Radio Notes from 1925

Radio Notes

Bay of Plenty Times, Volume LII, Issue 8645, 28 July 1924, Page 2

By Rheostat

A new radio principle has been introduced in the latest American receiving set, known as “Unidyne.” The valves are operated without ‘B’ batteries, or without high tension current of any description. The invention is described as one of the greatest advances in radio matters within recent times.

Those who employ loop aerials for reception will find a remarkable increase in the strength of the signals or music heard by running an earth connection to the A minus terminal post of the set. If an earth is not available a lead from the said terminal post to an iron bedstead or spring mattress—in fact to any heavy metal work—will serve the purpose.

No one yet appears to have heard music or speech in New Zealand from England (writes a contemporary). There are Marconi claims to the first successful voice transmission to Australia, but these are discounted by the log of Mr R. C. Alsop, an experienced Australian radio engineer, who has for some time been listening to 2LO (London). This is a fine record, in view of the fact that 2LO has a power of only 3,000 watts. According to Mr Alsop, the best time for reception is between 4 a.m. and daylight. It seems up to some enterprising New Zealander to get up about 5 o’clock in the morning, and tune-in, in an endeavour to pick up music from London’s big broadcasting station.

A suggestion made to a Wellington writer is that the Government should appoint honorary radio inspectors to assist the official radio inspectors in policing the air. He stresses the point that the radio inspectors have to move about the country, and while they are away illicit “experimenters” using single circuit tuners, spark coils, etc., take charge of the ether, spoiling long distance reception for others. The suggestion may have its merits, but surely things have not come to such a serious pass as to require that.

To no one, probably could radio be a greater blessing than to those lonely watchers who tend the lighthouses around the coasts of New Zealand, and this fact is now, apparently, being realised by themselves. The Secretary of the Wellington Radio Club recently received a request from the keeper of a southern lighthouse for information concerning what type of set to get, how to set it up, and numerous other things that puzzle the beginners in the science. Needless to say, the Wellington Radio Club (as would any similar organisation) will be only too willing to help towards mitigating the not too enviable lot of lonely workers such as the lighthouse keeper referred to.

While some radio amateurs seem content just to worry along on standard lines without ever breaking fresh ground, there are others whose ambitious temperaments constantly impel them to seek new and better ways of doing the customary things (says a southern writer). Wellington fortunately has quite a number of such enthusiasts and just at present some of them are experimenting with, a one-stage tuned down radio frequency amplifier, and are getting good results. It gives greater sensitiveness to long distance reception, and those carrying cut experiments express themselves as being pleased with what they have so far been able to achieve.

The proposals regarding the erection of a number of high-power broadcasting stations in Australia will, of course, be generally welcomed by radio people over there, but on account of the high wave-length, a great many listeners-in will find their present sets impracticable for receiving them. These with honeycomb coils or duo-lateral coils for tuning, will, without much expense be able to adjust their instruments to the increased wave-length, but the man with a variometer will find himself limited to a 600-metre wavelength.

One of the most urgent matters which might engage the attention of amateurs is the question of wave-lengths for the different stations operating. As things stand at present, Auckland and Wellington for instance, will be operating on wave-lengths within a few metres of each other, and under such circumstances, jamming is unavoidable. Anything within 15 metres means that the stations will join each other. This aspect of the matter will require careful watching on the part of those who are framing the new broadcast scheme.

“There is apparently something radically wrong with a large number of Australasian wireless experimenters,” says “Radio” in its last issue. “Lately it would seem that the said experimenters are existing as Professor Stephen Leacock would say, ‘in a state of stodge.’ There is an air of perpetual Monday morning about them, and too little of that ‘Kruchen feeling.’ To say merely that they are apathetic would be, colloquially speaking ‘boosting them up.’ There are several thousands of radio experimenters in Australia and New Zealand. Apparently if one may Judge by the occasional reports appearing in the press, all they are doing for the advancement of wireless in this country, considered in relation to their numerical strength, is startlingly close to nothing. It is not as if there were nothing to be done. There is everything. There are for instance Australian and American broadcasting stations to be picked up—to “log” properly, that is. It is not sufficient nowadays to say that last night you heard 2FC or KGO; announce that it was 1.30 a.m. by Pacific time, rest drowned by static.” Some months ago to perform such a feat was splendid, but today such things are mere commonplaces.

There are short-wave, low-power points to be decided- D.X. (long distance communication) in Australia is practically an unexplored field. In fact there are fifty different pressing things that await investigation and experiment by those qualified to delve into radio difficulties and mysteries. Of course, it cannot be denied that very many conscientious and indefatigable experimenters are whole-heartedly applying themselves to these problems, and securing undeniably valuable results, but there more often than not, they stop. And that, perhaps, is the whole trouble.

We have come a long way in 90 years .. Ed.