Radio Act of 1912, signed into law on August 13 of that year, was the first federal law regulating
the transmission of RF signals. Licensing and operational requirements for private (amateur),
commercial, and military radio stations were set forth. In response to the sinking of the Titanic
in April, the Act also stipulated rules for mandatory mutual monitoring of emergency signals
from ships at sea. Prior to the Act, military communications was being jeopardized by uncontrolled
high power transmissions (private and commercial) stepping all over critical transmissions.
Amateurs were assigned a portion of the spectrum specifically chosen to discourage their activity.
Rather than being discouraged, they developed technology to exploit the characteristics of the
wavelengths. Khrystyne Keane (K1SFA) wrote a good article about it in the August 2012 QST
Years of Amateur Radio Licensing." The ARRL restricts access to article to members only,
but fortunately permission was given to the IEEE for public posting.
Posted August 2012