92 years ago today, the Richmond Times-Dispatch of April 23, 1922, reported the possibility that amateur radio operators would serve as deputies of the Commerce Department in policing the airwaves. The paper reports that Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover was favorably disposed to a recommendation that deputy radio inspectors be elected from the ranks of hams. Once deputized, these inspectors would endeavor to secure strict observance of the radio communications laws. If the law required compensation, then these deputies would serve for a payment of one dollar per year.
The paper pointed out that hams in the Richmond area had already voluntarily observed for a number of years rules of etiquette. For example, in Richmond, local stations had been observing a schedule described thus:
the hours from 6 A.M. to 6 P.M. as “free air,” that is, communications of any kind; 6 P.M. to 7:30 P.M., local communication; 7:30 to 11 P.M., standby for broadcast; 11 P.M. and on, long-distance amateur communication.
The article went on to include the following praise: “The average amateur works in a highly technical manner, particularly if he is a member of the American Radio Relay League, an organization of amateurs stretching all over the United States and permitting of constant communication at all times and places.” It concludes by stating that the “amateur promises to be the backbone of our national system of popular radio, now springing into being.”