80 Years Hungarian Radio Amateur Society


The Hungarian Radio Amateur Society celebrates in 2008 its 80th Anniversary. The idea of founding a national union embracing the radio amateurs had already emerged in 1924 with the aim of creating a community for broadcast reception enthusiasts. A union was formally created, but it was not yet viable. Activity on the short waves was considerably helped by the first international amateur radio conference held in Paris in April, 1925. The Conference defined the tasks of the amateurs, especially the formation of national organizations, the call sign regulation, the criteria of the amateur status and agreement on the rules of traffic. The International Amateur Radio Union was founded there. In Hungary radio amateurs launched their “H” camp in 1927. All these events, policy changes in Hungary and neighboring Austria and the issuance of the first EWH1 call sign opened the way to establish a real association. On January 2, 1928 - in a Danube embankment café - members of the “H” camp founded by acclamation the Union of the Hungarian Shortwave Amateurs (MRAE) and elected its board and officers. In the following years regular gatherings were held in a downtown café-restaurant and in the premises of MRAE. The Great Depression, the lack of funds did not favor the development. The reorganization of MRAE proved necessary. In 1934, with support of the Ministry of Defense, the MRAE was transformed into a new organization, the National Union of the Hungarian Shortwave Amateurs (MRAOE), where military officers showed up among the office-holders. In 1934 the MRAOE applied for IARU membership with the support of the German DASD society. It was admitted at the next IARU conference in 1936. The notion of shortwave sport was formulated in 1929-31 with the aim of setting concrete targets for the radio contacts. The shortwave sport was based on the necessity of experiments in the technical field and propagation research. Its two major dimensions were the DX work and the contests. Contests started in Hungary in 1931. Further development in the radio sport was the first radio orienteering competition in the summer of 1934.

In 1938 was inaugurated the new headquarters building of the MRAOE with presentation rooms, workshop, store-room and offices. The amateur examinations were also held here. In World War 2 bomb attacks fully destroyed the building and with it most of the documents.

After the war the amateur radio movement had to be completely reorganized. In April, 1948 the Union of the Hungarian Shortwave Radio Amateurs (MRRE) was established and it received a new headquarters building. In 1950 the leaders of the country committed the Hungarian Freedom Fighters League (MSZSZ) to create a new type “socialist amateur radio movement”. Radio clubs were established throughout the country and the number of HF/VHF licensees was around 200. Several thousand people acquired the basic knowledge of electro and radio techniques. After the 1956 revolution and fight for freedom the newly created Hungarian Defense Sport League took over the amateur movement and helped to create the conditions of work. Fox hunting or as we call it today amateur radio direction finding was re-started and modernized. In the first half of the sixties the radio triathlon sport was created. In 1967 the political leadership of the country established the Hungarian Defense League which governed and generously funded the amateur radio activities. Modern transceivers, antennas and telecommunications material were given to the radio amateurs. In 1968 the Hungarian Radio Amateur Society (MRASZ) was founded and the IARU reactivated our membership. As an acknowledgement of the good work of MRASZ, the Region 1 of IARU held its conference in 1978 at Miskolc-Tapolca, Hungary. MRASZ has gained its full independence at the changing of the political system and has been directing and serving ever since the amateur radio movement.

In this short review I remembered to the main events of the past eight decades, to all those people who wanted to act and who took part in the development and cultivation of this noble technical hobby and sport. Since January 2, 1928 eight long and strenuous decades have passed which already count for us as history. Who has followed our history, could observe beside the numerous variables one constant and it is nothing other than the amateur’s enthusiasm and good-will. Our movement is not auto telic, but it serves the community of a country and the world, as this is the basic element of its existence.

Budapest, January 1, 2008

                                                                                              Gyula Felber, HA1TJ