Origin of the QN Signals
The QNA-QNZ signals did not come from ARRL. They originated in Michigan where the first one-spot traffic net began in 1935. QMN has been in daily operation these sixty-some years on 3663 at 7:30 and 10:00 PM daily and check-ins are welcome.
It's always been said that nothing good ever came out of a committee, but there have been notable exceptions. One was the King James Bible in 1611. Another, the QN signals devised for net use together with the original concept of a National Traffic System, by the Detroit Amateur Radio Association QMN Net Committee in 1939.
The QN signals were published that fall in the DARA/QMN Bulletin and immediately spread far and wide on the new area nets that were following QMN’s pioneering example.
Ralph Thetreat, W8FX, aka Tate, chaired the Net Committee and personally saw to it that the QN list, together with an excellent outline of the QMN operation and its national system implications, were given the widest possible dissemination. In recognition of these efforts, W8FX was appointed Secretary/Treasurer of the QMN Net and held that office for over forty years.
Tate was always somewhat bitter, though, about ARRL refusing to even acknowledge the existence of the QN signals until years after they were in common use nationwide.
The League was chicken, he told us, just because a couple of the old aeronautical QNs were still being used on some obscure overseas Pan American CW circuit.
In a final touch of irony they were published at last in February 1947 QST, but without any credit to either DARA or QMN.
Nevertheless, like QST, Tate was devoted to amateur radio and left a very substantial legacy to the ARRL, specifically for a "decent and adequate" W1AW antenna system. Their startlingly improved signal since has been a fitting memorial to W8FX.
(Written by Don Devendorf, W8EGI, and published a few years ago in the Central Michigan Amateur Radio Club paper.) Submitted by KA8WNO
The Detroit Amateur Radio Association was an elitist CW group; most were or had been Great Lakes ship radio officers, all with First Class Commercial Radiotelegraph tickets and 30-35 WPM code speed. As shipboard ops these guys practically invented the Lake Erie swing. -W8EGI
Signal Electric Co.
Morse first rx-tx 1837