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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3

Philip Neidlinger (KA4KOE) on December 7, 2003
View comments about this article!


This Month's Stiff: Major Edwin Howard Armstrong

Entered Mortal Coil: 18 December 1890

Assumed Room Temperature: 31 January 1954

0x01 graphic

Major Armstrong: Inventor, Ham, Patriot

We radio amateurs (and the rest of the world, for that matter), owe a great debt of gratitude to this month's Dead Electrical Dude, Major Edwin Howard Armstrong. Howard's inventions form the basis for all modern radio communications devices. Indeed, the list of Howard's accomplishments is impressive. Unfortunately, Howard spent the latter part of his life in endless patent battles. In many people's opinion, including this writer's, these battles ultimately drove Howard to commit suicide. An in-depth discussion of the myriad legal wranglings is beyond the scope of this discussion. However, we will touch briefly on the landmarks of this pioneer's career and his troubles:

1913: Armstrong modified Deforest's triode amplifier tube circuit by feeding the output into the input, resulting in amplification of a radio signal thousands of time. If driven still further, the circuit acted as an oscillator. Armstrong termed this method of amplification as regeneration. Deforest sued in court and ultimately won via a faulty ruling after 20 years. However, the scientific community generally regards Armstrong as the true inventor of regeneration.

1917: Armstrong joined the Army's Signal Corps in World War I as a Captain, ultimately being promoted to the rank of Major. Armstrong developed the superheterodyne radio circuit as a solution to the problem of intercepting German tactical communications on the battlefield. Armstrong applied for a patent of the revolutionary superheterodyne circuit in 1919. All modern radio receivers utilize some version of this circuit.

1933: Armstrong applied for and was granted four patents on circuits that established wideband high fidelity frequency modulation, or FM. RCA and other manufacturers began using many of Armstrong's circuits after World War II without permission, resulting in an unbroken string of patent infringement litigation.

1954: Armstrong, in the pit of despair after being left by his wife following a violent argument, commits suicide by walking out of a 13th story window.

1967: Marion Armstrong, after many years of litigation, wins a legal settlement against Motorola. This was the last lawsuit. Marion and her lawyers won every suit that was pending after Edwin's death.

It is interesting to note that Armstrong was quite a fixture at RCA prior to the start of his patent troubles. Armstrong once climbed a radio tower on the corporate headquarters building and did handstands on the large globe on top in order to impress Marion; he loved heights and was temporarily banned from the property by the head of RCA, David Sarnoff. Sarnoff was annoyed at what he termed "damn fool" stunts. Sarnoff befriended Armstrong, and had earlier introduced the inventor to his secretary, Marion, whom Armstrong would later marry. Little did Armstrong know that Sarnoff would in later years figuratively stick a knife in his back for the sake of corporate profits and convenience.

Philip Neidlinger

KA4KOE

References: Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio. If you can get a copy of this book, do so, as it is fascinating reading.

Postscript: The intent of this series of articles is to present biographical information in a humorous manner. However, Armstrong was such a tragic figure that no attempt was made in this article to be funny in any way. Sorry boys and girls, my heart just wasn't in it.

Member Comments:
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Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by WA2JJH on November 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
OK PHILIP, another slam dunk!
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by OLDFART13 on November 27, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Oh yeah!
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by WA2JJH on December 4, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I read Major Armstrongs bio. The Book was called
""Man of high fidelity""

When I was getting my BSEE 22 years ago, one of our proffessors made it required reading.
The Prof. would actually put questions on the book
in the electronics-3 exam.
Some of the questions were not technical at all.
One question was what was the Majors FM stereo callsign. What was his wifes name,ect. If you did not read the book, you would get maybe a 70% on an EE test.

I was the only HAM in class. Superhetrodyne baffled
all of the class except me.

The Prof. was very wise. I guess he wanted to show us 20 year olds about corperate america, and other important life lessons. Patent law too.

His wife did finally collect $10 million in damages from RCA/SARNOFF in 1963.

Armstrong really got a raw deal in terms of history!
TNX PHILIP DE MIKE---I know this one must have been a
hard one to write. Hard to joke about a fellow ham pulling the plug on himself.
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KQ6EA on December 7, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks, Phil, for another good one!
73, Jim
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by K2WH on December 7, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Please, lets have a little respect here. These gentlemen, are not "Dudes". You might be a "Dude" but they were not.

