries. War surplus equipment finds its way into the ham radio market.

1947-The Atlantic City Conference--Amateurs lose the top 300 kc of 10 meters , and will lose 14.35--14.4  on 20 meters. But they will gain a new band at 15 meters  in the future. To compensate ham radio for their loss, the FCC allows them to use the 11 meter band on a shared basis with Industrial, Scientific & Medical devices. TVI is starting to become a problem--the ARRL determines that Ch 2 is very vulnerable to TVI & recommends it be eliminated, but the FCC removes Ch 1 instead. The Transistor is developed by Bell Labs.

1948-Single Sideband is fully described in the amateur radio publications.

1951-The FCC completely reorganizes the amateur license system. The Class A, B, & C Licenses are replaced by the Advanced, General, & Conditional Class respectively. Three new license classes are created--the Amateur Extra, Novice & Technician. The Technician Class is created for experimentation, not communication, and has privileges only above 220 MHz Novices are given limited HF CW sub-bands, 75 watts, crystal control only. They may also use phone on 145--147 MHz It is a one year, non renewable license.

1952-The FCC allows phone operation on 40 meters, which had been CW only. The 15 meter band is opened. The Advanced Class is withdrawn from new applicants, although present holders can continue to renew, and the "exclusive" 75 & 20 meter phone bands are opened to Generals & Conditionals. Everyone, Conditional & above, has the same privileges.

1953-The FCC starts issuing "K" calls to amateur radio operators in the 48 States due to the increased ham radio population.

1954-Depressed and broke from his patent fights with RCA over FM, Major Edwin Armstrong commits suicide. His wife continues the fight, winning the last battle in 1967, when the Supreme Court rules that Armstrong did indeed invent FM.

1955-Technicians are given 6 meter privileges to help populate the band & encourage experimentation. The ARRL & most ham radio operators oppose 2 meters for Technicians. Wayne Greene becomes editor of CQ magazine.

1956-1960--A gradual technical revolution on 2 fronts: Transistors find their way into the ham radio shack, first in power supplies, then audio sections, then receivers and finally QRP transmitters. But most equipment was still 100% tubes. Also, SSB is catching up on AM in terms of popularity. By the 1960's, SSB pulls ahead of AM.

Sputnik artificial satellite
1957-Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, is launched by the USSR. Amateurs copy it's beacon on 20 & 40 Mc.

1958-Explorer is launched by the US. Amateurs copy it's signal on 108 Mc. The ham radio population is 160,000--3 times the 1946 total. The FCC has to issue "WA" calls in the 2nd & 6th call areas, as the "W" & "K" 1x3 prefixes have run out. Slow Scan TV is first described in QST. In September, amateurs lose their shared use of 11 meters, as Class D CB is born.

1959-The Geneva Conference held, no major amateur changes. Technicians get the middle part of 2 meters (145-147 Mc), but not without some controversy over the purpose of the license. The FCC restates their "experimental, not communication" policy.

1960-Wayne Greene fired as CQ editor, forms 73 magazine.

1961-OSCAR I, the first amateur radio satellite, is launched. Thousands of Amateurs copy it's 50 mw beacon on 144 Mc.

1962-CONELRAD is replaced by the Emergency Broadcast System. Amateurs no longer have to monitor 640 or 1240 kc while operating their stations.

1963-The ARRL, responding to some complaints about Generals being allowed on 75 & 20 phone, proposes an "incentive licensing" system. Under the ARRL proposal, Generals & Conditionals would lose 75, 40, 20 & 15 meter phone privileges over a 2 year period. The Building Fund, to construct the ARRL Headquarters at 225 Main St., Newington, is in full swing. The amateur radio population is over 200,000, but CB licenses now outnumber hams.

President Herbert Hoover
1964-Herbert Hoover dies at the age of 90. As Secretary of Commerce in the 1920's, and President of the United States from 1929-1933, his strong support of amateur radio was invaluable. He lived long enough to see his son (Herbert Hoover, Jr, W6ZH) elected President of the ARRL.

1965-The FCC comes out with it's own incentive licensing proposal.

1969 -The FCC removes the ability for a Technician to hold a Novice license at the same time. The ARRL announces a new policy, they now consider Technicians to be communicators and petition the FCC to give them full VHF privileges, a 10 meter segment from 29.5-29.7 Mc, and Novice CW sub bands.

1970-The amateur radio population is 250,000 but stagnant.2 meter FM is starting to boom. New equipment designed for the amateur radio market joins the surplus wide band commercial radios which were converted for use on 146.94. "Mhz" & "khz" replace "Mc" & "kc".

1972-A national 2 meter FM band plan was announced,146.52 MHz was chosen as the national simplex frequency.

1974-The Electronics Industry Association proposed a new "Class E CB" using 2 MHz of our 220 band.

1975-1976--A new repeater sub band is established at 144.5-145.5 MHz.Technicians now have 144.5-148 MHz on 2 meters, and finally have Novice privileges. Novices are given a power increase to 250 watts. The "mail order" Technician license is eliminated--applicants must appear at a FCC examination site.

1977-The FCC expands CB radio from 23 to 40 channels. Hundreds of hams purchase "obsolete" 23 channel CB sets at fire sale prices and convert them to 10 meters.

1978-Technicians finally get all privileges above 50 MHz, and can obtain a RACES Station authorization. The amateur radio population stands at 350,000. "Packet" radio first appears on the ham bands, on an experimental basis.

1979-The World Administrative Radio Conference, or WARC-79, takes place in Geneva. The ARRL, IARU & other groups have been preparing for years.

1980-Spread Spectrum appears on an experimental basis, and the FCC authorizes ASCII on the ham radio bands.

1983- Owen Garriott, W5LFL, becomes the first amateur radio operator to be on board a Space Shuttle. He makes hundreds of QSO's on 2 meters.

1984-The FCC stopped giving examinations, turning the duty over to the new Volunteer Examiner Program. . The amateur radio population is up to 410,000.

1987-Novices & Technicians get 10 meter SSB privileges from 28.3-28.5 MHz Novices also get phone operation on portions of 220 & 1296 MHz The Element 3 written exam is broken into 2 segments--3A (Technician) and 3B (General). Technicians who passed their exam prior to March 1987 get permanent credit towards the General written exam.

1990-1991--MARS (military affiliate radio network) operations increased as amateurs became involved in Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Tens of thousands of Americans discover Shortwave Radio, to get the latest news.

1991-Amateur Radio gets it's first code free license--the "No Code Technician". "Regular" Technicians are renamed "Technician Plus". The first all amateur Shuttle, the "Atlantis", goes into space.

1991-1998--Amateur Radio grows from 500,000 to over 710,000.

Copyright 2011 by The Ham Radio Files.
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