Ham Interests

Some insight into the Origin of “73”

“73” goes back to the beginning of the landline telegraph days. The first authentic use of 73 is in the publication, The National Telegraphic Review and Operator’s Guide, first published in April 1857. At that time 73 meant “My Love to You”. In 1859 Western Union set up the standard “92 Code”, where it is noted as “accept my compliments”. By 1908, however, the Dodge Manual lists the meaning as “Best Regards” and this has remained ever since.

If this is the case then “Very 73” would be “very best regards” and “Best 73’s” would then be “Best, best regards”.

What ever you send, I am sure, will be understood but I prefer to send just 73 de W4OV

“Good Amateur Practice” Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

Former FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth has endorsed a list of several points that he feels help to define the concept of “good amateur practice.” Section 97.101(a) of the Amateur Radio Service rules refers to “good engineering and good amateur practice”- considered to refer to maintaining the highest standards of engineering and on-the-air comportment. But the rule lacks specifics.
“Good amateur practice is a hard thing to define,” Hollingsworth conceded. “I’d have to say it’s operating with the realization that frequencies are shared, that there’s going to be occasional interference and that’s no reason to become hateful and paranoid.”

Hollingsworth says amateurs have to realize that more people than ever are listening in than ever before, especially since September 11, 2001, and that amateurs always need to remember that “our rights end where another person’s begin.”

A Michigan Amateur Radio club has been credited with distributing a list of “Riley-isms” culled from Hollingsworth’s various talks at conventions and hamfests and club meetings around the US. Hollingsworth, who verified that he had been cited accurately – says his various comments represent an effort to flesh out what “good amateur practice” consists of for the considerate Amateur Radio operator.

According to Hollingsworth, good amateur practice means:

  • giving a little ground – even if you have a right not to –  in order to help preserve Amateur Radio and not cause it to get a bad name or hasten the day when it becomes obsolete
  • not transmitting a 6-kHz bandwidth signal when there are lots of people on the band
  • being aware that we all love Amateur Radio, and there’s no need to damage or disgrace it just to save face
  • cutting a net or a contester a break, even if you don’t have to and even if you have no interest whatsoever in nets or contesting
  • realizing that every right carries responsibilities, and just because you may have a right to do certain things doesn’t mean it’s right to do them in every circumstance
  • not operating so that whoever hears you becomes sorry they ever got into Amateur Radio in the first place
  • respecting band plans, because they make it possible for every mode to have a chance
  • not acting like an idiot just because you were stepped on
  • keeping personal conflicts off the air. Settle your arguments on the telephone, the Internet or in person. Just keep them off the air
  • operating so that if a neighbor, niece or nephew or news reporter hears you, that person will be impressed with Amateur Radio
  • you don’t “own” or get preference to use any frequency even though you’ve been on the same spot every morning for years shooting the breeze with Harry

Hollingsworth notes that the list “doesn’t touch on a lot of other technical issues, such as using 1500 W when your signal report received is 40 over 9. ” Good amateur practice”, he said, “just means a lot of things that can’t always be quantified.”  Thanks to Riley Hollingsworth

October 9, 2002; page author: awextra@arrl.org

Copyright © 2002, American Radio Relay League, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.