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Spot Radio News
November 1944 Radio News Article

November 1944 Radio News
November 1944 Radio News Cover - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Radio & Television News, published 1919 - 1959. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

Special Insert: Radio-Electronic Engineering Department

According to an item in this late 1944 issue of Radio News magazine, the six-hour delay which occurred between the time the armistice was signed at the end of World War I and the time news reached the battlefields, many men, women, and children on all sides died needlessly. Almost as many were maimed or injured. That might seem like a stretch, but in the 4 years, 3 months, and 2 weeks of the "the war to end all wars," an estimated 14 to 19 million lives were lost. Per my calculations it was an average of 375 to 500 casualties per hour, or 2,200 to 3,000 in six hours. Planners expected that the widespread availability of wireless communications (radio) meant that when the end World War II was finally announced, a cease fire on all fronts would be effected in less than half an hour. Most magazines and newspapers of the day were predicting and planning for the end of the war by early the next year (1945), but unfortunately it stretched out until May in Europe and North Africa (V-E Day), and into August for the Pacific Theater (V-J Day) . An estimated total of 70 to 85 million people died during the 6 years and 1 day of World War II, which represents about 4 times as many deaths in 50% more time. At that rate every minute saved was even more critical.

Spot Radio News

Spot Radio News, November 1944 Radio News - RF CafeBy Radio News Washington Correspondent

Presenting latest information on the Radio Industry.

When V-E (Victory in Europe) day comes, the world will learn about it in a matter of minutes, quite unlike the six-hour delay that prevailed in the first World War. According to Signal Corps officials, in less than a half hour from the moment the words "cease firing" are heard, the surrender message will be on the air. In 1918, although the Armistice was signed at five o'clock in the morning in Paris, it was not until eleven o'clock that the world knew, and hostilities were concluded. During this interim many men died needlessly. Signal Corps officials say that this time all corners of the world will be linked within several minutes for Armistice-word transmission.

Arrangements are also being made to provide for transmission of the surrender news to the Germans. This will be done by front-line public address systems, radio announcements in German on German frequencies if possible, or announcements in German on our frequencies. There are possibilities that a German official arranging for the Armistice will appear before an American microphone, and tell his troops and countrymen about the end of the European war.

The "cease firing" order will reach our troops through Army networks and will travel to tanks, jeeps, planes, walkie-talkies, field units, and fixed equipment throughout various theaters of the battlefield.

Anticipating an Early V-E Day, members of the RIAC gathered recently in Washington to study post-war pricing of radio receivers. The RIAC (Radio Industry Advisory Committee) which was recently formed, met with officers of the OPA. Pricing committee members include: Benjamin Abrams, Emerson Radio & Phonograph Corp., New York; R. C. Cosgrove, Crosley Corp., Cincinnati; J. J. Nance, Zenith Radio Corp., Chicago; J. M. Spain, Packard-Bell Co., Los Angeles; A. S. Wells, Wells-Gardner & Co., Chicago; P. S. Billings, Belmont Radio Corp., Chicago; P. V. Galvin, Galvin Mfg. Corp., Chicago; E. E. Lewis, Radio Corp. of America, New York; E. H. Nicholas, Farnsworth Radio & Television Corp., Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Fred D. Williams, Philco, Corp., Philadelphia.

Two schools of thought exist on pricing. Chester A. Bowles, OPA Administrator stated that prices prevailing in 1942 may be applied. However, James F. Byrnes, Director of War Mobilization has indicated that the prices may have to be higher than those that prevailed in 1942. No definite decision was made at the Industry-OPA meeting. There is belief however that receivers may be priced slightly higher because of increased production costs. As stated in previous columns here, it is expected in some quarters that the increase may be as high as 15%.

Invasion and Its Terrifying Impact plunged into the homes of Americans recently, when Holland was invaded. For the first time in broadcasting history an airborne invasion was described, with the boys plummeting to earth from the very plane from which the broadcast was being made. It was difficult to believe that as we listened, our boys were dropping down to grapple with the enemy below. Here indeed was a broadcast that will be inscribed in the scrolls of history.

