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WHY RADIO AMATEURS ARE CALLED "HAMS "

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WHY RADIO AMATEURS ARE CALLED "HAMS "

Post by thumper » Thursday, 03 November 2005, 22:53 PM

WHY RADIO AMATEURS ARE CALLED "HAMS "
From Florida Skip Magazine-1959


Have you ever wondered why radio amateurs are called "HAMS"? Well, it goes like this:

The word "HAM" as applied to 1908 was the station CALL of the first amateur wireless stations operated by some amateurs of the HARVARD RADIO CLUB. They were ALBERT S. HYMAN, BOB ALMY and POOGIE MURRAY. At first they called their station "HYMAN-ALMY-MURRAY". Tapping out such a long name in code soon became tiresome and called for a revision. They changed it to "HY-AL-MU", using the first two letters of each of their names.

Early in 1908 some confusion resulted between signals from amateur wireless station "HYALMU" and a Mexican ship named "HYALMO". They then decided to use only the first letter of each name and the station CALL became "HAM".

In the early pioneer days of unregulated radio amateur operators picked their own frequency and call letters. Then, as now, some amateurs had better signals than commercial stations. The resulting interference came to the attention of congressional committees in Washington and Congress gave much time to proposed legislation designed to critically limit amateur radio activity.

In 1911, ALBERT HYMAN chose the controversial WIRELESS REGULATION BILL as the topic for his Thesis at Harvard. His instructor insisted that a copy be sent to Senator DAVID I. WALSH, a member of one of the committees hearing the BILL. The Senator was so impressed with the Thesis that he asked HYMAN to appear before the committee. ALBERT HYMAN took the stand and described how the little station was built and almost cried when he told the crowded committee room that if the BILL went through they would have to close down the station because they could not afford the license fees and all the other requirements which the BILL imposed on amateur stations.

Congressional debate began on the WIRELESS REGULATION BILL and the little station "HAM" became the symbol for all the little amateur stations in the country crying to be saved from the menace and greed of the big commercial stations who didn't want them around. The BILL finally got to the floor of Congress and every speaker talked about the "poor little station HAM".

That's how it all started. You will find the whole story in the Congressional Record. Nationwide publicity associated station "HAM" with amateur radio operators. From that day to this, and probably till the end of time in radio:

An amateur is a "HAM".


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Post by LordDragr » Friday, 04 November 2005, 10:27 AM

Thanks for the history lesson I always like to learn stuff like that as do others I'm sure.
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Post by Guest » Friday, 04 November 2005, 11:25 AM

any time bud!

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Post by Mr Gote » Friday, 04 November 2005, 14:43 PM

I guess it is true that you learn something new everyday.

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hams

Post by jcollins » Saturday, 19 November 2005, 11:53 AM



you say hams
i call them turkeys i was a ham radio operator
or years i went back to cb
cb radio has more friendly people
i was a general class i let it expire
im a professional cb operator
not amature


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Re: hams

Post by DX_949 » Thursday, 24 November 2005, 9:18 AM

jcollins wrote:

you say hams
i call them turkeys i was a ham radio operator
or years i went back to cb
cb radio has more friendly people
i was a general class i let it expire
im a professional cb operator
not amature
LMAO!!!
I mean HI HI for the former HAM in you. :Peace!:

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Post by Guest » Saturday, 26 November 2005, 17:30 PM

I am (or used to be) one of the hams you talk about. I have a extra class lic. I think most hams are a bunch of stuck up old men who think they are better than every one else in radio land including most of the new hams. NOCODE/CODE who really cares :wink: . I tell most of my fellow hams to lighten up it's only a HOBBIE. well that will get you kicked out of all the clubs :shocked: :-D . So I came to my senses about 12 years ago took down most of my towers sold the antennas and came home to 11 meter cb. I have more fun here than I ever did on 80 meters or 40 meters. Most of my ham/ former ham buddies won't even talk to me anymore. But I here them on the c.b. bands having fun too :roll: I guess they know too what I found out a long time ago CBers are just real people doing their own thing > Cb is just more fun 8) A better class of people. Sorry for the rant I know this ain't church. I just wanted to say thanks for allowing me to join your group here and become a real radio operator again on the peoples band :-P cb. thanks TOD or STARMAN341 :Peace!: Illinois

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Post by theonlysilentbob » Wednesday, 04 January 2006, 21:00 PM

Based on the date this is on OLD thread but I am a HAM operator as well. Naturally I started out with a cheap pair of walkie talkies from TOYS R'US and got angered 3 years after owning them (I was probably 6 at the time). My friends and I planned to ride around the block and keep in contact with them but their range limit was around 20 feet. Grrrrr!

