Jeff Miller's History of American Broadcasting This site is mainly about broadcast band radio history, but that's where broadcasting history began, so this site will be of interest to anyone studying "early radio." Click around and you wil find a lot of interesting original material.
Durenberger.com This site, run by Mark Durenberger, has a weath of information about early radio, including many interesting original articles from early sources. Click on the "Radio" page for a full table of contents. Four categories that are especially informative are "Early Radio Technology," "Shortwave/Longwave," " VOA-AFRS-AFRTS-AFN," and "Radio Goes to War."
Media Network Vintage Vault If you miss Radio Netherlands' Media Network and all the historical material produced for it over the years by host Jonathan Marks, you will find much of it preserved at this site, which contains more than 370 programs dating back as far as 1981. What made Media Network different was that it featured extensive original content. The descriptions of each program are quite complete, and are searchable. So enter something in the search box and see what comes up.
FCC Radio History Documents There is a wealth of interesting radio reading in the early reports of the Federal Communications Commission and its predecessor agency, the Federal Radio Commission.
Radio Service Bulletins (1915-1932) As the site explains, Radio Service Bulletins were issued monthly by the Bureau of Navigation, Department of Commerce, to keep mariners and others abreast of developments in the then-new medium of radio. Radio was used for radiotelegraphy, ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship communications, and increasingly, as the 1920s and 1930s advanced, broadcasting. The bulletins reproduced at this FCC site offer a snapshot of the state of the radio art during these years. There is a wealth of interesting information here.
United States Early Radio History Web author Thomas H. White offers a great deal of interesting information at this site, including full-length articles and extracts on early U.S. radio, radio-related government documents circa 1907-1924, and original articles by white on early callsigns, pioneer stations and other aspects of early radio. The author continues to update this valuable, site, and has painstakingly converted many interesting paper articles to HTML for the benefit of web radio researchers.
First Transatlantic Ham Contact This is the story of the first contact, which was in 1923, between hams in France and Connecticut.
Radio Row There are several interesting websites that tell you about Cortlandt Street, New York's old time "radio row":
Belfast, Maine Radio History Located here is the start of some interesting research on the radio history of Belfast, Maine, including in particular that of the RCA which purchased the facility of ship-to-shore International Radio Telegraph Company in 1921. The site contains some interesting photos, plus an audio clip of a UK-to-US relay via belfast in 1925.
Frank Conrad's Garage Here is an NPR audio version of the Frank Conrad-KDKA-Westinghouse story, including an interview with Harry Mills, who actually heard one of the early (1919) broadcasts from Frank Conrad's garage, some 35 miles away, and a 1930s recreation of the Harding-Cox presidential election results broadcast. There is also a recording of Frank Conrad's voice, made in the late 1930s.
Netherlands Radio One hundred years ago, on January 11, 1904, the Netherlands passed its first law in which radio was mentioned. In the century since then, there has been a lot of legislation involving radio, and the Dutch Radiocommunications Agency has opened this website to highlight significant milestones in words and pictures. Unfortunately, the site is in Dutch. However, the pictures are worth looking at. (Thanks to information from Andy Sennitt, Radio Netherlands)
Sound of Spark Tinfoil.com's June 2004 "Cylinder of the Month" is an over-the-air recording of a long-distance spark radiotelegraph transmission (you can hear the signal fade in-and-out) which they believe was recorded around 1915. (Thanks Thomas H. White & Horacio A. Nigro)
IEEE History Center The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers has a Milestones Program which thus far has identified numerous milestones honoring significant achievements in the history of electrical and electronics engineering. Although these cover a wide variety of technological events, of special interest to DXers will be those dealing with the Alexanderson alternator, code breaking at Bletchley Park, the directive shortwave antenna, shortwave transmissions from Byrd's 1934 Antarctic expedition, reception of Transatlantic radio signals, radio station KDKA, and others.
Sayville Wireless Station Developed by the Friends of Long Island Wireless History, which is dedicated to preserving the historic Telefunken/Sayville Wireless Station in Islip, here you will find a nice history of the station, which was one of the most powerful wireless stations of World War I, said to have played a role in both the Lusitania sinking and the Zimmerman telegram affair.
Charles Herrold Here is more on the man whom some say was the first broadcaster, including a chronology of his life and information on his water-cooled microphone (with interesting photographs).
The Complete Lee de Forest This is an excellent site, containing much biogarphical information about "the father of radio," highlighting his role as broadcaster, inventor, husband, defendant, writer and hollywood figure, and his legacy. There are some very nice photos here, plus longer text from the AWA under "broadcaster" and extensive links under "biography" and "inventor."
Marconi Calling There is much interesting material at this "on line museum" maintained by the Marconi company. The site focuses on the details of Marconi's life, with references to associated people, places and photographs, along with film clips, audio files, newspaper clippings, ephemera, etc. Also of interest is a shorter but very informative general overview of Marconi's life and of the company that bears his name. Another nice touch here is a bibliography of other sites and books about Marconi, plus the original Marconigrams surrounding the sinking of the Titanic and reports and documentation compiled during the inquest into the sinking. There is a lot of material here.
SOS, CQD, and the History of Maritime Distress Calls Here is a good history of wireless distress calls, with references to early publications. Contrary to popular belief, these signals were not adopted because of their meaning, e.g. "Come Quick, Danger" or "Save Our Souls." CQD was simply the general call, "CQ," followed by "D," meaning distress, and SOS was adopted "simply on account of its easy radiation and its unmistakable character."
Stubblefield's Wireless The story of another contender for "father of wireless." Includes bibliography.
Documenting Early Radio Radio journalist Elizabeth McLeod offers interesting and detailed descriptions of some of the recordings of early radio (1920-1935) that have survived. Although a few recordings are included, the site is mostly text--but very informative.
Early Broadcasting FAQs Radio historian Barry Mishkind succinctly answers many basic questions about early domestic U.S. radio: How and when did it begin? What frequencies were used? How was early radio regulated? Where did the "W" and "K" call letters come from? He also defines many radio "firsts."
Guglielmo Marconi (in Italian) This "all Marconi" site contains much text, photos and audio relating to the father of radio. Although it is in Italian, it is still worth a look around.
