Do you know where the term Ham comes from? It relates to the thespian meaning of ‘a bad actor’. This historic link is why we refer to FCC-licensed Amateur Radio Operators as such; In the early part of the 20th Century, Radio was proving its usefulness and then some. Early Radio Frequency (RF) electronic experimenters wouldhomebrewtheir own radio stations, and begin broadcasting. The burgeoning commercial radio broadcasters would compete head to head for the radio crystal listening audience (themselves early adopters). Broadcast professionals would refer to the homebrewers as ‘Hams.’ Through the power of lobbying organizations, the Hams of the day were relegated to one small part of radio spectrum.
Hams find their purpose
In the 1920’s Hiram Percy Maxim saw the value of a public with radios transceivers for emergency communications, and founded the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). Through the present, the ARRL has fostered this mission to the point where there are over 700,000 licensed Hams in the US and over 3 million world-wide. Many of them are RF super-nerds, but just as often they are not, they are regular folk; 8-year-olds have passed the intro level Techniciansexam.