Apr 04-04

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2004: April: Apr 04-04
World wide radio    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo from Russ Emmons

Toivo from Toivola on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 10:19 am:

Most folks familiar with computers and the World Wide Web, know what a chat room is. Looking at this old time photo from Russ Emmons, it doesn't seem so far removed from our modern day computer desk, minus the keyboard and mouse of course. Rick Laplander, Russ' uncle, was way ahead of his time as far as "chatting" goes. From Dollar Bay he made contacts all over the globe on his ham radio and had postcards from those folks to prove it. This has me wondering now, where the term "ham radio" comes from. Any ideas?

By ace,tx on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 10:25 am:

Can't believe that I made the first post for the day. Neat picture just love to see old photo's,wonder who he happen to be chatting with in the picture. Know idea where the name came from! Have a wonderful day in the U. P.

By Early riser,MI on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 10:25 am:

Did you forget to set your clock ahead last night Toivo? You're late today!he,he

By JK, Gaylord, Mi on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 10:33 am:

Neat old time photo...
Just returned from SUNNY AND WARM Orlando, Florida and our spring break vacation. Our yard here in the norther LOWER peninsula is still covered with snow and we had snow showers on the drive home from the Detroit Metro Airport !! Yikes. Quite a shock from 80 degree swimming weather. Still, its good to be home.


By Denny, California on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 11:50 am:

I was a ham back in the early 1950's and recognize the equipment, except to me it is modern equipment. I left ham radio in the late 1950's and haven't been back since. I haven't any idea of where the term ham comes from. Enjoy your site every day, I grew up in snowy Buffalo, NY.

By Ron, Michigan on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 12:04 pm:

Here's a link explaining where the term "ham" comes from. www.arrl.org/whyham.html

By Bill Denning, Texas on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 12:04 pm:

Toivo's question got me wondering as well. I did a quick search at ask.com, and came up with a couple of references. The National Association for Amateur Radio has a page that discusses the origin of the term "ham" as it is used in amateur radio. They say in part,

"Ham: a poor operator. A 'plug.'"

"That's the definition of the word given in G. M. Dodge's The Telegraph Instructor even before radio."
"Amateurs, possibly unfamiliar with the real meaning of the term, picked it up and applied it to themselves in true 'Yankee Doodle' fashion and wore it with pride. As the years advanced, the original meaning has completely disappeared."

The full text of the article discusses the evolution from telegraph to radio, and can be found at http://www.arrl.org/whyham.html.

An amateur radio operator at Columbia University has a lot of info on his Web site, including a lengthy discussion titled "What is Amateur Radio?", which can be found at http://www.columbia.edu/~fuat/cuarc/arrl-hampromo.html.

One of the paragraphs is subtitled "Why do They Call Themselves 'Ham'?", and has the following alternate explanations:

"Although the origin of the word 'ham' is obscure, every ham has his or her own pet theory. One holds that early Amateurs were called hams because they liked to 'perform' on the air, as in 'hamming it up.' Another proposes that the name came from the 'ham-fisted' way some early Amateurs handled their code keys. The easiest to accept is that 'ham' is a contraction of 'Am', as in Amateur. One of the most exotic holds that 'ham' is an acronym from the initials of three college students who were among the first Radio Amateurs."

Cheers, Bill

By Ron, Michigan on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 12:07 pm:

Bill, Looks like we were on the same "wavelength"!!!

By Bill Denning, Texas on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 12:10 pm:


Yes, we were. And we are tied in our posting times, too!!

Cheers, Bill

By RH, Peoples Republic of Vermont on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 01:53 pm:

For a fun look at the "definitions" of HAM, try this web site:


By James R. Sendelbach - Ottawa, OH on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 02:03 pm:

As I write this I am looking at a QSL card (confirmation of contact) which I received from Rickie Lapland, W8ZDQ, of Dollar Bay, MI. It is dated 1/3/53 and the equipment is a Viking I transmitter with separate VFO and Hallicraters HQ129X receiver. In those days all hams used a separate transmitter and receiver since the transceiver of today was unknown. I talked with Rickie many times but could just as easily driven down from Hancock where I lived at the time. He was probably one of the first contacts I had on moving to the U. P. Others were Ed Hoyer and Uno Moyryla to mention only a few. I see others have adequately covered the origin of "Ham." My thanks to Marge Ricchi for bringing this to my attention. Sandy - W8HQS

By roger janke on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 02:12 pm:

With the price of todays modern ham equipment H.A.M. means Had Available Money. I can think of a few early operators like Bill Adams, Ernie Larson, and the Owner of Northwest Radio to name a few. KA0NDR and fbom.

