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article number 723
article date 06-21-2018
copyright 2018 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
Is Radio Coming of Age?, 1922 - Part 1: The American Consumer
by Various Popular Science Magazine Writers

Popular Science Monthly Gives Lectures by Radio

At the request of the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company, which is inaugurating a radiophone service from its plant at Newark New Jersey, POPUAR SCIENCE MONTHLY, once every four or five weeks, is supplying entertainment in the form of talks by the editor on developments in the scientific world.

These wireless lectures are heard over a radius of 600 to 1000 miles. They are part of a big nightly program of broadcasted news, musical features, and speeches.

On the Crest of the Radio Wave

By Jack Binns, America’s First Wireless Hero and Most Famous Writer on Radio.

JACK BINNS, America’s most famous writer on radio, starts with this issue to cover the essential high spots of radio news for POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY readers. His radio department will be an exclusive feature of POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY in the magazine field.

The mass of radio publications and articles becomes more bewildering every day. You cannot read them all, you cannot digest them all, you cannot pick and choose among them to find just the information you most vitally need to keep abreast of the times and to make the most of your outfit.

You will find POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY, then, the one necessary magazine. It is a central clearing house for all the radio information that is most important to you.

Jack Binns, keeping by profession in closest touch with radio developments, reports the new activities of chief public concern. Both he and Armstrong Perry contribute timely advice and illuminating explanations in terms that the non-technical man can understand.

The Home Workshop Department supplies diagrams and descriptions important to the man who is making or improving his own radio set during spare hours at home.

On page 4 of this issue you will find an outline of the other special radio services offered by the magazine, including blueprints of radio sets to make at home, and POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY’S standard broadcasting chart.

Jack Binns broadcasts the latest news of radio to the readers of Popular Science Monthly.

“IS RADIO just a passing craze?”

“Will the manufacturers abandon their broadcasting programs as soon as the market has become so flooded with their apparatus that future sales are impossible?”

These are the two questions I have been asked most frequently since the radio-telephone swept over the country like a cyclone, carrying popular enthusiasm in its wake. When we take into consideration the following facts: first, that it takes $4000 a month to operate a typical broadcasting station; and, second, that the artists are not being paid for the radio entertainment they give, it will readily be seen that the answers are vital to us all.

In fact, the problem appears so grave to all who, like myself, believe radio must have a marvelous future, that I am taking my first opportunity of talking with POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY readers to point out what I think the solution may be.

A Utility, Not a Craze

First, however, I want to impress upon you a realization of the fact that radio is neither a craze nor a toy. It is a very serious and important public utility which will gain in magnitude and value every day.

But don’t let your enthusiasm for it lift you out of the realm of facts. NOW is the time for everybody to come back to earth, to become familiar with the actual conditions of radio, and to plan sanely for the future.

At present, profits from the sale of radio receiving apparatus cover the cost of broadcasting. But that cost, in the case of one corporation, reaches $288,000 a year. Free broadcasting services obviously cannot go on forever, at that scale, and surely some payment to the artists will have to be made ultimately.

Now, in my opinion, there is only one solution to this problem. It lies in the probable attachment of a slot machine to every radio receiver—a machine so designed that a family will drop a nickel in the box for an evening’s entertainment. The receipts collected monthly would assuredly be enough to enable the operating companies to provide even more elaborate and costly entertainments than at present, and to pay the artists adequately.

The most progressive family has a Magnavox Radio. Everyone will envy you these evening of pleasure. To enjoy the thrills of a Magnavox Radio is a matter of progressiveness rather than wealth.

The average family, when alive to its possibilities, can and will secure the simple, dependable equipment which gives the home circle the inexhaustible resources of wireless entertainment.

Will We Have Nickel-in-the-Slot Radio Receiving Sets?

“But how could this be done?” you ask. “What is to stop anybody with a radio set from listening in?”

Two ways are already recognized by experts as possible, but a combination of both of them would be best.

In the first place, it is possible to so distort the voice transmitted by wireless telephony that it becomes absolutely unintelligible to every receiver that is not equipped with a translating modulator pitched to the right degree of resonance.

Then, in the second place, it is possible to rapidly change the wave length carrying the voice so that some phrases will he carried on one wave length and succeeding phrases on another. Thus only an automatically controlled receiver could follow the rapid changes.

A combination of these two systems would make it impossible for any one to be a “deadhead” at the radio-phone concerts.

I am quite sure that the public will welcome this innovation, when it comes. It will leave our receiving sets free to hear the ever increasing quantity of news and information that many agencies will be eager to broadcast gratis, and it will put at our disposal, in addition, for a remarkably low price, musical entertainments far surpassing any program yet attempted.


