W8BAC   Mike in Shelby Township Michigan

W8BAC .. the Voice of America!

On the right is a picture of an old VOA ribbon/dynamic microphone. This is an Altec 639B from the 1940's and still works great!


Beginning in 1917, stories by an anonymous writer using the pseudonym "The Old Man", or "T.O.M." began to appear in the American Radio Relay League's (ARRL) monthly publication QST. Titled the "Rotten Radio" series, they harshly assailed and exposed the poor operating practices of the day with caustic satire and humor. It was in one of these stories, entitled "Rotten QRM", that T.O.M. blasted the gibberish he'd overheard in one particular QSO, citing as an example the words "wouff hong", which apparently was either a concocted abbreviation, or someone's poor attempt at sending.

At the time of the articles T.O.M. did not know what a Wouff-Hong was, but he later adopted it as a disciplinary object with which to both flail bad operating practices and inflict punishment on the perpetrators. It is said that in the following era he had, tongue in cheek, proposed its use as an instrument of torture and discipline, to maintain decency and order in the ham radio community.
It was in the July 1919 issue of QST that the portrait of the Wouff-Hong first appeared. At each meeting of the Leagues Board, the Wouff-Hong stood on display, to the humbled looks of the Directors." Only after his death, was it was revealed to all that T.O.M. had actually been Hiram Percy Maxim, the founder and first President of the ARRL. It is said that he took the secret of the origin of the first Wouff-Hong to his grave.

It was awarded to Lawrence Buroker, W9GPS (now Silent Key) at the ARRL National Convention, held in Chicago, September 3-5. 1938.

Microphone Collection

At left is the VOA Altec again. In the middle, rear is an Altec 670 ribbon microphone circa 1950’s and an RCA 74 JR Velocity from 1934 (middle foreground). To the right is an RCA 77D from NBC in New York City.

Behind the display is an original RCA serving tray featuring Nipper listening to his masters voice