In the late 1980s many AM ops were concerned about FCC rule making that would threaten AM or even make it obsolete. In the early 1980s the FCC proposed making Peak Envelope Power the uniform way of measuring transmitter power output. During the comment period when this rule was under consideration it was pointed out that this would have the effect of making illegal many previously “legal limit” homebrew and commercially manufactured amateur AM transmitters. When the rule making was finalized the FCC gave a ten year grandfather clause to allow these high power AM stations to temporarily continue to operate.
A number of AM operators began planning how to respond to this. From face to face contact with FCC administrators we learned that they significantly underestimated the number of amateurs that were still using AM and who planned to continue using AM. What we needed in the AM community was organization and visibility. A national organization, the “Society for the Promotion of AM” (SPAM) was interested in helping and we planned to offer breakout sessions at high profile hamfests to bring AM ops together and demonstrate our numbers to the larger amateur community. The first SPAM Forum was at the Dayton Hamvention in 1989. By 1991 we realized the relationship with SPAM wasn’t working out as we had hoped and a new organization was necessary.
In 1993 the formation of Amplitude Modulation International was announced at the Dayton Hamvention. We took the name from an earlier West Coast amateur radio organization that no longer existed. The new AMI was dedicated to the enjoyment, promotion and preservation of AM. Our hallmark programs included numbered membership certificates, an organization of ten regions with directors, annual operating events, hamfest presentation packages, local club support and monitoring of FCC, ARRL, etc. activities that might affect AM operation.
Unfortunately, after hundreds of supportive comments were submitted to the FCC to maintain the maximum AM transmitter power, the reduced PEP power measurement was mandated. But, the good news that came out of this was a strong FCC statement in support of AM’s continuing important place in amateur radio in the United States.
Submitted by Dale Gagnon (KW1I), one of the AMI’s founders
I’ve been involved in AM since 2000, mostly operating with the west coast AM International group. I have also been in broadcast as an on-air personality and ran my own successful internet radio station. I enjoy restoring boat anchors but keep up with the latest technologies on the market. My favorite mode is of course AM.
At the moment my main transmitter is the BC610. It has served me well the last few years. I do have a variety of other smaller transmitters (ranger, dx60, low power class E,100V) backed up by a 3CX1200 amp. Recently, I have been enjoying the Apache Labs Anan. The audio on it is hard to beat.
I look forward to working many of you in the coming years. Feel free to contact me with any ideas and observations you have. I will strive to fill Dale’s shoes as the Executive Director the best I can and, grow AM International into the future.
John McGrath N9AMI AMI#1488