Thousands Go to Church by Radio

CHURCH services by wireless telephone! In your home a sermon by a pastor, and music by a choir hundreds of miles away!

The Rev. H. A. Van Winkle, pastor of the First Christian church of Oakland, California, demonstrated recently to the Pacific Coast that radiophone preaching on Sunday is as entirely practical as newspaper despatches from Pittsburg (where it was tried a year ago) declared it to be.

Standing at the top of an Oakland building, he delivered his Sunday-morning sermon and conducted a complete church service by radio—a service that was broadcasted to 32 congregations in the state of California.

These congregations were in towns within a radius of 300 miles. At the same time approximately 1000 wireless-telephone operators in the West, who customarily spend their Sundays tinkering with their apparatus, spent more than an hour at church.

Rev. H. A. Van Winkle Delivering his radio-phone sermon to 32 congregations in California.

The experiment was carried out by P. D. Allen, of Oakland, California, operator for a wireless-telephone news service sent out daily by the Oakland ’Tribune.’ Through the columns of the newspaper and by radio every wireless-telephone operator in the state equipped with a loud-speaker was requested to make arrangements to install it at some church in his town.

On the Sunday morning set for the service, the Rev. Van Winkle, accompanied by a church quartet and musicians opened the program from the wireless station on top of a hotel building.

Because the hour for the services was at a time of the day when radio traffic was practically at a standstill, there was little interruption. This was confined to code messages at sea and from the station at Honolulu.

There was one interruption, however. For a joke, an operator turned loose a jazz record just following the playing of sacred music. The jazz was heard only in the churches around Oakland, and, was received with suppressed amusement not altogether without excuse, by the congregations.

California towns where congregations gathered to hear the Rev. Van Winkle’s sermon are indicated by the small circles on the above map.

Facts to Help You Choose Your Radio Set

How much must I pay for a radio receiving set? What will its range be? What will it look like when I install it? Of what will it consist?

These questions have been asked so frequently by our readers that we publish herewith photographs of receiving sets of various prices, with conservative estimates of their “normal’ range.

Crystal Detector Set

1 — As a beginner’s outfit and for amateurs living near some broadcasting station, the crystal detector set, costing around $25, is simple to adjust. This set consists of a tuning coil, a fixed condenser and phones. The receiving range of these crystal detector sets, even with a good aerial, is usually limited to 25 miles.

Crystal Detector Set

Sets for around $75

2 — These outfits, popular with beginners, will tune more closely to the wave lengths you wish to hear than will the “crystal” sets. The cabinet contains the variocoupler, single variable condenser and vacuum tube with filament current control. Outside range, 50 to 100 miles. A loudspeaker cannot be used satisfactorily with this or set No. 3 unless very near a broadcasting station.

Sets for around $75

A 200-Mile Range for $125

3 — Receiving sets in the class of that shown at left cost about $125 and comprise a tuning device connected with a vacuum tube detector. A variocoupler and two variable air condensers are provided. If connected with an outside aerial of proper design, it should pick up radio-phone messages from stations 200 miles distant.

A 200-Mile Range for $125

Outfits over $225 Use Loudspeakers

4 — For $225 and up, the finest sets are obtainable, using a loudspeaking device as shown on top. With a set of this type, containing an excellent tuning unit and two stages of audio frequency amplification, broadcasting stations 500 miles away and, under good conditions, two or even three times that distance, should be heard.

Outfits over $225 with Loudspeaker.

How the Radiophone Is Bringing the World to Wisconsin Firesides

Amazing Nightly Services of Music and Lectures now Echo through Air in Many Other States Also

By Armstrong Perry

MOST folks have to go at least as far as the front door for a daily paper. The average man who wants to hear a concert by the best artists has first to find his collar-button.

But in Wisconsin, when they want to hear the latest news or the best music, they just slide down in the old armchair, shut their eyes, and listen. The current quotation on hogs in New York, the Weather Bureau’s prediction of tomorrow’s rain or sunshine, the silvery tones of Mabel Garrison’s voice, or the results of the big game, play by play, come floating right in on the circumambient ether.

The Wisconsin story is simple. Like all other states, Wisconsin has a state university. This university has a physics department. In this department they study radio, or “wireless.” Wisconsin has merely gone one step further than some other states, and given to all the people of the state the benefit of its wireless activities, instead of confining it to the few who work in the laboratory.

The physics department erected a radio-phone transmitter that carries the human voice or instrumental music to receiving stations within the state and also to points as far away as Boston, Massachusetts, Houston, Texas, and Denver, Colorado.

Even with a very simple and inexpensive receiver anything spoken into the transmitter at the university can be heard 60 miles away in the daytime and much farther at night.

