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Packaged Radar
October 1952 Radio & Television News

October 1952 Radio & Television News
October 1952 Radio & Television 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.

Ryan Aeronautical Company was founded in 1934, and became part of Teledyne in 1969, eventually being owned Northrop Grumman in 1999. Ryan, which produced many airplanes and drones, was perhaps most famous for building the Spirit of St. Louis (Ryan NYP) used by Charles Lindbergh on his historic transatlantic flight. Ryan also dabbled in jet engines and electronics. The "packaged radar" concept described in this 1952 Radio & Television News magazine article was the precursor to modular circuit assembly commonly used in military systems to facilitate rapid field repair.

Packaged Radar

By William Wagner

Ryan Aeronautical Company

Ryan electronics engineer - RF Cafe

Using a jeweler's tool and magnifying glass, this Ryan electronics engineer wires a packaged subminiature circuit used in the radar equipment developed by Ryan.

maze of intricate electronic test equipment - RF Cafe

Surrounded by a maze of intricate electronic test equipment, this Ryan engineer checks an experimental circuit.

huge parabolic scanners to transmit signals - RF Cafe

Radar, one of the greatest technical advancements of World War II, utilizes huge parabolic scanners to transmit signals and receive echoes from enemy aircraft in flight.

Flying radar stations for use in extremely advanced-type aircraft are being built experimentally at Ryan Aeronautical Company in "packages" so small they could almost fit into a briefcase or handbag.

Ryan "Firebird" - a fast air-to-air guided missile - RF Cafe

An application in which the ultimate in telescoped radar installations has been achieved. This is the Ryan "Firebird" - a fast air-to-air guided missile.

5-tube miniature radar amplifier - RF Cafe

No larger than a package of cigarettes, this 5-tube miniature radar amplifier has been compressed into unbelievably small proportions. (Right)

miniature diode - RF Cafe

Viewed with a thumb tack and paper clip for comparison, this miniature diode indicates the scale on which radar units are being built.

The flying radar station consists of an "intelligence" head, electronic circuitry, and a power supply which provides the various voltages required. Tubes, resistors, and coils no larger than a fingernail, a paper clip, or a key are packaged amidst an intricate maze of wiring, some strands of which are as small as 3/1000th of an inch. The cylinder housing the brain is likely to be less than a foot in diameter and perhaps two feet long.

The "brain" contains the transmitter and receiver. The information reflected back to the unit is received by a midget equivalent of the "dish" style antenna of larger radar installations. The information thus received is channeled to two locations - the "brain" to determine the navigation required, and the aircraft controls for making the necessary flight adjustments.

The problems involved in producing such equipment include not only all of the problems inherent in miniaturization but also problems encountered because of the extremes of temperature at which the equipment is to operate and those which arise because of the vibration and shock to which the gear is subjected.

The time-consuming and painstaking procedures necessary to develop this equipment have been worked out satisfactorily and "packaged radar" is now a reality.




Posted April 29, 2022
(updated from original post on 11/15/2016)

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