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Author Topic: History of the ham bands?  (Read 3181 times)
KE6WNH
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Posts: 126




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« on: August 30, 2012, 05:53:19 PM »

Ed Lemus, KE6VRK, and I talked briefly about compiling a history of the individual ham bands: when they were allocated, why they are where they are in the spectrum, stuff like that.

I know for example that 80m was probably well in use when WW2 began, 220 mhz was allocated some time around 1970, our TV sets don't have a Channel 1 because that's our 6m band, etc etc.

I wonder if there is a practical way for KE6VRK and I to learn this history without looking through zillions of old issues of CQ and QST? How about it, old timers?
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K7MH
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2012, 08:22:11 PM »

http://www.rollanet.org/~n0klu/Ham_Radio/History%20of%20Ham%20Radio.pdf

...and probably the book "200 Meters and Down"

Chances are something other than the link above is out there as well that has that info in it already.
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NO2A
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Posts: 800




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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2012, 09:52:00 PM »

Technically there was a channel 1 for a limited time. It transmitted from the Empire State Bldg in NYC. It was a 1000 watt experimental station,non commercial. This was in the mid to late 40`s. The FCC was still working on the frequencies for fm broadcast and tv. Since frequencies changed,most all tv`s of the time had a tunable vfo,not channelized because of this. The original fm band was from 44-50mhz. At the time hams had a 5 meter band(tv channel 2 now).The FCC took that from us and gave us 6 meters(channel 1). It`s also possible that for awhile 44-50 mhz was used for channel 1. Later fm became 88-106,then still later 88-108. Some early fm radios actually have both fm bands included.
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N2EY
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Posts: 3894




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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2012, 07:20:20 AM »

I know for example that 80m was probably well in use when WW2 began, 220 mhz was allocated some time around 1970, our TV sets don't have a Channel 1 because that's our 6m band, etc etc.

80, 40 and 20 date from the 1920s - even before the 1929 regulations. 220 MHz was allocated in the 1930s if not earlier.

I wonder if there is a practical way for KE6VRK and I to learn this history without looking through zillions of old issues of CQ and QST? How about it, old timers?

There isn't.

If you REALLY want to know the history, your best bet is to read old QSTs and follow the events as-they-happened. CQ does not go back far enough.

If you are an ARRL member you can go all the way back to Volume 1 Number 1 in the online archive.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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W9GB
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Posts: 2626




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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2012, 08:23:51 AM »

Martin -

You will have to examine a WIDE swath of radio (experimental, maritime, commercial and amateur).  
Highly suggest you acquaint yourself with 200 Meters and Down.

The 1920s (Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce) and 1930s (Hoover, FDR) provide great insight.  
IF the 1990s were the decade of the Internet;  the 1920s was the decade of Radio.
MANY similarities economically, regulation, fortunes made.

The FCC compiled a history for their 75th anniversary.
BTW, South Bend, IN (Notre Dame) and Iowa City, IA (University of Iowa) both had Channel 1 TV allocation.  
University of Iowa (1928 - 1941) had early TV with video in 40 MHz segment and
Audio on WSUI AM radio station.
===
FM broadcasting can be best appreciated by reading Edwin Armstrong history, and his 1930s Yankee Network.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2012, 08:26:14 AM by W9GB » Logged
W3DBB
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Posts: 83




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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2012, 06:28:57 AM »

I'm not an oldtimer but had the curiosity about how the bands evolved to their present-day status.

Found the aforementioned "200 Meters And Down" by Clinton Desoto to be helpful. Takes you from the beginning up to about 1936 or so. This book is, last I looked, still available from ARRL.

Another ARRL publication that is helpful is "Fifty Years Of A.R.R.L." which came out in 1964. This one is out of print but I stumble across these (occasionally) at hamfests. It's one of the old black cover, small format ARRL publications.

"Hiram Percy Maxim- Father of Amateur Radio, Car Builder, and Inventor" by Alice Clink Schumacher (1970) is another good one. I don't know it's reprint status. My copy was published by The Ham Radio Publishing Group of Greenville, NH but they are long gone. I seem to recall someone else was printing these for awhile, possibly back in the 1990's.

Got interested in this hobby 30 years ago, licensed for the past 25. Have a good awareness of 'who did what to whom' during my time but there is a lot I am missing, and I have read all three of the above mentioned books a few times each. A comprehensive history of amateur radio from the beginnings of the spark era to now would make for an interesting read. Perhaps ARRL will whip something up for their 100th anniversary, coming up in 2014.
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G0VKT
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Posts: 64




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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2012, 09:53:50 AM »

K7MH's link sparked a memory. Top band was considered a useless frequency and was allocated to Hams.
I went to a presentation about 30 years ago where this was mentioned. Frequencies above Top Band were considered useless, so bands were given to Hams / experimenters as no one else had a use for them. This was how we ended up with the HF bands.

