April 1968 Radio-Electronics
[Table of Contents]
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Radio-Electronics,
published 1930-1988. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
"A battle is developing
over spectrum space." That is the opening line in the News Briefs feature of
Radio-Electronics magazine in 1968. Spectrum crowding then is peanuts
compared to today's airwaves. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began
auctioning off spectrum in 1994 ("Auction 1"),
selling space in the Narrowband Personal Communication Service (PCS) band. Since
then, billions of dollars have been sucked out of the commercial sector
(ultimately paid by private users). Governments have an insatiable appetite for
Other People's Money (OPM, pronounced "opium"), and rule with the heavy-handed
power authority of all federal enforcement agencies - including the militar . The
sunspot maximum for
Cycle 20 occurred around May 1969, with a monthly occurrence of 169. The
NOAA chart shows Solar Cycle 20 is one of the longest on record but far from one
of the most intense. The previous cycle peaked at 359 sunspots. We are currently
on the upward side of Solar Cycle 25, with a peak thus far of 112 sunspots. It
looks a lot like Cycle 24.
New Briefs: 11/1957
| 8/1958 |
Will TV Shift to Wire? - A battle is developing over spectrum
space. One side consists of land-mobile radio users (taxicab, business radio, etc.)
who are drawing a bead on the uhf TV band of 470-890 MHz. Land-mobile spokesmen
have charged that many uhf channels are unused and asked that some space be given
to overcrowded mobile users. Proponents point out that you can't transmit by wire
to a moving vehicle, while you can to a fixed TV receiver. Recently Robert Galvin,
Motorola president and EIA chairman, said he thinks it inevitable that all TV broadcasting
will eventually convert to cable.
Broadcasters, on the other hand. concede that some reallocation of frequencies
may be desirable, but they see no need for shifting nearly 500 MHz of spectrum space
from TV to mobile or other use. Public entertainment investment, they claim, is
too great to obsolete the present system.
Sunspot Maximum Due - Summit of the present 11-year sunspot cycle is expected
sometime in 1968. Although the National Bureau of Standards believes that the peak
was reached last fall, most observers think that the peak will not be reached until
mid-1968 or later. The present cycle began with a minimum in October 1964. In May
the smoothed sunspot number is expected to reach 117 to 120. This compares with
a number of 201 at the last peak in March 1958, and with 152 at the previous peak
in May 1947. Those two cycles, however, had the highest recorded peaks since accurate
sunspot records began to be kept in the late 18th century.
Increased solar activity of the past year has caused a great improvement in short-wave
reception, particularly on the higher frequencies. The 21- and 28-MHz amateur bands,
the 21- and 26-MHz international broadcast bands and the CB band have been producing
very strong long-distance signals. These conditions will probably continue for the
next year or so as solar activity begins its slow decline toward the next minimum,
which is expected in 1974 or 1975.
Electric Passenger Car - First electric passenger car on West Coast is driven
by violinist Jascha Heifetz, shown examining the power system. Car is powered by
12 normal car batteries and produces absolutely none of the smog that now smothers
the entire Los Angeles area.
Single VHF-UHF Tuner - A new solid-state TV tuner has been
developed by Oak Electro-Netics. It uses common components for both vhf and uhf,
reducing size and complexity. Not yet in production, tuner is three-band
continuous-tuning type. It has one band each for channels 2-6, 7-13 and 14-83,
with a switch to change bands. Tuner could simplify all-channel set production.
Posted June 9, 2023