“By 1914, there were thousands of Amateur Radio operators–hams–in the United States. Hiram Percy Maxim, a leading Hartford, Connecticut, inventor and industrialist saw the need for an organization to band together this fledgling group of radio experimenters. In May 1914 he founded the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) to meet that need.”
Hiram Percy Maxim (September 2, 1869 – February 17, 1936) was an American radio pioneer and inventor, and co-founder of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). He originally had the amateur call signs SNY, 1WH, 1ZM, (after World War I) 1AW, and later W1AW, which is now the ARRL Headquarters club station call sign. His rotary spark-gap transmitter “Old Betsy” has a place of honor at the ARRL Headquarters.
The spark gap key that Hiram used
A typical spark gap transmitter used back in the day of early ham radio
Learn more at http://www.arrl.org/files/file/About%20ARRL/Ham_Radio_100_Years.pdf