Can anyone confirm if this was true as I have no source other than a bit of memory to back this up. Perhaps it was U.K. only? A history of who got what and when would be fascinating.

With lots of experiments going on with optical comms, how much longer before these bands get licensed?  Wink
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G3RZP
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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2012, 04:39:23 AM »

Pre WW2, and even after, there were chunks of 80m not available to the UK amateur. ITU Region 1 (Europe and Africa) lost 7. 2 to 7.3 to broacasting at the ATlantic City conference: this dropped to 7.15 to 7.2 shared with broadcasting, and we finally lost 7.1 to 7.2 in R1 at the 1959 conference, to get it back 50 years later.

Originally the bands were harmonically related so it was 7, 14, 28, 56, 112.  The VHF parts went at Atlantic City, to be replaced by 144 - 148 in Regions 2 and 3., and 144 to 146 in R1.
 Atlantic City also saw us get 21 MHz, and in R1, 160 was reduced from being 1750 to 2000 kHz to 1800 to 2000 kHz. Sweden especially was dead against any amateur operation on 160.

Low band VHF TV meant that 6m didn't become available in R1 for many years, although the allocation of 70 MHz in the UK during the IGY in 1957 happened very quickly, and with little notice to RSGB. 70 cms was originally much larger in the UK: there were problems expected with amateur TV  interfering with radio altimeters  (AN/APN 1 and derivatives), but the replacement of that equipment with altimeters in the microwave range removed that possibilitry: it also meant that more of that band could be used for other purposes, so we lost a lot of 70cms.

Then although we have in theory a primary allocation at 7 MHz, there are a lot of countries that 'footnote' the radio regulations and allow other stuff in there under RR 4.4. However, if they get interference from amateurs in other countries, tough!
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N2EY
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Posts: 3894




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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2012, 08:31:00 AM »

K7MH's link sparked a memory. Top band was considered a useless frequency and was allocated to Hams.
I went to a presentation about 30 years ago where this was mentioned. Frequencies above Top Band were considered useless, so bands were given to Hams / experimenters as no one else had a use for them. This was how we ended up with the HF bands.

Can anyone confirm if this was true as I have no source other than a bit of memory to back this up.

What really happened is this:

Prior to 1912, regulation of radio (actually "wireless") was almost nonexistent. There were a few regulations, a few treaties, and lots of informal agreements, but not much else. The main use commercial uses of wireless were 1) maritime communications and 2) backup for telegraph wires, mostly undersea.

The Titanic disaster changed all that. The need for regulation was clear, with each service having defined wavelengths and other requirements. The new 1912 treaty limited amateurs to wavelengths of "200 meters and down" - 1500 kHz and higher. This was in part because those waves were thought to be less useful, and in part because the existing maritime and commercial equipment was all on the longer waves.

Commercial and other services could use the "short waves" too, and a few did. But it was amateurs who demonstrated their true capabilities.


73 de Jim, N2EY
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WA2ONH
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Posts: 258




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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2012, 10:05:05 AM »

Lots of reading came be found at "United States Early Radio History"

LINK: http://earlyradiohistory.us/index.html

Which has Articles and extracts about early radio and related technologies, concentrating on the United States in the period from 1897 to 1927

plus "Early Government Regulation 1903-1946" at by Thomas H. White

LINK: http://earlyradiohistory.us/sec023.htm
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73 de WA2ONH dit dit    ...Charlie
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"No time is ever wasted that is spent LEARNING something!"
MISTAKES are proof that you are TRYING
AD4U
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Posts: 2173




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« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2012, 11:59:23 AM »

Before the 1920's the frequencies above 5 MHz or so were considered useless for any decent DX propagation.  Hence most everything above 5 MHz was given to HAMs and experimenters.

Dick  AD4U
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N4NLQ
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Posts: 55




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« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2012, 01:48:40 PM »

"Before the 1920's the frequencies above 5 MHz or so were considered useless for any decent DX propagation.  Hence most everything above 5 MHz was given to HAMs and experimenters."

Also don't forget that in the very early days of radio (before oscillators) RF had to be mechanically generated.  The higher in kHz you went (DOWN in meters), the harder it was to obtain RF to transmit and was considered an extra expense to commercial users.

Allan - N4NLQ
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