Since 1895, when the history of wireless communication began, some of the most inspired and significant technological advances have been spurred by warfare. Following the demonstration by Heinrich Hertz in 1885 of the existence of electromagnetic radiation, this new field of science was at first investigated by a relatively small group of experimenters, supported by the early telecommunications industrial entities such as the Marconi Company in Great Britain, and Telefunken in Germany, based on the system developed by Professor Braun in conjunction with Adolf Slaby and Georg von Arco.
After 1900, as the potential advantages of wireless technology to the battlefield and for marine warfare became known, interested industrial organisations multiplied, keeping pace with the growth of the armies and navies.
That twentieth-century warfare helped to speed the development of radio and electronic communications is important to note.
Describing how warfare has led to improved systems of communications and a progressive diminution in size and weight of apparatus is one of the main objectives of this book.
In following the development of military wireless or radio initially, Great Britain is a major source of Australian inspiration; only later does America appear in the context of military radio used in Australia. This reflects the developments in Australia’s international relationships.
Since the 1950s, geographical realities and the emergence of bitterly fought wars in Southeast Asia, and Vietnam in particular, have furthered an alliance with the United States that was initially forged in the Second World War. In more recent times it has led to Australian involvement with the United States in its pursuit of change in Afghanistan and the destruction of al-Qaeda.
The book is copiously illustrated with 250 photographs and diagrams. For the enthusiasts there are projects showing how to make some of the radios featured in the book.
The author is an architect and town-and-country planner who has been involved in electronics, amateur radio and microcomputers for many years. He is a member of the Wireless Institute of Australia and the Historic Radio Society of Australia as well as the British Vintage Wireless Society. His research at Sydney University has looked at the future of personal communications and the internet and their potential impact on city form.