They are/were well respected engineers in their fields, in their time. As an electrical engineer myself, I do not consider myself a "Dude" now or when I am dead. I know the title of this posting is supposed to be funny and to some it may be but not to me.

How about "Engineering Genius' Who Used to be Alive but are Now Dead" as a title.

Keep the word "Dude" on the slopes or while using your boogie board in the surf. And did you tell Rush Limbaugh you are stealing his line "Assumed Room Temperature".

K2WH
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by K0BG on December 7, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I think every ham should buy and watch the PBS production "Empire of the Air". It is available on DVD and VHS from a variety of sources. It tells Armstrong's story in factual detail as well as others responsible for radio and TV.

Alan, KØBG
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by W4MGY on December 7, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Super Article. I have the Movie 'Empire of the Air" and watch it every December 18 to remember the Major. Howard Armstrong is one of the the least appreciated inentors of the 20th Century. But in the eyes of those who understand what he did, and the price he ultimately paid; Howard Armstrong was in reality a very great man. It has been said that he never acceipted compromise in anything he did; like Art Collins, everything Howard did was first rate. His most significant invention,FM broadcasting, was then and still is today the best RF medium used to transmit true high fidelity audio.
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by VK3HCG on December 7, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
To K2WH, whilst we will all agree that this dude was a genius this series of articles have been aimed at the younger generation with the intent of interesting them in the hobby of electronics and ham radio no doubt.Please enjoy these brilliantly researched and penned articles with the mind set of the intended audience and give this dude a break.
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by AH6RR on December 7, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Phil you have done it again. Thanks! I agree with VK3HCG eventhough we enjoy these posts very much they are intended for the younger set K2WH. So hang loose Dude.

Aloha AH6RR
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by W6PV on December 7, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
K2WH:

Get with the 21st, my man and lighten up! These articles are completely respectful of the people reviewed.

And to quote Apocalypse Now:

"What do you know about surfing, Major, you're from GD New Jersey...."
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KA4KOE on December 7, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Young set? How about young at heart?
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by N5PHW on December 7, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
The room temperature line has been around much longer than Limbaugh. Where have you been?

Great series. Carry on!



N5PHW
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by K2WH on December 7, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Ok, ok. So maybe I'm over reacting to the title of these articles. Didn't mean to upset anyone.

K2WH
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KG4YJR on December 7, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
This has been a good series of articles and maybe the beginning of a new trend, "silent dudes" instead of "silent keys".

73
Dave
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by W0CKI on December 7, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Great articles, hope you always have material. As for being called a "dude" there are many times I would rather be called a "dude" then a "ham", for instance, behavior by some/many in a "DX Pileup"
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KB1IVU on December 8, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Is that Elmer Fudd or Alfred Hitchcock????
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KZ9G on December 8, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Good job! Best one yet!

73.
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by K5DVW on December 8, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Groovy, Dude!
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KA4KOE on December 8, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
The one on Ohm is so irreverent its bound to upset someone, somewhere.

Doncha love it?
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by N2MG on December 8, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I love these articles. What a breath of fresh air!

Mike N2MG
webmaster

PS. "Dude" is far more respectful than "Dewd" ;-)
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by WA2JJH on December 8, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Hey Philip, It is MIKE. I guess I did not hit the post button.

Deforest could not explain why super-regen worked.
The good Major explained positive feedback to a tee.
Still Deforest black magic theory got him the patent!

Super-regen RCVRs were a problem way back when. The super-regen acted as a low power transmiter. Before superhets were popular, many had nuetrodyne RCVRS.
They were basicly TRF recievers. If your next door niegbor had a super-regen, one would get the very first RFI compalints in history!

No disrespect to the Major. Instead of assumed room temperature, with Armstrong you could say had maximum kinetic energy in 1953. 13 floors at 9.8m/s squared.
Splat!

Your humor and knowledge of the DEDS would make for a good pre-engineering book. The high school kids might think of it as a mad magasine. They might actually read it and learn something.