Frequency Modulation and Television will play major roles in our postwar broadcast era according to scores of experts who appeared at the recent war conference of the National Association of Broadcasters in Chicago. Emphasizing this trend, FCC Chairman Fly stated that the future seemed assured with respect to FM. He said that manufacturers are estimating the marketing of 5,000,000 FM receivers during the four years immediately following resumption of civilian production. The average radio receiver today is many years old, he said, and ready and eager for replacement. Postwar sets with FM and AM will serve to replace these receivers.

Television also offers unlimited potentialities for postwar expansion, emphasized Mr. Fly. He pointed out that the Commission has already licensed nine commercial television stations and sixty applications are pending. He said that he is confident that as, soon as the practical applications of war-time advances have been worked out, television will be ready to move ahead on a tremendous scale. Discussing the timing of television advance, he pointed out that today the television outlook is clearer and more hopeful than ever before.

He said, "By harnessing this new knowledge of television immediately, it may be possible really to live up to the slogan of the future ... you're there with a television receiver."

Mr. Fly also pointed out that he was aware of FM problems that were yet to be solved. Such problems which included bursts and secondary FM service were however "the mere growing pains of an important new venture; and engineers are already at work to get the right answers." So that FCC engineers may be fully acquainted with FM propagation, a 50-watt, 40-megacycle station has been set up in Washington. Experimental operation of the station should provide many answers, explained Mr. Fly.

The FM television postwar impetus was also stressed, at this meeting, by members of a symposium, discussing postwar broadcasting. William Lodge, acting engineering director for CBS, said that FM offered an improved method of sound transmission and provided many existing broadcasting stations with an opportunity to improve their service. However, he said, it must be remembered that the standard band will remain the broadcaster's breadwinner and chief source of income for many years. It is doubtful too, he said, that the high-powered clear-channel AM station will be replaced within the immediate future as a means of providing widespread rural service. Discussing the coverage of FM stations, he said that they are not as limited as we believe. These signals, he said, are capable of following the curvature of the earth and of bending around buildings and even behind hills. He cited a one-kilowatt station which gave satisfactory rural service 25 miles beyond the optical horizon.

Commenting on the future of television, Mr. Lodge said that there are several pertinent problems that must first be solved before television reaches the point of wide acceptability. He said that at least 25-30 television channels are required to permit the growth of a comprehensive competitive nationwide system. However, because of the requirements of the Government and other safety-of-life services, it is not possible to secure that many channels on the presently proposed bands between 54 and 108 megacycles or the higher frequencies where only six scattered channels are provided, stressed Mr. Lodge. Therefore, he said, whether the television is transmitted on six-megacycle channels or sixteen-mega-cycle channels, it will be necessary to go to the very-high frequencies where there is sufficient room for the required channels. Describing the CBS approach to this television problem, he said that they are devoting their entire energy to the development of television in the 500-1000 megacycle region. CBS will continue to broadcast with their existing station, WCBW, to gather program experience, explained Mr. Lodge. However, technical development will be carried on at the high frequencies, he emphasized.

Major Edwin H. Armstrong also appeared on the symposium discussing frequency modulation. Analyzing the problem of bursts, Major Armstrong said that he, Commander De Mars, and Pickard had disclosed in 1940 that bursts were not a serious detriment to FM. He said that the multiple-path distortion problem was also of no importance to FM. He cited that this propagation problem was investigated in 1938. Major Armstrong then went on to discuss sun-spot activity. He said that there is no doubt that this phenomenon is annoying. However, he pointed out that the period of time thus far indicated when trouble from the sporadic-E may be expected over any appreciable area of a station's coverage was negligible.

He said, "The best opinion on the subject is that the disturbance will not be serious. It is important to keep in mind the fact that there is no perfect wavelength. Whatever the annoying factor may be, the FM system is the one best able to combat it."