A simple, standardized receiver has been designed at the university and it is sold by a local manufacturer at a price within reach of most pocket books.

For the man on the street, a wireless receiving-set that can be carried in the hat is a novelty of recent invention.

A Free Course at Home

For the benefit of folks living too far away to hear the radiophone at present with a low-priced receiver, the university is about to treble the range of its transmitter.

For those who want to learn the dot-and-dash code and become radio operators, and those who can afford only the cheapest and crudest apparatus, the information sent by radio phone is repeated by radiograph. The dots and dashes can be heard much farther than the human voice.

Three speeds are used—six words a minute for novices, 10 words a minute for average amateurs, and 20 words a minute for those who have passed the preliminary stages. So Wisconsinites have a free graded course in code in every home.

Plain instructions are sent to those who want to listen in. They are told that no license is needed for receivers; that the cost of apparatus ranges from $20 to several hundreds, according to the sensitivity and finish of the instruments; and that the beginner can construct much of the apparatus himself. The necessary units are described; instructions for installing them are given; the users are told what to listen for and when to listen. Radio books, magazines, and dealers are listed.

A complete operating schedule, giving the broadcasting program for each day in the week, with the exact hours for sending the weather forecast, market reports, concerts, and news, is supplied to all receivers.

If there is anything else the people of the state want, all they have to do is to ask for it.

When Wisconsin’s baseball or football teams are playing, the games are reported play by play. Weekly reports of the condition of highways have been given when desired. Weather reports for Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota are to be supplied regularly each day.

The system for sending and receiving market reports is unique in its simplicity. When he installs his receiver, the farmer gets a supply of mimeographed forms. He sits at his table with a form before him at 12:15 P.M. and he hears:


That is the preliminary signal. Next comes:


These same letters in parentheses on the first line of his printed form show the farmer that his pencil is in the right place and that he is about to receive the Live Stock Market Report for— “CHGO.” That means Chicago. He moves down a line and sees and hears: “AC.” The printed form tells him that that means: “Hogs: Estimated receipts for to-day—” The radio receiver tells him how many.

Next comes:

“AF.” This refers to the state of the market. Today’s comment may be: “Fairly active. Ten to 25 higher. Packing
and mixed hogs up most. Pigs steady.”

Then follows:
“AG (meaning ‘Top’). . . . $8.25
“AH (meaning ‘Bulk of sales’) $7.25 to 8.25
“AK (meaning ‘Heavy weight (250 lbs. up) medium, good, and choice’) $7.60 to 8.20”

In a quarter of an hour he has the whole report—has it several hours ahead of the city man who waits for the newspaper to come out, and far ahead of the buyer who comes around to purchase his product.

Spoken letters are apt to be misunderstood because of similarity of sound, so in radio-phoning a market report the university’s operator uses the standard United States Navy Code. Instead of saying “A,” he says “Able;” instead of “B,” he says “Boy,” and so on. If he uses the letters “BD,” meaning “Good, choice, and prime beef steers,” he says: “Boy Dog.”

Resourceful Wisconsinites are making good use of the state’s up-to-the-minute service. The Hotel Mazo, in Mazomanie, boasts on its business card that it is the first hotel in Wisconsin to feature a wireless receiving station.

All over the state the farmers have discovered that a wire fence will catch radio messages and that they need not erect aerials. In Janesville the ’Daily Gazette’ was the first to test the standardized receiver and it got market reports and football scores earlier than ever before.

From a dozen or more states come reports that the messages are not only received, but posted at creameries, garages, and in store windows. An enterprising farmer in Pescatonia, Illinois, promptly installed a “Radio Bulletin Board,” for the benefit of passers-by.

By the use of amplifiers and “loud speakers” the radiophone concerts are made loud enough so that thousands of persons in large auditoriums hear them. The Home Theater in Portage, Wisconsin, puts these concerts on its regular program.

The standardized receiver will bring in time signals and traffic from navy stations, so that jewelers and others may set their clocks and watches twice daily.

Professor Earle M. Terry, of the Department of Physics, has directed the radio work of the university since the radio station was erected in 1915-16. He designed and developed the power tubes employed in the tube transmitter.

Even the cowboy on the lonely range can be brought by wireless into vocal touch with men and events.

Wounded Veterans Discover New Joys in Wireless Music

Radio Outfit Now Becomes Hospital “Nurse"

By Armstrong Perry

DO YOU KNOW what “ether” means to thousands of weary hospital patients these days?

It no longer suggests shock and the painful after effects of an operation. Rather, the word brings thoughts of pleasure, recreation, and amusement. For the radio-phone has at last entered the hospital—where, above all places, it belongs—and musical entertainments, broadcasted daily through the ether from dozens of transmitting stations, are now being borne into hospital wards and orphan asylums, bringing comfort and delight to the lonely inmates.