You were telling me on the landline that some moron gave a superhet schematic to the enemies in WW1. Any validity to that?

One of the new broadcast TX sites for consideration is New Alpine N.J. This is where Major Armstrong had the first FM stereo transmissions. The FCC allowed him to at first use his ham call.

Anybody know what the Majors ham callk was?

73 DE MIKE
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by VE3EGA on December 8, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Phil,

Another 'Cant wait to log on to eham' moment - vfb - keep em coming :)

Also (suggestion) Check out: George Washington Pierce, Benjamin Franklin and Colpitts, Clapp and Hertz for future consideration....

PS When's the mini-book due out? - cos - I wanna buy one (seriously!)

73

Terry
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by WB2WIK on December 8, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Another good job and great fun poke at a tragic story :)

Don't want to interfere with the ongoing process, but don't forget to include Thomas Alva Whatshisname and a fellow named Allen B. Dumont if you can...I like stories about fellow New Jerseyans.

WB2WIK/6
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by WA2JJH on December 8, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Philip, why not contact Wiley&Sons. They publish many engineering books. They do not have one for high school. All the photo's you have are public domain.
5-6 pages of 50 DEDS...presto a high school engineering/history book. Cut me in for 25% as you manager(hi-hi)
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by K3CW on December 8, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
> Deforest could not explain why super-regen worked.
> The good Major explained positive feedback to a tee.

If I remember correctly, DeForest couldn’t even explain the basics of amplification. I don’t believe he knew what the heck he was doing.
Armstrong was the first to systematically characterize the operation of a triode. He mapped out the tube’s (now familiar) characteristic curves showing plate current as a function of grid voltage, and then went on to invent regeneration, super regeneration, the super heterodyne, and FM. Although Armstrong’s brilliance is widely acknowledged in the engineering community, I still see references to “DeForest inventing the regenerative receiver”. It’s an absolute crime what was done to him.

I just bought “Empire of the Air” but haven’t read it yet. I strongly recommend the Armstrong biography “Man of High Fidelity” by Lawrence Lessing (J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia and New York, 1956).

Thanks for the continuing dead dude series.
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KA4KOE on December 8, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
"Edwin Howard Armstrong: Man of High Fidelity" can be obtained for free + $5.95 shipping from the Armstrong Foundation. I've ordered one for myself. Plenty of copies.

P
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by WA2JJH on December 8, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
MAN OF HIGH FIDELITY is an easy read. One can finish it in two days. Well written. The theory is dead on.
A good book for mid school, high school and freshman english.
I remember at the Brooklyn Tech library, the only 3 books you could always get were Man of high fidelity, Antigone, and down these mean streets!

Now that I have my own patent pending, I am very leary of large corperations. The book prepared me well.

Major Armstrong could have been the ""Bill Gates""
of modern radio. The mixer/ local osc/IF is like the CPU of a modern computer.
I guess Major Armstrong put too much faith in the wrong people. Something we all may have done at sometime in life.

73 and best holiday cheer DE MIKE
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KR4XH on December 8, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
A most excellent series! I look forward to each new installment. Keep 'em heading our way!

Thanks again,


don
KR4XH
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KC8VWM on December 8, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
One of the new broadcast TX sites for consideration is New Alpine N.J. This is where Major Armstrong had the first FM stereo transmissions. The FCC allowed him to at first use his ham call.

Anybody know what the Majors ham call sign was?

73 DE MIKE

Mike,

I am not so sure if they had Amateur Radio call signs this early in the game.

"Growing up in Yonkers, NY, he was one of the many "boy engineers" bitten by the radio bug, and he became a great fan of ham radio. His first important invention occurred in 1912-- the regenerative circuit, which "revolutionized wireless radio communication because it could amplify weak radio signals without distortion far more effectively than other radio receivers of that time."

Your second question was,

"You were telling me on the landline that some moron gave a superhet schematic to the enemies in WW1. Any validity to that?"

The only information related to this states the following:

"In 1917, while serving his country during WW1 as a captain in the US Signal Corps, he invented the superheterodyne circuit."

No indication that a schematic was given to enemies seem apparent. However, the fact that the superheterodyne circuit was invented during WW1 seems to be accurate.