An interesting discussion of facsimile was presented by the well-known engineer-inventor John V. L. Hogan, during the symposium. He said that 1933 facsimile was limited to the transmission of about three-square inches of pictures or about sixty words of text per minute. In 1941 this speed had been increased to about ten-square inches of pictures or two-hundred words of text per minute. Today, he said, it is possible to deliver a forty-eight square-inch picture or about one-thousand words of text every minute.

He pointed out that facsimile is quite simple to network, while the transmitter cost is as low as that of a sound transmitter. Receivers, he said, will probably cost about as much as an ordinary receiver, plus the additional cost of a recorder which would run from about $20 to $100.

Discussing the probable standards of facsimile in the postwar era, he said that these will probably be 4" by 2" columns, 9" paper, 100 lines-per-inch and 600-800 words per minute. In conclusion, Mr. Hogan said that he believed that after the first five years facsimile may provide more receiver hours of use than television and at a far lower cost-per-hour of service.

The public value of facsimile was also stressed in a recent report by the RTPB panel 7. This report revealed that home broadcasting by facsimile is destined to become a service of great public value and that accordingly adequate channel assignments should be provided for the growth and utilization of such service.

The Education-Via-FM Move in the U. S. Office of Education has gained quite a bit of momentum during the past weeks. It appears as if there are now 31 states who have either indicated an interest in the program, completed plans for installation or already have complete installations. Specifically, three states are in the process of completing their plans, fourteen more are in the preparatory stages, while five educational systems are already in operation. These five are located in Cleveland; New York City; Champaign, Illinois; Chicago; and Kentucky. FM is used exclusively by all stations which, incidentally, are controlled by the State Boards of Education. The U. S. Office of Education radio division, plays an advisory part by preparing tentative plans for the state upon request. These plans provide data on location of stations in the state, coverage, power, network links, cost and other technical details. When the State of Michigan recently applied, they were told that about five stations would be necessary to cover their State. Accordingly, plans are now being made for the erection of a 50-kilowatt station near Ann Arbor, another in the vicinity of the Grand Rapids area and the three others at strategic points within the state.

The states will spend between $10,000 and $45,000 for each station, depending upon power and type of installation and studios. The greatest problem facing the schools appears to be the limitation of channels. A minimum of 22 channels are deemed necessary to serve such areas as the Atlantic States, but unfortunately only five are available. Incidentally, the recent RTPB report of panel 2 allots the 41- to 43-megacycle band for educational broadcasts.

The problem of allocation will probably be discussed again during the FCC allocation hearings, which began on September 28. Every effort will be made to secure more bands. Educational groups who will appear to present their views on the subject will include: The National Association of Educational Broadcasters; the Baltimore State Department of Education; The National Association of State Universities, Columbus, Ohio; National Congress of Parents and Teachers, Chicago, Illinois; University of Michigan; and the National Education Association representing Georgetown Graduate School.

Early 1945 May See a unique production show at the Chicago Coliseum, in which radio and particularly television will play a major role. Plans recently revealed indicate that the show, which will be backed by the National Congress for the Presentation of Products of Tomorrow, will have many exhibits including a television studio of tomorrow which will be on demonstration. It is planned to produce actual programs to be witnessed by a huge audience. Working models of television receivers are also expected to be spotted around the convention hall to permit spectators to view the television broadcasts. An assortment of frequency modulation, combination receivers, auto sets, etc., will also be exhibited according to present plans.

Radio Has Finally Ousted Wireless in England. Hereafter the Wireless Section of the Institute of Electrical Engineers in London will be known as the Radio Section. To accommodate this change, a modification of the description of the section has been changed. In the new ruling the scope of the section is described as: "the section shall include within its scope all matters relating to the study, design, manufacture or operation of apparatus for communication by wave radiation, for high frequency and electronic engineering or for the electrical recording or electrical reproduction of sound."

Thirteen Million Receivers are Expected to be Made in the first year following Germany's surrender, provided there are no production restrictions. Such was the estimate provided by Government spokesmen at a recent Radio and Radar Industry Advisory Committee meeting in Washington, supervised by Ray C. Ellis. Since production restrictions do not appear to be imminent, there is a general belief that this output will be maintained. According to some of the members of the industry who attended the conference, it is entirely possible that receivers may start flowing off the production line as early as sixty days after V-E day.

