This is my transmitter.....with apologies to Marines everywhere.

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation - AM Fans' started by KA4KOE, Nov 14, 2017 at 3:20 PM.

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  1. WZ5Q

    WZ5Q Ham Member QRZ Page

    There was once a man named Shazam
    Who's favorite 11m game was to jam
    He guessed at his test
    Not even trying his best
    Now he's jamming AM as a Ham
    WA9UDW, AG5CK and K4KYV like this.
  2. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member Staff Member QRZ Page


    Many, if not most, of the inventions, even into the 20th century, were the result of "tinkering" and "trial and error" and not by the application of mathematics and scientific theory. Thomas Edison is a very good example of this. He readily admitted that he had many failures before getting something to work.

    A goodly number of inventors never really understood the theory behind why their inventions worked. They just knew that they did work.

    Today, there are computers to do the "trial and error" of getting things to operate satisfactorily and the theory behind how things work is much more widely understood. But, one cannot fault those who, through blood, sweat, and tears, got things to work before the scientific community got involved.

    As for Armstrong and DeForest with the regenerative circuit: The fact that, there were several RJ-4 receivers in operation several years before Armstrong patented his "idea" in 1914, was considered to be the primary determining factor with DeForest's lawsuit against Armstrong.

    As for FM: Again, Armstrong did not "invent" FM. FM was already understood and was a product of the direct modulation of an oscillator. What Armstrong did was to come up with various circuits that allowed FM to be used more reliably including both transmitting and receiving circuits. However, the Foster-Seely discriminator circuit was probably the most influential invention that made receiving FM practical.

    Armstrong committed suicide and then his widow sold the FM patents to RCA. He absolutely refused to part with those patents especially to RCA.

    Glen, K9STH
  3. K4KYV

    K4KYV Subscriber QRZ Page

    Some of the famous "inventors" actually developed refined what had been discovered by others sometimes as mere curiosities, took it and put it to practical use. One example was Marconi; the technology was first invented or discovered by others, including Maxwell, Hertz and Tesla, but who hadn't credibly demonstrated any commercial use for the discovery. It occurred to Marconi right away the value of wireless telegraphy for ships at sea, and he started his company. The others may have been brilliant scientists and inventors or lucky tinkerers; Marconi was a shrewd businessman who used the technology to revolutionise maritime commerce and safety, and make for himself fortune and fame, while Maxwell and Hertz remained best known in scientific circles, and Tesla faded into obscurity and spent his final years in poverty.
  4. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'd like to see some link to information that backs this up. As far as I can tell, this wasn't what led the Supreme Court to rule against Armstrong. And yes, I have read the SC case.

    Again, this is not accurate. The widow did not "sell" the patents to RCA. The patents had already expired. She did settle that ongoing patent infringement lawsuit for a million dollars, and 20 other lawsuits over the next dozen years or so. She recouped around $10 million in these lawsuits, and never lost a single one. Ten million dollars was a lot of money back in the mid 60's. Not so much today.
  5. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is interesting reading:

    An excerpt:

    "At the time Motorola entered the FM market, Major Armstrong was acknowledged as the inventor of the wideband FM system. Motorola's predecessors as FM apparatus manufacturers had taken licenses under Major Armstrong's FM patents."
  6. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member Staff Member QRZ Page


    The history of the RJ-4 was described in a pamphlet published by the A.W.A. several decades ago. That is where my information about the fact that the receivers were installed, and were in use, for some time before Armstrong's patent application. was a significant factor in DeForest's winning of the lawsuit.

    I have not seen my copy for years! It may still be around (I don't throw out such things), probably in a box in the attic.

    The consideration of the RJ-4 was, most certainly considered at the lower court level the ruling of such was upheld at the Supreme Court level.

    As for the $1,000,000.00 that the widow received for the patents was for the settlement of Armstrong's claims against RCA and, technically, not a true sale. The $1,000,000.00 was the amount offered by RCA to settle everything and Armstrong refused to take this amount wanting more money. After his death, his widow did take the offer.


