Ham Radio History (I)
From Daryl Stout
@HURRICAN/THUNDER to All
on Sat Mar 4 10:15:00 2017
The Wouff Hong
Every amateur should know and tremble at the history and origins of this fearsome instrument for the punishment of amateurs who cultivate bad
operating habits, and who nourish and culture their meaner instincts on
It was invented -- or at any rate, discovered-by "The Old Man" himself,
just as amateurs were getting back on the air after World War One.
"The Old Man" (who later turned out to be Hiram Percy Maxim, W1AW,
co-founder and first president of ARRL) first heard the Wouff Hong
described amid the howls and garble of QRM as he tuned across a band
filled with signals which exemplified all the rotten operating practices
then available to amateurs, considering the state of the art as they
knew it. As amateur technology and ingenuity have advanced, we have
discovered many new and improved techniques of rotten operating, but
we're ahead of our story.
As The Old Man heard it, the Wouff Hong was being used on some hapless
offender so effectively that he investigated. After further effort,
"T.O.M." was able to locate and identify a Wouff Hong. He wrote a number
of QST articles about contemporary rotten operating practices and the
use of the Wouff Hong to discipline the offenders.
Early in 1919, The Old Man wrote in QST "I am sending you a specimen of
a real live Wouff Hong which came to light out here . . . Keep it in
the editorial sanctum where you can lay hands on it quickly in an
emergency." The "specimen of a real live Wouff Hong" was presented to a
meeting of the ARRL Board, and QST reported later that "each face
noticeably blanched when the awful Wouff Hong was . . . laid upon the
table." The Board voted that the Wouff Hong be framed, and hung in the
office of the Secretary of the League, and there it remains to this day,
a sobering influence on every visitor to League Headquarters, who has
ever swooshed a carrier across a crowded band.
The Old Man never prescribed the exact manner in which the Wouff Hong was
to be used, but amateurs need only a little imagination to surmise how
painful punishments were inflicted on those who stoop to liddish behavior
on the air.
The chance to join the Royal Order Of The Wouff Hong is done ONLY at
either ARRL Divison or National Conventions...not necessarily at hamfests.
The initiation ceremony to this "secretive society", which lasts 20 to
30 minutes, is done at midnight, or just after the banquet...whichever
comes first. This is done at the discretion of event organizers.
Participants are sworn to secrecy on what goes on during the ceremony...
but suffice it to say, "a good time is had by all".
Posted by VPost v1.7.081019