Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Radiobeam guides the Blind

This was a surprise by me. This was in an issue of Popular Mechanics in 1934. Early in the golden years of radio, the fascination reached nearly hysterical heights where we thought radio was going to fix everything, do everything and be everywhere. In reality, we only ever really go to that last part.
Five coeds donned blindfolds and then competed in a pseudo-scientific race. The gauge was not really speed as it was difficult to navigate at all. Each participant was guided only by a radio beacon. Each girl carried a small radio receiving and wore earphones to hear the signal. They navigated by moving the set to turn the nulls toward and away from the beacon to navigate their path.

The signals were the same kind used in aviation in that era. Apparently carrying the receiver and it battery was more difficult than following the beaco.

Of course today the University of Cincinnati doesn't even own a College radio station. they have a little webcaster called Bearcast. It's here. they do host an NPR outlet WGUC. That one is here.

But they had an Amateur Radio Club all the way back to the 1921. More here. Professor Carl Osterbrock, Jr. was the trustee for a 1ooo watt Collins transmitter and matching receiver. It's calls were W8YX.