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University Researchers Need Your Help as they Study Early Amateur Station Logs

10/21/2009

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin and Miami University of Ohio are seeking copies of amateur station logs from 1913-1927 in hopes they may offer insights into the relationship between individuals' work and leisure activities, technology, and their social networks.

"Early hams laid the foundation for the now-ubiquitous use of technology for communications and entertainment," said Director of Engineering and Operations for Wisconsin Public Radio Steve Johnston, WD8DAS. "Many operators did not work in a technical field, but pursued Amateur Radio as a hobby for its own sake. This is a true success story about how a pastime can develop into an entirely new commercial and social phenomenon."

Phil Kim, an Assistant Professor at the Wisconsin School of Business, has noted that diaries, letters, QSL cards and station logs can contain valuable insights into the link between an individual's occupation, hobbies and friends. Early in Amateur Radio history, thousands of ham radio enthusiasts were licensed by the government to comply with the Radio Act of 1912, and began to more carefully document the new communications era.

"Amateur Radio operators during this time period were on the forefront of a new method of communication and social interaction, similar to how social media is evolving today," Kim said. "We notice a lot of similarities between these two groups, even across time."

Steve Lippmann, an Assistant Professor at Miami University of Ohio, concurred: "We can learn a lot about ourselves -- and our own interactions -- from how these pioneers pursued their hobby and expanded their social networks."

In an effort to uncover new information about approaches to work and leisure time and the development of social networks, Kim, Lippmann and Johnston are comparing early ham licensing records from the Department of Commerce with detailed information in amateur operators' station logs. If you happen to have an old ham station log from the period (1913-1927) that you would like to include in this study, please contact Steve Johnston, WD8DAS, via e-mail or by telephone at (608) 262-5584.



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