August 1945 Radio-Craft
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Radio-Craft,
published 1929 - 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
The evolution of
communications has been well documented both after the fact and necessarily
before the fact based on the vision and determination of individuals and
corporations. From grunts, hand and facial signals, and crude sketchings on cave
walls to spoken and written languages. From couriers on foot and horseback, smoke
signals, and light signals to wired telegraph and telephone. From wireless
telegraph and telephone to television and the Internet, advancement has been
continual both in large steps between the aforementioned fundamental
communications venues to incremental advancements in technologies - analog to
digital, vacuum tubes to semiconductors, simplex to multiplex, ever increasing
access to regions of the electromagnetic spectrum from DC to light. This 1945
advertisement by RCA expounding the benefits of its recently implemented
transcontinental microwave relay system was life changing at the time, but two
decades later those tower networks would be supplemented and nearly replaced by
satellite relay systems. Over-the-air broadcasting still provided the "last
mile" (or last many miles) service. Clearly, at the time anyway, long distance
communications would forevermore be the dominion of air waves. Little did most
people suspect that by early in the next century, the vast majority of
communications signals would be carried through cables again. The extensive
world wide web (WWW) of optical cables carried on utility poles (obviously
overloading the wooden poles never meant to carry such a heavy load), buried in
the ground, and laying on ocean floors now transports the vast majority of all
electronically exchanged information. What's up next? My guess is instantaneous,
nearly infinite bandwidth quantum transportation of information.
RCA Radio-Relay Television Ad
RCA radio-relay towers - like those
phantomed above - will leap the hurdle of distance in post-war television.
Coast-to-Coast Television ... through "Radio-Relay"
For a long time it looked as though post-war television might be confined
to local stations. Only persons within a fifty-mile radius of New York, for
example, would see the important television broadcasts from NBC's pioneer station
WNBT, atop the Empire State Building.
That was because the ultra short waves that carry television do not bend
with the curvature of the earth. They go in a straight line out to the horizon
- and then keep on going into the sky.
But today, television's big handicap of short range has been completely overcome
- by RCA scientists and engineers.
The radio-relay was developed - a tower that "bounces" television programs
to the next tower 30 to 50 miles away. Through a network of these automatic,
unattended, radio-relays, coast-to-coast television is made practical.
This is but one more example of how RCA research constantly "makes things
better." Such research is reflected in all RCA products. And when you buy a
television set, or radio-phonograph, or anything made by RCA, you enjoy a unique
pride of ownership. For if it's an RCA you can be sure it is one of the finest
instruments of its kind that science has achieved.
C. W. Hansell, RCA specialist in transmitters and relays, is shown here with
a radio-relay reflector that can "bounce" radio messages, radiophotos and Frequency
Modulation programs at the same time that it relays television!
Radio Corporation of America
Pioneers in progress
Posted February 19, 2021