Radio amateurs, in regions where broadcasts are thick, have long since found wireless a blessing in hours of illness. It is, indeed, a common practice now, around New York City, for the owner of a receiving set to liven up a sickroom—his own or a relative’s—by hooking up his apparatus to the bed springs, which work wonderfully as an aerial.

The patient, donning the head phones, can lie at ease by the hour, hearing the gossip and news of the great outside world, and catching in endless variety the lectures, sermons, songs, and instrumental music with which the great transmitting stations are now filling the ether.

From this use of radio in the sickroom at home to the installation of receiving sets in hospitals, has been an inevitable step. Equipped with a loud speaker, one reasonably priced receiving set can now entertain an entire ward, wiping out forever the gloom and hopelessness of hospital life.

Ask the boys in Ward 37, at Fox Hills Hospital, Staten island, N. Y., for instance. They know! For the “godmothers” of the twenty-five wounded soldiers in this ward of the great government institution on Staten Island gave their “boys” a radio set last Christmas. Since that time, there are few dull moments in the ward.

The boys began by receiving an elaborate Christmas program from the Newark, N. J., station.

At that time the loud speaker had not been delivered, but the inmates of the ward and their visitors passed the receiver from ear to ear, and improvised a paper horn that made the songs and messages audible to an attentive group.

SONGS FOR THE LONELY. From the radio broadcasting station, the voice of Anna Case, of the Metropolitan Opera, carried cheer through the ether to lonely hospital patients. © Keystone

This new interest in life, and the keen pleasure that the radiophone has brought the wounded veterans, is doing as much for their health as careful nursing.

In fact, in numerous instances radio is making it possible for the hospital staffs to give their patients something more than medical care. In one of the greatest army hospitals located in Washington, D. C., several hundred patients at a time have been entertained by one pleasant-voiced nurse, who reads magazines into the transmitter, tells stories, and sings or says the little cheering things that only a woman can say.

At other times during this second experiment, a phonograph was started in the central station. It was connected with a radiophone transmitter that changed the sound waves into radio waves. The radio waves swept over and through the hundred or more buildings that constitute the hospital. Wherever they encountered metal, they sent electric currents through it.

In a white iron bed a soldier snapped a little clip onto his bed spring, picked up an instrument that resembled a telephone receiver, and heard the music of the distant phonograph as distinctly as though the machine were playing beside his bed. The electric currents were changed back, by the radio receiver, into sounds he could enjoy.

The hospital patient, today, can lie at ease and share by wireless in the world’s doings. © U.&U.

Hospital authorities who see in this an example worthy of imitation — and experience proves that it is — may be interested in a technical fact.

The inventor of the system discovered that he could transmit voice and music within the area covered by the hospital without using high frequency currents such as are required in ordinary radio work. The radio waves from his apparatus travel through space at the rate of less than 10,000 waves a second.

Passing through the magnets of the receiver, they cause vibrations of the diaphragm slowly enough to be heard as sound by the human ear.

The bed spring is the “aerial.” The body of the patient, quite unknown to him, serves as a “counterpoise,” and makes it unnecessary to have a ground connection.

The particular system to be used is not important. One large hospital may broadcast its own entertainment throughout all the buildings. Another, like Fox Hills, may have an ordinary receiving set equipped with a loud speaker that permits a roomful of patients to “listen-in” on the regular broadcasts now blanketing the nation.

The latter is the simplest and most promising plan. And everybody who knows the ordinary gloominess of life in great institutions will realize how completely it will cheer the dreary life of the patients.

THIS typical radio receiving set, such as would serve for entertainments in hospitals and other institutions, costs less than $250 complete. It consists of head phones (A); loud speaker (B); audion (C); battery (D); tuner cabinet (E).

Here is an itemized statement of the cost of a typical set:

• short wave tuner, $65;
• detector and 2 stage amplifier, $65;
• 5 small “B” batteries, $6;
• 1 storage battery, $15;
• loud speaker, $45;
• head phones, $8;
• 3 vacuum tubes, $20;
• 1 plug adapter, $2.
Total, $226.

With loud speaker and one stage of amplification, such a set will have a phonograph’s range in any room. If conditions are favorable, the set should furnish daily recreation for hospital inmates.

FEW DULL MOMENTS HERE—Wounded veterans of the World War enliven their days in Ward 37, at Fox Hills Hospital, Staten Island, N. Y., with a new radiophone set to which they have fitted a paper horn as a makeshift amplifier.