In a discussion of the Army and Navy requirements, Louis J. Chatten, assistant director of the Radio and Radar Division, pointed out that the present rate of $232,000,000 a month, effected July 1, will have to be increased to $270,000,000 in November; thus an increase in production of 16.4% is being effected by the industry.

The important problem of increasing subcontracting on the West Coast was also discussed at this meeting. According to members of the industry, companies in the Midwest and East have been unwilling to let subcontracts on the West Coast because of the distance. A suggestion made called for an allotment of prime contracts of some of the simpler types of equipment to a large West Coast producer, with the stipulation that a certain percentage be subcontracted to smaller facilities there. The suggestion also stated that enough of other subcontracts should be available in other parts of the country to make up for what would be taken from the companies now getting this type of subcontract.

The continuing problem of manpower was disclosed by Harold Sharpe assistant director of the Radio and Radar Division for Manpower. He said that the industry is faced with a problem of recruiting about 20,000 more employees. According to WMC estimates, about 12,000 a month will have to be found to replace those who are resigning. The chief manpower shortages exists in the industries concerned with dry cell batteries, transformers, wire, etc. The chief difficulty according to WMC is that most of the plants are located in labor shortage areas, such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Newark, Buffalo, Syracuse and Schenectady. Incidentally, during the discussion of essential and critical industries, radar was the only branch of the industry classified as critical.

Among those who attended the meeting were M. Cohen of Sickles Company; Ray C. Cosgrove, Crosley Radio; George W. Henyan, General Electric; W. P. Hilliard, Bendix Radio; W. F. Hosford, Western Electric; E. E. Lewis, RCA; Percey L. Schonen, Hamilton Radio; Joe M. Spain, Packard-Bell Co.; and A. S. Wells, Wells-Gardner & Co.

Hurricane Winds Which Struck the Eastern Coastline sometime ago played havoc with broadcast stations, power lines and fire-alarm systems. While the broadcast stations did not suffer too much, thanks to emergency equipment, the wired fire-alarm network was inoperative for several days, a condition that could have been avoided had an emergency radio system been in use. Such a system had been suggested many times but was pigeonholed each time. Expensive, unnecessary and impractical, were the answers given to proposals for such a system at each session. Had such a system been in operation during the storm, many more fire calls could have been put through, hurricane damage could have been further minimized and it would not have been necessary to burden the already overburdened telephone lines with fire-alarm calls, There is hope now that the hurricane has taught a lesson, and that real consideration will be given to an emergency radio network. Such a network will offer invaluable service on many fronts.

The schedules of three stations were upset by the hurricane. These stations were WOR, WEAF and WHN. WOR was off the air only four minutes; WEAF was off the air for twenty-two minutes and WHN was off the air for several hours. CBS's FM antenna suffered the major catastrophe. The eighty-five foot scaffolding surrounding the antenna atop a sixty-story building was nearly completely blown down.

The WERS played an effective role during the storm, assisting the police, fire department, and others in the protective branches of the City. Special broadcasts over local stations brought scores of WERS workers to hurricane scenes. They performed admirably. linking completely isolated areas. Many lives were saved, thanks to their activities. In addition, their efforts minimized damage in the amount of thousands of dollars. A round of applause to WERS.

Over Sixty-Million Receivers are distributed at present, in homes, automobiles, businesses, institutions, hotels, etc., according to a survey recently completed by the National Association of Broadcasters. They report that on the average there are 1.4 receivers in each home, providing a total of 46,300,000. Automobiles account for 9,000,000 receivers, while offices, hotels, restaurants and other institutions account for 4,700,000 receivers. Oddly enough, 3,000,000 new radio homes were established since 1942, by way of receivers from dealers' stocks, repairs and modifications of antiquated receivers. A field research by the Bureau of Census for the Office of Civilian Requirements of WPB indicated that only 15% of receivers have been temporarily out-of-order, with a large percentage of these receivers in homes having more than one set. This same source also cited that there are 33,716,000 radio homes as of April, 1944.