Invention History at the Lemelson Center: George H. Clark Radioana Collection This is a guide to the George H. Clark Radioana Collection at the National Museum of American History, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution. This is one of the most extensive collections of the history of wireless and radio in the United States. In addition to information about the collection itself, this site contains brief company histories of the De Forest Company, the Marconi companies, the National Electric Signalling Company, R.C.A. and Telefunken, plus a chronology of significant events in the history of the radio industry from 1895 to 1927.
E. H. Armstrong This site seeks to present "a collection of interesting . . . documents and artifacts" from the life of the inventor of FM broadacsting and the regenerative and superheterodyne circuits, "like a visit to a museum's back room, where you might browse through a rarely opened filing cabinet, or spot an interesting artifact." It contains many interesting documents from Armstrong's life, and is best viewed via the "selected highlight" option.
Who's On First? This is a brief treatment of the age old question, which station was first.
The History of Broadcasting, 1920-1960 This is a small table linking you to brief descriptions of various aspects of radio. For the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, the viewer can read short vignettes about broadcasting, radio homes, stations, networks, commercial operations and programs. The originator of this site, Dr. Marvin R. Bensman, is founder and director of the Radio Program Archives at the University of Memphis.
Outline of Radio to 1923 This book, written by John V. L. Hogan in 1923, is an interesting description of the development of radio up to that time, and includes a number of interesting diagrams and photographs.
First Radio Broadcast in Argentina The story of the first broadcast transmission in Argentina, August 27, 1920. Also included is a list of other "first" milestones, before and after this one, and a bibliography.
Atwater Kent There is much here about this famous name, including history, magazine ads, and high quality pictures of many A-K receivers.
The Radio Boys The Radio Boys in the Flying Service, The Radio Boys Under the Sea, The Radio Boys With the Forest Rangers--these youth novels conjure up visions of radio's early "gee whiz" days. This site is devoted to The Radio Boys and other 1920s youth novels that were devoted to radio themes. There is an interesting table containing sales figures for these and other youth series. For a list of all the Radio Boys (and Radio Girls) books, go to: http://users.arczip.com/fwdixon/seriesbookcentral/radiob.html
Radio Club of America This club was founded in New York City in 1909 as the Junior Wireless Club. Among its members have been some of the biggest names in radio communications, past and present--Armstrong, Sarnoff, Hazeltine, DuMont, etc.
Radio in the 1930s: Static in the Attic As a teenager, Eric Shackle listened eagerly to lots of strange stations at home in New Zealand. Late at night, with his ears within a few inches of the speaker of a huge Warner superheterodyne console receiver, he was happily oblivious to the deafening cracks of static electricity crashing through the speaker, to the great discomfort of his long-suffering and over-tolerant parents. Here you can share his DX memories. And here you can also view a wonderful article by Shackle about DXing that appeared in a 1938 issue of the Brisbane (Australia) Sunday Mail.
International Radio Week Tests In the mid-1920s, a series of tests were arranged whereby many North American stations would close down so that DXers would have a better chance to hear foreign stations. This is the fascinating story of those tests.
"The Distant Listener" This is a delightful tale of webauthor Dan Phillips' visit to the Marconi site on Cape Cod, and incorporates some interesting musings about the early days of broadcast band DXing.
U.K. and Gerald Marcuse Two months before the BBC started experimenting with shortwave broadcasting in November 1927, Gerald Marcuse, G2NM, a well-known British amateur, was already dabbling in shortwave broadcasting with the permission of the Postmaster General, and his programs were heard worldwide. (The BBC called it a publicity stunt.) Britain's Reading and District Amateur Radio Club has released a history of Gerald Marcuse and his shortwave broadcast activities, written by Peter Smith, G4JNU. A link to the 20-page PDF can be found here.
Maritime Radio Historical Society The early point-to-point stations played an important wartime role in getting American shortwave to its targets. This website tells alot about these American commercial stations. Look especially under "Historic Coast Stations."
Marconi's Shortwave Beam System The "Beam System"--improved signals using shortwave frequencies and antenna reflectors--was the product of Marconi's early experimentation with the short waves. This site reproduces a 1928 Marconi publication titled The Marconi Short Wave Beam System. The beam system led to the development of the Imperial Wireless Chain, Marconi's system of radio communication throughout the Empire. The site also contains much additional information on this interesting topic.
Rugby Radio Rugby Radio, operated by the British Post Office, was an important part of Britain's communication system with the Empire. It was roughly the British equivalent of RCA's Radio Central in New York. Like Radio Central, it started out (in 1926) as a longwave station and went to shortwave a few years later. This article traces the station's construction and development.
"Is International Broadcasting Just Around the Corner"? This is a 1930 Radio News article by NBC general engineer Charles W. Horn about the prospects for shortwave, focusing on the technical needs of the medium, reception difficulties, and program exchanges.
List of Shortwave Stations as of 1926 These are principally utility stations, shortwave broadcasting being still in the early experimental stages.
The Forgotten Firsts--Remembering Radio Netherlands In this essay, Jonathan Marks recounts the history of Radio Netherlands in the context of the changes in technology and in the media culture over the years, and then discusses the Radio Netherlands media archives and its future. The esay contains some interesting graphics and videos.
Radio Atlantico del Sur Radio Atlantico del Sur was a British broadcaster that operated in "clandestine" fashion during the Falklands war in 1982. Programs were prepared in London and transmitted from the BBC Atlantic Relay Station on Ascension Island. This blog, run by Chris Greenway, pulls together much interesting and largely unknown information about the station's operation.
Azanorak.com--European pirates This site was created to serve as an archive of off-air recordings of Europirate stations, in particular Radio Caroline, but many others as well, plus some non-Euros like Radio Hauraki (NZ), Voice of Peace (Israel), and Radio New York International. In addition to station recordings there are jingles, station documentaries, an array of magazines and newsletters, pictures, etc. Files posted in the last two months are highlighted. The recordings (mp3 format) are from the private collections of the members of the RadioCarolineMailingList and RadioAnoraksUK Yahoo groups. They are available for personal use only (research, academic, historical, journalistic, nostalgic reasons, etc.), not for sale or commercial use. All the recordings are in password-protected zip files (contact the site owner through the website to obtain a password). Some of the files are big and thus a little slow to load, so be patient.
