Monday, March 9, 2015

Poland 2015 - Hams in the Public Service - Postcard

ISSUE DATE: 24 February 2015
STAMP DESIGN: Maciej Jędrysik
CARD SIZE: 148 mm x 105 mm
PRINTING: offset with overprinted stamp

Etymology of HAM radio
"Ham radio" is a popular term for amateur radio, derived from "ham" as an informal name for an amateur radio operator. The use first appeared in the United States during the opening decade of the 20th century—for example, in 1909, Robert A. Morton reported overhearing an amateur radio transmission which included the comment: "Say, do you know the fellow who is putting up a new station out your way? I think he is a ham."
However, the term did not gain widespread usage in the United States until around 1920, after which it slowly spread to other English-speaking countries.
The term amateur in amateur radio is used to distinguish it from commercial pursuits, as radio amateurs are prohibited by law from accepting monetary or material compensation of any kind for any activities they perform as radio operators.

The term "ham operator" was commonly applied by 19th century landline telegraphers to an operator with poor or "ham fisted" skills.
Early radio (initially known as wireless telegraphy) included many former wire telegraph operators, and within the new service "ham" was employed as a pejorative term by professional radiotelegraph operators to suggest that amateur enthusiasts were unskilled. 
In "Floods and Wireless" by Hanby Carver, from the August, 1915 Technical World Magazine, the author noted "Then someone thought of the 'hams'. This is the name that the commercial wireless service has given to amateur operators..."
Even among amateur radio operators, the term was used pejoratively at first by serious experimenters. For example, in December 1916 QST magazine, an amateur operator working on long distance message passing describes one way to avoid interference was to send messages "...on Thursday nights, when the children and spark coil 'hams' are tucked up in bed" (a spark coil was an unsophisticated radio transmitter, made from an automobile ignition coil, that produced noisy interference).

QST is a magazine for amateur radio enthusiasts, published by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).
The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is the largest membership association of amateur radio enthusiasts in the USA. ARRL is a non-profit organization, and was founded in 6th April 1914 by Hiram Percy Maxim of Hartford, Connecticut. The ARRL represents the interests of amateur radio operators before federal regulatory bodies, provides technical advice and assistance to amateur radio enthusiasts, supports a number of educational programs and sponsors emergency communications service throughout the country. The ARRL has approximately 154,000 members.  In addition to members in the US, the organization claims over 7,000 members in other countries. (year 2015). 

But only a few months later, in an indication of the changing use of the term among amateurs, a QST writer uses it in a clearly complimentary manner, saying that a particular 16 year old amateur operator "...is the equal of a ham gaining five years of experience by hard luck."

Use of "ham" as a slur by professionals continued, however. A letter from a Western Union Telegraph Company employee, printed in the December, 1919 edition QST, showed familiarity with the word's negative connotations, expressing concern that "Many unknowing land wire telegraphers, hearing the word 'amateur' applied to men connected with wireless, regard him as a 'ham' or 'lid'". But many other amateurs increasingly adopted the word "ham" to describe their hobby and themselves during this period, embracing the word that was originally an insult, similar to the way Yankee Doodle evolved, as seen, for example, in Thomas F. Hunter's exuberant "I am the wandering Ham" from the January, 1920 issue of QST.

I am the wandering Ham. 
I know no home, I know no roost. 
To me each knock is one more boost. 
I'm optimistic, not a grouch. 
In all crepe-hanging I'm a slouch. 
          I, the Wandering Ham. 

Since our Fathers raised the ban 
I oscillate where'er I can. 
I tried each mineral years ago 
In the days of AX and GO 
And Galilee and Manhattan Beach. 
I jammed the "cans" on, hearing each 
And every station in my zone, 
And untuned ships upon the foam. 
          I, the Wandering Ham. 

Then came the war, the blood, the strife. 
The ban was on, it seemed for life. 
My "civvy" clothes I laid away 
And to the transport, sans delay, 
I made my exit from this shore 
To ask Fate what She had in store 
For one, a pounder of the "brass" 
(In Continental I could pass) 
Along the lines, where papers told 
Our boys were lying, many cold 
In Death. Determined this should be 
A world safe for Democracy 
I took my post in a little hut 
With smelly oil-stove full of soot, 
To intercept, with bated breath, 
The Signals through the lines of Death 
From stations of the Enemy. 
(What rotten Hams them Germans be.) 
Deciphered, these would give the dope 
On Enemy movements and, we hope, 
Forestall an unforseen advance 
And give our men a fighting chance. 
One night, (November, t'was the tenth) 
A message sent throughout the length 
Of France and Germany to say 
An Armistice, the following day 
Would be declared, did find it's way 
To my antenna from Eiffel Tower; 
"Lay, down your arms at the eleventh hour." 
I shouted not, nor did I sing. 
I did a very awkward thing. 
I could not spit upon the cat, 
So I used the spittoon for a hat. 
          I, the Wandering Ham. 

You've read this stuff. You want to know 
Just what I'm after, so let's go. 
Kindly send me, here's my thanks, 
A flock of Contest Subscription blanks, 
I have already near a score, 
And hope to raise a hundred more 
Subscriptions to your pamphlet bright, 
Q S T--The Hams delight. 
I know no Ham with bean so dense, 
He cannot see his fifteen cents 
Is wisely a spent. Success, I sang, 
Be yours, in spite of everything. 
          I, the Wandering Ham.

Radio amateurs in the public service
Krótkofalowcy w służbie publicznej
Postcard with overprinted 2. 35 PLN stamp


Radio amateurs in the public service
Krótkofalowcy w służbie publicznej