Paul Litwinovich

WSHU Chief Engineer, author of Vintage Radio series

Paul caught the radio bug as a child. By age 12, he had taught himself the basics of vacuum tube theory.  He began repairing old, discarded radio sets, the kind that we now call vintage sets.  He loved listening, too, to local programs, DJs who picked their own music, talk shows designed to inform, not shock the listener.  But his favorite listening was to short wave radio, with its magic of music and programming from all around the world.

Hobby led to career.  Paul was a design engineer and engineering manager in the broadcast industry  for 14 years before coming to WSHU in 1990.  He holds an FCC commercial radio license, and an extra class Amateur radio license. And, oh yes, he's still restoring and collecting vintage radio sets, for more than 45 years now, and counting.  

Library of Congress

Quite a while back, I wrote Making Pictures Fly Through the Air, Part 1 , which dealt with the development of a mechanical form of television. Starting with a concept designed by German engineering student Paul Nipkow long before radio itself, and later adapted for the airwaves by John Logie Baird and others. If you missed it, you might want to go back and read it first as it gives an understanding of how mechanical television would lead to the development of electronic television. Mechanical...

Last month we looked at contributions to the art made by amateur operators, in particular advancements in Amplitude Modulation, or AM, and how it came to give radio its voice. This month, we will look a little deeper into AM, its history, how it works, the corporate politics at its heyday and where it is going. In the beginning, there was Morse code. After the discovery of radio waves and how to create them, came the question of how to use them for communication. If a transmitter could be...

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Last month we looked at Marconi and his pioneering work in the advancement of wireless communications. In the early days of radio, prior to government regulation , anyone with the knowledge could build a transmitter and go on the air. Even after the first attempts at regulation, one could still do this, the only rules being a mandate to yield to commercial traffic and to remain silent for a five minute period at the top of the hour to allow for distress traffic from ships at sea. In the days...

Wikipedia

It is December, and for any die-hard radio enthusiast that brings Guglielmo Marconi to mind. It was on Dec. 12, 1901 that Marconi claims to have received the first transatlantic Morse code transmission. I can envision the hairs bristling on the necks of Marconi fans already. Most articles that I write in this column are not controversial. None the less, there are a few subjects that will stir up some hot debate, mostly over who invented what, or who came up with the concept first. Get a bunch...

Engineering and Technology History Wiki

In writing articles about vintage radio, I try to alternate between the technological and the people who made the technology possible. Occasionally, I just feature an interesting radio and the story behind it. This month we will take a look at Professor Louis Alan Hazeltine. Since I began this series, a few readers have asked me to write about Hazeltine, but I decided to wait until those following the series had a better feel for the early technology, to fully appreciate what he contributed....

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