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Way Back When
Cover of QST - September 1935

     In the September, 1935 issue of QST, the ARRL announced the formation of the “ARRL Emergency Corps” and asked hams to sign up. The objective was to provide emergency communications without relying on current from the power company. Hams would be required to have enough equipment to make a complete station, capable of being set up in a short time. This “Corps” would ultimately become the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® also known as ARES®.

Please go here to download a copy of the QST article (courtesy of ARRL).

The Old Man’s Birthday

Hiram Percy Maxim (September 2, 1869 – February 17, 1936) was an American radio pioneer and inventor, and co-founder of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). He originally had the amateur call signs SNY, 1WH, 1ZM, (after World War I) 1AW, and later W1AW, which is now the ARRL Headquarters club station call sign.

     Maxim invented the “Maxim Silencer,” a suppressor for firearms as well as a muffler for gasoline engines.

     He also wrote a memoir that was adapted for the screen in 1946. So Goes My Love starred Don Ameche and Myrna Loy.

Arthur Andrews Collins, 9CXX/W9CXX/W0CXX, (9 September 1909–25 February 1987) first gained national recognition as a teenager for significant advances in radio communication, and later founded his own radio engineering and manufacturing company in 1933. Rapidly expanding during WWII, Collins Radio Company eventually grew into a Fortune 500 leader in avionics; military, space and commercial radio communications; telecommunication; and ultimately an innovator in melding computer and communication technology.

Collins was the first to introduce a compact HF transceiver, the
KWM-1. Among amateur radio operators, the Collins S/Line established its reputation as perhaps the most solidly engineered equipment available—and the most costly. As a result, S/Line equipment, the A-Line and other predecessors, are restored, prized, and operated by dedicated collectors.

Today, Rockwell Collins-branded aircraft electronics are installed in the cockpits of nearly every airline in the world and its communication systems transmit nearly 70 percent of U.S. and allied military airborne communications.

Portrait by Thomas Phillips, oil on canvas, 1841-1842

Michael Faraday (September 22, 1791 – August 25, 1867) was a prolific English scientist who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. In 1831 his discovery of electromagnetic induction was enormously important for the future of both science and technology. Faraday discovered that a varying magnetic field causes electricity to flow in an electric circuit. Other discoveries include diamagnetism, electrolysis and benzene. The unit of capacitance, the Farad, is named
in his honor.

Induction experiment sketch - J. Lambert 1892

Jean-Maurice-Émile Baudot (11 September 1845 – 28 March 1903), French telegraph engineer and inventor of the first means of digital communication Baudot code, was one of the pioneers of telecommunications. He invented a multiplexed printing telegraph system that used his code and allowed multiple transmissions over a single line.

Baudot invented his telegraph code in 1870 and patented it in 1874. It was a 5-bit code, with equal on and off intervals, which allowed telegraph transmission of the Roman alphabet, punctuation and control signals.

The Baudot Code predated EBCDIC and ASCII.  Baud, the unit for symbol rate or modulation rate in symbols per second or pulses per second, was named after him.


Hanso Schotanus á Steringa Idzerda (26 September 1885 – 2 November 1944) was a Dutch scientist, and radio pioneer. Based on the already-invented triode vacuum tube, he developed his own device known as the IDZ Lamp, and built a transmitter capable of transmitting human voice. On November 6, 1919, he made the first publicly announced radio broadcast from his own studio.

Gladys Kathleen Parkin (27 September 1901 – 3 August 1990) On April 13, 1916, while a fifteen-year-old high school student at the Dominican College in San Rafael, Parkin obtained her US license with the call sign 6SO. She was the youngest successful female applicant for a radio license ever examined at that time. The license entitled her to operate any grade of wireless station and to secure employment on vessels. She designed all her own instruments, including a ¼-kilowatt spark-gap transmitter.

     “With reference to my ideas about the wireless profession as a vocation or worthwhile hobby for women, I think wireless telegraphy is a most fascinating study, and one which could very easily be taken up by girls, as it is a great deal more interesting than the telephone and telegraph work, in which so many girls are now employed.”

Florence Violet McKenzie OBE (28 September 1890 or 1892 – 23 May 1982), affectionately known as “Mrs Mac”, was Australia’s first female electrical engineer, founder of the Women’s Emergency Signalling Corps (WESC) and lifelong promoter for technical education for women. She campaigned successfully to have some of her female trainees accepted into the all-male Navy, thereby originating the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS).

     In 1922 she was the first Australian woman to take out an amateur radio operator’s license. Through the 1920s and 1930s, her “Wireless Shop” in Sydney’s Royal Arcade was renowned amongst Sydney radio experimenters and hobbyists. She founded The Wireless Weekly in 1922, established the Electrical Association for Women in 1934, and wrote the first “all-electric cookbook” in 1936.

Parkin Anchor
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