BBC Radio Times Starting on September 28, 1923, and for many decades thereafter, The Radio Times was the BBC's main vehicle for communicating with domestic listeners in print. It is still published under private ownership. (International listeners were reached through another BBC publication, World-Radio, which was published from 1925 to 1939, when it was replaced by London Calling.) The mission of the BBC Genome project is to post online much of the information contained in The Radio Times from 1923 to 2009. The issues from 1923 through the December 30, 1949 are of particular value, as all issues of the magazine are posted online in their original look and format. After that you get only the program listings, and in text format, not in the original page views. For the years through 1949, this is a treasure trove of interesting information about BBC programs and early radio broadcasting generally.
Capital Radio, Transkei Capital Radio began broadcasting on mediumwave in 1979, and soon came on shortwave, 3950 and 7160 kHz., as well. It left HF in 1994, and closed all together in 1996. This is the station's story. The site contains audio, photos, videos, the trailer of a planned documentary, and souvenirs for purchase.
Radio Canada International This site presents a brief the history of Radio Canada International, and includes links to many other sites on the same topic.
Georgia's Secret Radio Station: Jamming for the USSR (Thoma Sukhashvili) This is the story of an unnamed village in Georgia, in the former Soviet Union, which was devoted exclusively to jamming foreign radio broadcasts. It was referred to as Transmitter Station No. 5, and operated from the 1950s to around 1991. It later served as a regular transmitter station, and was eventually demolished. The 50 families that are station No. 5's former employees still live in a nearby settlement. "Today, nearly 26 years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, its past employees, still living in their original residences, are trapped in a time warp; their role as stalwart 'guardians' against enemy propaganda now a thing of the past." This is their story. Thanks to Mark Palmer, British DX Club, for finding this website. -- For a related, brief video, "The Soviet Villagers Who Blocked Western Radio Broadcasts," click here.
Woofferton Transmitting Station David Porter, G4OYX, Transmitter Engineer at the Woofferton transmitting site in England, takes us on a tour of the site.
WWV Take this informal tour of the time and frequency station in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Radio Australia, Darwin Bob Padula has written an extensive history of the former Radio Australia transmitter site at Cox Peninsula, Darwin, including technical details, a timeline, and many photographs. (Tnx Ian Baxter at shortwavesites Yahoogroup)
Solomon Islands Broadcasting Service Titled "Radio Broadcasting--63 Years On and Counting," this is a short history of the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Service, which is still on the air (including shortwave). The author, Martin Hadlow, has extensive experience in many aspects of Asian and Pacific media, and was formerly Head of Development and Training at SIBC.
Station Recordings-II Here is an excellent collection of 446 recordings of shortwave station IDs, mostly from the 1980s and 1990s, but some after, as recorded by Kentucky DXer Jerry Johnston. Most are 3-4 minute clips often including IS, sign-on announcements or other ID, and news or musical programming. A few are longer clips (up to 45 minutes). The aforementioned URL is a basic list of the recordings, arranged by date heard and in a text-like format. A second link provides the same list in HTML format (click on "Basic Listing"), and also permits you to search the list of recordings. The search is a full-text search on station name, transmitter site, frequency, comments, etc. Thanks to Jerry for permission to link to his recordings, and to Ed Shaw for alerting us to this site.
The Broadcasting Fleet This site seeks to identify all the ships, worldwide, from which broadcasting has taken place at one time or another throughout radio's history. Under "Home/Welcome" there are two long chronological lists of the ships and their activities: "First Radio Broadcasts from Ships 1898-1950," and "The Heydays of Watery Wireless 1951 to Today." In addition, there is a 33-part narrative about many aspects of ship broadcasting, "The First Radio Broadcasts From Ships Part 1-33." There are two dropdown menus: "Ships by Name," which liists the ships alphabetically; and "Ships by Category," which lists the ships by functional groupings, such as offshore radio, licensed radio or outside broadcasting ships, first experimental or "unique watery wireless," etc. Clicking on a ship's name will bring up a brief writeup about the ship and its broadcasting activities; be sure to click on "Mehr lesen" at the bottom of the writeup for many more details. Note: Beware the "Offshore Radio Guide" dropdown; Malwarebytes says it is a suspicious site.
Spectres of Shortwave This site is devoted to a two-hour "experimental documentary" film directed, filmed and edited by Amanda Dawn Christie. The film is devoted to the impact of Radio Canada International on persons living near the Sackville transmitting site, e.g. radio coming from the refrigerator, lamps glowing by themselves, , etc., plus the marvel of long-distance shortwave, cows on the transmitter site, and other shortwave realities. There are quite a few videos from the film and from the production process, showing many aspects of the transmitter site, including its ultimate demolition, and dramatizing a rather simple transition between the life and death of a newly extinct technology, as one commentator puts it. For more previews, see https://vimeo.com/165652736
History of Shortwave Radio in Australia In this detailed and well-organized site, Bob Padula has done a wonderful job cataloging the events of Australian shortwave history. The chronolgical approach facilitates understanding, and the graphics add interest to a well-researched and well-written narrative. Congratulations to one of DXing's "grand old men."
Daventry Calling the World Daventry, England started out in 1925 as home to longwave station 5XX, but in shortwave circles it is best known as homebase for the two 10-20 kw. transmitters of the Empire Service, which came on the air in 1932. In 1947 Daventry went to 50 kw. In his book Daventry Calling the World, now available on the web, Norman Tomalin tells the 67-year story of the Daventry transmitter base in detail (it left shortwave in 1992). Nicely combining both technology and reminiscence, it is worth a read.
KGEI West coast radio historian John Schneider and Jim R. Bowman, who was KGEI manager from 1963 to 1977, present a nice summary of KGEI's history from it's General Electric "Golden Gate Exposition" origins in 1939 to its close in 1994.
