HAM Radio 101

Word of the Day: Why Do Hams Call it a “Shack?”

Many of us bought our first computers at Radio Shack in the late 70s, danced to the B-52’s “Love Shack” in the late 80s, and watched Shaq O’Neal dominate opponents on the court starting in the 90s. But to Amateur Radio operators, the word “shack” conjures only one image—our Ham Shack. Most of us drop the word “Ham” and simply refer to our on-air sanctuary as “shack,” the place we’ve customized with more gear than we’d like to admit, decorated with QSL cards and stickers from our favorite vendors, and graced with the final piece that makes our fortress of solitude truly unique—our personal callsign. We can trace the word “shack” to the U.S. Navy’s first use of radio. Placed on the decks of ships, modest wooden structures housing radio equipment were called “radio shacks.”


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