Souce:(Microsoft Encarta, 1998 edition).


73

Charles - KC8VWM
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KC8VWM on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Philip KA4KOE ,

Great article!

By most accounts, Armstrong was a very private person, who allowed few people to get close to him. He loved his wife, but he was obsessed with radio, sometimes to the exclusion of everything and everyone around him. Perhaps this is a side effect of continued R.F. exposure to amateur radio.

He became so totally consumed with his fight to prove he was right about FM that it finally caused the break-up of his marriage. In the end, worn down by money problems and frustrated by what he saw as the failure of radio (and people like Sarnoff) to recognize the importance of FM, he committed suicide in early 1954.

Ironically, although he died believing he was a failure, Armstrong's discoveries continue to affect radio technology decades later.

One forum writer suggested reading the book published by Tom Lewis, however you may wish to see the documentary "Empire of the Air" instead. It concisely describes his on-going battles (both verbal and legal) with Lee deForest, and you also know that he was at first befriended by David Sarnoff (who even introduced him to Marion MacInnis, the woman Armstrong married in late 1923), and ultimately betrayed by him.

But rather than dwell on that, let me instead concentrate on Armstrong's many contributions to the early days of ham radio. Like most great inventors, and similar in character to many accomplished hams, Armstrong never seemed satisfied with some of his earliest inventions, and sought to improve them.

Impressed with what Armstrong had achieved, the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) awarded him their Medal of Honor for 1917, and in the fall of 1919, the Radio Club of America recognized him as radio's most important person, and held a dinner and award ceremony for him at the Hotel Ansonia in New York.

He had been promoted from Captain to Major in the military, he was a respected university lecturer on radio, and he was receiving recognition from his peers as well as attention from the print media.

It is still not clear today why such an acomplished individual chose to take his own life.

73

Charles - KC8VWM

 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KA4KOE on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
One newspaper article chronicalling his death mentioned that one of his contemporaries sold out to the nazis and gave FM to them. The story goes that FM was used in their tanks. I don't know how accurate this story is.

I have both read and watched Empire of the Air and both come highly recommended.

P
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by WA2JJH on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Correct me if I am wrong. Sarnoff had very little engineering skill. Sarnoff started as an errand boy/ gopher for Marconi wireless.

Sarnoff did learn morse code. Sarnoff's big claim to fame was receiving THE S.O.S from the Titanic.
Marconi loved all the press from that first S.O.S.

Marconi promoted Sarnoff to some type of manager.
Sarnoff did see engineering talent when he saw it.
Sarnoff did start R.C.A. with his engineering talent pool. I guess Sarnoff just strong armed-ARMSTRONG!

Why do talented people commit suicide?
The condition of depression was not fully realized as an illness with a 10% motality rate.
The Major certainly had enough stress and ill willed people in his life to get depressed.

One a happy note. I understand there is an Armstrong museum in Alpine N.J. Many of his ""RIGs" are there.
People have actually made thier own tubes and have built Armstrongs designs. Forget about a Collins S line. I would not mind building an Armstrong A line(hi hi)
So the Armstrong movie is available. I will have to rent it. I do not think Armstrong would have liked Pay
per View! PPV would be a Sarnoff idea!

Philip it is your series, but I hope you did not write one on Sarnoff! He was no DED. He was a DTCD
A dead technology crook dude!

73 DE MIKE
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KT3K on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
coolness. I come here now specifically to look for the dead electrical dudes posts. I've yet to be disappointed. Another nice job.

John - KT3K
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KE2IV on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
As an aging "boomer" I must admit that I am no longer thrilled with terms such as "This Month's Stiff" and "Assumed Room Temperature".

Just strikes a little too close to home for comfort these days.

Seems to me that the poster of these historical notes finds a need to shock and enthrall in order to present what are, in fact, prosaic notes about radio's pioneers.

Anyone who has read QST or CQ Mag over the past umpteen years already knows these facts. And, as to Armstong, his horrid treatment has reached legend given PBS!

The sad reality is that these missives obtain greater recognition for their provocative language than they do for the information conveyed.

It's a matter of been there, heard it all before!

Sadly, most of us hams are aging old farts taking the hobby down with us.

