Ham radio history



1898 – First wireless amateur experimenters appear after Marconi’s practical wireless public demonstrations, most of them seek to build and test their capabilities.

1902 – Number of wireless enthusiasts increases after first transatlantic test, some seek improve wireless equipment and use it for communication from point A to point B.

1905 – First home wireless stations appear, mostly in port area, making random communication with ships and other stations. First companies to sell wireless equipment. First licenses for experimental purposes are issued for wireless amateurs among others in GB, later ’08 in NZ.

1906 – Young men begin to build and operate own wireless stations.  Berlin IRC adopts universal regulations, the term ‘Radio’ and the system of three-letter call signs.

1908-11- Ham radio (amateur stations) becomes a hobby. First  wireless/radio clubs and associations are formed. 1909 – WAOA. 1910 – WIA. 1911 – Derby Wireless Club in GB; CCWC in CA.  Wavelength of 35-1000m is used and a call of 2/3 signs is self-made or issued by club/magazine in combination with letter ‘E/S/M…’, like SKH or HAM.

1910-13-Governmental regulation grows, first and renewed  ‘amateur’ licenses are issued in the USA (Radio Act of 1912 <200m), UK (<600m), Canada (~50/<200m), Australia (100-250m), France, Argentina (~150m) and  New Zealand (except 1912-13). Officially in some countries calls are assigned with letter ‘X’ for ‘experimental’, like WUX, DXP or XAI.

1912 – London IRC adopts int. call prefix system, CQ and Q codes.

1913 – RSGB is founded. Bern, a call letters are updated. The first amateur/experimenter prefixes are used to denote state/radio district in AU XA.A-XZ.ZZ and US 1AA-9ZZ. Hams provided emergency communication.

1914 – ARRL is organized to help relay messages, typical ranges are 40 km (25 miles). Clubs in France and New Zealand. 6000 licencies wordwide.

1915 – QST. 1916 – First DX; station 2IB, Lima, works with 8AEZ, Ohio, – 1050 km (750 miles) across the USA.

1914/17-19 – Amateur/experimenter stations is shut down during WWI.

1919-26 – Ham radio appears in another 55 countries. The term Ham becomes widespread.

1920 – Vacuum tubes are used, 3200 km (2000 miles) distance reached. Starting with ’20-’23 first Ham pfx’es used to denote a country in EU are 2/5/6-GB, 8-FR, 2N-FI, 1-IT, initially semi-officials: 0/PC-NL, 7-DK, 4-BE, 9-CH and pre-war A1-Z9-BE.

1921 – ARRL transatlantic tests; December – in Europe signals are received from over 30 US stations.

1922 – Transpacific hamradio reception; 20 North American Hams heard signals from Europe. Superiority of CW against ’Spark’.

1923 – First  transatlantic QSO between 1MO, 1XAM USA and 8AB France on 110m.


1923 -ARRL informal system of intermediate signs is introduced: A-AU, F-FR, G-GB, U-US ... First DXpedition to the Arctic by 1TS.

1924 – Worldwide Ham communication below 100m and QSO among most continents. RSGB system of prefixes is published: EA-ES, F-FR, G-GB, LA-NO

1925 – IARU is founded with 25.000 radio enthusiasts, bands and prefixes discussed. New call signs  T(P)-PL, T(L)-LT, T(J)-LV, T(E)-EE, X-mobile.. . DFTV/DASD are organised.

1926 – WAC club is established. International callbook is published.

1927 – IARU announces new intermediates, first letter indicating the continent N, S, E, AS, O, F. ARRL sponsors the first organized contest ‘The International Relay party’.

1928 – IARU is reorganized as an association of national societies.

1929 – Internationally amateur/experimental bands are established: 160, 80, 40, 20, 10, and 5m. Int. system of call signs and and phonetic alphabet are introduced by IRC in 1927.


1901 – First wireless communication experiments Vilnius – St. Petersburg.

1918 – First B.Talutis experiments with the spark transmitter at home.

1919 – B.Talutis and K.Dambrauskas TX experiments with 300m.

