RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling
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formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit
design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at
the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps
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Wire Recorders and Hogan's Heroes Sock Thread Player
Wire Thread Playback Machine in a Sewing Basket Hogan's
Heroes Season 2, Episode 29 - "The Top Secret Top Coat"
Wire Recorder Kit from Park Radio
Today, while searching for tech headlines, I ran
across an article on the EE Times website titled, "Magnetic
Wire Recorders Rule!" Author Max Maxfield, who comes up with a lot of good topics
and has written about wire recorders in the past, relates a story about an engineer
who built a high-quality version of a wire recorder using modern components. The
engineer believes his grandfather might have been at least partially responsible
for a wire recorder experimenter's kit that was advertised in a 1949 issue of Wireless
World. The company, Park Radio, claimed it would be, "More thrilling than Radio
-- More gripping than Television."
I've seen YouTube videos of
wire recorders in action (you can buy vintage
wire recorders on eBay), but the coolest example IMHO, albeit
not real, is when Hogan and his guys use a wire recording playback device disguised as a sewing kit (see
below). Messages are covertly delivered as threads than have been sewn into socks
or overcoats, and once retrieved, are wound onto a wooden thread spool and played
to hear the secret message (usually with a British accent). The coffee pot amplifier
and speaker normally used for listening in on conversations in Colonel Klink's office
is used to process the voice signal. Ach du lieber!
Hogan's Heroes is my all-time favorite TV show. I have the complete DVD collection,
and every time Melanie makes a German meal for dinner (sauerbraten, bratwurst, wiener
schnitzel, potato pancakes - yum!), we turn on the boob tube and watch an episode
of Hogan's Heroes whilst eating.
Hogan's Heroes Sock Thread Player (starts at 1:50)
"Real" 1947 Silvertone Wire Recorder
Posted July 31, 2013
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