    Add Dolbear to you list. His patent, 350,299 issued in 1885, for basically the same equipment as used by Marconi, kept the Marconi Company out of the United States until the patent was bought by Marconi.

    Marconi definitely did not "invent" wireless even though he was awarded the Nobel Prize for such. However, he definitely needs to be recognized for his commercialization of wireless communications.

    The truth be known, Marconi's Irish grandfather, who owned a major whiskey distillery and who had contacts with several Members of Parliament, played a significant role in Marconi's advancement of his company. Because of the investment of several of these Members, patent disputes, prior claims (i.e. from Sir Oliver Lodge, etc.), and so forth, were basically squashed and the Marconi Company prospered.

    Glen, K9STH
  7. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    "The Irish Connection"

    Marconi's mother Annie, nee Jameson of the Whisky empire heritage, who had eloped with his father, a musician,
    had very influential connections in British high-society. Marconi was bilingual himself and found it agreeable
    to do business with the British.

    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017 at 7:54 PM
  8. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I can't find any reference to the RJ-4 regarding the court case. It seems it was decided based on some work DeForest was doing relative a telephone repeater, a thing that had nothing to do with radio at all.

    Here is a quote from the book "Man of High Fidelity":

    "The situation grew ever - more extraordinary with the years. On one side were the legal
    decisions. In twelve separate decisions made on the regenerative invention, excluding the final
    Supreme Court opinion (including three in the U.S. Patent Office and nine in courts of law), six
    tribunals decided in favor of Armstrong and six in favor of de Forest, so that there was at least a
    division of opinion even on the legal level, though Armstrong lost the final decision. On the
    other side were the engineering and scientific societies of the world, which one after another as
    the years went by rejected the final Court decision and affirmed Armstrong with honors as the
    inventor of radio regeneration. These societies included not only the top electrical engineering
    and scientific bodies of the U.S. but also those of England and Europe. Perhaps the highest of the
    U.S. awards was the Franklin Medal in 1941. In the investigative report accompanying this
    award the Franklin Institute had this to say about the crucial set of experiments in 1912: "De
    Forest had been trying to use his audion as a telephone repeater and the oscillations produced a
    howl, which rendered his circuits useless for this purpose. He, therefore, set out to get rid of the
    oscillations, whereas Armstrong had found out how to put them to good use. It is generally
    conceded by the radio engineering fraternity that de Forest was endeavoring to suppress the
    unwanted oscillations which occurred in his apparatus, while Armstrong, understanding the
    nature of the phenomena, was working to control and make use of these continuous oscillations."
    De Forest received many honors, including the Franklin Institute's Cresson Medal, for invention
    of the triode tube, but never a one for the regenerative circuit."

    Attached Files:

  9. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member Staff Member QRZ Page


    I need to find the A.W.A. pamphlet on the RJ-4. If I remember correctly, the title was something like "The RJ-4 Mystery". Again, if I remember correctly, there were references to the "banana boat" usage of the receivers in court and at least one example was entered into evidence.

    A comment was made, in the pamphlet, that the wireless operators, on the banana boats, definitely preferred the RJ-4 to any other receiver in use, commercially, at the time. The sensitivity and selectivity were much better than the other receivers commonly in use in marine service at that time.

    Of course, many decades later, there are those who say that Armstrong was "robbed" and there are others that say DeForest rightfully was awarded the patent. Frankly, many of the early participants in wireless communications were either forgotten or just plain suppressed as to their achievements. Loomis, Dolbear, Lodge, Fessenden, and Tesla are just a few of those persons whom history has, generally, passed over and yet their contributions were very significant.

    Glen, K9STH
  10. KA4KOE

    KA4KOE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I guess no one liked my little ditty. ***SNIFF*** :(
    Oh well, that's why I have a double E day job.

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