Stories From Radio Monthly

Do Not Tamper With Broadcasting

From "Radio Monthly", 21 April 1932

A WRITER in these pages not so long ago bewailed the fact that politicians in general have not a true perspective of Broadcasting. Immersed as they are in the problems of finance, unemployment and budget deficits, perhaps this is not to be wondered at. In view, however, of the Bill which our elected representatives to the Federal House must consider in the very near future, perhaps a timely note upon one or two phases of Broadcasting may not be out of place.

Broadcasting is not merely a matter of playing gramaphone records. That particular stage of it is years past, though unfortunately many people, who ought to know better, do not realise it. To-day, Broadcasting is a great public utility catering for over a quarter of a million licence holders representing a cash outlay for licence fees of as many pounds sterling annually, and rendering a service embracing news, education, finance, domestic purposes, sporting, culture, religion, politics - in fact, every conceivable requirement of all sections of the people.

Broadcasting is a big subject. Those whose commercial interests are closely allied to it represent organisations of national importance giving employment to thousands of people - our National Wireless Organisation alone employs more than one thousand Australians. Therefore, any move likely to affect the continued employment of these people - and political tampering with Broadcasting may conceivably do this - must be examined with the greatest caution.

Free from official interference, Broadcasting will develop itself. The last five years surely have proved thus. The invidious position of the "A" class stations and their fast waning popularity with listeners not withstanding, the number of licences has increased by leaps and bounds, the credit for this being generally recognised as largely attributable to "B" stations by own unaided efforts. This being so, the attempt to undermine them by introducing advertising from "A" stations and the equally pernicious proposal to introduce "C" stations is a particularly glaring example of the unsympathetic attitude of officialdom towards the very stations responsible for the huge increase in licence revenue, not one penny of which they receive.

Listeners will do well to follow the Parliamentary discussions closely, for their interests are vitally concerned with the outcome. Any move designed to attack the progress of "B" class stations must be met with the solid opposition of the listening public.

It seems patent that in trotting forward the absurd idea of "C" class stations the real idea was to drive a wedge into the "B" class organisation by imposing Government opposition to private enterprise. In the face of the Government's pledges, this is an unwarranted attack upon private Broadcasting firms. Official prejudice arbitrarily removed the technical control of "A" stations from the only firm properly equipped to run them satisfactorily. No advantage has resulted merely an extra burden placed upon the public in the way of extra civil servants' salaries.

With the pathetic examples before us of the results of official interference with other industries, we must set ourselves against any tampering with Broadcasting.

New Valves

From "Radio Monthly", September 1932

THE introduction recently of no less than six new valves of American origin, without any details of circuits recommended for their use, has partially dislocated the organisation of more than one radio manufacturer, and designing engineers have been busy developing circuits and suitable equipment to take advantage of the improved characteristics.

Each technical article this month has been devoted to various new valves, with the object, not only of evolving receivers to suit them, but to furnish full and accurate information for readers to file for reference purposes.

Radio receivers equipped with these valves are definitely better than their predecessors in certain respects, notwithstanding the fact that information was broadcast to the effect that the valves were no good, and that nobody in Australia knew how to use them.

The 55 to 58 series are the belated American reply to the very fine English four-volt valves which have been available for some considerable time. It remains to be seen which is the better. The principal advantage gained seems to be in the direction of lower noise levels, and greater efficiency - approaching in one instance a ratio of 40 per cent, which represents an improvement of 25 per cent.

The practice of introducing new equipment at frequent intervals prevents the stabilisation of the industry, confuses the buyer, and results in a temporary trade slump, which is only alleviated by the restoration of confidence in well-established and well-advertised products. Any receiver which reproduces good music when required is still a good receiver, no matter how old it may be.

Improving Receivers

From "Radio Monthly", January 1933

A review of the progress made during the past year in improving commercial broadcast receivers discloses the fact that the Australian manufacturer has developed a product which is the equal of that produced anywhere else in the world when judged on a performance and price basis. Fortunately for him, there are comparatively few broadcast stations in Australia, and the problems of selectivity have been comparatively easy to solve. Interference from electrical machinery and atmospheric disturbances, however, is still very serious, and unfortunately it seems to be nobody's business to rectify matters.

In Great Britain, the Post Office, which has been galvanized into action by the British Broadcasting Corporation, is investigating all complaints from listeners where specific instances of electrical interference are given. A determined effort is being made to bring home to those responsible for the installation and maintenance of apparatus that they are under an obligation to the community at large to take all possible steps to prevent interference with wireless reception. It is about time that some organised scheme was put into operation here, for in some localities electrical interference is abominable. The listener himself can do much to improve the position - firstly, by making sure that the household electrical installation complies with the regulations, and, secondly, by erecting a decent outside aerial and shielding the lead-in and earth leads.

A local manufacturer is developing an interference suppressor for fitting to the household mains to eliminate those disturbances which are conveyed to the receiver by means of the house electrical installation.

Receivers have now been brought to that stage where long-distance reception is an every-day occurrence, but their utility is restricted by the noise level.