Winter 2003-2004

AA ShortShort HistoryHistory ofof RadioRadio With an Inside Focus on Mobile


If success has many fathers, then radio • Edwin Armstrong—this WWI Army officer, Columbia is one of the world’s greatest University professor, and creator of FM radio successes. Perhaps one simple way to sort out this invented the , the first amplifying re- multiple parentage is to place those who have been ceiver and reliable continuous-wave ; and the given credit for “fathering” superheterodyne circuit, a means of receiving, converting radio into groups. and amplifying weak, high- electromagnetic waves. His are considered by many to provide the foundation for cellular The : phones. • Henirich —this German , who Clockwise from bottom-Ernst died of blood poisoning at age 37, was the first to Alexanderson prove that you could (1878-1975),

transmit and receive Reginald Fessin- electric waves wirelessly. den (1866-1932), Although Hertz originally thought his work had no (1857-1894), practical use, today it is Edwin Armstrong recognized as the fundamental (1890-1954), Lee building block of radio and every DeForest (1873- frequency measurement is named 1961), and Nikola after him (the Hertz). (1856-1943). • —was a Serbian- Center color American inventor who discovered photo is Gug- the basis for alternating-current lielmo Marconi machinery. In 1884, a year after (1874-1937). coming to the he sold The Businessmen: the patent rights for his system of alternating- current , , and motors to George • —this Italian crea- Westinghouse. He then established his own lab where he tor spent most of his working life in invented, among other things, the , an induction where he introduced many of coil widely used in radio. the first uses of to European navies. His radio apparatus is • —born in , this remarkable widely considered to be the reason that inventor developed the first to make over 700 people survived the disaster in 1912— transmission of (as opposed to the dots and dashes instead of dying as they likely would have if ships at sea of telegraphs) possible. It is said that this holder of 344 were still using carrier pigeons to communicate over great patents “virtually invented everything did distances. in the field of AM, FM, and TV.” • Lee DeForest—credited with being the “father of Ameri- • —this Canadian spent much of his can radio.” DeForest was a direct competitor to Marconi at working life in the U.S. where he developed a way to the turn of the century (1899), when he was the chief scien- combine and radio carrier waves. His first effort to tist at the U.S.’s first radio firm—American Wireless Tele- transmit this mixed — to a receiver where the phone and Telegraph—until Marconi took over the com- would be removed and the listener could hear pany’s assets in 1912 after a series of financial scandals. the original sound— failed. However, in 1906, using Although he held 300 patents, DeForest’s greatest techno- Alexanderson’s Alternator, Fessenden made the first long- logical contribution is considered to be his 1906 “” range transmission of voice from Brant Rock, MA. tube. Inside Focus on Page 2 MOBILE RADIO AT WORK GENERAL RADIO here are hundreds, if not thousands, of uses of radio police radio TIMELINE and . Everything from baby moni- with antennas running tors and to and radio are across the roof (1921). Heinrich Hertz proved applications of radio. These two pages focus on the that can be T first historical use of radio—mobile radio. transmitted in electro- 1885 magnetic waves. He conducted experi- Robert Loraine was the But mobile radio isn’t just ments in sending and second pilot to demon- for safety purposes today. receiving these waves strate wireless transmis- during the late . sion from a Taxi drivers, tow truck plane (1910). dispatchers, (what we’d call wireless tele- graphs today) began to 1891 appear on ships at sea. that underpin This reduced the isola- mobile radio were tion of the ships thus first put to work in improving both reli- the 1890s on ability and safety. behalf of ocean- Nikola Tesla wire- going ships, which 1892 lessly transmitted had previously to electromagnetic en- relied on carrier 1893 ergy. He made the first public demonstra- pigeons and flags tion of radio in St. for their Louis in 1893. . Guglielmo Marconi filed for patent protec- In 1910, Frederick 1896 tion of his radio appa- Baldwin and John to ratus. He established 1897 the Wireless Tele- McCurdy were graph and Signal the first to trail Company in 1897. an aerial behind their bi-plane to The R.F. Matthews demonstrate was the first ship to 1899 request emergency radio’s uses for assistance using a . wireless apparatus (Marconi’s system). In 1921, Detroit First transAtlantic police The Titanic, showing its 1901 signal sent-by Mar- commissioner radio antennas strung from coni from to William bow to stern (1912). . Rutledge was Amateur (today the first public safety and package delivery ser- ing efficient and effective known as “ham”) official to use radio vices are just a few of the use of the by radio introduced to the , while guaranteeing U.S. via a Scientific equipped . that make inno- the reliability and inter- 1902 American article on vative use of mobile radio. “How to Construct an operability of all public Today, maritime, aviation, Efficient Wireless safety radio uses. and land-based mobile radio In fact, mobile radio has Telegraphy Apparatus at Small Cost.” systems remain among the become such a key tool in In finding a way to make this most important non- all business communica- all work, the FCC helps broadcast uses of the tions that one of the FCC’s make America a safer and ...Continued on last page... radio spectrum. major challenges is ensur- better place to live.

