From The History Of The Radio


Broadcasting, Radio and Television, primary means by which information and entertainment are delivered to the public in virtually every nation around the world. The term broadcasting refers to the airborne transmission of electromagnetic audio signals (radio) or audiovisual signals (television) that are readily accessible to a wide population via standard receivers.

Broadcasting is a crucial instrument of modern social and political organization. At its peak of influence in the middle of 20-th century, national leaders often used radio and television broadcasting to address entire countries. Because of its capacity to reach large numbers of people, broadcasting has been regulated since it was recognized as a significant means of communication.

Beginning in the early 1980s, new technologies – such as cable television and videocassette players – began eroding the dominance of broadcasting in mass communications, splitting its audiences into smaller, culturally distinct segments. Previously a synonym for radio and television, broadcasting has become one of several delivery systems that feed content to newer media.


The Emergence Of Broadcast Communication


Throughout history, long-distance communication had depended entirely upon conventional means of transportation. A message could be moved aboard a ship, on horseback, by pigeon, or in the memory of the human courier, but in all cases it had to be conveyed as a mass through space like any other material commodity.


Radio Broadcasting


The story of radio begins in the development of an earlier medium, the telegraph, the first instantaneous system of information movement. Patented simultaneously in 1837 in the United States by the inventor Samuel F. B. Morse and in Great Britain by scientists Sir Charles Wheatstone and Sir William Fothergill Cooke, the electromagnetic telegraph realized the age-old human desire for a means of communication free from the obstacles of long-distance transportation. The first public telegraph line, completed in 1844, ran about 64 km (about 40 mi) from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore,

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Maryland. Morse’s first message, «What hath God wthroudht?»- transmitted as a coded series of short and long electronic impulses (so- called dots and dashes)-conveyed his awareness of the momentous proportions of the achievement.

The usefulness of telegraphy was such that over the next half century wires were strung across much of the world, including a transatlantic undersea cable(about 1866) connecting Europe and North America. The instantaneous arrival of a message from a place that required hours, days, or weeks to reach by ordinary transport was such a radical departure from familiar experience that some telegraph offices were able to collect admission fees from spectators wanting to witness the feat for themselves.

Scientists in many countries worked to devise a system that could overcome the limitations of the telegraph wire. In 1895 Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi transmitted a message in Morse code that was picked up about 3 km (about 2 mi) away by a receiving device that had no wired connection to Marcni’s transmitting device. Marconi had demonstrated that an electrical signal could be cast broadly through space so that receivers at random points could capture it. The closed circuit of instant communication, bound by the necessity of wires, had at last been opened by a so-called wireless telegraph. The invention was also called a radiotelegraph (later shortened to radio), because its signals moved outward in all directions, or rapidly, from the point of transmission. The age of broadcasting had begun. Within 5 years a wireless signal had been transmitted across the Atlantic Ocean from England to Newfoundland, Canada.

Broadcasting advanced on other fronts as well. In 1904 an American inventor Lee De Forest built a series of radio broadcasting stations in the Caribbean basin to facilitate greater efficiency in shipping perishable goods from Central America to ports in the United States. These linked stations, which shared current informations on weather  and market conditions, constituted the first broadcasting network. The work of Canadian inventor Reginald Fessenden, later elaborated upon by De Forest, allowed for the broadcast transmission of a wider range of sounds, including the human voice.

Although in the early days of radio broadcasting was dominated by experimenters and hobbyists.

Before 1917 the U.S. government, which had begun requiring licenses for radio operators in 1912, had issued more than 8000 licenses to hobbyist broadcasters.



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Text 1. New Feel for Shortwave Receivers


Despite all the talk about satellite and Internet radio, a number of international broadcasters have been investing in updating and improving their shortwave transmission systems.

And while many people may not have noticed, manufacturers of shortwave receivers have been similarly busy.

To get a sense of what sorts of receivers are available today, I requested and received samples from Grundig, Sangean and Sun-mate. For good measure, and to serve as a basis for comparison, I also hauled out my trusty Panasonic RF-2200.

