A Century of Amateur Radio and the ARRL

ARRL Letter
February 20, 2014
by: Al Brogdon, W1AB

Radio History: A Century of Amateur Radio and the ARRL

Following the resumption of Amateur Radio activities after World War I ensued a thundering herd of advances in the state of the Amateur Radio art. Here are some highlights from that period.

April 1922 — The first contact was made between California and Hawaii. September 1922 — 1CCZ worked every US call district in one night, the first time that had ever been accomplished. November 1922 — Another record-breaking relay was accomplished, from 1AW to 9AWM to Hawaiian 6ZAC and back to 1AW in 4 minutes 18 seconds.

June 1923 — The first expedition using Amateur Radio sailed. The schooner Bowdoin (WNP) had Don Mix, 1TS, aboard as its operator. This and later Bowdoin expeditions were searching for the land mass that was thought to exist at the North Pole. September 1923 — VK2CM contacted ZL4AA (a 1500 mile path), with VK2CM running 4 milliwatts on CW! November 1923 — 1MO and 1XAM worked F8AB, the first transatlantic contact. December 1923 — 1EH made contacts with England, Italy, and Holland.

May 1924 — The first contact was made between New Zealand and Argentina, a new DX record of 6400 miles. The same month saw the first contact between North and South America. July 1924 — All previous shortwave work had required “experimental” licenses. After considerable groundwork by the ARRL, the government allowed shortwave work by all amateurs, with band assignments of 1.5 to 2.0, 3.5 to 4.0, 7.0 to 8.0, 14.0 to 16.0, and 56.0 to 64.0 MHz. September 1924 — The first confirmed contact was made between California and New Zealand. December 1924 — The first daylight transcontinental signals were heard, from Connecticut to California, as John Reinartz, 1QP, made experimental transmissions on the new 20 meter band.

April 1925 — The first published article on the theory of shortwave propagation appeared in QST, authored by John Reinartz, 1QP. Also in April, the International Amateur Radio Union was formed at a conference in Paris, and Hiram Percy Maxim was elected as its first president. May 1925 — The first contact was made between Australia and England, during daylight hours on 20 meters.

April 1926 — The Worked All Continents award was first offered; it garnered eight initial members.

May 1927 — The first annual ARRL DX Contest was held.

March 1928 — The 10 meter band was opened to Amateur Radio use.

These were just a few highlights from that wonderful era of advancement of the radio art by amateurs. Next week: On to the 1930s.