A Blind Man s Vision

READ, on the next page, the letter addressed to you from a blind wireless amateur. His words will open the eyes of many of us who have been blind to a great blessing which we might confer upon thousands of our afflicted fellows. The radio-phone will bring untold comfort to the inmates of charitable institutions. Will you help organize a local campaign to install a set in a hospital?

A Radio Letter from One Reader and a Broadcast Message to All


When I lost my eyesight, some months ago, I suddenly found myself deprived of the majority of pleasures that others enjoy. I realized then how dreary and lonely must be the lives of thousands of inmates of homes for the blind—and, indeed, of all institutions.

But to-day, despite my misfortune, I have a brilliant vision for the happiness of these people. A wireless telephone, installed a few weeks ago, has brought me again all the joys that mean most to mankind.

I hear daily of the doings of the outside world. I get the news—national, international, political, every kind—even before people who are able to read it in their newspapers. I hear lectures, sermons, and concerts.

Hours of suffering are turned to ceaseless pleasure wherever a radiophone receiving set is at hand. Let me urge you to advocate the installation of receiving sets for the benefit of those confined to homes and charitable institutions.

Newark, N. J.

POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY requires no urging in this cause. Founded fifty years ago by a famous blind scientist, E. L. Youmans, who contributed greatly to the development of science in America, the magazine feels a special sympathy for the blind. Moreover, POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY believes that few marvels of applied science in all the magazine’s 50-year history have brought blessings to mankind exceeding the present promise of the wireless telephone.

We therefore raise the banner now for the extension of radiophone communication by popular demand to its maximum of utility.

And we ask public spirited readers in every city to start a local campaign for the installation of wireless receiving sets with loud speakers, in deserving institutions.

Think what this will mean to the shut-ins in orphanages, in homes for the aged or the blind, and in hospitals.

It means that the walls of the institutions are extended to the limits of the earth, as the listeners hear concerts from New York, opera from Chicago, press messages from all over the world, church services from Pittsburgh, news from the local paper, music from many broadcasting stations—more entertainment, more points of interest, one is tempted to say, than the average healthy person enjoys.

Many newspapers, like the Newark, N. J., ’Call,’ the Detroit ’News,’ the Seattle ’Post-Intelligencer,’ are already sending out wireless broadcasts.

In every town a newspaper might go a step further and take up this campaign for radio in hospitals and asylums. Three hundred subscriptions of a dollar each would completely equip one hospital.

Which town will be first?

POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY stands behind the enterprise, ready to give all possible cooperation and information.

We Give a Radio Concert for the Blind

FOLLOWING up the campaign launched in these columns last month, Popular Science Monthly recently gave a wireless-telephone entertainment to a group of 75 students at the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind.

The thrill of listening by radio to the evening’s news and music sent out from a big broadcasting station was a memorable event to the blind audience.

Below—Blind students enjoying radio entertainment. In the foreground is the receiving apparatus.

The only apparatus required was a detector and two-stage amplifier used with a loud speaker, and a copper wire to the roof.

America has a million hospital patients and tens of thousands of blind, aged and orphan inmates of institutions. Why not do your bit by helping install a radio receiving set in a local institution?

Blind boys examining the radio receiving instruments with their hands.

How Radio Adds to the Joys of My Vacation

Old-Time Camper Pictures a Wireless Receiver as Your Most Companionable Chum on Motor Trips and Around Campfire

By Armstrong Perry

On an auto tour, camping trip, or merely a day’s picnic this summer, a wireless receiver will bring you endless entertainment. In the following article, a veteran camper and radio man tells how to make the most of your vacation radio outfit. His helpful tips come from his own wide experience.

MANY a tourist, old camper, or tenderfoot, is going to take with him on his vacation this year, as I am, the most entrancingly mysterious, continuously companionable vacation chum that ever shared the front seat of the auto, the campfire, or the straw mat on the front porch of the summer cottage—namely, the radio receiver.

For several years I have taken radio equipment with me on auto trips and camping expeditions.

Sometimes, if I am going to be but a short distance from a government station, my outfit consists of only a crystal detector, a pair of phones, a hundred feet of copper wire and an iron peg.

Wherever I stop the car for lunch, or settle down for a day or longer, I make a loop in the end of the wire and tie a stout cord into the loop. I take the other end of the cord and climb a tree or clamber to the top of a cliff near by. Unless there is some one to pay out the wire as I climb, I put a stick through the coil and hang it up horizontally so that the wire will unwind without tangling as I pull.

“At every stop I climb high in a tree and attach a stout cord suspending 100 feet of copper wire. The other end of the wire I attach to another tree in a similar manner, leaving enough dangling to reach the ground.”

