Radios – The Original Cell Phone
Some of you newbies are too young to remember the cell phone with the brief case and the coiled up cord. I however am not! I remember thinking, “technology has finally arrived, and there isn’t anything that can get better than this.” I also thought that with the Atari 2600, the Pogo-Ball, the original Walkman, the even better CD Walkman and my Calico handheld football game.
Long gone are the days of bigger is better. Now what we seem to be experiencing is the “smaller” revolution. The new age of cell phone is the “smart phone”. But as I sit here and gripe, pout and poke my bottom lip out I am forced to consider what my father must have went through. What his thoughts must have been as he experienced the first “phones” to be radios two way. That’s right I am talking about the Walkie-Talkie.
As early as 1907, the installation of receivers and transmitters at a mutual fixed location allowed exchange of messages wirelessly. Two-way telegraphy traffic across the Atlantic Ocean was commercially available by 1910 and had everyone as wide-eyed as me when I opened up my Commodore 64 back in 1983. By the year 1912 both commercial and military ships carried both transmitters and receivers, allowing radios two way communication abilities in close to real-time with a ship that was out of sight of land.
The first truly mobile radios two way was founded in Australia in the year 1923 by Senior Constable Frederick William Downie of the Victorian Police. The Australian Police were the first police force in the world to use radios two way in cars. This new form of communication began putting an end to the inefficient status reports that were coming in from public telephone boxes which had been used until that time. The first radios two way sets took up the entire back seat of the Australian/Lancia patrol cars.
As radios two way equipment evolved into more powerful, compact, and easier to use devices, smaller vehicles were able to be fitted with radios two way communication equipment. The installation of radios two way equipment in aircraft began. Radios two way in aircraft allowed scout aircraft to report back observations in real-time. This was more efficient as it cut out the requiring of the pilot to drop messages to troops on the ground by landing or forcing the pilot to land and make a personal report.
In 1933, the Bayonne, New Jersey police department successfully operated a radios two-way system between a dispatch station and radio transceivers that were installed in police cars. As you know if you have spent anytime in a police car, having radios two way allowed for the rapid directing of police response in emergencies.
Early radios two way schemes made it mandatory for training operators to learn and use Morse code. When voice transmission became a reality, stand-alone operators became obsolete and radios two way usage became more common. Today’s radios two way mobile radio equipment is as common as breathing oxygen. Who would have ever thought that something would beat the Rubik’s Cube as the world’s most influential global phenomenon?