North Again

As ARRL traffic manager Fred Schnell was beginning his voyage to the southern hemisphere with the US Navy,1 arctic explorer Donald MacMillan2 announced he would once again sail north with shortwave radio aboard the Bowdoin.3 The trip would begin in June 1925, and this time he planned to explore the north polar region using airplanes to determine whether any land existed there. The Bowdoin would be accompanied by a second ship, the Peary, captained by Commander Eugene F. MacDonald, Jr., … Continue reading

DX Records and Shortwave Reflections

…or, The Heaviside Road to the Antipode Summer 1924 brought the first explorers to the four new, shorter wavelength bands that were opened up to amateur use in July. Amateurs anticipated interesting times ahead based on their earlier experimental work that produced the first transatlantic QSOs.  Those had been achieved at 100 meters under special licenses for operating below 150 meters, a region the government designated as “reserved” the previous year without explanation.1 No one knew how the shorter waves … Continue reading

New Circuits

Though radio had changed rapidly and radically over the past decade, that change only accelerated in the early twenties.  New regulations, the broadcast boom, the abandonment of spark for CW, and new transmitter, receiver, and antenna designs were all happening simultaneously.  No single one drove the others, but all together they advanced the radio art in a self-supporting feedback loop. Since publication of John Reinartz’s (1QP or “1-Kewpie”) tuner1 in 1921, hundreds of hams had used it on CW with … Continue reading

Spark to CW

Through the years, starting well before the war, amateurs occasionally had discussed undamped oscillations and how Audions could be used to detect them.1 By summer 1916 a government radio inspector was predicting that in five years most amateurs would be using undamped waves.2 QST noted that with the influx of “mature men” and a willingness to spend more (around $250) on equipment, it was just a matter of time before a “Mr. Undamped Wave” would appear and lead the way. … Continue reading