When I reach the highest point I can attain, I attach the cord. I make sure that it is long enough so that the end of the suspended wire will clear all branches and other objects, for the radio currents have a way of leaking off into anything that touches the antenna.

In wet weather, to prevent the current from running up the cord and down the tree like a squirrel, I oil the cord where it joins the wire. Oil and electricity do not mix any better than oil and water.

A New Use for Your Fish Pole

The other end of the wire I attach to another tree in a similar manner, leaving enough dangling to reach the ground. Sometimes I bring the wire straight down from the first tree to the tent or auto, which lessens the amount of energy picked up from passing radio waves, but often works satisfactorily nevertheless.

In a flat country where there are neither trees nor rocks, one of those long, jointed fishpoles will elevate the antenna wire at one end, while the auto top holds up the other. Or two poles can be used. Three guys of stout cord attached to stakes driven into the ground will hold such a pole in position in spite of the weight of the wire or a wind of ordinary velocity.

In flat country, a stout, jointed fish-pole will elevate the antenna wire at one end, while the auto top will hold the other.

The antenna installed, I attach my receiving apparatus. If only detector and phones are used, I attach antenna wire and one phone cord tip to one binding post of the detector. To the other binding post I attach the other phone cord tip and a short piece of wire, which I lead to the iron spike that I have driven into the ground, or to the engine or other heavy metal part of the car.

The spike in the ground is better if the earth is moist. If the soil is very dry, a ground connection on the engine is better. If the ground wire is fastened to the iron spike and the spike dropped into a pool or stream of water, the best results are obtained.

Such a crude outfit brings to my ears music and voices from powerful radio-telephone stations if they are in the center of a town—only four or five miles distant—on whose outskirts I am camping. It picks up dot-and-dash messages from government and commercial stations 100 miles or more away. It brings in the weather reports, which are of even greater importance when I am living out of doors than they are at home. Also it brings in the daily news via the ear instead of the eye.

Once, knowing the code, I heard a battleship calling a cruiser and I listened with bated breath for secret messages which it would be treason to reveal. One came:

“Say bo, got anything on ice over there? Dryasell over here.”

The same antenna and ground wire work equally well with more highly developed receivers. By taking along an ordinary loose coupler such as many beginners use or any type of crystal detector set that includes a tuner, I extend both my receiving distance and my ability to hear different transmitting stations.

And when I take a regenerative receiver, which costs more, but is 10 times as efficient, I sometimes hear European stations and can always hear all types of American radio-telegraph and radio telephone stations within a wide radius.

The regenerative set or any other set using vacuum tubes, can be carried without inconvenience, even in a small car. It tubes must be lighted by a current from a storage battery, except in a very recent type, which uses dry batteries for lighting the tube. The vacuum tube can be connected as easily as the car lamps.

The technical terms need not scare the radio novice. The dealer calls the radio storage battery the A battery, and the radio dry battery the B battery.

The receiving set has on its face plain letters showing where and how to connect the antenna, ground wire, phones, and wires from the batteries. Any one can make these connections after the dealer has given brief explanations either verbally or in print.

When I get too old and too fat to climb trees, the vacuum tube set will be the only one to use, for it needs no high wires. A few turns of insulated wire around a wooden frame three feet square will answer every purpose except very long-distance reception.

Once I heard a station in France working when I was listening in at Washington, D. C., with such an antenna, but I had an amplifier that was more powerful than any one would be likely to carry on a vacation.

From a suitcase of ordinary size on the rear seat of the car came messages and music picked from the sky. Photo courtesy Brent Daniels.

Loop Antennae Are Easily Carried

These “loop antennas” lie flat on the auto top when not in use and stand upright when working. By turning one on its axis the user can bring in what he wants to hear with maximum loudness, and eliminate or at least reduce most of the noise that would interfere.

The things that some of the little portable outfits do are miraculous, even when explainable. A youthful inventor in Washington took me out for a trip in his car. He had with him a suitcase of ordinary size. Way out in the country he put a pair of phones on my head. Out of the sky came my own name, followed by a musical selection which I was assured by the speaker was being played for my especial delectation.

The loop antenna—a few turns of wire around a wooden frame lies flat on the auto top when not in use and stands upright when working.

“Where’s your antenna?” I gasped.

“Inside,” he answered.

He opened the case. There were half a dozen turns of wire around the inside. There was no ground connection. Half a dozen vacuum tubes were glowing faintly.

Brent Daniels, of Washington, D. C., and his “talking suitcase” ready for campfire duty. Photo courtesy Brent Daniels.

Taking off the phones I discovered that the bag itself was talking right out loud through a hole in the side that proved to be the mouth of a small horn.

Knowing a little about vacuum tubes, I began figuring. By rough calculation this apparatus, weighing less than the case that housed it, was multiplying the energy it grabbed from the ether by 10,000,000!

