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A Century of Amateur Radio and the ARRL:

from The ARRL Letter on April 3, 2014
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A Century of Amateur Radio and the ARRL:

When the US entered World War II, Amateur Radio operations were immediately shut down for the duration. After one false start, authorization soon was given for amateurs to operate on 112 MHz for emergency drills and actual emergency operations, as members of the War Emergency Radio Service (WERS).

During the war years QST published many articles on WERS equipment suitable for 112 MHz -- especially portable and hand-held gear -- and on club preparedness. Announcements in QST made repeated calls for trained operators to volunteer for the military and for civil service. At one time, the Navy made a call for 5000 men specifically to be trained as radar operators and maintenance personnel -- state-of-the-art work.

As America's young men went to various parts of the world to fight the war, the nation called on its women to help with the war effort. Many female hams became military radio operators within the US, and others went to work in defense plants building radio equipment, just as their sisters built the aircraft, ships, and vehicles required by modern warfare.

Manufacturers' ads in QST started using photos of radio operation during military training maneuvers and even from the battlefield. Early in the war years, manufacturers were unable to keep up with the military's demand, and other ads called for hams to sell or donate their radio gear and components (panel meters were especially needed) for the war effort. Manufacturers expanded their facilities and work forces as quickly as possible, and they soon were able to meet the need.

It has been reported -- but never confirmed -- that, following the attack at Pearl Harbor, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto said, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." Regardless of the proof of that exact quote, Admiral Yamamoto's writings confirmed that those were, indeed, his feelings. And those feelings were soon proven to be correct.

Next week: We will continue to look at how hams and the ARRL backed the war effort.


The ARRL Letter

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