NAB also reports that between 18, 000,000 and 20,000,000 tubes have begun to be made available, effective in July and continuing on to December. NAB reports that black-market tube operations should disappear entirely in 1945. They say that a large number of merchants have been solicited by black market operators to take over tube stocks at a 40% discount. It appears, therefore, as if the tube problem is on its way to a solution, at long last.

Industries in Twenty-Four States and the District of Columbia have become television-conscious, FCC applications reveal. Applicants in California include: Warner Bros., (Hollywood); Hughes Productions Inc., National Broadcasting Co., Earle C. Anthony, Inc., Consolidated Broadcasting, Inc., and Blue Network (Los Angeles); Broadcasting Corp. of America (Riverside); Don Lee Broadcasting System, Associated Broadcasters Inc. and Hughes Productions Inc. (San Francisco); E. F. Pffeffer (Stockton); and J. E. Rodman (Fresno). In Colorado, the KLZ Broadcasting Company of Denver has made application. In Connecticut, the Travelers Broadcasting Service of Hartford and the Connecticut Television Co. of Greenfield Hill are applicants. NBC, Dumont, Philco, Bamberger and the Capital Broadcasting Co. are Washington, D. C., applicants. In Jacksonville, Florida, the Jacksonville Broadcasting Co. has made application. CBS, NBC, WGN and the Blue Network are Chicago applicants. In Indiana, WFBM of Indianapolis and Farnsworth of Fort Wayne are television applicants. Louisiana has two applicants: Maison, Blanche Co. and Loyola University of New Orleans. In Maryland, the Tower ,Realty Co., Hearst Radio and Joseph M Zamoiski of Baltimore have filed applications. Westinghouse, Dumont, General Television, E. Anthony & Sons and the Yankee Network of Boston are television applicants. In Detroit, Michigan, applicants are: WJR, International Detrola Co., King Trendle Broadcasting Co., United Detroit Theaters Corp., and the Jam Handy Organization. Missouri is represented by the Pulitzer Publishing Co., Glow-Democrat Publishing Co. and Alfco Co., all of St. Louis. Cleveland, Ohio, is represented by NBC, WGAR, and United Broadcasting Co. New York City has the Blue Network, Bamberger Broadcasting Service, Metropolitan Television Inc., Philco, and the Daily News. In Philadelphia, WCAU, WFIL, WDAS, Westinghouse, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Seaboard Radio Broadcasting and the Bamberger Broadcasting Service, are all applicants. Other States include Nebraska (Omaha), WOW; New Jersey (Newark), Bremer Broadcasting Co.; New Mexico (Albuquerque), Albuquerque Broadcasting Co.; New York (Rochester), Stromberg-Carlson; (Buffalo), WEBR, and (White Plains), Westchester Broadcasting Co.; Oklahoma (Oklahoma City), WKY Radiophone Co.; Pennsylvania (Pittsburg), Westinghouse; Rhode Island (Providence), E. Anthony & Sons; Tennessee (Nashville), J. W. Birdwell; Utah (Salt Lake City), Utah Broadcasting; Virginia (Richmond), Havens & Martin; Washington (Spokane), Louis Wasmer, and Wisconsin (Milwaukee), WTMJ.

It appears as if a lively television service awaits the public in the post-war era.

A Study of the Surplus Problem has revealed many interesting facts, one of which is particularly startling. It concerns the manufacture of home receiving sets using surplus stock of automobile sets made in 1942. It was generally believed that all manufacturing of receivers had ceased. Now it appears, however, as if manufacture or "conversion into home receiving sets" as a WPB spokesman called it, has been permitted. The manufacturer who "converted" these receivers was located in Chicago and received permission to do so last year. Large space advertisements in Chicago papers announcing these receivers prompted the search for authorization to construct them. A WPB spokesman admitted, upon inquiry, that such "conversion" had been allowed. How extensive this "conversion" practice has been is not known at this writing.

