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w8eeo

Posts: 2,220 Member Since: 10/04/08

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Dec 10 10 12:45 AM

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Word origin of "ham" Ham. Amateur radio operators are often referred to as "hams" -- a term with a complicated history. At the start of the 1900s, "ham" was sometimes used to refer to someone as "unskilled" -- "Ham actor" being the most common example. Wire-line telegraphy employees at this time had a rich vocabulary of insults for describing less-than-capable operators, and in...
http://earlyradiohistory.us/sec022.htm

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Rachel

Posts: 25 Member Since:08/31/14

#3 [url]

Sep 8 14 3:10 PM

That is interesting. If I had the time, I would try to find out where many words originated from. Would be interesting to find out.

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Lady T

Posts: 25 Member Since:12/28/15

#4 [url]

Jan 3 16 11:16 AM

I've heard of 'ham' actors, and I thought that meant amateurs. Plus, they call someone a 'ham' if they like to show-off. I guess I am a little of both, so by it being called 'ham' radio, I think it suits me.

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Speak Easy

Posts: 25 Member Since:02/01/16

#5 [url]

Feb 6 16 5:26 PM

It’s always interesting to find out the origin of a word. I’m a history buff and especially when it comes to ham radios. Thanks for sharing this information, it makes for great reading. 

Last Edited By: Speak Easy Mar 11 16 3:22 PM. Edited 1 time.

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Sunshine

Posts: 25 Member Since:01/25/16

#6 [url]

Feb 7 16 2:32 PM

I had always (and obviously erroneously) assumed that it was somehow a mash up of amateur. I was young when I got into ham radio so I guess the question just never really occurred to me.

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Pinstripe

Posts: 51 Member Since:01/26/16

#7 [url]

Feb 8 16 11:51 AM

As times change so does our vocabulary. It sounds like "amateur" and "unskilled" have become one in the same. I guess because amateur doesn't sound so harsh and personal as unskilled.

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Beeeebo

Posts: 26 Member Since:03/05/16

#8 [url]

Apr 15 16 12:44 AM

I have, of course, heard of ham acting but had never connected it to the radio name. Strange, but I always thought the term had some technical origin as an abbreviation of some components or something. This is interesting!

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masarual

Posts: 7 Member Since:04/21/16

#9 [url]

Apr 22 16 3:01 PM

I always love reading about word origins and all the alternate theories that people come up with. Ham as in amateur makes sense in several ways. I have heard people refer to clumsy actions as ham-handed or ham-fisted, so if operators were careless in sending code, "ham" would have sprung to mind for that reason as well.

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Spyra

Posts: 16 Member Since:04/28/16

#10 [url]

Apr 29 16 10:14 AM

I also thought "ham operators" was simply the short version of "amateur radio operators". Seems like it was more like a random word invented because calling them with titles mentioned in the article was too long. I'm glad that the context of the word is not so negative anymore. I wonder if the negative nickname caused people to lose interest in radios.

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White Noise

Posts: 52 Member Since:01/18/16

#11 [url]

May 5 16 2:19 PM

This is interesting......... the term ham, 100 years ago, was coined because of the lack of education a person had. Unskilled versus skilled. Unschooled versus schooled. Nowadays though, that word would have originated from the lack of money a person does not have to get more sophisticated equipment. Intelligence isn't revered as it once was. Now it's all about the money.

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