THE SOCIETY OF WIRELESS PIONEERS ARCHIVE
Hyman Mandel at VCZ Ellis Bay, Quebec, May, 1951.
Photo courtesy of David McBay, 1353-PA
SOWP NET SCHEDULE
Dick Singer, K6KSG writes: “I keep the SOWP CW Net on 14055 kHz on Thursdays at 1600Z, which is for standard time. When the time changes for Daylight Savings time, it will be 1500Z.”
You don’t need to be a Society member to join in. Give it a try!
The ups and downs of inventing electronic television. Read about Philo T. Farnsworth from wireless historian Henry Dickow’s Tales of the Wireless Pioneers.
Ports o’ Call Winter 1968 – Read about how voices and music (!) were first heard over the radiotelegraph in 1912, the 60th anniversary of trans-Pacific communications at KPH, Richard Johnstone on early Pacific wireless stations, and more
Charles R. Underhill Jr., 1900-P, became an RCA executive and had personally known Professor Hazeltine, Paul Godley, and David Sarnoff. His father, author of Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony, had befriended and mentored a young boy who wanted to learn about wireless. The boy was Edwin Howard Armstrong, who made a crystal receiver for Charles Jr. Armstrong would later call Charles Sr. ‘the man who taught me radio.’ See his autographed dedications to Underhill here.
Want a quantity discount on the new CRYSTALOI DETECTOR? Sorry, the offer expired in 1915.
Mears Around the World – John Henry Mears set a world’s record for travel time around the globe in 1913. In the process he sailed with G. Marconi, rode the Trans Siberian Railroad, and traveled by “pull-man-car” (rickshaw). See how long he took in this article from The Marconigraph for September, 1913.
With the Marconi Engineers – In 1913 American Marconi built a high power transmitter station at Kahuku, Hawaii. See photos of one of the antenna towers going up here.
New Misc Photos – Loose coupler handmade by Edwin H. Armstrong, Edwin Pridham, RCA Belmar, NJ, Radiomen of the Frozen North and a couple of early receivers
The George Eccles Story – CHRS Archivist Bart Lee tells the tale of the first wireless operator to go down with his ship, a true hero who saved the lives of many others.
The Annaka Radio Story – From early Japanese tube manufacturer to 5G network equipment via Hogan’s Heroes? Our Featured article for March.
“Even as You and I”– Reflections on what was really lost at sea. Anonymous poetry supplied by Michael Orofino, 1382-PA.
Wonder how a young radio operator could be swindled by an unscrupulous Marconi operator in Chicago? Read the story that Bob Wahlstrom, 331-P tells in his membership application
Speaking of the Windy City, we present photos from Zenith co-founder Ralph HG Mathews showing his station, 9ZN, the portable Zenith transmitter, and radio equipment at NAJ, Great Lakes, IL (now Naval Station Great Lakes) around World War I
Nikola Tesla in his “The Transmission of Electric Energy Without Wires” from 1904 predicts that in light of the revolutionary new system he developed in Colorado “humanity will be like an antheap stirred up with a stick: See the excitement coming!” From a reprint by SoWP member E.J. Quinby.
Early SF wireless pioneer and later Presidential Adviser Haraden Pratt on the origins of the “Beach Station” and KPH, on guarding the station with a six-shooter, and a unique method for adjusting the resistance of a power rheostat. Radio history at its richest…
New photos – Shipboard Telefunken radio equipment circa 1920, Ed Raser, 35-P, W2ZI, and Dodge’s Radio Institute
Member applications – Gordon Pascoe, 33-P on replacing a radio operator executed by order of Pancho Villa, Ed Raser, 35-P on sparks and coherer and amateur radio at the age of 9, and Lee Fassett, 37-SGP on the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Earl Korf, 613-P bringing Jimmy Doolittle home from his Tokyo raid, Ken Botte, 620-PA on melting down lead and sulfur to make crystal detectors (better than rummaging through the coal bin)…
New Marconiana – Including original research papers by Guglielmo Marconi on his new magnetic detector and on night-time radio propagation, and a new photo of Marconi equipment restored by Lincoln Cundall of the AWA
From Jack Phillips to Olexander Lango, these radio operators lost their lives protecting the lives of others. See the Veteran Wireless Operators Memorial in Battery Park, New York. Reprinted by kind permission of the Veteran Wireless Operators Association.