Fifty Years of Transmitting at BBC Woofferton, 1943-1993 Posted on the BBC Engineering website, this 71-page illustrated book, "a social and technical history of a short wave station," covers the history of the Woofferton transmitter base, near Ludlow in Shropshire, in great detail. Author Jeff Cant starts in 1943 and continues up to 1993 (the year before he retired). BBC transmission services were privatized in 1997. During much of its life, Woofferton was in VOA service. And for the first part of a multi-part tour of the station, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QovPkM35aF0.
BBC Woofferton Starting in 1943, and for much of its early life, the BBC Woofferton shortwave site was operated by the BBC but carried exclusively VOA programming. Here are some notes about the station written by Richard Buckby, who worked there starting in 1963, along with some historical photos.
Skelton Transmitting Station, 1942-1998 This very readable compilation of information about the BBC Skelton transmitting station was written in 1990 and later updated and supplemented with photos and the text of newspaper articles.
BBC Tatsfield. Together, three websites present a good picture of the BBC Tatsfield receiving station, which served as the main technical monitor of signals sent from and received by the BBC (Caversham would be oriented toward programming), as well as (until 1974) the principal BBC reception point for foreign programming slated to be relayed by the BBC. At http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/21/a7157621.shtml is a brief description of the station. Photos can be found at http://www.bbceng.info/Operations/Receivers/Tatsfield/tatsfield.htm More history, and a detailed description of Tatsfield in 1961, can be found at http://www.bbceng.info/Operations/Receivers/Tatsfield/BBC_Tatsfield_March%201961.pdf
British Pathe Ltd. This site contains the entire 3,500 hr. British Pathe Film archive, covering 1896-1970. It includes some very interesting clips related to radio: 2LO, 1925 (#84818); BBC Monitoring Service, 1940 (#119626, 119630); the German station at Muhlacker, 1931 (#99818); Rugby (#65203, #105202); Radio Free Europe (#255721); a clip about 1920s car radio (#103602); a variety of Radio Caroline clips (#31309, 31310, 31311, 31501, 175521, 180616); and much else. Some are silent, others have audio. Mike Barraclough of the U.K., who discovered this site, says that entering "radio" in the search box yielded 1,259 hits.
Radio in Latin America in 1963--David Gleason on the Web This is an excellent collection of photographs taken at various radio station studios, transmitter sites, etc. in Latin America during the mid-1960s. In 1963, following an internship in Mexico, David Gleason wandered through Central America, Colombia and Venezuela. These are some pictures of the radio stations he visited in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Colombia.
Russian Woodpecker Remember the strong, rapid-fire tapping of the Russian woodpecker that emanated from several Russian over-the-horizon radar installations? Operating at unpredictable hours and for varying durations, the woodpecker affected many frequency ranges and radio services, including international broadcasting, and often rendered reception virtually impossible over wide swaths of frequencies. It didn't disappear until 1989. This website has pictures of a woodpecker installtion in Ukraine.
IBB, Playa de Pals, Spain This International Broadcasting Bureau transmission site was in operation from 1959 to 2001. This website, which has been assembled by an engineer who worked at the site, contains hundreds of interesting photos and documents, and even some brief video clips, related to the station and it's transmitters, antennas, control room, power supply, etc., as well as its background and various events at the station. Click on the Union Jack, and then follow the drop down menus at the top of the page for a very comprehensive tour around the station.
CBC Archives--Our Voice to the World This site features audio clips of historical events in the life of the CBC International Service, including the launch of the service, serving Canadians overseas, broadcasting behind the iron curtain, etc.
BBC Ascension Relay Station If you are wondering what it was like to start up the BBC Ascension Relay Station, here are some reminiscences by Phil Brooks, a member of the station's first operational staff.
Radio Free Europe - Radio Liberty "Voices of Hope: The Story of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty" presents a brief history of the stations.
Jamming in the USSR, Poland and E. Europe Here, in multiple languages (English, Russian, Polish, Czech and Lithuanian), is a wealth of information about jamming. Starting with an English essay on the subject by Rimantas Pleikys ("Articles" in English), the site also contains scans of original source documents on jamming, audio samples, and an extensive bibliography. If you want to know more, you can also order the Pleikys book, "Jamming."
A Broadcast Engineer in Korea This brief account centers on an engineer's experiences at AFRS-Korea medium wave stations, but includes a few mentions of shortwave. Contains some nice photographs.
Far East Network This interesting site is intended principally for former FEN personnel, and contains all manner of interesting history about FEN, including recordings of old programs.
Radio Prague History This is part of the official website of Radio Prague. The station traces its history back to 1936, and also describes interesting experimental shortwave transmissions before that.
The MEBO II This site describes a 1971 visit to the MEBO II, famed home of Radio Nordsee International, one of the first European offshore pirate broadcasters heard worldwide on shortwave.
Eastern Arctic Patrol Not principally about radio, this interesting 1940 speech to the Empire Club of Canada about the Canadian Arctic mentions the "Northern Messenger" program and some other Arctic-related aspects of radio. Thanks to Harold Sellers for the reference.
Stations of Equatorial Guinea This Spanish-language website is not limited to radio, but if you click on "Search" and then enter "radio" you will be treated to some 61 rare photographs of Radio Santa Isabel, Radio Ecuatorial, and even the ill-fated Radio Atlantica of 1947, which never came to air.
Radio Andorra Though long gone from shortwave, the friendly sound of Radio Andorra became well known to many SWLs when it returned to shortwave during the years 1976-1981. This website has collected much information about the station. Unfortunately for most of us, the bulk of the content is in French, with a smattering of English and Spanish. However, the recordings will conjure up pleasant memories for anyone who used to hear the station. There are also links to other websites, also in French, about Radio Andorra.
LM Radio Museum "Senior DXers" will love this site, which is dedicated to the history of "LM Radio," Radio Clube de Mocambique, Lourenco Marques, Mozambique, a familiar visitor to the international shortwave bands through the 1960s. UK webmaster Chris Turner is still adding to this interesting collection of LM historical items.
Radiodifusao em Angola It is in Portuguese, but just the names of the stations will get your DX juices flowing--Radio Clube de Benguela, Radio Clube da Huila, Radio Diamang, Radio Clube de Cabinda. This site is devoted to the history of radio in Angola and contains brief histories of the stations, photos of stations, QSLs, radio personalities and station memorabilia. Those who remember the days of Angolan shortwave radio will enjoy this.
