Electrician and Mechanic, April, 1912, page 272:
NAVY TO WAR ON WIRELESS NOVICES
Investigation to be made as Result of Interference with Message of Distress--To Seek Federal Law--Officials, by Requiring Licenses, Hope to Check Amateur Operators who Hamper Seaboard Business
Serious and flagrant interference by amateur wireless operators in the transmission of legitimate messages along the Atlantic seaboard has aroused the Navy Department to such an extent that an official investigation will be begun today. Immediate action was prompted when a message of distress from the torpedo boat destroyer Terry, recently was interrupted by novice operators here, causing a delay of more than an hour.
Officials in the Brooklyn Navy Yard say they have the names of several young men who were responsible for the interference in the transmission of the message from the disabled Terry. While the pernicious interference cannot be stopped by law now, the naval officials hope to check it by a personal canvass of the amateur operators and by continued agitation cause the enactment of a federal law requiring all operators to obtain a license.
"The incident of the Terry is argument enough for a federal license law," said one of the navy investigators. "For more than an hour amateur operators interfered with the receipt of the message of distress. They were asked repeatedly to cease their activity in sending messages to each other. Instead of complying with the request, several of them retorted with impudent replies.
"During the delay the fierce gale and high seas that battered the distressed destroyer put her wireless outfit out of commission, and we were unable to learn her exact position to rush aid to her.
"Our country is the only one in the world in which all wireless operators are not required to have a license. There are approximately more than five hundred amateur operators in and around New York. Their interference is a serious menace when vessels are in distress, and exasperating to professional operators who have difficulty in receiving and sending legitimate messages.
"On Saturdays and Sundays the amateurs keep the air charged with messages, and it is next to impossible to carry on the regular business. It is from this fact that we deduct that most of the amateurs are schoolboys, who then have time to carry on their experiments. We have estimated that among 500 young men or amateurs who have outfits, at least half that number own and operate a sending equipment. It is the sending that causes the 'break' in messages being received by professional operators. Sometimes it is possible to check the amateurs by a process known as 'tuning them out.' But for the most part, the operators are powerless to 'call them off.'
"We do not wish to be represented as discouraging young men who are ambitious in carrying on experiments in wireless operation. For the most part, they are young geniuses who have built their own stations. But when it is realized how serious their interference is at times, and what it might cost if some vessel was in distress, it can be appreciated that some action must be taken. The final solution lies in the federal license, but in the meantime we will do all in our power to discourage interference with legitimate messages."--Aerogram.