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Aircraft Topics related to WWI aircraft, aircraft engines and armament

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Old 27 March 2012, 09:08 AM   #1
RobW
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Wireless radios

I'm looking for photos of early aircraft wireless radios... in particular, British - around 1915. To broaden the thread I think I'll open the question up to photos of all WWI era wireless radios, just to make it more interesting.

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Old 27 March 2012, 10:15 AM   #2
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to start things off...

Here is a 1912 Marconi Aircraft-Transmitter. The photo came from History of Sound - Cats Whiskers Days

Other than the telegraph key is American made, and that you can see a spool of wire for the long trailing antenna, I know nothing about it.
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File Type: jpg 1912 Marconi Aircraft-transmitter.jpg (15.4 KB, 30 views)
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Old 30 March 2012, 04:11 PM   #3
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Who what and when...

Rob thank you for the transmission... and the link to the site

Perhaps one of the few books looking at the historical record of Wireless Telegraphy and Wireless Telephony during WWI is the book "Missed signals on the Western Front : how the slow adoption of wireless restricted British strategy and operations in World War I" by Mike Bullock and Laurence A. Lyons.

As it turns out the RFC had more to do with the development and deployment than the rest of the British military establishment... the how and why is a fascinating story.

As for the American development it is an equally unique story one I'm working on deciphering and preparing for an OTF and later SHOT article.

The attached image is an SCR-68 the first US manufactured Radio-Telephone developed specifically for aircraft communication between aircraft in flight and with a ground station. Wiki has a nice article on it at...
SCR-68 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

More to share soon...

Regards

Carl
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Old 31 March 2012, 04:02 AM   #4
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Thanks Carl,
Looking forward to hearing more about your radio...

One thing of interest regarding Carl's radio is that it is a radiotelephone... voice capability in a 1917 aircraft.

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Old 31 March 2012, 08:08 AM   #5
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Hi All
In the work I have been engaged in on 'Contact Patrols' of various nations I have come across various comments on wireless use. This includes a report by Commandant Du Peuty reference the use of aviation in the Vaux-Douaumont Sector of Verdun. (This is a translated report sent by Trenchard to the War Office, TNA, AIR 1/1283/204/11/11 dated 15 May 1916) This mentions the use of aircraft working in pairs, one with 'wireless' the other fitted with 'wireless telephone'. I thought this might be a miss-translation, however, it goes on to state that the latter can give: "...a more general and at the same time more detailed account of the battle. The reports of these two machines check one another." However, in later years it appears that this is not mentioned (as far as I am aware), this may mean it did not work very well or it became so normal that it is not worth a mention (I doubt the latter due to well documented problems with wireless telephony during this time).
The British did have wireless telephony in use in the air defence system in the UK by the end of the war, including two-way for some aircraft. They also conducted a lot of experiments with air-tank communications with wireless telephony, one report dated 22 July 1918 mentions the use of the 'Transmitter Telephone Mark II' in the 8 Sqn. FK.8 and the Mk. IV tank having 'Receiver Aircraft Mark II'. Various aerials were also tried, a whip aerial based on a fishing rod being considered the best. However, after lots of work the limitations of the equipment (range etc) and the high noise levels in the tanks ended the experiments in France. They did continue at Biggin Hill due to the fact that both the RAF and the Tank Corps saw the wireless telephone as the future of air-tank communication.

Hope that is of interest.
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Old 31 March 2012, 05:20 PM   #6
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Looks like we have a couple interesting threads going here... keep it coming!

Does anyone have any idea what type of wireless transmitter Commander Samson employed during the Galipolli Campaign? He writes that he had two of them.

Maybe identifying the specific type is too difficult... so would it be easier to identify the types available to the RNAS in early 1915?

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Old 31 March 2012, 05:57 PM   #7
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From the material I have read the most common "wireless" was telegraphy everyone employed the spark gap type which of course was readily available.

The use of wireless telephony was in its infancy and there were a whole host of issues, including the electronic components, headset, microphone and the transmit range of the systems to name just a few.

The big difference was the use of vacuum tubes (or valves) vs. a very simple and robust system that used high voltage for generating radio frequency electromagnetic waves. The obvious importance of getting wireless telephony working was the promise of straight forward verbal communication. It promised both tactical and strategic advantage something the British and Americans quickly embraced.

I'm very interested in who was trying what and the types of systems developed, I have the American side covered as I have the US Army Signal Corps Radio Pamphlets which are the technical and operating manuals used for these systems. What I'm missing is info on the British, French and German systems.

What Mike states is interesting as it appears they may have used the wireless telephony for air to air communication which makes sense as the range was limited in these systems.

Attached is a series of pictures of SCR-59 which is the receiver unit intended for each plane in a squadron to use. The flight leader would have the SCR-68 transceiver unit to communicate with the rest of the squadron and ground.
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File Type: jpg 011935.jpg (48.1 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg 011936.jpg (48.8 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg 011937.jpg (50.6 KB, 19 views)
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Old 31 March 2012, 06:15 PM   #8
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Mea culpa

Yesterday I posted a image that I said was the SCR-68 and after looking at it I realized that I posted the SCR-59 instead my faux pas... Attached to this post is the venerable SCR-68... you will notice that they are similar in construction and controls...
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File Type: jpg Slide39.jpg (46.0 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg Slide40.jpg (46.5 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg Slide42.jpg (48.7 KB, 17 views)
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Old 31 March 2012, 06:19 PM   #9
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Great photos... the schematics are especially great!

rob
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Old 31 March 2012, 06:21 PM   #10
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Mike it seems that the report you are referencing is a French one and would indicate they were using wireless telephony, I do know the French were producing vacuum tubes and I would not be surprised if they had their own wireless telephony system as early as 1916.
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