Later, my young friend showed me what his receiver would do with a regular antenna and a full-sized loudspeaker. It could be heard all over a 10-acre lot.

A physician from the same city was driving around the country in his car during such days of relaxation as a heavy practice left him. I found that he knew about as much of what was going on while he was on the road as he did while he was in his office. The answer was, of course, radio.

Not seeing any antenna on the machine, I inquired where he concealed it. It was sewed into the lining of the top.

Not long ago I saw a vacationist who was not satisfied merely to listen; he wanted to talk back. So he had erected masts at the front and rear of his car, as tall as they could be without raking the bridges under which he drove. These were equipped with regular antenna spreaders holding four wires.

As a good ground connection is essential in transmitting, a wire from the sending apparatus was attached to the engine of the car.

But the vacation radio set that deserves the ace medal comes to you in an easy-to- carry case, with an additional little bundle. You take it out to the camp, using the receiver in the car on the way. After putting the canoe over, you cut the strings on the bundle.

Out rolls a square of cloth and a few sticks. Any one who was a boy before he grew up remembers instantly how to put it together. It is a tailless kite.

When you get the thing together, you discover that the string is a light copper wire. You fasten it to the bridle, give the kite a toss and up she goes. Before it reels out all the wire, you check its upward flight, take a turn around the brace in the bow of the canoe, open the case and attach the end of the wire to a binding post marked “A.”

You connect the batteries, drop a ground wire into the water, put on the phones, and the things you hear! There is a compact little transmitter in one side of the case and you can say things yourself if you want to—and have a license.

Drawn over a moonlit lake by a silken kite or a wire string, they listen to music playing in the distant city.

A cautious electrical company has issued a solemn warning against the use of metal kite strings, because of the fact that several small boys have been electrocuted by flying their wires against high tension transmission lines.

A world famous technical radio amateur let out an interesting little secret during the radio conference called by the Secretary of Commerce.

The secret is that a single-circuit receiver using a vacuum tube operates also as a sending device. By putting a microphone (such as is found in the ordinary telephone transmitter) in series with the ground wire, the receiver is changed to a radiotelephone transmitter which may he heard over distances up to 30 miles. If a telegraph key is installed in place of the microphone, dots and dashes may be transmitted for even greater distances.

Receivers of this type are emitting radio waves all the time they are receiving. The microphone or the key merely controls the emitted waves in such a way as to produce signals.

Now the present law says that no radio transmitter shall he operated without a license, but that receivers may be used without a license.

Single-circuit vacuum tube receivers are being produced in large numbers, in response to the enormous demand for apparatus that is simple and easy to operate. Most of those who use them are ignorant of the fact that they are transmitting as well as receiving. Just what is their legal status?

If the automobile tourist or camper, having equipped himself with a single-circuit receiver or any other that would transmit as well as receive, should slip a microphone into his hip pocket, he would have something that might be of use in an emergency. And if his signals did not carry beyond the borders of his state nor interfere with the reception of signals coming from another state, he might not have any trouble with the radio authorities.|

The better way, of course, would he to secure an amateur license.

The most entrancingly mysterious, continuously companionable vacation chum that ever shared a campfire is the radio receiver.

Electioneering by Radio

By Jack Binns

THERE isn’t the slightest doubt in my mind that the next national election will be decided in the ether. Politicians will be addressing larger audiences than they ever dreamed of. Woe betide the candidate who overlooks radio! The party with the best wireless campaign will swing the election.

In this connection, it is a very interesting fact that radio lends itself well to great oratory, provided the orator prepares himself for the peculiar conditions that prevail in the radio studio.

This point was made the other day in a chat I had with E. H. Armstrong, now world famous as the inventor of the regenerative circuit, which makes popular radio possible.

It was just after Armstrong’s important victory in the Federal courts. He told me about his new super-regenerative circuit that he has completed, which will revolutionize radio-phone reception by making it possible to get loud-speaking results without any outside wires anywhere. He added:

“I was listening in on this set at my home in Yonkers, the other Sunday, and heard a sermon that was being preached in Pittsburg. The parson was a natural orator, and his words thundered out one moment, and the next they came in a mere whisper. The emotion-stirring modulations of his voice came to me as perfectly as If I had been right beneath the pulpit, instead of three hundred miles away.”

Howard Armstrong did not mention, however, the peculiar conditions with which the new style of public speaker—the radio orator—must comply. In the first place, when a silver-tongued speaker, gifted with the natural power of swaying an audience, speaks into the microphone at a broadcasting station, he will have to learn a new form of address.

