PACKET RADIO: Hams
Steve Wolf, W8IZ@W8IZ
(This text from the W8IZ packet radio bulletin
board. It's formatted to fit a 80 character screen.)
Original Author Unknown
According to the Northern Ohio Radio Society, the word ham was
applied in 1908. It was the call letters of one of the first
wireless stations, operated by members of the Harvard Radio Club.
The 3 operators names were:
Albert S. Hyman
They called their station Hyman-Almy-Murray originally. This,
however, proved too long to tap out in code! So, they changed it
to HY-AL-MU. But in 1909, confusion arose, when HYALMU called a
Mexican ship named HYALMO. Once again, they changed their call
sign to become HAM.
Albert Hyman chose the controversial Wireless Regulation Bill as
the topic for his Harvard thesis. The Bill would have critically
limited Amateur activities, in favor of commercial stations.
Hyman's instructor saw that a copy of Hyman's thesis was sent to
Senator David L. Walsh.
Senator Walsh was then a member of one of the committees hearing
the bill. The Senator was so impressed by the thesis, that he
called Hyman to appear before the committee.
Hyman described to the committee how the HAM station was built.
He almost cried when he told the crowded committee room that if
the bill past, the HAM station operators would have to close the
station. They simply could not afford the hefty license fees
and other federal requirements contained in the bill.
The HAM station became a symbol to all small Amateur stations in
the country. Each Amateur station operator hoped to be saved
from the selfish, greedy commercial stations who wanted to force
Subsequently, when the bill came to the floor of Congress, every
speaker spoke about the poor little station "HAM". The whole
story can be found in the Congressional Record. The nationwide
publicity connected the HAM station with Amateurs. Thus, an
Amateur Radio Operator is called a HAM!
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