The society was formed in 1982. Although it now covers all aspects of RF and microwave engineering the society was originally focused on automated measurement and was named the "Automated RF & Microwave Measurement Society" (ARMMS). It was originally modelled on the ARFTG society (www.arftg.org), which had been founded ten years previously in the USA. The society's original aims were to develop the use of computer automation in the RF and microwave industry. A significant part of this was of course to gently persuade the major instrument manufacturers to automate their equipment wherever possible.
Early papers were from Academia and Industry and focused on the automation and calibration of the then essentially manual vector network analysers. The time was ripe of course as the new "instrument controllers" were becoming available together with the standardized "General Purpose Interface Bus", IEEE Standard 488, introduced in 1975. Almost coincident with the birth of the ARMMS society was the introduction of the so-called "IBM" PC.
The improvements in productivity were immediately seen, but probably more important was the ability to calibrate at a large number of frequency points and make almost real time highly accurate measurements by comparing the results of a device against the data from known artifacts stored in computer memory. In addition to this "accuracy enhancement" as it was called, everyone was to see the benefits of mathematical manipulation and transformation of the test data. An early example of this was Marion Hine's and Harold E Stinehelfer's time domain software running on a local desk top computer instead of being sent to a mainframe for later analysis. Indeed Harold Stinehelfer was a presenter and after dinner speaker at one of the early meetings.