Every time he raises his voice, he will have to take a couple of steps backward from the microphone, and when his voice dies down to a whisper, he will have to creep forward closer to the mouthpiece.

If he does not do this, he will paralyze half a million receivers when his voice mounts into a crescendo of sound, and the entire effect of his impassioned tones will have been destroyed because, once a vacuum tube has been paralyzed, it takes fully 30 seconds for the tube to recover. In fact, this whole question of speaking to the radio audience needs a great deal of study.

The Future Radio Star

Just as the movies have developed a new style of acting, radio will develop a new style of oratory. And I venture to predict that the great radio star of the future will be worth almost as big a salary as the movie queen of today. The man who can sway millions nightly, by the spoken word alone, without any of the personal magnetism and dramatic tricks that the skilled platform speaker uses, will indeed be a genius, much in demand at high prices.

I shall never forget the first time I spoke over the ether. No words can adequately describe that forlorn sensation. There is utter lack of that personal touch that puts a speaker and audience in sympathy. I tried to be funny . . . Just tell a really laughable joke, as I did that night, and have it fall on a vast, blank solemn void, and you’ll know how I felt.

They say campaign oratory has been standardized for years, and that it all sounds alike. But you may as well prepare yourselves, now, for a type of political speech in the next presidential campaign such as has never before been delivered.

Jack Binns at his desk, explaining the operation of a well known type of radio instrument—the variometer.

An Epochal Message

JACK BINNS, now the most popular expert on radio in America, is the man who flashed the first wireless rescue call ever sent from a sinking ship. His historic message, “CQD—Come—Quick—Danger,” speeding from the shattered wireless cabin of the sinking liner ’Republic’ spelled life for 1650 passengers.

It was 5:30 a. m. on the morning of January 23, 1909, when the steamship ’Florida’ suddenly loomed out of a North Atlantic fog and crashed deep into the engine-room of the Republic. Three sides of the wireless shack were torn away by the collision.

The lever of Binns’ sending key was broken, but passengers heard the crackle of the receiving wireless almost on the heels of the crash. Holding the key together with one hand, Binns pounded out a radio call that woke the Atlantic.

The Florida disappeared in the fog. Binns realized he held in his hands the safety of every soul aboard. And then his set went dead. The inrushing water had reached the ship’s dynamos.


Running aft, Binns discovered that the storeroom, where the storage batteries were kept, was already flooded with water, but in the darkness he dove into the wreckage and swam about until he found the batteries. These he connected with his set, and for the next 36 hours he stuck at his key, never faltering until, by intensive, clever radio work, he guided nine vessels to where the Republic lay sinking, lost in the fog. Every passenger was saved.

During the war, Binns was an instructor of wireless and aviation in the Canadian Air Forces and later in England


Business Is Fine!

By Jack Binns

YOU have never before been able to witness so spectacular an industrial event as is occurring under your eyes today. Had you ever thought of radio, six months ago, as having any particular interest to you personally? Probably not—and yet this spring radio has become a dominant business factor throughout the country.

Do you realize that America is now spending about $5 million a week for radio equipment? Do you know that the unfilled orders of one radio manufacturing company alone amount to $50 million? Another conservative manufacturer expects to be turning out $25,000’s worth of receiving sets daily by the time this issue of POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY reaches its readers!

It is safe to estimate that in these times of depression, when people were supposed not to have money to spend, the American public has already invested $100 million in little boxes and tubes and coils of wire whose sole function is to bring entertainment or information into the home.

And this is only the start. An annual radio business of $400 million is confidently expected.

The bare figures of the radio boom are as romantic as is the form of recreation which it brings. One manufacturer of a new loudspeaker made 18,000 sales within six weeks of the start of manufacture. Another concern will have to turn out 200,000 receiving outfits before catching up with orders already on the books.

With an output of 100,000 vacuum tubes a month, something like “normal” production has been attained by a leading group of manufacturers. To attain it they have been working night and day shifts at top speed.

With the probable establishment of from 12 to 15 powerful broad-casting stations that will cover the entire country—not to mention a host of other public and independent stations—and with the certainty that improvements in apparatus will keep up sales for years to come, it is undeniable that radio has within a period of six months leaped up as a vast national utility on a par in promise with the automobile, the motion pictures, and with public services like the telephone and electric railways.

And this has all happened since POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY launched its wireless campaign last November with the avowed purpose of “radioizing" America. There has never been so spectacular a proof of the importance of science in current affairs, and of the necessity for every man to keep up with its amazing progress.

Confucius has said: "The accomplishment of great things consists in doing small things well." Perfection of detail makes the GREBE RECEIVER what it is. Ask Your Dealer. A. H. Grebe & Co., Inc., Richmond Hill, N.Y.
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