In the early day of radio, it was thought that only long-wave radio transmissions could travel long distances, and so radio amateurs – Know as ‘Hams’ – were allowed to broadcast short-wave transmissions. However, to the amazement of the professionals, it was found that short-wave transmission could be received over long distances.
The usefulness of short waves become known just in time. Britain was on the point of building a chain of enormously expensive long-wave Empire radio stations. The plan was scrapped and instead, a system of short-wave stations was installed throughout the British Empire. They have proved to be marvellously efficient. Many millions of dollars were saved because of the much lower cost of Short-wave radio stations.
To the radio ‘Hams’ goes the credit of quite a number of clever and useful inventions. Often, when the usual means of communications have broken down in emergencies caused by earthquakes, flood, fire and hurricane, radio ‘ hams’ have taken over and, utilizing their small, self-built, short-wave radio stations, have helped to arrange rescue operations, the transport of medical and food supplies and housing of the homeless.