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The History of Radio at a Glance
including elecronics and computers

A Timeline in the History of Radio
1757-1775Benjamin Franklin works in London
1799Volta invents electrical battery
1838Morse demonstrates telegraphy
1861Transcontinental telegraph by wire
1866Transatlantic cable
1866County Kerry transatlantic cable station
1876Bell invents telephone
1883Edison invents the Edison effect
1886Hertz produces and detects electric waves
1894Lodge invents Coherer with 200 mile range
1897J.J.Thompson discovers the electron
1899Wireless telegraphy
1901Reception of transatlantic radio signals in Newfoundland from Marconi in the U.K.
1902Poulsen-Arc radio transmitter
1903Triode invented
1904Radio alternator designed
1906Catwhisker crystal detector invented
1906Sound broadcast combines voice and music
1906RF Continuous-wave alternator developed
1909Shoshone transmission line
1912RF generator invented
1914American Radio Relay League founded
1918Superheterodyne receiver invented
1920Westinghouse radio station KDKA broadcasts at Pittsburgh
1924RCA superheterodyne sold in stores
1924Directive shortwave antenna invented
1925Human features transmitted by television
1925Pioneers work on radar
1927Working television demonstrated
1928One-way police radio communication
1931Radioastronomy founded by detection of radio waves from the center of our Milky Way galaxy.
1931Voice of Australia first broadcaster in Southern Hemisphere
1932Radio is important in U.S. Hoover vs. Roosevelt presidential campaign
1933Two-way police radio communication
1933German Ministry of Popular Education and Propaganda controls broadcasting
1933FM invented
1934Long range shortwave voice transmission from Byrd Antarctic Expedition
1934Law limits broadcasting in India
1934U.S. Federal Communications Act sets up FCC
1935Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay radio agreement
1935International Wireless Committee code of good conduct for international broadcasts
1935Japan broadcasts to America
1936BBC airs first news story -- fire at London's Crystal Palace
1937Radio has pushbuttons
1937Radiotelescope used to find the first discrete radio sources beyond Earth and map the natural radio signals across the Milky Way
1937U.S. Radio Code
1938CBS broadcasts Orson Welles' "Invasion From Mars" from H.G. Wells's "War of the Worlds"
1939Baseball televised
1939Germany transmits internationally in 26 languages, while listening in Germany to foreign broadcast is a capital offense
1939Atanasoff-Berry computer developed
1940sWorld War II brings radar and other electronics which stimulate radioastronomy
1940FM police radio communication
1940French General de Gaulle broadcasts from BBC to France
1940Sudan radio serves World War II Allies
1940News broadcasts in six languages on African Gold Coast
1941U.S. Col. W. Donovan commission combats Axis radio propaganda
1941Switzerland broadcasts support International Red Cross
1941Opana radar site built
1942Voice of America shortwave broadcasts in English, French, Italian, German
1942-1945US Naval Computing Machine Laboratory
1943BBC broadcasts English lessons
1943American Forces Network on the air
1944BBC broadcasts coded messages to Fench resistance before D-Day
1945Yugoslavia broadcasts
1945Military controls broadcasting in Soviet-occupied Germany
1945Astronomers develop radioastronomy
1945Japan's Emperor announces his country's surrender in his first radio broadcast
1946First and brightest radio source beyond our galaxy, Cygnus A, discovered
1946U.S. Army Signal Corps bounces radar beam off Moon
1946-1953U.S. develops monochrome-compatible electronic color television
1946Transistor invented will make small radios commercially feasible
1946Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) turned on
1950-1969Electronic technology applied to spaceflight
1951Color television introduced in U.S.
1951Transistors manufactured
1951Electromagnetic radiation discovered coming from interstellar hydrogen at a radio wavelength of 21 cm
1953First amateur radio moonbounce
1956Germanium transistor commercialized
1957Beeping radio signal from Sputnik 1, Earth's first artificial satellite
1959Radio signal from first human-made object to leave Earth, USSR probe Luna 1
1959Radio signal from first human-made object to reach another world, USSR probe Lunik 2 on the Moon
1959Radio-photos from first spacecraft to go behind the Moon, USSR probe Lunik 3
1959The integrated circuit (IC) is introduced
1959First communication satellite, Echo, launched by US
1960First radio-photos of Earth weather from orbit
1961First human communication from space
1961First amateur radio satellite
1962Transatlantic reception of television signal via satellite
1962Radio signal from first human-made object to reach another planet, Mariner 2 at Venus
1962Telstar communications satellite
1963First female human communication from space
1963Arecibo radiotelescope
1965Radio signal from human-made object at Mars, Mariner 4
1969Human communication from the Moon
1971Human communication from a space station
1973Radio signal from human-made object at Jupiter, Pioneer 10
1974Radio signal from human-made object at Mercury, Mariner 10
1976Personal computer market is born
1979Radio signal from human-made object at Saturn, Pioneer 11
1981Human communication from a space shuttle
1981Sony introduces consumer synthesized radio receiver
1983Radio signal from spacecraft leaving the Solar System, Pioneer 10
1983Direct broadcast TV
1986Cellular phones become international business
1986Radio signal from human-made object at Uranus, Voyager 2
1989Radio signal from human-made object at Neptune, Voyager 2
1991World Wide Web
1992XM Satellite Radio
1994Internet radio broadcasting
Internet television broadcasting
1995Digital signal processing receiver introduced
1999Sirius Satellite Radio
2001Software Radio chips available
2003Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) – digital AM radio with FM-quality sound
2004Podcasting begins
Sources:   ARRL,   IEEE,   Monitoring Times,   Popular Communications,   K3RXK

Chart of Morse Code

Response to David Sarnoff when he asked friends to invest in radio

President Franklin D. Roosevelt at network radio microphones in Washington, D.C.
FDR at network radio microphones

Motorola Digital Audio Receiver in 2002
2002 digital receiver by Motorola

NASA artist concept of orbiting satellite
Space satellite

Sirius Satellite Radio Boombox in 2006
2006 satellite radio receiver boombox by Sirius

Learn more about the history of radio:

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© 2003 Space Today Online