In 1888 radio waves were discovered by Heinrich Rudolf Hertz. Amateur radio started in 1890 when Italian inventor Marconi started using radio waves. Many people then began experimenting with this new "wireless telegraphy".

From 1900 many Australian experimenters (amateur radio operators) started using wireless radio.

In 1905 the Wireless Telegraphy Act was passed in Australia to regulate the use of wireless. There were 398 Experimenter’s Licences listed in Australia by 1914.

Amateur radio was stopped during World War One, between 1914 and 1919. Experimenter’s licences were not issued again until 1921.

In 1910, the “Amateurs of Australia” group was formed, now called “Wireless Institute of Australia”.

In 1921, experiments were started to try and make radio contact across the Atlantic Ocean, with the first radio contact being made between the USA and the UK in December 1923.

In the following year, radio contacts between North and South America; South America and New Zealand; North America and New Zealand; and London and New Zealand were being made.

In many countries amateur radio was again stopped during World War II.

During the 1950s, amateur (ham) radio operators helped to use of single-sideband modulation (SSB) for high frequency (HF) voice communication. In 1961 the first orbital amateur radio satellite (OSCAR) was launched. 

Although still very popular, the need to learn morse code for an amateur radio licence was removed in January 2004.

October 2005 the Foundation "entry" level amateur radio licence was introduced in Australia. In 2015 there are 15,000 licensed amateur radio operators in Australia.

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