Inside Focus on Mobile Radio Page 3


Cellular phones, including Personal The year after the FCC made its final 1982 decision on Service devices, may seem like one of the newest spectrum for cellular systems, Ameritech Mobile land mobile services, but the idea of a mobile radio Communications () and CellularOne has been around for quite a while. (Washington, D.C.) became the first operational commercial cellular providers in the United States. In the early 1920s both the and the Bell Laboratories were testing car-based telephone Personal communications for people on–the-go, not just systems. believes its 1924 system was those in vehicles, evolved further in the 1990s and actually the first two-way, voice-based radio continues growing today. telephone.

Other predecessors to today’s cell phones included the radio used by the military during both World Wars.

The behind cell phones, as we know them today, was clearly known by 1945 as evidenced by a Saturday Evening Post article, “Phone Me by Air,” which quoted FCC Commissioner E.K. Jett on frequency reuse for “small zone systems.” He said, “In each zone, the… will provide from 70 to 100 different channels, half of which may be used simultaneously in the same area without overlapping.”

Although not yet a cellular system, in 1946 Bell initiated America’s first commercial system. Bell, as well as , Nokia, and then went on to develop cell phone technologies throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The FCC approved a major Clockwise from top right—a WWI mobile military allocation of spectrum for mobile radio systems in phone, of the type Edwin Armstrong used to develop his -breaking inventions; Marconi’s 1922 system with receivers, , and 1970. In 1973, Motorola’s was speakers mounted on the running boards; Martin Cooper with his 1973 cellular credited with the of the first personal, telephone; older and newer generations of mobile radio telephones; and Bell handheld cellular radio telephone. Labs’ 1924 test of a mobile radio telephone.

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WHERE TO LEARN MORE Reginald Fessenden is the 1st to transmit1948 a program of 1906 Find out more about the history and technology of radio by visiting any of the fol- speech and music. lowing sites: • Early Radio History— Lee DeForest produces the “Audion,” a vacuum 1906 • Engineering history— tube that allowed for ampli- • — fication of radio . • Radio History Society— First radio transmission 1910 • Surfing the Aether— from an airplane. • Marconi Calling— • Edwin Armstrong— Federal regulation of American airwaves begins. • Mobile Telephone History— Amateurs had to be li- 1912 • Mobile Services— censed; ships had to have a radio and trained operators. • FCC Regulation of Wireless Services— All U.S. radio stations not needed by the government 1917 are closed as WWI begins.

WIRELESS—ONE WORD, MANY Edwin Armstrong patented the Super Re- MEANINGS ceiver based on work he 1918 While a rose may smell the same regardless of what it’s called, the term “wireless” did as an officer in the has referred to distinctly different things throughout the past century. The one com- Army Signal Corp. mon characteristic among all these uses of the word is that they all describe a com- The Federal Radio Com- munication product that sends or receives via electromagnetic waves. mission established to bring 1927 • —sending a wireless meant you were aboard a ship sending a order to chaotic airwaves. to the home office to let them know when you’d arrive. Cellular radio , • 1920s—listening to the wireless meant you could hear the Navy’s time and with call handoff and fre- 1947 quency reuse, was con- weather reports, USDA’s crop and market , as well as , lectures, ceived at Bell Laboratories. and sermons. • 1980s—talking on your wireless unit meant you The FCC reallocated TV channels 70-83 for mobile 1970 had a cellular or PCS telephone. radio services. • 2003—using wireless likely means taking a picture using your digital -enabled cell/PCS phone The FCC permitted , the technology of and sending it, along with a text , to a choice for many of today’s friend’s address. digital, commercial cellular 1985 and PCS services.

Marconi and Hertz used The FCC reallocated spec- these devices in the 1880’s , when asked, in 1938, to explain radio, is trum at 2 GHz for emerging 1992 and 1890’s to transmit and widely reported to have said: digital mobile services. detect radio waves. ou see, wire telegraph is a kind of a The first cellular system using digital CDMA tech- very, very long cat. You pull his tail nology was commercially 1995 "Y in and his head is launched by QUAL- meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand COMM. this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. Photos courtesy of: American Institute The only difference is that there is no cat." of Physics, Emilio Segré Archives; ArrayComm; AT&T History Collection; David Massey, Perce Cox collection; Detroit Free Press; IEEE Canada; IEEE History Center; John Jenkins and the Spark Museum; Mike Katzdorn; Marconi PLC; Tesla Memorial Society; Thinkstock; and Thomas White.