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History of the Radio Receiver

History of the Radio Receiver

History of the development of the radio or wireless radio receiver from the earliest sets using coherers and magnetic detectors to modern high performance semiconductor based radios.

Radio technology is an integral part of everyday life. Everything from broadcast radio and television through to mobile phones, wireless connectivity, Internet of Things and much more are based around radio technology.

The history of the radio receiver is an integral part of the development of today’s radio technology, and it is a fascinating story to see how we arrived at where we are today.

In 1895 Marconi demonstrated the first viable radio system, now over 100 years later the radios that are in use today bear no resemblance to the early equipment that was used. The equipment that was used in the 19th Century was crude and very insensitive, nowadays receivers are very sensitive and they offer many facilities. They are also used in a wide variety of applications from broadcast reception, through cellular telecommunications to satellite links and much more. To be able to operate in all these diverse areas, receiver technology has changed beyond all recognition. These developments represent the work of many people from the earliest days of wireless right up to the modern day. Some of these people have their names entered the technology history books, but the majority were just ordinary engineers or radio enthusiasts who remain unknown.

History of the radio – beginnings

The story behind the history of the radio begins with the discovery of radio waves themselves. A brilliant Scot named Maxwell was the first person to prove electromagnetic waves existed. However he only showed this mathematically and he was never able to demonstrate them in a practical form. Although many people stumbled across them and demonstrated effects that now we know were radio waves, it was a German named Heinrich Hertz who knowingly demonstrated these new waves which Maxwell had proved existed. He used some spark gap equipment to transmit and receive radio or Hertzian waves as they were first called.

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The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, (formerly Anambra State University), Igbariam Campus.

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