By Renee in AL on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 02:44 pm:

Cool picture! As a ham operator myself I really enjoy seeing the vintage picture and equipment!
As for where the term HAM comes from, there are many explanations of it. The one I think may be the correct one is that there was supposedly a magazine back out then for people who liked to dabble in this hobby. The magazine was called Home Amateur Magazine; abbreviated as H.A.M. and thus the term stuck. Whatever the true meaning behind the term is though it is a wonderful hobby and I have met many nice people through it. It just isn't all about chatting though. Ham operators help out a lot during disasters and such when no other means of communication is available. They are sort of a life line during those times and gladly help out. By the way....any other hams reading/posting on here?
73, (which means best wishes in ham talk)
Renee in AL; NZ9T (my callsign)

By Margaret, Texas on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 05:21 pm:

My Dad picked up radioing in the CCC and loved every minute of it. He was in Ft. Lewis, Washington from late 30s through the war.

My Father-in-law and two brothers-in law are still huge ham fans and "skip" everywhere on their radios. I think it's just in the blood.

They're all computer nerds now and three of them have the ham hitched to it.

By K Musser CopperRange.org on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 06:49 pm:

Nice to see my old Hammarlund SW radio sitting in front of him to his right. Cool Picture.

By Brian Juntikka on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 09:58 pm:

Range area folks well remember local Ham operator Albert Prebelich - local electrical whiz supreme who passed away in April of 1981 at age 68. His call letters were W8EUC (He called it: W8-Easy Uncle Charlie.) Every now and then his transmissions would bleed through area television receivers - usually by accident and sometimes on purpose. One story I recall about this colorful local figure involved a bartender in the old Cozy Corner Bar telling Al he'd "had enough" and it was time to go home and call it a day. Al went home allright, and turned his ham radio on - did a slight adjusting of frequency - and then told everyone watching TV in the Cozy Corner that he'd made it home. Everyone from Painesdale to Atlantic Mine also heard the message!

By Susie in AZ on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 10:30 pm:

Love to see the photo of our Uncle Rick--thanks so much Russ! He and Auntie Vee were both such wonderful folks--lots of great childhood memories. I remember he had a tall radio tower in his yard, and also remember he could talk on the ham radio set in his car, which I thought was pretty impressive when I was a young girl. Am I remembering correctly that his call letters were on his license plate?

By DH, Temecula , CA on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 10:37 pm:

Didn't he have a crank-up tower at one time? If I remember correctly, it came from a Coast Guard station, or something. Rick's brother was a high school teacher in Chassell and I remember him talking about it. I had an interest in HAM radio at the time and wish I had taken advantage of the invitions to visit.

By K Musser CopperRange.org on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 11:07 pm:

The more I think about it, the Hammarlund SW in the photo could have actually been the one I owned. I bought it at a radio swap meet in Chassell in 1978. Can not believe too many of these were used in this area. Stranger things have happened.

By Ken and Mimi from da UP on Monday, April 5, 2004 - 12:04 am:

I don't have a ham set-up, mine is a 40 ch AM SSB cb radio, stock. A Washington by Uniden. Have talked 'skip' to S. CA and AZ and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, etc. Spent many hours and met lotsa nice people on the air. My handle is the BANJOMAN. 73s to all, 10-4?

By DH, Temecula, CA on Monday, April 5, 2004 - 01:05 am:

K. Musser,
Small world. I bought a Mosley CM-1 receiver at that same meet. It's getting a little noisey, but it still works!

By Russ E. St. Clair county MI on Monday, April 5, 2004 - 02:52 am:

So nice to see Uncle Ricks photo featured today!(Sunday) Thanks Toivo! Also glad that many have enjoyed this bit of nostalgia! I remember as a boy sneaking in on him this time and snapping the pic. As I recall the flash startled him!
Some of Ricks skills rubbed off on me I guess. For the past 20 years I (and my sons) have been into CB radios, not Hams though (yet!) I have talked "skip" all over also, TX, NC, FL, CA, TN,etc., Jamaica, up in Canada and once Alaska! I am known as "unit 188" the "Birdman" Often 10/7 these days but now and then 10/8! Mostly now tho 10/27 on to the internet! 73s and 88s everyone!

By danbury; germany on Monday, April 5, 2004 - 03:43 am:

10/7, 10/8, -/27, 73, 88 - ok, I'm sure there is a meaning to all that, and even more so there is a site with explanations.
Anybody out there who could tell?

