It does not seem that long ago when I got my first ham radio license and certainly I don’t consider myself to be one the early radio pioneers. So when I did some research on early day amateur radio stations I was expecting to see a spark gap transmitter and a coherer receiver or maybe a crystal receiver or even a Tuned Radio Frequency (TRF) vacuum tube Radio receiver.
The earliest radio stations used the coherer detector and spark gap transmitters starting in 1887. In 1904 galena crystal detector started to be used and this really opened the door to easy to construct receivers and young boys everywhere were building crystal radios. If they learned Morse code they could copy messages to and from ships at sea.
Some of those boys built simple transmitters so they could talk to their friends a few blocks away. Better transmitters were built until these boys were interfering with the ship shore traffic. This lead the U S Navy to require
all amateur radio stations to be licensed and operate on 200 meters and below (that means 1.5 MHz and above was the amateur radio band). The first licenses were issued in 1912 so it was not until December 1912 that there were licensed ham radio operators. That means December 2012 will be the 100 anniversary of the licensed ham radio stations. So by the time I got my license, September 1960, ham radio licenses had not reached its 48th year. When December 2012 rolls around I will have had my license 52 years.
So while I did not expect to see a Viking Ranger transmitter and a SX-100 receiver, which were state of the art new on the shelf radios in 1960, among the photos of the early ham radio stations. The Viking ranger was my first transmitter and two years after I got my license my mom and dad gave me a SX-100 for Christmas so just two years after I got my license these two units were exactly what I was using.
All those fellows who had been licensed for so many years and used a spark gap
transmitter that I looked up to and awed at what they use to do had not had their license as long as I have had mine now. Do the new hams look at me the way I use to look at them? It makes one thing but I still do not consider a ham radio station with Viking Ranger or a SX-100 as an early day ham radio station.