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A Century of Amateur Radio and the ARRL:

from The ARRL Letter on August 21, 2014
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A Century of Amateur Radio and the ARRL:

Continuing through the 1970s, QST articles written by Lew McCoy, W1ICP, helped Novice licensees and other new hams by describing various transmitters, amplifiers, antennas, and station accessories, as well as coaching newcomers on general radio knowledge and techniques.

The first two-way Amateur Radio laser contact (at 475 THz) took place in 1971 between WA8WEJ and W4UDS, operating inside a building of the US Air Force Academy.

Over the years, many other radio services tried to take 220 MHz away from the Amateur Service. In 1971, the Electronic Industries Association petitioned the FCC to reallocate approximately one-half of the band to the Citizens Radio Service. The effort failed.

John Troster, W6ISQ, continued his fine humorous articles and spoofs in QST during the 1970s, amusing us greatly. His "fictional" tales often reminded us of real experiences we had along the same lines.

A May 1972 QST article introduced readers to a new device that was beginning to have a few practical applications -- the light-emitting diode (LED).

As the Apollo space missions began, W4HHK and K2RIW developed receiving systems to listen in on the 2287.5 MHz signals from the program's spacecraft, as reported in June 1972 QST.

During the 1970s, interest continued in electronic keyers, and many articles on the topic appeared in QST. New developments included automatic character and word spacing and solid-state memories for repeating often-used messages such as CQs and contest exchanges.

In late 1973, after discussions that spanned many years, the ARRL Board of Directors voted to establish the ARRL Foundation.

The log-periodic dipole array and its great utility in amateur use were described by K4EWG in the November 1973 QST.

Amateur DXpeditions increased in popularity during the 1970s. These ranged from casual "holiday" operation by businessmen or tourists to stand-out expeditions, such as the KP6KR Kingman Reef operation in 1974. That adventure included a two-day search to find the island, 5535 contacts in just under 30 hours of operation, and a white-knuckle departure during gale-force winds.

QST articles in the 1970s often reported on the progress of both amateur TV (ATV) on the UHF bands and slow-scan TV (SSTV) on the HF bands, as well as showing station equipment and setups.

Radio contesting started to become more automated during the 1970s. In the February 1975 QST, WA4HQW presented "The Contester," a semi-automatic contest station controller that sent CW, checked dupe sheets, recorded the time, filled in the log, and kept a running contact count. One of WA4HQW's observations has been overtaken by events: "There are things that no machine can do, such as copy two or three CW signals at once, which will leave the human operator king for a long time to come."

By 1974, QST was publishing reports of the League's preparations -- already in progress -- for the 1979 World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC) to address the allocation of the limited radio spectrum among radio amateurs and other users. WARC-1979 had a very positive outcome for the Amateur Service. -- Al Brogdon, W1AB


The ARRL Letter

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