Our first special stars radio pioneer Captain H.J. Round, in a true piece of history.
We're on a break between seasons, so here's the first of a few specials... about one of the last of a few, a genius cigar-chomping engineer who shaped the modern world.
We've mentioned Captain H.J. Round on season 1 of the podcast, but we've not heard from him till now - in fact few people have ever heard him. This recording, as far as we know, hasn't been publicly released in its entirety before.
Henry Joseph Round worked with Marconi since the turn of the 20th century. His radio direction-finding innovation helped decide the fate of the First World War in The Battle of Jutland, earning him the Military Cross in 1918.
Round co-created broadcasting in 1920, when his test transmissions 'went viral', with amateur radio owners tuning in (oh, he helped invent 'tuning in' too) and listening in.
He designed the first BBC transmitter and early BBC microphones. Away from broadcasting, he developed radar and sonar, and stumbled on electroluminescence 50 years before it was rediscovered in the modern LED.
In this episode, you'll hear his acceptance speech after being awarded the Armstrong Medal by the Radio Club of America on December 12th 1952. Many thanks to Captain Round's grandson David Jervis for sharing this recording with us.
If you understand even most of it, I'll be very impressed! It's technical, and it's thorough.
There are tales too of Dame Nellie Melba's famous broadcast, of Marconi, of applying for a job with Edison (but Edison wasn't paying enough), and so much more. My advice: lose yourself in a nostalgic, sometimes unfathomable world of thermionic valves and often incomprehensible jargon. Treat it like a hedge maze: enjoy being lost, knowing someone has carefully built this.
- Harry Hobb’s citation and awarding of the medal
- Round on working for Marconi’s in America, inc transmitters in Babylon, NY and Riverhead, NY
- Round in search of food at Cape Race, Newfoundland
- Marconi’s in England, inc. the Melba broadcast
- The Marconi Company later years
- Other places referenced include Glace Bay in Nova Scotia, Clifden in Ireland, and Chelmsford in Essex.
Then you'll hear E Howard Armstrong's tribute. On the night that came first, but for this podcast I've moved it to the end of the podcast. Armstrong covers WWI's Battle of Jutland and Round’s radio direction-finding innovation.
There is plenty more reading matter here:
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The recording in this episode has been sent our way by David Jervis - thank you David!
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