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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where radio came from, February 12, 2002
This review is from: Wireless: From Marconi's Black-Box to the Audion (Transformations: Studies in the History of Science and Technology) (Hardcover)
This book is an excellent history of important events associated with the early scientific understanding of electromagnetic radiation and with the technical development of wireless communication. It answers many questions which have been raised concerning the roles of individuals who participated in critical events associated with the transition from electrics to electronics. Activities which occurred over 100 years ago are skillfully recreated based on extensive research involving many unusual references. The book is well written and demonstrates a high level of scholarship. It explains clearly how the rudimentary spark gap transmitter and primitive receiver which Marconi brought to England in 1896 was so effectively transformed that a successful transatlantic transmission of the letter S took place in 1901. The quality of the illustrations, circuit diagrams and figures obtained from laboratory note books and patent applications is excellent. No photographs of Marconi with various social luminaries of the time are included; this only enhances the quality of the book and the judgement of the author.
The author thoroughly documents the technical progression from Edison's monode, to Fleming's diode, to De Forest's triode and characterizes how the development and understanding of these important early hollow-state devices contributed to the ultimate introduction of continuous wave technology.
It has been illegal to communicate with spark gap transmitters since the late 1920's. Today few people know how such devices sound. In honor of the 100th anniversary of Marconi's first transatlantic transmission, VE3BBN was permitted to operate a low-power rotary spark transmitter on the 80 meter amateur band. (...)
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