BBC--Back to Bush House This site is not well indexed. However, if you are interested in browsing through old photos and stories of BBC World Service personalities starting in the 1950s, check this out. Be sure to click on "General 2" for an interesting story about the BBC Monitoring Service.
BBC Engineering This is a wonderful site to meander around. Especially informative is the historical information about the Daventry and Skelton stations, and the near-encyclopedic, 75 page treatise on the Woofferton transmitter site.
Radio Nordsee International, available through the Wayback Machine at http://web.archive.org/web/20070522172349/http://www.davesden.fsnet.co.uk/rni.html Although at 10 kw. much more powerful than the usual European pirate, RNI was the first offshore European shortwave pirate that was heard in the United States. RNI operated on shortwave at various times from 1970 to 1974 on 6210 kHz. This website tells the story of the station.
PCJ, Holland "So there I am, driving along the Randweg, a road on the southern side of the my home town, Huizen, in the Netherlands. I came up to a roundabout that has been recently renovated and what did I see? A half-size replica of the world's first rotatable shortwave transmitting tower . . . slap bang in the middle of a new roundabout . . . ." See this novel tribute to PCJ.
BBC: Old Equipment and Memories This is an impressive site, containing pictures of old BBC radio equipment and comments by people who used it. There is a lot here, including interesting information about Broadcasting House in the 1930s and later, many equipment photos, personnel recollections, and some interesting links.
Broadcasting House-A Potted History The BBC's headquarters are in the Portland-stone clad building at the top of Regent Street in central London. The site's author, a BBC employee since 1969, pulls together information about the site from 1214 (!) until Broadcasting House was built and opened in 1932.
Radio and TV Transmitters in France Although this site is in French, English speakers may enjoy stumbling around it for the pictures alone. Look especially under "Allouis (F. Inter)" and "RFI-Issoudun/Allouis."
Voice of America This VOA site contains a number of pages on the VOA's history, including a list of the years during which various individual language services have been carried on the VOA.
Vatican Radio--History This is the "History" page of the Vatican Radio website, tracing early plans for a Vatican wireless station (1925) and the opening broadcast of Vatican Radio by Guglielmo Marconi and Pope Pius XI on February 12, 1931.
Radio Normandy Tracing its history to 1923, Radio Normandy originated as a project of the Radio Club of Fecamp, France, and was an ancestor of the later free radio movement. Among many other activities, it carried the programs of the IBC (International Broadcasting Company, of Captain Plugge fame) to England. This is a wonderfully detailed site, with many pictures of equipment and other aspects of this famous early radio venture.
Radio Heritage Foundation Run by David Ricquish of New Zealand, this is one of the best radio history sites on the net. Focusing on the Pacific and environs, and on all kinds of stations, radio personalities, etc., it contains a plethora of wonderful material, much of it original, which could sustain days of browsing.
The Schwarzenburg HF Transmitting Station Swiss Radio Internation personalities Bob Zanotti and Bob Thomann present pictures and an historical timeline of this venerable shortwave transmitting site which was closed in 1998. There is also an interesting 20-minute RealAudio recording of the memorial program, "Farewell to Schwarzenburg," which was broadcast at the time of the site's closing and which contains much interesting information.
World Shortwave Stations (1931) An International Short Wave Club list including both shortwave broadcast and utility stations.
International Broadcast History This is a country-by-country examination of early broadcasting around the world. Although the information from many countries is missing, and most descriptions are brief, it is a good start. Descriptions of a few countries, like Australia, are fairly well developed.
TI4NRH This is the story of the small Costa Rican shortwave broadcaster that was active in the 1930s, TI4NRH. The station was one of the very first to use shortwave, and was widely heard despite its low power. Station owner, Amando Cespedes Marin, was a renaissance man of his day, and was known worldwide for his various activities, including shortwave broadcasting. What makes this story particularly interesting is that it is based on Don Moore's visit to the original site. It was, as Don puts it, "radio history paradise." Also see http://www.pateplumaradio.com/central/ticogrph.html and look under "May 1933 Union Radio-Americana Magazine" for some interesting pages from a magazine published in connection with the station.
History of Radio Luxembourg Brief histories of the station for 14 years between 1933 and 1992. This site also has brief audio vignettes of the station's history in downloading (but not streaming) RealAudio.
Radio New Zealand International: A History While this site concentrates on post-1970s shortwave radio in New Zealand, it provides some interesting information on the development of Radio New Zealand over the years.
Sponsored Programming in British Radio in the 1930s This article describes the growth of spnsored programming in England. There are many mentions of the International Broadcasting Co. (IBC) which was a pioneer in broadcasting sponsored program to the UK from stations in Europe.
Station Recordings-I These aren't real old, and they are rather brief, but it is fun to click around this site and hear recordings of many interesting shortwave and medium wave stations of the 1960s and 1970s, including a good variety of Latin American stations. There are some QSLs here too.
National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting This museum, which chronicles the history of the VOA, is located on the facility of what used to be the VOA Bethany, Ohio relay station. The Bethany station traces its roots back to Crosley station WLWO in Mason, Ohio and, before that, 8XAL in Harrison, Ohio. The website contains many videos about the history of the VOA and the Bethany museum project, plus a map of the museum, brief bios of people involved with the museum (many of them former VOA personnel), a blog highlighting museum events, links to the VOA, many photos, and more. Among the best items are the eight-minute video "America's Voice" (under "The Museum"), and "Bethany Relay Station History" and "Bethany Station Time Line" (both under "About"). The museum bills itself as a "work in project," and is open to the general public at 1-4 p.m. on the third Saturday of every month.
WNYW This excellent site covers WRUL/WNYW. It contains historical timelines, station memorabilia, QSLs, reminiscences, references to other internet resources about the station, and many recordings of WNYW and its DX program, "DXing Worldwide." Much of the material is from the late Lou Josephs. There is a lot of interesting material here, so spend some time following the links.