Long before MARS, there were US Army Amateur Radio Stations. Don Haskell, 3437-P recalls his experiences with AARS in the 1930s, and shares his certificate and lists of the many Army Z-codes then in use.
Undated map showing locations, call letters, and frequencies for RCA coastal stations
Speaking of Don Haig, his watercolor illustration of the radio room of the SS Powhatan in 1915 is featured in a greeting card from Society president William Breniman
No, a “Radio Tractor Unit” couldn’t plow any fields. Instead, it was an early way by which the US Army Signal Corps gathered signal intelligence. We have a photo of Dick Egolf, 71-SGP, listening in in one around 1918.
On anchor gaps, “De-tuners” and the history of the United Wireless Telegraph Company by Thorn Mayes, reprinted by permission of the Antique Wireless Association
Read the biography of Fessenden assistant and Radiomarine Corporation of America President Charles J. Pannill. It appears to be in error, though, regarding his having the very first Certificate of Skill and first commercial radiotelegraph license.
Veteran Wireless Operators Association (VWOA) – A 1932 VWOA yearbook was recently found in the SoWP archives. This organization dates from 1925 and is still active today. Many SoWP members also belonged to VWOA. Courtesy of VWOA, we’ve uploaded portraits of pioneers C.B. Cooper and George H. Clark, stories of early female brasspounders Anna Nevins and Lena Michelsen, and biographies of VWOA life members including Frederick Kolster, David Sarnoff, C.J. Pannill, and Elmer Bucher. For much more information, visit the VWOA website (VWOA.org).
Forget Sennheisers! What the discriminating wireless operator needed for his or her listening enjoyment was a Brandes “matched tone” headset. View the 1916 Brandes catalog here.
Hugo Gernsback’s “The Evolution of Radio“, from the Electro Importing Company to millimeter waves and radio on the moon! Courtesy of the Proceedings of the Radio Club of America
1920 Simon Radio Catalog – Emil J Simon says that modern-day radios are so different from early ones that Marconi would barely recognize them (?). It would be foolish to buy from a company just because it was first. Simon offers best price and performance, and equipped the US and French military in WWI. Close-ups of some of their sets are shown here.
More Marconiana – Photos of the Poldhu station, history of the South Wellfleet station, and more
Letters – Bill Breniman on unions, and George Meister on hearing loss and a disaster at sea
PAA Mackay Radiogram – Boarded your Pan Am Clipper flight and realized you needed to send a radiogram? Use this form.
Bolinas – Documents related to and photos of Marconi’s High Power Station at Bolinas, CA (with receiving station at Marshall, CA) being constructed in 1913. Find out what the “Hotel de Gink” was…
New Photos – KPH, first trans-Pacific “phone” call, more…
“Nowadays” Cartoon – Who’s more important, the Captain or the Marconi man?
JJ Fahie on Marconi’s Method – How does the Marconi system work? Is Nikola Tesla about to introduce a wireless telegraph system that will “stagger humanity”? Find out in this 1902 book extract.
We offer a tribute to Benjamin Beckerman (1886-1975), DeForest pioneer, longtime maritime radio operator (and mentor to many), and union president. See his Certificate of Skill, other certificates, and roles in saving lives. See his photos with Dr. DeForest and other notables, and at the Wireless Operators Memorial in Battery Park, NY. Also, his poem dedicated to those who went down to the sea at the telegraph key.
SS Frank H Buck – Run aground near Pacific Grove, California on May 3, 1924, sailors “could walk ashore without getting their feet wet”
Early Wireless Downunder – In 1924 SoWP member Charles Biele, 768-P, travelled to Australia and New Zealand as radio operator aboard the Tredinnick. While there, he DX’d KGO, got a list of local stations and their callsigns, and picked up Australian and New Zealand radio periodicals that provide a fascinating glimpse of early broadcast enthusiast excitement and amateur operator fears. Check these out and just try to get “Waltzing Mathilda” out of your head!
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