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Airborne Digital Computer
February 1958 Radio & TV News Article

February 1958 Radio & TV News
February 1958 Radio & TV News Cover - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Radio & Television News, published 1919-1959. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

Each month Radio & TV News magazine contained a section entitled, "What's New in Radio," which reported on some of the latest happenings in the fields of commercial, military, space, transportation, broadcast, and all other forms of wireless communications. This 1958 issue show the world's first volume production airborne digital computer, designed by Hughes Aircraft Company, installed in the nose of a U.S. Air Force F-102A Delta Dagger fighter jet (built by Convair). The 456th Fighter Interceptor Squadron website has a lot of information about the Hughes MA-1 Digitair computer and its integration with airborne radar to create a flight control system that could guide aircraft to a target for ordinance (bombs, missiles) deployment. Other topics included a wideband oscilloscope from Electronic Industries (EIC) that handled a whopping 5 MHz. It came in kit form for hobbyists and low budget commercial shops. RCA announced a new pair of pnp and npn transistors with gains into the shortwave bands.

What's New in Radio

Airborne Digital Computer, February 1958 Radio & TV News - RF CafeDigital Airborne Computer

Shown here is the prototype test model of the first airborne digital computer in actual production. The unit, called the Digitair, was announced recently by Hughes Aircraft Co. It is shown installed in an F-102A Air Force all-weather interceptor. The computer is small enough to fit into a 21-inch table model television cabinet.


Wide-Band Oscilloscope

Electronic Industries, State Road, Patterson, N. Y., one of the newest firms in the rapidly expanding kit field, has recently introduced a wide-band, high-sensitivity 5-inch oscilloscope kit which has been especially designed for' laboratory and television servicing applications. The Model 535 has a 10 mv r.m.s./ cm. sensitivity from d.c. to 5 mc., an electronically regulated power supply, and push-pull circuitry throughout. Built-in continuously variable calibrating voltages of 100, 10, 1, and 0.1 volt peak-to-peak at an accuracy of 3% are provided. The scope is housed in a blue hammertone finished cabinet with a photo-etched anodized panel. The unit measures 12"x16"x18½" and weighs slightly less than 40 pounds. It will operate on 105 to 125 volts, 50/60 cycle a.c. It draws 150 watts.


New Oblique Plier

New Oblique Plier - RF CafeMathias Klein & Sons, 7200 McCormick Road, Chicago 45, Ill., has announced the availability of a new shear-cutting oblique plier, No. 207-5C. The new instrument, on which a patent is pending, is 5½" long and the shear-cutting blade will cut dead soft or extremely hard wire. Blades may be replaced, hence the plier never needs sharpening. Regular cutting knives in the nose add to the usefulness and a coil spring keeps the jaws apart for instant use.

High Frequency Transistors

The Semiconductor Division of Radio Corporation of America, Somerville, N. J., has introduced a new germanium p-n-p alloy-type transistor (2N274) embodying the "drift" principle and a junction transistor of the germanium p-n-p alloy type, the 2N404.

The compact design of the 2N274 opens new applications in military and commercial equipment where space is limited. It operates at frequencies extending from the standard AM band well up into the short-wave bands.

The 2N404 is designed for use in switching circuits of compact, medium-speed military and industrial electronic computers. It has flexible leads and is hermetically sealed in a metal case which is 0.360" in diameter with a body length of 0.25". Leads are spaced to con-form to EIA (formerly RETMA) standards for automation requirements.



Posted January 28, 2020

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RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed 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 while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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