Brief History of Ham Radio

When we refer to Amateur Radio or Ham Radio the two terms are used interchangeably. Some members of the hobby refer to themselves as “amateurs”, “hams”, “experimenters” or “radio home brewers”. No matter what they personally refer to themselves as they are part of a large global community of several million people who enjoy radio as a lifetime hobby.

Worldwide the history of amateur (Ham) radio is a very interesting one which begins in the nineteenth century.

In 1888 the German physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz proved the existence of electromagnetic waves which were predicted earlier by James Clerk Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism.

In the 1890’s amateur radio was adapted into a communication system by Italian inventor Marconi for commercial purposes.

Soon after this the first appearance of amateur radio in Ireland can be traced back to 1898 when Colonel Meade Dennis carried out by various transmission and reception experiments at his home in Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow.

Col. Dennis first operated under callsign DNX. Later after Irish independence the callsign GW11B was issued to him. Finally in 1929 upon the issuance of Irish Free State callsigns he was issued EI2B. A founding member of the Dublin Wireless Club in 1913 he was an instrumental character in the introduction of the hobby into the country.

Throughout the history of ham radio, hobbyists have made massive contributions to both engineering and science. Their research has helped build new industries, financially develop nations and save countless lives during emergencies when other communication infrastructures have failed. If you tune around frequencies throughout the radio spectrum you will hear amateur radio licencees operating in designated bands using a wide variety of modulations including morse code, data, SSB, AM, FM and two-way television conversations.

The National Radio Society of Ireland aims to continue the tradition of promoting amateur radio within the country to all those interested in taking up this marvelous hobby.