The RF-2200 is a venerable 1970s-era multiband receiver that, for many, was one of the best analog transistor radios ever made.


Different sets


Grundig sent three very different sets to test.

The first was the Grundig Satellit 800 Millennium. With a weight of 6.5 kilograms, measurements of 52 x 22.8 by 20.3 centimeters, and unmatched audio quality, the Millennium is the top-of-the-line offering from Grundig.

It has all the bells and whistles: continuous coverage, digital circuitry, direct keypad input, single sideband (SSB) for amateur radio and CW (code) reception, three adjustable bandwidth filters, digital readout and programmable memories.

At the other end of the scale was the Grundig Mini World 100 PE; the smallest set of the bunch.

In fact, the 100 PE is often called the “World’s Smallest Shortwave Receiver”. At 6.9 by 10.1 by 1.9 centimeters in size and a weight of just 125 grams, the label fits.

This is an analog, dial-driven set that can use either a built-in speaker or head-sets. In features six shortwave bands, plus AM and FM; and there is no SSB or adjustable filters.

In between was the Grundig Classic 960. This is a 50th anniversary version of the classic Grundig AM/FM/SW radio.

In a word it is beautiful: A solid wood-cased radio complete with fabric speaker cloth and brass emblems. In fact, the Classic 960 looks like it is fresh from the 1950s. It sounds good, too.


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ATS-505 was received from Sangean. In terms of  capabilities, this unit has virtually the same features as the Grundig Millennium, including digital circuitry, direct keypad entry, SSB and memory presets. Yet it is only about the size of a paperback book.

Granted, the audio is not quite as good as the giant-sized Grundig- but it is still very good. As well, you can always use the supplied ear-bud headphones.


Solar power


The Sun-Mate Info-Mate radio is not one that one would expect in this kind of review, because  its main feature is that the radio can be powered using a built-in hand-cranked generator, built-in solar panels, a car lighter adaptor, AC or included rechargeable Ni-Cad batteries.

However, since the 11-band Info-Mate uses Hitachi technology and tunes a number of shortwave bands, I decided to include it. It is about the size of ATS 505.

Finally, there is old Panasonic RF2200: a bit long in the tooth right now, but still going strong after all these years.

All the radios were compared against each other, on the same frequencies and at the same time. For reception, I either used the built-in whip antenna on the set or the 6-meter rollout wire antenna supplied by Grundig.

Without a doubt, the Grundig Millennium won hands down in all categories except portability and price. It just sounds better, is relatively easy to use-as much as any world-band radio is- and has good sensitivity to signals.

In particular, the bandwidth filters on the Millennium, which allow users to block out adjacent stations by narrowing the ammount of spectrum being received, are a blessing. Easily the best all-round listening set I worked with.

Close behind in second place was the Sangean ATS-505. It just did not sound as good as the Millennium due to its smaller  speaker. However, it is worth remembering that the ATS-505 costs a good bit less.

When it came up to performance, the ATS-505 & the Millennium were head-to-head, based a subjective Signal-Interference-Noise-Propagation-Overall(SINPO) ratings.

For instance, the Millennium won out receiving Radio Sweden International on 18960 kHz at 12:50 UTC. However, the ATS-505 did better with the BBC on 9515 kHz 25 minutes earlier, simply because it

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somehow avoided an annoying hum that the Grundig picked up. So, the verdict is: for versatile performance on a budget, the ATS-505 is the best choice.

The number three slot  was shared by the venerable Panasonic RF2200, the Mini World 100 PE and surprise the Info-Mate. Depending on the station, each set showed better performance than the other two.

The morale is that if portability is what is most important, then buy the Mini World 100 PE. If you don’t want to worry about a power source, then buy the solar-powered Info-Mate.

Which brings me to the Grundig Classic 960. It has a great look; it even has input jacks for CDs or computer audio.

But as for shortwave reception, the two world bands on the Classic 960, although continuous, are too crowded; just like a 50-year-old radio would be.

This is a receiver for those who love the look of a classic radio, & whose shortwave listening tends towards BBC & other strong, easily received stations. This said, the Grundig Classic 960 still a work of art as far as I am concerned.