THE WOUFF HONG
From the 1969 ARRL "Radio Amateur's Operating Manual"
Every amateur should know and tremble at the history and origins of
this fearsome instrument for punishment of amateurs who cultivate bad
operating habits and who nourish and culture their meaner instincts on
This is the Wouff Hong.
It was invented -or at any rate, discovered- by "The Old Man" himself,
just as amateurs were getting back on the air after World War One. "The
Old Man" (who later turned out to be Hiram Percy Maxim, W1AW, Co-founder
and first president of ARRL) first heard the Wouff Hong described amid
the howls and garble of QRM as he tuned across a band filled with signals
which exemplified all the rotten operating practices then available to
amateurs, considering the state of the art as they knew it. As amateur
technology and ingenuity have advanced, we have discovered new and
improved techniques of rotten operating, but we're ahead of our story.
As The Old Man heard it, the Wouff Hong was being used on some hapless
offender so effectively that he investigated. After further effort,
"T.O.M." was able to locate and identify a Wouff Hong. He wrote a number
of QST articles about contemporary rotten operating practices and the use
of the Wouff Hong to discipline the offenders.
Early in 1919, The Old Man wrote in QST "I am sending you a specimen of
a real live Wouff Hong which came to light out here . . . Keep it in the
editorial sanctum where you can lay hands on it quickly in an emergency."
The "specimen of a real live Wouff Hong" was presented to a meeting of
the ARRL Board and QST reported later that "each face noticeably blanched
when the awful Wouff Hong was . . . laid upon the table." The Board voted
that the Wouff Hong be framed and hung in the office of the Secretary of
the League and there it remains to this day, a sobering influence on every
visitor to League Headquarters who has ever swooshed a carrier across a
The Old Man never prescribed the exact manner in which the Wouff Hong
was to be used, but amateurs need only a little imagination to surmise
how painful punishments were inflicted on those who stoop to liddish
behavior on the air.