D'ya think the X-Box crowd really cares about Armstrong?

73,
George
KE2IV

 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by WA2JJH on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
The X box kids killed Jimmy Hoffa!
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KA4KOE on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
JJH:

Mikey, I love to "shock and enthrall"! Howabout you?
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by WA2JJH on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Yup,Philip, you can be entholing enough to puke baileys creme though your nose!
Well you will also have your jealous borderline personality types. Actually maybe simple season affective disorder. Very treatable.
Maybe bipolar depression type 2A. I have seen mood swings on the subject poster.

Might be a conspiracy. They might have a RENT-A-TROLL!

Oh did you know whitecastle hambergers sold near Giants stadium did have trace amounts of Jimmy Hoffa in them.

On that note...Good morning!
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by N2MG on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KC8VWM wrote:

"Ironically, although he died believing he was a failure, Armstrong's discoveries continue to affect radio technology decades later. "

I guess all we technical types should bear this in mind when we argue with beancounters and non-technical manager types. Good technology will prevail!

Mike N2MG
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KA4KOE on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
VMW:

I would love someone to confirm for me whether or not 2XMN was Howard's ham call. Of course, the first FM station was W2XMN. I looked high and low and couldn't find out for myself, so I left it out of the article in light of the intense grammatical and factual scrutiny these posts are subjected to by the masses.

PAN
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by WA2JJH on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Sir E.D.P.. It is a matter of been there, done that, got the tee shirt, I made a rag out of the tee shirt, then went to Brookes Brothers and got a new shirt!
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by WA2JJH on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
fROM what I remembered from the book, Armstrong used his later ham callsign for the strereo FM broadcasts.
He did have to file an amendment to his ham call.
So I guess his ham call doubled as his first phone ticket for a experimental period of time. If you will

I do not know if he lived long enough to have to get a commercial ticket, just like the AM station stations. The FCC used to grant experimental tickets. I guess the FCC thought FM would not fly!

National geographic would have to get experimental tickets. Today with so much deregulation, the experimental ticket is not issued much anymore.

So the next DED is OHM. I hope you do not meet much resistance on your next installment.

73 DE MIKE
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by N0RTU on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Another great job Philip!

I've got to get the DVD and watch these "men of radio".


Congrats, Phil
Keep it up.
73
Mike
N0RTU
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by W2LEW on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
It should be noted that Armstrong built a huge tower in Alpine NJ for his FM experiments and R&D. I believe it is still in use today. See http://www.fybush.com/site-021219.html
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by W1RG on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!



Great, keep 'em coming...
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by K9DI on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I've read "Empires of the Air" and it mentioned that Armstrong never had a ham license. However, to answer one of my fellow posters. By the time Armstrong developed FM (late 20's early 30's IIRC) ham callsigns had been in use for qutie some time (1912). In fact, the law requiring a callsign was enacted in 1912, it was the same law that restricted hams to the "useless" shortwaves. One of the first attempts by our elected Government and Big Biz working together trying to kill off Ham radio...
73
de
Wayne K9DI
P.S.
to the Author of DEDS, keep up the excellent work OM!!
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by N2WEC on December 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
My hat is off to you on the last two "Dead Electrical Dudes" I was a bit harsh on you first one; however I see where you are going and a applaud you on your work. Thank you from myself and those I have shared your efforts with. Some of us can stand to know our roots. Thanks.
N2WEC - Bill
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by K4JHL on December 10, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Good job, Phil. I have used the Ken Burns PBS version of "Empire" in my broadcast journalism classes in order to let youngsters know a little about what happened on the planet before they got here. Armstrong was one of my heroes.
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by K3ESE on December 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Hooray and thanks for another in this fine series, dude!
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by N8FVJ on December 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Armstrong was brilliant. Many took advantage of him in the days of the 'robber barons'. RCA was among that group. Nice story.
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KE4ZHN on December 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Another great article! Keep up the good work. Its refreshing to see humor on this site.
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by FRANKM12 on December 13, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
K2WH,

I agree with your comment though I must admit the tour de force was a little comical. hahahaha

I've spent much of my life trying to understand the genius of men like Armstrong. He, Maxwell, Hibert, Studer, Whinnery and my SK friend Dr. Carl Schonenman are men that warrant admiration. Carl once told me on one application that they needed to use plasma for an antenna. They found to their amazement that they could get 50dB out of it, eliminating the need for a "conventional" antenna. Carl taught me what little bit I know about Calculus and Logic. I sure miss him!

