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The Radio Amateur's Hand Book by Collins, A. Frederick (Archie Frederick), 1869-

The Radio Amateur's Hand Book by Collins, A. Frederick (Archie Frederick), 1869-



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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Radio Amateur's Hand Book
by A. Frederick Collins

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**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**
**eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971**
*****These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****

Title: The Radio Amateur's Hand Book
Author: A. Frederick Collins
Release Date: November, 2004 [EBook #6935]

[This file was first posted on February 13, 2003]
Edition: 10a
Language: English
Character set encoding: iso-8859-1

Produced by Alan Millar and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.

[Transcriber's Note: The illustrations have been included with
the eBook version of this work. The image files have been named
in a straightforward manner that corresponds to the numbering in
the text; thus, Illustration 7 is included as file "fig007.png",
while Illustration (A) 22 is included as file "fig022a.png".]


[Illustration: A. Frederick Collins, Inventor of the Wireless
Telephone, 1899. Awarded Gold Medal for same, Alaska Yukon Pacific
Exposition, 1909.]

A Complete, Authentic and Informative Work on Wireless Telegraphy and

Inventor of the Wireless Telephone 1899; Historian of Wireless

1901-1910; Author of "Wireless Telegraphy" 1905



Before delving into the mysteries of receiving and sending messages
without wires, a word as to the history of the art and its present day
applications may be of service. While popular interest in the subject
has gone forward by leaps and bounds within the last two or three
years, it has been a matter of scientific experiment for more than a
quarter of a century.

The wireless telegraph was invented by William Marconi, at Bologna,
Italy, in 1896, and in his first experiments he sent dot and dash
signals to a distance of 200 or 300 feet. The wireless telephone was
invented by the author of this book at Narberth, Penn., in 1899, and
in his first experiments the human voice was transmitted to a distance
of three blocks.

The first vital experiments that led up to the invention of the
wireless telegraph were made by Heinrich Hertz, of Germany, in 1888
when he showed that the spark of an induction coil set up electric
oscillations in an open circuit, and that the energy of these waves
was, in turn, sent out in the form of electric waves. He also showed
how they could be received at a distance by means of a ring detector,

which he called a _resonator_

In 1890, Edward Branly, of France, showed that metal filings in a tube
cohered when electric waves acted on them, and this device he termed a
_radio conductor_; this was improved upon by Sir Oliver Lodge, who
called it a coherer. In 1895, Alexander Popoff, of Russia, constructed
a receiving set for the study of atmospheric electricity, and this
arrangement was the earliest on record of the use of a detector
connected with an aerial and the earth.

Marconi was the first to connect an aerial to one side of a spark gap
and a ground to the other side of it. He used an induction coil to
energize the spark gap, and a telegraph key in the primary circuit to
break up the current into signals. Adding a Morse register, which
printed the dot and dash messages on a tape, to the Popoff receptor he
produced the first system for sending and receiving wireless telegraph

[Illustration: Collins' Wireless Telephone Exhibited at the Madison
Square Garden, October 1908.]

After Marconi had shown the world how to telegraph without connecting
wires it would seem, on first thought, to be an easy matter to
telephone without wires, but not so, for the electric spark sets up
damped and periodic oscillations and these cannot be used for
transmitting speech. Instead, the oscillations must be of constant
amplitude and continuous. That a direct current arc light transforms a
part of its energy into electric oscillations was shown by Firth and
Rogers, of England, in 1893.

The author was the first to connect an arc lamp with an aerial and a
ground, and to use a microphone transmitter to modulate the sustained
oscillations so set up. The receiving apparatus consisted of a
variable contact, known as a _pill-box_ detector, which Sir Oliver
Lodge had devised, and to this was connected an Ericsson telephone
receiver, then the most sensitive made. A later improvement for
setting up sustained oscillations was the author's _rotating
oscillation arc_.

Since those memorable days of more than two decades ago, wonderful
advances have been made in both of these methods of transmitting
intelligence, and the end is as yet nowhere in sight. Twelve or
fifteen years ago the boys began to get fun out of listening-in to
what the ship and shore stations were sending and, further, they began
to do a little sending on their own account. These youngsters, who
caused the professional operators many a pang, were the first wireless
amateurs, and among them experts were developed who are foremost in
the practice of the art today.

Away back there, the spark coil and the arc lamp were the only known
means for setting up oscillations at the sending end, while the
electrolytic and crystal detectors were the only available means for
the amateur to receive them. As it was next to impossible for a boy to
get a current having a high enough voltage for operating an
oscillation arc lamp, wireless telephony was out of the question for
him, so he had to stick to the spark coil transmitter which needed
only a battery current to energize it, and this, of course, limited
him to sending Morse signals. As the electrolytic detector was

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