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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Ham Radio in Germany 1955 (video)

Don't be deterred by the lack of English subtitles -- radio amateurs around the world will be able to follow what is going on in this very interesting 1955 film.  It is only about 14 minutes long. 

This video takes us back to a time when hams were hams and rigs were RIGS!

Note the German OM who apparently slept fully dressed (with necktie) in order to be ready to spring into action on the ham bands in the middle of the night.  That's dedication my friends. 

Also note the fellow sending out QSL cards that feature the schematic diagram of his rig.  Lots of solder melted in 1955.  Great stuff. 

Thank God for the Heaviside Schicht!    


  1. Sadly what the video doesn't say is that in GDR (and most of the Eastern Bloc) ham radio was only available to people who were heavily vetted by the secret police and the communist party. Also, talking to foreign stations has been forbidden for a very long time and even after it was allowed, the secret police was routinely monitoring traffic and inspecting the HAMs. If you didn't conform in the slightest (e.g. mentioned anything that could be considered "political" on the air), your license was cancelled and you could even go to prison. Owning a radio was a very tightly controlled privilege - when you could go to prison simply for listening to Radio America or Radio Free Europe then imagine how tough the regime was if you wanted to actually have a transmitter of any kind! Even RC toys were unavailable. The only people having radios of any kind were police, firemen, ambulances and the military. And some HAMs (many didn't own a station and had to make do with a club radio).

    Concerning gear - what is in the film is mostly war surplus stuff, new equipment was pretty much impossible to obtain. The various embargoes against COMECOM countries didn't help neither. That's why homebrewing and DIY was very popular (and often the only way) how to get a radio, pretty much until the late 80s when some individual imports by more affluent (and lucky!) HAMs became possible.

    73, Jan OM2ATC

    1. But Jan, this video was from the FRG not the GDR, correct? Bill

  2. What a contrast to the HAMs of today....grossly overweight, wearing a tshirt with some obscure event from years ago printed on it. Riding scooters at the hamfests. And buy a 1000 dollar radio and fry it because they use an old piece of coax from the 50's instead of new...;-)


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