WLW 500 kw. Not shortwave, but if you are interested in the 500 kw. WLW experiment back in the 1930s, take this YouTube tour of the old transmitter facility, much of which has been preserved intact. Thanks to Horacio Nigro, Uruguay, for pointing out this site.
WLW Transmitter Page All you would ever want to know about the WLW 500 kw. medium wave experiment, including a great many photos and links to other "Crosley" sites. Worth a look. Another 500 kw. medium transmitter, built by RCA for the use of WJZ in New Jersey, never went into service because of the termination of the WLW 500 kw. experiment by the FCC, and was eventually sold to the British government to become widely known as the wartime "Aspidistra" transmitter.
Press Wireless Formed in 1929 to serve the news-gathering needs of the press, Press Wireless grew into a multi-faceted commercial operation, with its principal stateside transmitter sites at Hicksville (later Centereach), L.I., New York and Belmont, California.. During World War II, when commercial stations were pressed into service to supplement America's regular shortwave broadcasting facilities, Press Wireless was often on the air with shortwave broadcast programming. This site presents a good summary history of the company, with links to other sources.
Voice of America: Origins and Recollections (Pt. I) & (Pt. II) The question of just when the Voice of America came into existence has long been a matter of some doubt due to the state of the historical record and the informal way in which the "Voice of America" label came into use. Diplomat and scholar Walter R. Roberts, who was at VOA in those early days, has dug deep and written these two very interesting articles that cover the subject in detail (and that led the VOA to change its official birth date and adopt the author's position). There is much valuable VOA history here.
U.S. and Canadian Shortwave Broadcasting Stations (1947) This is an excellent list, showing the various stations (in the U.S.) that had been leased to the Voice of America, their original ownership, frequencies, powers, etc.
History of American Broadcasting Among other interesting items on this (mostly broadcast band) site are a number of lists of stations operating in the shortwave "apex" and early FM bands.
Shortwave Transmitters in the U.S. Part of the Ludo Maes Transmitter Documentation Project, this page contains a list of U.S. shortwave transmitters, including many from the early years.
Paul Litwinovich on Vintage Radio Paul Litwinovich is the chief engineer of WSHU, the public radio station in Fairlfield, Connecticut, and on the station's website he has authored a series of informative and well-written articles about early radio, particularly receivers. Among the titles: "Zenith Trans-Oceanic, the 'Royalty of Radios,'" "Atwater Kent," "Radio Prepares for War" (HRO, BC-348, BC-603), "A Radio for the Great Depression" (RCA) (two parts), "A Radio for the Roaring 20s" (Radiola 46), "Sounds Good, Looks Great: Radio Cabinetry," "Order Out of Chaos," and "Regeneration Under Glass."
Early Sound Recording The goal of Britain's Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording is to "document the stories of those persons who contributed significant inventions, manufactured equipment and who engineered and produced audio recordings, especially in the areas of music, broadcast, film/video and science." Here is the story of early disk and magnetic recording and related topics. Other good websites on early recording include Recording at the BBC and Audio Engineering Society-History of Magnetic Recording (there is much other interesting information on thie AES website). Revised
Catalogs: Radio Shack and Allied Radio Interested in browsing through old catalogs from Radio Shack and Allied Radio? Check out these sites, which have full copies of tons of catalogs going all the way back to the earliest (1929 for Allied, 1939 for Radio Shack). Thanks to Mike D'Alessio, who runs these sites, for bringing them to our attention.
Boatanchor Pix As the name suggests, here you will find lots of photos and brief writeups of tube-type gear, including ham and general coverage shortwave receivers (Hallicrafters, National, Zenith, many others) as well as some ham transmitters and other ham gear. There are also links to many other hollow-state resoources.
Radio Boulevard--Western Historic Radio Museum Spend some time getting familiar with the index on this site in order to appreciate what is here. It includes extensive articles about some of the best known National, Hallicrafters, Hammarlund, and Collins receivers, as well as others. The "Vintage Communications & Amateur Radio Equipment" and "Classic Pre-WW II Ham Gear" sections are gems (the latter is not limited to ham-only gear).
Oral History: Harold H. Beverage and H. O. Peterson In these 1968 and 1973 interviews of Harold Beverage, who established the RCA research lab at Riverhead, LI. in 1919, Beverage describes events leading up to the formation of RCA in 1919 and the invention of the famous Beverage antenna. He also discusses Dr. Clarence W. Hansell's development of the first crystal-controlled transmitter and the first 15-meter transmitter; Major Armstrong's radio inventions; and Beverage's relationships with Guglielmo Marconi and Ernst Alexanderson. Beverage associate Dr. H.O. Peterson, who was formerly in charge of the reception laboratory at Riverhead, joins in the interview. In a later (1992) interview Beverage gives his recollections of radio research through most of the twentieth century. The interviews are in text form, with some segments paralleled in audio recordings.
Barlow-Wadley In 1971 the South African Barlow-Wadley XCR-30 receiver became the first to boast the then-new phase locked loop circuitry which permitted direct frequency dialing. This page is dedicated to this receiver, and features technical information and photos. (The site was removed some time ago, but it is still available via the Wayback Machine.)
Drake Virtual Museum All you ever wanted to know about the venerable manufacturer, including history from its startup in 1943, as well as photos, specs and comments about the entire Drake line.
James Millen Although much of this site is devoted to technical material, there is also some excellent history about James Millen and the company with which he is widely associated, the National Company.
The Day the Martians Landed This is Don Moore's informative account of the 1949 South American equivalent of the famous "War of the Worlds" broadcast in 1938. This time the Martians landed via Radio Quito, Ecuador--with similar results.
How A Vacuum Tube Works All you would ever want to know on the subject.
National Radio Company (Radio Bay) This page of Niel Wiegand (WA5VLZ) is devoted to the National Radio Company. Here you will find a history of the company, a bibliography of articles about National and its equipment, photos of early receivers and reproductions of National ads, and other National-related information.f
Silver-Marshall "Round the World Four" An article from the Antique Wireless Association "Old Timer's Bulletin" about this 1927 four-tube shortwave kit.
Shortwave DX in 1936 This is an interesting article from the August 28, 1936 issue of the U.K. publication Radio Pictorial, with an emphasis on what you could hear on shortwave (American stations in particular).
