Edwin Howard Armstrong: The Unsung Hero of Radio’s Golden Age

American electrical engineer and inventor Edwin H. Armstrong in 1922.

Introduction In the annals of radio history, few names shine as brightly as Edwin Howard Armstrong. A visionary inventor and tenacious innovator, Armstrong’s contributions to the field of radio technology are nothing short of revolutionary. From his early days as a curious student at Columbia University to his groundbreaking inventions that shaped the course of … Read more

The Role of the Transistor in Amateur Radio

Various transistor packages

Introduction The invention of the transistor in 1947 marked a turning point in the history of electronics. This tiny semiconductor device, capable of amplifying and switching electronic signals, revolutionized the world of electronics, paving the way for smaller, more efficient, and more reliable equipment. In the realm of amateur radio, the transition from vacuum tubes … Read more

The Physics of Morse Code: Efficiency in Simplicity


Introduction Morse code, a method of encoding text characters as standardized sequences of two different signal durations, called dots and dashes, has remained a resilient and efficient mode of communication. It’s particularly revered in the world of amateur radio, where it serves not just as a bridge to the past but as a testament to … Read more

Guglielmo Marconi (1895) – The Father of Long-Distance Radio Transmission

Marconi and his wireless apparatus 1897

In 1895, Guglielmo Marconi achieved a feat that would forever change the way humanity communicates: he developed the first practical system for long-distance radio signaling. Marconi’s pioneering work demonstrated that information could be transmitted over vast distances without wires, using electromagnetic waves. This groundbreaking invention not only laid the foundational principles for modern radio technology … Read more

The Ionosphere and Its Effect on Long-Distance Communication

File:ISS065-E-292654 - View of Earth.jpg

The ionosphere is an important part of the mechanism of long-distance radio communication, acting as both a facilitator and a barrier for signals traversing the globe. This layer of the Earth’s atmosphere, charged with ions and free electrons, interacts with radio waves in ways that can extend or limit their journey across distances. Understanding the … Read more

Propagation of Radio Waves: Ground Wave vs. Skywave

Propagation of Radio Waves Ground Wave vs. Skywave

Radio wave propagation plays a pivotal role in the world of amateur radio, dictating how signals travel over distances and ultimately determine the reach and clarity of communications. This phenomenon, governed by the principles of physics and influenced by the Earth’s atmosphere and surface, is crucial for amateur radio operators to understand and utilize effectively. … Read more

Heinrich Hertz (1886) – Validating Maxwell’s Theories.

Heinrich Rudolf Hertz

In 1886, Heinrich Hertz embarked on a series of experiments that would irrevocably alter the course of scientific understanding and technological development. His work not only demonstrated the existence of electromagnetic waves but also validated the theoretical predictions made by James Clerk Maxwell two decades earlier. Maxwell’s equations, a set of differential equations formulated in … Read more

Antenna Theory: How Antennas Work and Basic Types

Ham Radio Antenna Towers - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ham_radio_antenna_tower.jpg

Antennas serve as the critical interface between the world of radio waves propagating through free space and the electric currents flowing in conductors. This fundamental component of radio communication systems plays a pivotal role in transmitting and receiving the electromagnetic energy that enables radios to send and receive information over vast distances. The effectiveness of … Read more

The Electromagnetic Spectrum and Amateur Radio Frequencies

US Frequency Allocations

The electromagnetic spectrum represents an expansive continuum of all electromagnetic waves, organized by their frequency or wavelength. This spectrum covers everything from the shortest gamma rays to the longest radio waves, each with unique properties and applications. We will introduce this spectrum, with a particular focus on the segments allocated for amateur radio. By understanding … Read more

James Clerk Maxwell and the Prediction of Radio Waves

James Clerk Maxwell Statue

James Clerk Maxwell, a Scottish physicist, made an indelible mark on the field of physics with his profound contributions, most notably his theory of electromagnetism. Born in 1831, Maxwell’s work bridged the gap between the mechanical and the electromagnetic, a leap that would fundamentally alter our understanding of the physical world. In 1865, through “A … Read more