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

Crossings II—Ardrossan

Paul Godley slept well during his six-day Atlantic voyage, catching up on the sleep he lost during the intense organizing activities in the run-up to the transatlantics project. Arriving in England on 21 November 1921, he was unexpectedly met by H. J. Tattersall, Superintendant of the Marconi Company in Southampton, who helped him deal with various customs problems.1 A recently imposed import duty would have caused his equipment to be held up for weeks. Instead, they negotiated for Godley to … Continue reading


As vacuum tubes were making CW practical, they were also making voice transmissions possible. Experimental broadcasts using radiotelephone—or just “phone” to hams—began as experiments by amateurs and some of the wireless telegraph companies, including Marconi and DeForest. In these early years of radio, just having a receiver to listen to the limited number of phone broadcasts was sufficient to be regarded as a radio amateur. The Marconi Wireless Telephone was demonstrated publicly for the first time on 12 June 1916.  … Continue reading

Armstrong in QST

At age twenty-nine and already one of the most well-known radio engineers in the world, Edwin H. Armstrong was a veteran of the great war, and the president of the Radio Club of America. He was also professor of electrical engineering at Columbia University in New York City, where the R.C.A. was based and met regularly. Later recognized as one of the most important inventors in radio, Armstrong embodied the close relationship between amateur experimenters of the early years and … Continue reading

Technical Writing

Although the mainstream press frequently covered advancements in radio, QST was one of the few published sources of practical, technical information available to amateurs. The articles would present enough technical detail to be useful but were written to be understood by most amateurs and therefore were more accessible than papers in professional journals. Prominent researchers in radio engineering, such as Edwin Armstrong and Frederick Terman, were also amateurs and published articles in both communities. In the first technical article to … Continue reading

The First Regulations

The air began to fill with signals from military, commercial and amateur transmitters. By mid-1904 the Navy had established 20 coastal stations to make special broadcasts and communicate with 24 wireless-equipped ships. Perhaps a hundred or so high-power amateur stations were also operating in the US at this point. Companies started to be established around 1908, many based on wild claims impossible to satisfy, which therefore fed public skepticism about radio. But as the business environment stabilized, companies consolidated and … Continue reading