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Why Are We Called "HAMS"?


Why are we called "Hams"? The real reason may have been lost to history but there are a couple of plausible possibilities.

In the early days of radio every station occupied the same frequencies or more accurately every station occupied the whole spectrum. Ships, the government, commercial stations and the increasing number of amateur operators all competed with each other. Many of the amateur stations were very powerful. Two amateurs, working across town, could effectively jam all the other operators in the area. Commercial operators would refer to them as "hamming" it up. Amateurs, perhaps not realizing that the term was derogatory picked it up and applied it to themselves in true "Yankee Doodle" fashion and wore it with pride.


Another possibility is that they were the initials of one of the first amateur stations operated by some members of the Harvard Radio Club. They were Albert Hyman, Bob Almy and Peggie Murray. At first they called their station Hyman-Almy-Murray.

I’m sure that they’re other possibilities but these two make the most sense. More then 100 years later the term has continued to stick.

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