The Wouff Hong, based on a torture device of the ancient Japanese or Chinese (history is unclear on this) is a feared implement of enforcement of the official and unspoken laws of amateur radio.

The Wouff Hong probably has not been used as weapon of physical LARTing, and if it has, nobody's telling me about it. It is a large, heavy object of cast iron, the shape of which is some cross between a tuning fork and a forked cactus. Just speaking its name brings fear and respect to the hearts of ham radio operators everywhere.

The name of the legendary Wouff Hong was supposedly coined in a 1917 "Rotten Radio" column in QST, the journal of the American Radio Relay League. Its writer, under the pseudonym "T.O.M." (The Old Man), wrote a satirical view of the poor operating practices of some operators. In one column, he wrote some gibberish which had been overheard during a QSO, presumably in Morse Code, which contained the words "wouff hong". It was not known whether this was a nonstandard abbreviation, or just badly sent code. Sometime afterwards, he proposed that the Wouff Hong be an instrument of discipline.

Along came World War I, which brought the U.S. government's ordered shutdown of amateur radio. The airwaves fell silent. Operators everywhere were waiting for that moment when they would finally be allowed to get back on the air, including T.O.M.

In early 1919, T.O.M. contributed an article to QST called "Rotten Starting", criticizing the postwar delay by the U.S. government in reinstating the amateur radio service. The final words of this article were, "I am sending you a specimen of a real live Wouff-Hong which came to light when we started to get our junk out of cold storage. Keep it in the editorial sanctum where you can lay your hands on it quickly in an emergency. We will soon be allowed to transmit, and then you will need it." Along with this article was a picture of the first ever known Wouff Hong, a crude wire-bound wooden object.

The first picture of the Wouff Hong was published in QST in July, 1919. The Wouff Hong stood proudly on display before each meeting of the ARRL's directorial board.

It is unknown how many Wouff Hongs are presently in existence along with these two specimens. One known specimen has "ARRL National Convention Chicago, IL Sept 3 4 5 1938" cast into its iron base.

Along with the Wouff Hong, there are two other such torture devices in existence for LIDs: the Rettysnitch and the *shudder* Uggerumph.

For the morbidly curious, a picture of the Wouff Hong can be found at http://www.cebik.com/wouf.html

Sources:
The Royal Order of the Wouff Hong, http://home.attbi.com/~west-coast-net/pages/wouffhong.html
The Wouff-Hong, http://www.amfone.net/wouff.htm

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.