Allied Radio In 2013, Allied Radio's 85th birthday, the company (now Allied Electronics) posted an interesting history of the company featuring videos on the decades through the 1960s.
"The Interval Signal--A Vanishing and Endangered Species" - This was the site for the English radio magazine, Radio Days. It reproduced two interesting articles about identifying stations. The first is from a 1936 issue of the BBC publication, World Radio, and discusses interval signals, their value, how they are produced, and the history of some of them. The second article is from a 1931 issue of the Italian publication L'Antenna. It expresses the frustration of listeners to international stations in having station IDs given infrequently and inconsistently, and offers some ideas for improving the situation. Although the site is now defunct, we have salvaged the text.
BBC Waveguide The BBC Waveguide program, successor to Shortwave Listeners Corner and BBC World Radio Club, ran as a weekly program from 1982 to March 1996, returning in September as an eight-part series on basic listening and then a monthly program until leaving the air for good in 2001. The focus was usually on the newcomer to shortwave and on BBC-related topics, including some limited DX information developed by the BBC Monitoring Service. Now various episodes of Waveguide are available on line.
AmericanRadioHistory.com David Gleason's superb site contains an extensive collection of full issues of some of the key publications of radio's early days. The paper copies of many of these items have become scarce in the collecting world and cannot be easily found. Among them: Broadcasting, Broadcasting Yearbook, BBC Handbook, Radio News, Radio Index (RADEX), All Wave Radio, Short Wave Radio, Radio Broadcast, and many others. Click on White's under "Radio Logs & Station Lists" for a nice collection of Stevenson's, White's, Keller's and others. These are big files, so give them a chance to load. This is a priceless resource, and David Gleason deserves a huge thank you for the work he has put into it.
The Origins of DXing in New Zealand In this excellent monograph, now on the web, the late Barry Williams presented a comprehensive and well-written picture of how DXing developed in New Zealand. Starting with medium wave and going on to cover shortwave as well, he treats many topics: the start of broadcasting itself, the beginning of DXing in New Zealand (including the role played by E. H. Scott of Scott radios fame), reception as reported by listeners, contests, and the roles played by the New Zealand DX Club, the New Zealand Radio Times, and the New Zealand Shortwave Radio Club. Would that someone in every country would prepare a similar history.
WPE calls If you were a "WPE," that is, if you were assigned one of the WPE or WDX "callsigns" issued to shortwave listeners by Popular Electronics in the 1960s and 1970s, you will want to check this site. You can see what the WPE certificate looked like, and read the comments of many people who had these "callsigns."
Arthur T. Cushen The late Arthur Cushen was known worldwide during most of his DXing years from 1937 to 1997. This is his description of his radio career. Also, go to http://www.radiodx.com/articles/dxer-profiles-a-to-e/arthur-cushen-tributes/ for notes on his funeral and tributes from those who knew him.
Virtual Museum of Radio Communications - Utilities This site is worth checking out if you are interested in utility stations, that is, stations that are neither broadcast stations nor hams. Operated by Rainer Brannolte of Mainz-Kastel, Germany, it contains historical information on these stations, principally QSL images and recordings, together with frequency and callsign information, photos and links. The basic arrangement is by country and station name, but there are also special groupings for point-to-point stations, coastal radio telegraph services and time and frequency stations. Rainer says that there are some 3900 stations listed from 267 EDXC countries, with 2800 QSLs and 1500 sound clips from the 1960s to the present. Over 50 utility DXers have contributed to this site, and Rainer is always looking for more. If you have any relevant utility material, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shortwave QSL Card Web Site This site has a very nice collection of shortwave broadcast QSLs dating from 1934 to 1965. Click on "QSL Cards" and select the dates you want. There is also a separate section for QSL letters, BCB QSLs, also many pennants, EKKO stamps, etc.
EKKO Stamps This web edition of an article by Wayne Gilbert, "EKKO, ECHO, EKKO, ECHO," which appeared in Antique Radio Classified in 1997 covers the origins of EKKO stamps, and includes several high resolution, closeup photos of these interesting DX artifacts.
EKKO Stamps-II The author of the site notes that he does not collect EKKO stamps (or other radio stamps), just images of them. Although EKKO's were basically all alike, if you are interested in seeing a particular station's stamp, this well-indexed site is the place to look.
Classic SWBC QSL Home Page Georgia DXer Phil Finkle presents a nice collection of shortwave broadcast QSLs from the 1930s and the 1950s. Photos of the backs of the cards as well as the fronts adds a nice touch. A separate page contains later QSLs.
Radio Stamps Bart Lee of California presents a nice summary, with illustrations, of various kinds of radio-related stamps, including the early wireless telephone franking stamps, EKKO stamps, cinderellas, and postage stamps. (This article was originally published by the California Historical Radio Society in 1994.)
Wartime Radio: The Secret Listeners Illustrated with archival film and photographs, as well as interviews with those involved, this BBC documentary from the film archive of the University of East Anglia traces the evolution of civilian involvement in radio-based intelligence in the U.K. during both world wars. The work of amateur radio enthusiasts during World War I convinced the Admiralty to establish a radio intercept station at Hunstanton. Playing an integral role during the war, technological advances meant that radio operators could pinpoint signals, thus uncovering the movement of German boats and leading to the decisive Battle of Jutland in 1916. Wireless espionage played an even more important role during World War II, with the Secret Intelligence Service setting up the Radio Security Service, which was staffed by Voluntary Interceptors, a band of amateur radio enthusiasts scattered across Britain. The information they collected was interpreted by some of the brightest minds in the country, who also had a large hand in deceiving German forces by feeding them false intelligence.
Radio Leaflets During War This interesting site focuses on leaflets, distributed during a conflict, which were intended to turn the recipient's attention to a particular station. The stations covered include World War II stations Jerry's Front Radio (German), Radio Wanda (German, in Polish), KSAI-Saipan (OWI), BBC (UK), and Radio Inconnue (French government in exile), as well as stations operated during the Malayan Emergency (1948-1954), the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the Falklands war, Desert Storm, and actions in Somalia (1992), Haiti (1994), Bosnia, Serbia, and Afghanistan.
