In the latest ARRL Contest Update there was a photo taken by N0AX (Ward) of K1DG (Doug) and K3LR (Tim) with a copy of a 1958 Sports Illustrated magazine. Inside that Sports Illustrated issue is an article titled “The Battle Of The Hams“.
Some of my favorite snippets from the article are:
“a hobby—amateur radio—that is distinguished by one of the most grueling international competitions in all sport”
“It takes about six months before logs, sent from the six continents, can be tabulated and checked.” - Some results still take that long.
“Depending on just how serious he is on the subject, the DX contest man will not only kill himself in a contest, but he will spend the better part of a year getting ready for the exquisite torture of 48 hours of almost continuous operating.”
I don’t know if this story is true, but you will chuckle… “Zone 23 is mostly tundra and Tibet, and hams there are as rare as centerfielders. Robert Ford, an R.A.F. radio operator, put Zone 23 on the map, operating from a monastery for a few months eight years ago. Then he was captured by the Communists and became famous as a man who survived five years of attempted brainwashing and Red torture. When he was released in Hong Kong three years ago, the first Westerner to greet him was a British colonel. The officer was a ham first and an Englishman second. He threw his arms around Ford and cried, “Thank God you’re alive, Bob. I’ve been sweating out your QSL card for six and a half years.”
You can read and print the entire 1958 Sports Illustrated article. The article is all still relevant today, 55 years later.