1921 – B.Talutis first tube LW receiver and ’23 – MW.

1923 – Pfx LI is allocated at country level. Attempts establishing a military radio club.

1924 – LIYZ – Military radio station; experiments in septemeber. A.Jurskis becomes a member of ‘Societe des amis de la TSF’ and establishes a radio laboratory.

Jurskio laboratorija 1925m.

1925 – Informal signs T(L) is recommended by IARU. W.Hinentalis is member of DFTV DE-0383, K.Dambrauskas SWL. Act of Radio Communication (13-06) is adopted, licensing is complicated.

1926 – LKRMD (LIT1A) is founded with 7 members. Radio magazine ‘Radio patarejas’ is issued (1927-30). W.Hinentalis LIT1B qso with F8XRA, N0LY, KY8… B.Tolutis experiments on 40m. E.Bartininkas DE-0566, B.Eljasevicius DE-0699, V.Juchnevicius SWL.

1927 – ET1 is allocated. K.Dambrauskas TL1Z/RY1Z qso with England, B.Tolutis  LYT (ET1X) qso with France, Russia. AKK lab. W.Hinentalis ET1B-asia, usa, africa. Op.H.Bernhardtas ET-LIT? phone qso with Saarbruken, E.Bartininkas (RY1T). Brasiskis Radio lab. ET1R.

1928 – Radio Conference in Kaunas, shortwave affairs discussed. B.Eljaševičius ET1E, A.Volpertas (REF) ET1C/1SC, V.Vanagas DE-1322, O.Benkis SWL,  Z.Glodenis ET1?ET1B qso with all continents. Established LKRMD and radio squad laboratory (RY6A?/RY4A).

1929 – RY is allocated. Officially first club station RY2AU is founded at Panevezys post office. RY1X,  RY1Z  permissions for experimental purposes are issued in Oct.

1930 – WAC is issued for B.Eljasevicius RY1E/XD4LEC. E.Bartininkas QSL manager.

1931 – Established licensing rules commission A.Jurskis, A.Šilius. RY4L (Benkis?). ‘Radio’ page in ‘Paštininku žodis’.

1932 – Klaipėda r. stn. RY1A and B.Tolutis’ (21-04) RY1X (LL1X) first temporary licenses. RY1AA V.Vanagas, LL9JM J.Satas, LL1JK/LI1JK P. Jastrazemskas, E.Bartininkas RY1MB/LL1MB, O.Benkis RY4LB?/RY1B. ‘QSO’ page in ‘Bangos’.

1933 – LY is officially allocated, QSL mailing is centralized, new Act of Radio Communication (01-04-33). Licenses to LY1AA, LY1J, LY1MB, LY1X,  LY1AC, LY1ZB. O.Benkis LY1B – 3rd place in RCC contest. Some hams work without permissions like LY1AD, LY1RJ, LY1VI, LY1E, LY1KP and others.

1934 – LRM Union is founded, President A.Jurskis (FRS42), short wave section – headed by LY1J;  bulletin ‘Radio savaite’ is published. First LY in international DX contest.

1936 – First national SWL call LY-R-01 L.Vilkaitis.

1937 – K.Karkauskas LY1KK 1st place in Ireland contest. Clubs LY1AR – LRM, LY1AT- Communications squad.

1938 – October, LRM (LTBRMD) is re-established.

Lietuvos Hamai 1938m.

1939 – First LY test – 1st. phone LY1J, cw-LY1S. First Handbook ‘For Radio Amateurs’ issued for beginners. December, membership in IARU. Club stations: LY1DE, LY1DN.

1940 – DXCC issued for LY1J. First QTC, 85 licenses.  July 1940 Board of Post suspends ham radio transmitter licenses.

1941-45 – Ham radio is shut down during WWII.

1946 – Feb. 12 club of Communications under guidance of ‘Osoaviahim’ in Soviet Lithuania is started. March 9 ban to work on air is abolised. Prefix UP is issued, SLW calls URSP-2-## and op. of a club UOPP-2-##.

1947 – Club station UP2KBA is  started, it takes part in the contest. Aug 1, the Communication club is reorganized into Radio club.