When I was 7 I graduated to CB. I bought one from a local yard sale for 5 dollars. After much crying and balling my dad decided to finally install it in my mom’s car (he would not let such an ugly radio touch his car let alone some ugly antenna). I barely used it and my mom who cannot operate electronics decided it was best to shove it under the seat and leave the antenna in the trunk. When I was probably 10 or 11 I suddenly remembered I had a CB (LOL) and started fooling around with it. One time when my mother was in the car I left it on Ch.19 and she promptly unplugged it when a tow-truck driver made his opinion about the hwy traffic known.

I was accustomed to swearing though as my father could not put together a sentence without adding in some cuss words and foul language. That probably explains why he had such a hard time during business meetings LOL.

When I was 12 I built my first Yagi and started DX work with my Midland radio. It only needed little over 1AMP at 13.5 volts and a spliced up radio shack wall adaptor did the trick. There was buzzing with the squelch totally open but it did not effect the quality of my transmission nor received signals. I sort of missed the big CB era and things in the CB world were in decline but I still made some contacts around the world as every CB'er has.

When I was 15 I used to harass the drivers, if I found some guys who were having a conversation I would break in after 5 minutes and let them know that their time is up. Oh boy, I can't tell you how many times they were going to come hunting me down but I knew better and never worried, after all it was fun to hear them threatening me and cursing lol.

I had plenty of fun with the CB but believe me up here in Canada it is not the same as it is in the U.S when it comes to professionalism. Between the age of 15 and 18 I pretty much visited every state and met guys on the CB all over, I was amazed at how professional it was especially in rural areas. In Canada unless you were in a truly rural area it had become nothing more than 1 channel (19) with the odd guys speaking in another language on the other channels. Actually for some reason the guys who did not speak English like channel 9? Perhaps because it was almost always quiet even when stations were coming in loud and clear from Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky (those states seem to be the busiest with CB activity to me).

I decided that as CB was starting to really die (cell phones were just taking over like mad) I needed to see what else I could do. It was then I discovered HAM radio. At first I never really spoke much about my CB background but eventually one day when I heard two old guys (probably around 90) bad talking it to the bone I jumped in and asked them why the grudge. Well these guys were still upset they lost the 11 meter HAM band to CB. Now personally it was not the end of the world if you ask me, there are tons of HF amateur bands and 10 meters is just about the exact same as 11 meters.

I went on to experiment with every amateur band less than 2 GHz and eventually had my fill of everything. I had become a well respected HAM and everyone knew I was still an avid CB'er. People have asked me why I waste my time with CB and I just reply "how many traffic reports do you get on 2 meters?".

I also met many many ex-CB'ers on 6 meters and 10 meters. These guys still played with their CB the odd time and eventually we got into the habit of rag chewing on CB instead of HF. It was much nicer since we could swear, not intentionally but sometimes words do slip and we could talk about all the things not allowed on HAM radio like politics, religion and we did not have to identify but we still did using former CB calls sometimes mixed with handles (sort of odd for side band eh?).

It was at that point I seriously though that while the CB of the past is dead and will probably never come back at least if we start talking in an organized fashion using the bands properly guys out there who still want to at least live in the old world of CB for a short time can do so and thus far it has worked.

We also brought knowledge from the HAM world back into the CB world. I remember taking 1 hour to explain why pointing fire sticks horizontally like horns is not a good idea lol. The trucker who did so listened to too many bar stories. He was told that 11 meters is mainly ground wave action which is true and that by forcing the radio waves from the antenna into the ground it would offset his tractor trailers ground plane. Little did he realize that he probably chopped his range in half and did not change the ground plane. No matter how you tilt the antennas on the front of your truck as with all mobile objects, the radiation directs most of the energy in the direction of the most metal and in his case and all 18 wheeler cases that means right out of the back end of the trailer.

Later on I got into an argument with a local CB shop that eventually went under. Everything he sold was snakes oil. He claimed to have full wave CB antennas that were only 4 feet tall, when I tested a pair that a buddy bought they SWR for one was 5.1:1 and when I took the thing apart it was just a regular 2 meter HAM antenna directly from Japan. The best part is that he said all the antennas were pre-tuned, yeah to kill your radio and give him more business! The big clash came when he sold another gentleman some stupid cap for the CB antennas which directs 100% of the radiation in the front of the truck. The guy who bought it had a 5 days exchange guarantee if it did not work as expected. Well damn right, when I tested the trucks radiation pattern nothing had changed and when we did a range test the range actually fell by 3 miles! Believe me the guy who ran the store did not know what to say when we confronted him with the evidence and demanded the refund.

