October 1945 Radio-Craft
[Table of Contents]
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Radio-Craft,
published 1929 - 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
I frequently refer to
magazine editor, inventor, author, and futurist Hugo Gernsback as a genius who
accomplished as much in his lifetime as just about anyone has. He often noted in
his magazines, including as in the 1945 issue of Radio-Craft, where products,
methods, and events he predicted ended up coming true. It might seem like a case
of "blowing his own horn," so to speak, but the fact is that then, as now, you
have to publicize your successes because competitors and those who wish to cause
you harm will not do it for you. Here, he had described a year previous a
"Radio Bomb" which had the capability of radio controlled guidance, including
onboard navigation for pinpointing targets in the final phase of flight. An
onboard transmitter provided telemetry enabling tracking and correction. The guy
The Radio Bomb Did Exist
The radio-controlled rocket bomb, predicted in the July, 1944, issue of Radio-Craft.
On August 17th, the War Department announced a series of new weapons, its spokesman,
General H. H. Arnold, disclosed among others the following: Atomic bombs which will
be guided by television and find their targets by radar.
He further stated that television guided missiles, which will pack atomic warheads,
will find their targets electronically.
General Arnold went on to state that some of these weapons have been experimented
with for about a year. There was, however, no statement that they have been in production.
The above statement is of interest to readers of Radio-Craft who have read the
article "The Radio Rocket" in the July, 1944, issue, by the Editor, H. Gernsback.
Here is an excerpt from that article from which it will be noted that it covered
all the new weapon's specifications over a year ago.
The Radio Rocket may be equipped with a transmitting and receiving aerial which
trails behind, as shown in the illustrations. This, however, is not absolutely essential
and it is probable that in the perfected Radio Rocket, actual aerials may be dispensed
One of our illustrations shows the construction of the rocket, which in addition
to its warhead, also contains a gyroscope, necessary to keep it on its course. In
addition, it carries a radio transmitter and a receiver.
Both the transmitter and receiver are very light and are operated by means of
special batteries installed in the rocket. At the moment of launching, the transmitter
goes into operation automatically. On a special short wave, it transmits a pulsating
frequency which is easily picked up by two ground radio units, shown in our illustration.
Using automatic triangulation means, the radio truck "A" and truck "B" plot the
course of the rocket accurately during its flight. With electronic instruments the
actual flight of the rocket can be observed visually on a special map whereby a
moving light-spot illuminates the exact course the rocket is taking. Should it get
off its pre-determined path, its flight is instantly corrected from the ground radio
truck "B." This truck sends out a special radio wave - also on a short wave frequency
- continuously from the instant the rocket is launched. If the light-spot on the
map indicates that the rocket drifts over to the right and consequently is off its
course, an automatic correction impulse to the rocket instantly corrects its flight.
This can be accomplished wholly automatically by electronic means, such as special
photo-electric cells, actuated by the moving light-spot. The flight correction is
done by radio remote control, whereby either the movable elevators or horizontal
rudders of the rocket can be deflected. This will then steer the rocket again on
to its correct course. The radio technicians in their radio truck visually observe
if the flight of the rocket bas been corrected sufficiently. If it has not, it can
then be further corrected if necessary.
Posted August 10, 2021