Hiram Percy Maxim (September 2, 1869 – February 17, 1936) was cofounder of the American Radio Relay League.
The American Radio Relay League is the largest membership association of amateur radio enthusiasts in the USA. ARRL is a non-profit organization, and was founded in May 1914 by Maxim of Hartford, Connecticut.
He originally had the amateur call signs SNY, 1WH, 1ZM, (after World War I) 1AW, and later W1AW.
W1AW is both the amateur radio call sign and the primary operating station of the American Radio Relay League. This station, which is commonly called the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station, is located on the grounds of ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut. It was inspired by Maxim's 1AW, which is now the ARRL Headquarters club station call sign.
A spark-gap transmitter is a device for generating radio frequency electromagnetic waves using a spark gap.These devices served as the transmitters for most wireless telegraphy systems for the first three decades of radio and the first demonstrations of practical radio were carried out using them.
Maxim's rotary spark-gap transmitter, "Old Betsy", has a place of honor at the ARRL Headquarters.
Maxim tinkered with internal combustion engines before
Pope Manufacturing Company about the possibility of manufacturing a
gasoline-powered automobile. Albert Augustus Pope hired Maxim to run
his Motor Vehicle Division. In 1899, with Maxim at the controls, the
Pope Columbia, a gasoline-powered automobile, won the first
closed-circuit automobile race in the US at Branford, Connecticut.
Columbia later began manufacturing an electric automobile.
In February, 1936, Hiram Percy Maxim was
returning to his home in Hartford, Connecticut, from a trip to
California to visit the Lick
Observatory. He fell ill and was taken from the train to a hospital in
La Junta, Colorado, where he died the following day, February 17, 1936.
Hiram P. Maxim was buried in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown,
Maryland, in the Hamilton family plot belonging to his wife's family.
The stamp was commissioned by the Post Office
not only to celebrate the the League's milestone anniversary, but also
to honor all the volunteer man hours unselfishly rendered by brave
Amateur Radio operatorss who provided communications (sometimes the
communications) for many areas after "The Great Alaska Earthquake of
1964" - hence the "First Day of Issue" cancellation from Anchorage,
had become the 49th state in 1959.]