Lord Haw-Haw's Final Broadcast During World War II, Lord Haw-Haw was Germany's best-known English-language propagandist. His broadcasts began in 1939 and lasted through the entire war. This is a 10-minute recording of one of his final programs, made in April 1945 (although whether this particular program was actually transmitted is uncertain.)
Making Radio Into a Tool for War This very readable paper by Mary Cawte traces the development of radio from its origins in the 1920s through its growth as a propaganda weapon in the "radio wars" of the 30s and 40s. The author also traces the development of clandestine radio during these years.
The Legend of Tokyo Rose This is Chapter 5 of an internet book, Miss Your Lovin: GIs, Gender and Domesticity during World War II, written by Elizabeth Pfau. The author observes that the reports of the Tokyo Rose broadcasts by servicemen sometimes differed from official accounts, and that the picture of a more benign and less sensational Tokyo Rose is probably closer to the truth than was sometimes recalled by her audience.
FBIS Against the Axis The origins and World War II history of the U.S. government's professional monitoring service, the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, are outlined here.
Honoring Those Who Listened Capt. George Duffy had been a POW in Japan. His site presents some of the cards and letters that his mother received from 35 POW message monitors when two of George's letters were read over the air. Increase the magnification of your browser to better read this material.
Construction of Radio Equipment in a Japanese POW Camp This is a fascinating (if a little unbelievable) story told by Lt. Col. R. G. Wells of the U.K. about how he and some fellow prisoners constructed a regenerative radio receiver (and a transmitter) while they were POWs in British North Borneo in 1942.
WRUL Here are some interesting reminiscences of a Boston radioman, including WW II listening, his employment at WRUL, and his ham radio activities.
World War II Radio Propaganda: Real and Imaginary In this April 24, 2008, program of the "Talking History" project, downloadable in two parts, historians Ann Pfau and (her husband) David Hochfelder discuss their research into the World War II propaganda broadcasts from Japan and Germany made by Iva Toguri, William Joyce, Mildred Gillars,and Rita Zucca. They cover wartime rumors, popular legends about World War II radio propaganda, oral history, British and American wartime propaganda monitoring, soldier surveys, and popular histories and Hollywood depictions of Tokyo Rose, Lord Haw Haw, and Axis Sally. Pfau is researching a book about World War II radio traitors. (Select "Jan-June 2008" in "The Radio Archive" window and click "Go.")
Warsaw Uprising 1944 This site is about two clandestine Polish radio stations, military "Lightning" and the civilian Polish Radio, that broadcast from the German-occupied territory during World War II. The "Lightning" broadcast in Polish, English, and German was on the air four times a day between August 8 and October 4, 1944. Typical programs included reports from embattled Warsaw, appeals for assistance, the Home Army's combat communiques, and patriotic songs and poems. "Lightning" was heard as far away as New York. The site contains witness accounts of these efforts as well as photos and recordings.
Gray and Black Radio Propaganda Against Nazi Germany This is a paper presnted by the author, Robert Rowen, to the New York Military Affairs Symposium on April 18, 2003. It is fairly concise, but contains worthwhile introductions to some of the well-known wartime broadcasting operations, including Gustav Siegfried Eins, Atlantiksender, Soldatensender Calais, the Aspidistra transmitter, and others. It is based principally on the work of Sefton Delmer. A biography at the end contains suggestions for further reading.
Aspidistra At this URL you will find information and pictures of the site of the wartime Aspidistra 500 kw MW transmitter taken on a visit there. The transmitter was originally built in the U.S. by RCA for station WJZ in New Jersey, but it went into service instead near Crowborough, England, mainly as a "black" clandestine transmitter. A lengthy article on the transmitter is posted at http://web.archive.org/web/20070113204358/http://members.aol.com/skywave48/aspidistra.htm.
British Propaganda In World War II This site contains some interesting, if not very detailed, information about British propaganda broadcasting in World War II, including photos and brief recordings. Pages are included on Sefton Delmer, Aspidistra, Atlantiksender and Soldatensender, Electra House, the Gawcott and Potsgrove radio stations, and other radio-related topics. Click on "PWE" (Political Warfare Executive) and "PID" (Political Intelligence Department). This web site is the creation of a team of parents whose children attended Emerson Valley Combined School, Milton Keynes.
KSAI-Saipan, VOA, WW II Here are some interesting pictures of the VOA Saipan MW station that was active during WW II. We have added a link to a QSL from the station that is contained in the Roger Legge QSL collection (Committee to Preserve Radio Verifications).
Tokyo Rose (EarthStation1) Part of the EarthStation1 website (see below), this is a useful telling of the tale of Iva Toguri, a/k/a Tokyo Rose. One of the most interesting aspects of this site is the inclusion of relevant .wav and RealAudio files, and even RealVideo, including the full "60 Minutes" treatment of Tokyo Rose program in 1976. There is also a valuable archive of some 200 Tokyo Rose-related photographs.
Tokyo Rose-II (Dyar) Though without the audio video of the EarthStation1 site noted above, this is also an excellent telling of the story, with a nicely detailed bibliography for further reading.
WW II Propaganda Broadcasts The EarthStation 1 "Radio Propaganda Sounds & Pictures Page" contains many interesting audio clips from World War II, including wartime "turncoats" Tokyo Rose, Axis Sally, Lord Haw Haw, Robert Best, and Paul Revere, and Station DEBUNK. Other interesting wartime audio and graphics can be found here as well (EarthStation1 homepage URL, with notes on latest updates.)
Armed Forces Radio While nominally a review of the 1948 book by Kirby & Harris, Star Spangled Radio (Ziff-Davis), this site contains some interesting personal recollections about radio in the armed forces radio (particularly the Pacific).
"The Man Who Was Lord Haw Haw" - This article, taken from the British publication Radio Days, suggests that Lord Haw Haw, the well-known Britisher who broadcast to England on behalf of the Nazis, was a source more of amusement than fear to ordinary Britons, most of whom disapproved of his execution. The author says that his trial for treason was basically a show trial bottomed on a dubious assessment of his British citizenship. The Radio Days site is now defunct, but we have salvaged the text.