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Way Back When
3 November 1906

The Berlin International Wireless Telegraph Convention defined call letters, operating procedures and signals for Coastal Stations and ships at sea. The committee decided that henceforth the term “radio” would better describe wireless. Radio is derived from the Latin radius (ray or beam of light). The term wireless lingered for many years, but by 1912 the term radio was used in legislation.

Fred Schnell, 1MO, with his ocean-hopping receiver.

The first transatlantic two-way CW QSO

On 27 November 1923, French station F8AB worked Connecticut hams Fred Schnell, 1MO, and John Reinartz, 1XAL, using CW on a specially authorized wavelength of 110 meters. By late 1924 a CW contact was made between England and New Zealand, almost halfway around the world.

EPROM Integrated Circuit

Kilby’s Birthday

Jack St. Clair Kilby (8 November 1923 – 20 June 2005) was an American electrical engineer who took part (along with Robert Noyce) in the realization of the first integrated circuit while working at Texas Instruments (TI) in 1958. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics on December 10, 2000.

     He is also the inventor of the handheld calculator and the thermal printer, for which he has patents. He has patents for seven other inventions as well.

Jack Kilby

(Photo courtesy of and copyright by Texas Instruments, Inc.)

Lamarr’s Birthday

Hedy Lamarr (born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, 9 November 1914 – 19 January 2000) was an Austrian and American film actress and inventor. At the beginning of World War II, she identified jamming of Allied radio communications by the Axis as a particular problem. Together with composer George Antheil, she developed spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology to defeat it. The two shared a patent granted on 11 August 1942.

     They were certainly ahead of their time. When they offered their patent to the US Navy, the two of them weren’t taken seriously. Lamarr was too beautiful and too famous; Antheil was too weird and a musician! Even as Lamarr tried to explain precisely what they were contributing here, the military men were dismissing her as an airhead. Nevertheless, she handed over the patent, as a gift. The Navy put it into a file to gather dust.

     The principles of her work are now incorporated into modern cell phone, Wi-Fi, GPS, CDMA and Bluetooth technology. This work led to her being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014. She is quoted to have said, “Films have a certain place in a certain time period. Technology is forever.”

Sir John Ambrose Fleming (ca 1890)

Fleming’s Birthday

Sir John Ambrose Fleming (29 November 1849 – 18 April 1945) was a British electrical engineer and physicist. He is known for inventing the first thermionic valve or vacuum tube, called the “Fleming Valve.” Fleming’s invention in 1904 could be said to be the beginning of modern electronics. It enabled wireless and later electronics technology to move forward, enabling the first wireless sets with a reasonable performance to be manufactured. As a result, some refer to Ambrose Fleming as the “Father of Electronics.”



Fleming Diode Patent

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