That’s the only thing I don’t like about the world of CB vs the HAM world. In the HAM world there are many jerks but it is rare to have a customer sold equipment that won’t work as intended with regards to snake’s oil. As far as getting used equipment that does work goes that is very normal (go to any HAM fest and find out first hand LOL). I have almost made it my mission to make sure people who know nothing about radios don’t get lured into corners, on a local level anyway.
Last edited by theonlysilentbob on Wednesday, 04 January 2006, 21:22 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Guest » Wednesday, 04 January 2006, 21:11 PM

MAN THAT'S A BOOK YOUR KEY BOARD MUST BE BURNING UP.......LOL J/K

I THINK THAT PRETTY MUCH TELL THE STORY FOR US ALL

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Post by theonlysilentbob » Wednesday, 04 January 2006, 21:23 PM

Why do you think it took me an hour to explain the whole truck radiation pattern issue? LOLOLOLOL

The keyboard is HOT :-P

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Post by Guest » Wednesday, 04 January 2006, 21:40 PM

LMAO! :8_too_funny:

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Post by Mr RadioActive » Wednesday, 04 January 2006, 21:48 PM

I just like Ham isnt that good enough!



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Post by Guest » Wednesday, 04 January 2006, 21:49 PM

NO!

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Post by theonlysilentbob » Wednesday, 04 January 2006, 21:53 PM

MMMMMMMMMMM... HAM.... I am hungry....

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WOW

Post by jcollins » Wednesday, 04 January 2006, 21:54 PM

:06-22tru:[/b]

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Post by Bozo » Thursday, 05 January 2006, 7:54 AM

IT IS BECAUSE IT SOUNDS BETTER THEN DILLWEED! :lmao:
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Post by Peddler » Saturday, 28 January 2006, 19:44 PM

Why be an AMATUER (ham) radio operator,

When you can be a PROFESSIONAL cber.

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Post by mudder » Saturday, 04 February 2006, 1:46 AM

Peddler wrote:Why be an AMATUER (ham) radio operator,

When you can be a PROFESSIONAL cber.


:06-28iag: :06-22hom:

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Post by Falkon MX-5 » Monday, 20 March 2006, 23:10 PM

I am a ham. I have my 2m radio sitting right here to the left of me running on my roll up jpole antenna that I made. I'm happy being a ham, because I would have never learned morse code, antenna theory, and many other principles had I not gone for my license. I would have spent my money on an expensive antenna for my CB instead of building my own for a fraction of the cost.

Howver, I will never turn from CB. Where else can 7 adults have fun at the same time just saying "shut the **Censored** up" ?
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Post by Phaze91460 » Tuesday, 21 March 2006, 9:57 AM

yer definatly a HAM there Falcon !

btw, where did you get your education on antennas etc. for your test. I would like to learn more but ...... who has time for organized classes. If it was online or books, could be something to work with.
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Post by Falkon MX-5 » Tuesday, 21 March 2006, 10:41 AM

I started asking questions on the QRZ forum, and a nice ham from texas sent me the ARRL antenna handbook... free of charge! He even paid shipping!

I learn much of what I know from other hams and the study guide I read for the test. I hate that I have to upgrade to General to get any REAL privledges, but I'm willing to do it!
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Post by Phaze91460 » Tuesday, 21 March 2006, 11:59 AM

Is the book something you can scan ? Would be a good thing to have.
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Post by Falkon MX-5 » Tuesday, 21 March 2006, 12:42 PM

The technician license is super easy to get. You don't have to know any morse code. That'll get you started around town on VHF and UHF.

Check out www.qrz.com

They have practice exams there, that are the actual questions they will ask.

I just picked up a study guide to study for my General today. That'll get me the privledges to operate down on the fun DX bands - 20m, 40m, 60m, 80, 160m. I dunno HOW I'd put up an antenna for 160, though... LOOOOONNG

I'm looking forward to doing 20 meters though.

No matter what, I'll still call 11 meters home.
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Post by RabidRobert » Tuesday, 21 March 2006, 12:57 PM

QRZ is a neat site! Ive been practicing the Tech exam for about a week now, & I average about 90%! It is easy! I also have the General study guide with a CD ROM for Code. I think I will take both at the same time! Thump, you have to go somewhere to take the actual test, they give the exams EVERYWHERE!! Youd have no probs finding a place or the time!! BTW I got my study guide at Frys electonics, but you can get them on the net. Ill look into Limewire & see if I cant find an E book!
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Post by WavMixer » Tuesday, 13 June 2006, 14:00 PM

Mr.RadioActive wrote:I just like Ham isnt that good enough!
Only if it's a Honey Baked ham :lol:

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Post by Phaze91460 » Tuesday, 13 June 2006, 16:48 PM

Wow, this is an old thread ! Thought it died a long time ago.

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Post by Rex_foxhound » Tuesday, 13 June 2006, 19:48 PM

Its always good to see the older threads coming back to life. Especially when a somewhat new member brings it back.
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