1948 – Kaunas branch UP2KBC of Vilnius radio club is started. In autumn L.Auzin UP2AA.  New experimental VHF category, 4m band is introduced.

1949 – P.Federavičius UP2AB (09.20) ex LYR-53.


1950 – SWL(URS)/UOP calls reformed into UP2-21001-21032… 4m. (70-72mhz) band replaced by 3.5m (85-87mhz).

1951 – Restrictions (1951-56) to work on air with foreign hams come into force.  K.Karkauskas UP2AC (ex LY1KK). 80m band is returned.

1952 – Sports categories are introduced. SWL became popular.

1953 – Book ‘Short wave radio amateur’ by J.Stanaitis is issued. Sports categories are awarded (III, II). Kaunas branch is reorganized into Kaunas radioclub. Digital VHF calls ‘019500’ are introduced.

1954 – First experiments on VHF KPI students A.Šliavas 019501, J. Dzedulionis, J.Stabrauskas and others.

1955 – 85mhz band replaced by 38mhz. First VHF qso 019501 and 019508 and pilot contest. Dec, International  VHF bands (2m and etc) are allocated.

1956 – Licensing is liberalised, S.Uždavinys UP2AS, V. Duko UP2AD.., VHF club stations KPI 019528.., ŠPI 019535 .., HF UP2KBE.  Kaunas city VHF contest 1st UP2AE.

1957 – In July, call suffixes are reformed to UP2K/UP2A(B)-M Vilnius zone and N-T Kaunas zone. VHF calls are replaced into RP2xxx.

1958 – 112 licenses. Vilnius city VHF contest 1st RP2NBE and first UP VHF championship 1st RP2KCK.

1959 – 1,8mhz and 38mhz are abolished. Category of master of sports to UP2AT.

1960 – LRSF is founded. Lithuanian official HF contest, 1st place to UP2AT and UP2KBA. Firsts SSB qso G.Misiunas UP2CG, UP2NV, UP2AL. RP2 prefixes reformed into UP2xxx. Book ‘VHF radio station‘ by A.Šliavas is issued.

1961 – UP2 callbook. First UP Conference (hamfest).

1962 –  Radiosport is included in the Uniform Sports Classification.

1963 – Era of contesting from Lithuania begins.

1964 – Book ‘Radiosport in Soviet Lithuania‘ V.Siksnius. LRSF bulletin is started.

1965 – First ‘SB’ test (‘Baltic contest’). Award ‘Lithuania’ is established. RTTY is authorized, 1st. UP2CG. First qso via OSCAR-4 satellite V.Simonis UP2ON, later qso with K2GUN.

1966 – First contest expedition 4L7A (UK2PCR).

1975 – First official 5BDXCC – KPI UK2PAF.

1980 – On the  initiative of LRSF organized the first in  the World SW “Face to Face” experimental contest in Giruliai. 1 st. place V.Vaseikis UP2PX.

1988 – December, LRMD is re-established, started again use LY prefixes.

1992 – IARU membership restored.

I look for  RY6A QSL (1929-32) or any info.


Les Nouvelles DX

G4UZN Historic QSL Collection

QSL Gallery – Lithuania

QSL Collections LY5G and LY2KM

Dokumentationsarchiv Funk, Wien

OZ6GH Collection of old radio books and journals.

‘World at their Fingertips’ by John Clarricoats

‘The World of Ham Radio, 1901-1950′ by Richard A. Bartlett

‘200 meters & down’ by Clinton B. Desoto

‘Ham Shacks, Brass Pounders & Rag Chewers’ by Ian Daugherthy

‘From Spark to Space’ by Saskatoon Ham radio Club

‘History of Australian amateur radio callsigns’ by VK2CZ. OTN Nr.45

‘Histoire de l’émission d’amateur et du REF’. F2VX

‘Alussa oli kipinä – Suomen Radioamatööriliiton 75-vuotishistoriikki’. SRAL.

‘У истоков мирового радиолюбительского движения’. (Хроника:1898-1928гг). UY5XE