Without men like this, sending waves thru the Ether would have never occured. Without Armstrong, I guess we'd still be using Spark Gap. I wonder if Fessenden could've ever got the noise out of his SSB?

73
frank
KG4VLQ
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by FRANKM12 on December 13, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
To All,

I think his suicide note said, though it could've been someone else:

"I finished my work, so why wait?"

73
frank
KG4VLQ
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KC0NYK on December 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I'm only curious...when will Phil bring all these out in book form?

Major Armstrong, as with many of us, learned the hard lessons of doing business with the 'big guys' of the world who have more lawyers and money than you can believe and will destroy anyone to make another thin dime.

Great series. Great restraint in the writing, Phil. Keep up the good work.
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by WA2JJH on December 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
philip is ""shopping it around"".
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by WA2JJH on December 15, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
FRANKM, That suicide phase sounds familiar. Do not know if it was ARMSTRONGS. I think the quote was......
""I have accompished nothing!""
 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by W8LV on December 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Let's not rain on David Sarnoff's parade too much. While I think it is pretty well documented that he pulled a fast one with the FCC that gave us 88-108 Mhz FM band, which made all of Armstrng's sets worthless.
Ultimately, Sarnoff was an absolute business and marketing genius who saw radio in every home long before many others. He understood BROADCASTING Networks, has opposed to point-to-point. What Relays did for point-to-point, Networks did for broadcasting. This was his concept-to bring this concept to the realm of BROADCASTING. Radio (and later, television) stations would handle programs the same way as they did NEWS gathering--each station in his fold would be part of a larger network. News wires worked in this fashion. But radio stations did not, until Sarnoff. Consider that this contecpt was so effective, it was broken up as a monopoly, and those very same networks are now just a few of many, but they are still in existence! He chose to skip FM to go right into television. This was a business decesion. He had to pay millions of dollars for the scientists, engineers, and lab at RCA to develop elecrtonic television (as opposed to mechanical television). They couldn't drop everything and halt their television research at that late point in time--surely missing the time line for television could have bankrupted even the largest of corporations. He needed a payoff in RESULTS from his investment. Sometimes it takes a NON-technical man to come in and look at the whole situation, who thinks outside of the box, to come up with a new recipe as to how the concepts should go together. The bankrupt dot-comers everywhere would have been much more successful, I think, if they had studied Sarnoff and RCA. In the 'real world', you need a timeline for development, and a business plan. Sarnoff certainly has these, and it is STILL paying off, many years after his death.
 
RE: Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by KA4KOE on December 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
All of that is fine and dandy, but it doesn't excuse Sarnoff using Armstrong's inventions without compensation, or lobbying the FCC to have the major's FM network rendered null and void.

Sarnoff was quoted to say when told about Armstrong's demise that he "didn't kill Armstrong".

His was the classic robber baron mentality, a proponent of "the ends justify the means". He suppressed FM so well that few engineers understood it. I strongly recommend you read "Empire of the Air".

Again, my 1.343 cents worth.

 
Dead Electrical Dudes No. 3  
by WA2JJH on December 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Yup Philip, Sarnoff was one of the first TECHNO-ROBBER BARRONS. Sarnoff did split part of RCA off to start the "RED" and the "Blue" TV networks.
One became NBC, the other became CBS. Red and Blue, how creative, what a visionary?!

I think very highly of Julius Barnathan(rip)of ABC
network. Barnathan did not have an engineering background. He started as a page boy. He learned engineering in his spare time. He became president of ABC-broadcast operations and engineering at a young age.

He had the idea for closed caption, slo-mo, and making extensive use of RF links for sports, and much more. Met him once when I worked at ABC.
He was all business, but he would never patently rip off patents like Sarnoff.
 
Copyright  
by KA4KOE on July 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Dead Electrical Dudes are
© 2004 Philip Neidlinger
 
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