It appears as if it has been quite limited. Undoubtedly, however, other manufacturers will be soon requesting permission to practice "conversion." The results of their inquiries should be quite interesting. The jobber front has also seen an interesting surplus situation arise. Some weeks ago a regulation governing sales of electronic parts and equipment in excess and idle stocks was issued. Many jobbers assumed that this regulation lifted all barriers and provided an opportunity to sell as the traffic warranted. This, of course, was not the case since priority ratings were required for these sales. Accordingly, Ray C. Ellis, director of the WPB Radio and Radar Division issued a clarifying statement explaining the amendment and what restrictions it eliminated. Mr. Ellis said that the amendment lifted prohibition against special sales of excess and idle stocks on list B to wholesale dealers. Thus wholesale dealers may buy excess and idle stocks if rated AA-5 or better, but it does not give them the rating for that purpose. Wholesalers may use ratings which they have obtained otherwise and are legally entitled to apply or extend under WPB regulations.

The surplus situation is receiving special attention from an RMA unit, too. The group concerned with surpluses met in New York recently. Ray C. Ellis and Samuel Drucker, in charge of war surplus problems under Mr. Ellis, spoke to the members explaining the problems and their possible solutions.

Obsolete equipment remains one of the gravest problems in the surplus situation. The FCC is naturally very much concerned with the disposal of mobile transmitting equipment and particularly the walkie-talkies. Falling into the hands of the underworld element, such equipment would be used for many illegal forms of transmission. It is entirely possible therefore that this equipment may be either kept off the market entirely or allotted very carefully to such industries as buses, taxicabs, trucks, and medical. Of course, there will be the problem of frequency distribution. It is well known that there are not too many frequencies available and whether or not any channels can be spared for this type of work it is difficult to predict.

A surplus plan has also been initiated in England. In this plan distribution and price will be controlled, while the release of stocks will be gradual. There will be no flooding of the market according to officials who prepared the proposal. Distributors of this surplus merchandise will include manufacturers and dealers normally handling the equivalent type of merchandise. The proposal indicates, too, that profiteering on the part of distributors will not prevail. No definite date as to the introduction of the plan has been set yet. It is generally believed that modified versions of the procedure have been applied during the past months, and shortly after the first of the year the present plan may be put into full operation.

The Street Car System in Washington, D.C. will soon have an emergency radio link in operation. A license to install such a system was recently granted to the Capital Transit Company, who will install this equipment in thirty mobile units. These mobile units will consist of emergency trucks, supervisors' and inspectors' automobiles.

The Design of the First British civilian wartime receiver was recently disclosed. The receiver uses four tubes. The first is a triode-heptode type similar to our 6J8G; the second is an r.f. pentode and this is followed by an a.f. pentode. The rectifier is a heater type. Fixed and variable iron-core i.f. transformers are used. Receivers are for a.c. About 42 manufacturers are expected to start producing these civilian receivers. A battery model will be announced soon, too.

A Canadian RTPB may be placed in operation soon. The controller of radio of the Department of Transport. Walter A. Rush, met with members of the industry and other government bodies recently to discuss the possibility of organizing a board which would be similar to the U.S. board with its 13 panels. The procedure of calling for volunteers from the various engineering societies, broadcast stations, and industry itself, adopted in the United States, will probably be followed in Canada.

The Avalanche of FM Interest at the recent war conference prompted many to inquire as to whether FM was to become a feature of NAB promotion, and allied to the FMBI (Frequency Modulation Broadcasters, Inc.). Spokesmen of NAB pointed out that their organization is one concerned with all broadcast services and accordingly FM, television and other new radio developments are really only sections of the broadcast art. The NAB officials cited that it is therefore as important to be as interested in FM and television as any other medium of transmission. It was believed that the FMBI might join hands with the NAB. However FMBI officials did not seem to approve of such a plan. They believe that their separate organization is in a better position to promote the FM art. There is every belief, however, that a spirit of coordinated effort will prevail. The FM broadcasters have announced, incidentally, that they will hold their annual meeting at the Hotel Commodore in New York City, during the week of January 27, 1945.

 

 

Posted October 16, 2019

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