By Renee in AL on Monday, April 5, 2004 - 06:02 am:

Hello all! Here is what I recall for those codes: 10-7 not on air, 10-8 on air, 10-27 moving to channel __, 73 best wishes, 88 love and kisses. Hams don't use the 10 code but do use Q codes mainly on the lower frequencies and when useing the CW (morse code) mode. Here is a link for 10 codes:
and one for Q codes: http://www.purchon.co.uk/radio/qcodes.html.
73 all,
Renee NZ9T

By Jeff in Eugene, Oregon on Monday, April 5, 2004 - 11:22 am:

I'd love to have my old antique office chair
looking as good as the one he's sitting in.

By Mike in MI on Monday, April 5, 2004 - 12:46 pm:

Thanks for the great ham photo from the UP. Love that vintage equipment!
A group of us operate ham radio from Eagle Harbor Lighthouse every August for International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend. We contact hundreds of hams around the globe in that one weekend. Some of us travel from the Detroit area just to put the lighthouse on the air for two days. Here is a web site with the stories of our past few trips:


We will be back this year.

And speaking of Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, does anyone know Alex Simon, W9FBC, of Mohawk? His QSL is hanging on the back wall of the white lighthouse keeper's house.
73, Mike, N8MR

By rs on Monday, April 5, 2004 - 05:50 pm:

Mr Overboe--calumet high physics teacher in the early 50s had a ham radio club--radio was in his classroom--guess Bill jackson from cable america got his start there

By Ron Syria, Temporarily in Georgia. Call Letters W8FJO. on Tuesday, April 6, 2004 - 03:25 am:

I've never seen a Ham Radio Picture on the site. It brings back fond memories of connecting the ham rig to my grandmother's longwire AM radio antenna, at the farm near Ewen, and enjoying many late-night hours, talking to folks around the world. I even used the electric fence as an antenna. Believe it or not, it worked! And yes, it was hard to get up in the morning for "hay-making".

This September, I will have enjoyed being an amateur radio operator for 50 years. It's still fun.

It's a great hobby for kids. Anyone who might have an interest, should seriously look into it.

By Scott W8UFO, Evanston, IL on Tuesday, April 6, 2004 - 09:16 am:

I grew up in Point Mills, just outside of Dollar Bay. While riding the school bus through Woodside on the way home, I'd always look for Rick's raedio tower. The equipment (and picture) is before my time, but it's great to see.

I know various other hams in the area and listen to the U.P. HF net when I can.

Thanks for posting the picture.

By SUE BUTTERY, MI on Tuesday, April 6, 2004 - 11:18 am:


By Ron Martinmaki La Crosse, Wi on Tuesday, April 6, 2004 - 07:16 pm:

Very nice picture of Ricks station. I used to go to Ricks ham shack in the 50's and 60's with my Dad, W8KDE and I remember that setup. I remember Ricks little cigars he used to smoke and it took a while to get used to the burning sensation in the nostrils. Rick plus a number of us hams used to collect at the Parkside each Saturday morning for coffee and jabbering. He was a good friend. Thanks for the picture.

Ron Martinmaki, W9EOA ex W8JOT

By Peggy--Grand Haven MI. on Tuesday, April 6, 2004 - 11:33 pm:

W8ZDQ--I remember those call letters well--don't know why--must be because we hung around Uncle Ricky's shack alot as kids. Right next to the radio room was his sauna, where we spent plenty of Saturday nights getting cleaned up. There are alot of fond memories from Woodside.

By Russ E. St. Clair county MI on Wednesday, April 7, 2004 - 12:39 am:

Seems I remember that Rick had one of the earliest Ham licenses issued when "Ham" radio was in its infancy and Rick was just a teenager. Does any of his old radio friends know if this is correct?
Thanks everyone for all the nice comments!-- from his first and oldest nephew.

By Judy N. Bloomington, MN on Friday, April 9, 2004 - 12:41 am:

From Uncle Ricky's first and oldest niece:
Uncle Ricky was not only a ham operator but had a good TV repair business. When I was in grade school in Houghton he told me I could have his clarinet if I chose to play one in the band. He did give it to me altho I had to buy a new one after I got into the band. His wife, Auntie Vee, could knit circles around anybody and made many items for me. Susie Buttery, I'm in the middle of making my Laplander heritage album, so if you have any good pictures, send them on to me if you can. My other cousin Susie, yes, his license plate sported his call letters. Sister Peggy, I remember sitting next to you in Uncle Rick's sauna. How glad I am we have one now with a shower instead of having to throw that bucket of cold water over our steaming bodies when we used Uncle Rick's.
Uncle Rick always said whoever in his family could learn to be a "ham" would inherit his equipment. My husband got started on it, but never got far enough to gain the inheritance. Does anyone know what happened to it?

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