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Radio boffins remember the future-ture-ture: From the Cold War to (White) SPAAAAACE

Phwoarrrrr... Look at the valves on that...

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Attention radio boffins: hankering for a look at some vivacious valves? Have some ideas on what "could have been" had Britain gotten its hands on certain broadcasting tech just THAT much sooner? There's a wireless heritage special interest group at Cambridge Wireless with plenty of hot models to ponder from the past "100 years of radio", just the thing for transistor lovers, smartphone admirers and history buffs alike.

The agenda of the first meeting – to be held on 6 February (PDF) – looks at 20-year chunks in the history of radio interspersed with Q&As.

The first session leans heavily on the use of radio in warfare and the Cold War. It even looks at AJP Taylor's assertion that World War II was caused by the effect of broadcasting.

One of the speakers, Steve Haseldine, has a very large collection of old radios, mainly looking back to the Cold War, and will explain how nations prepared for World War III by building radio networks underground.

Another speaker, Colin Smithers, will plunder his collection of wireless operators' handbooks to look at how the issues of the "continuous wave" which were of concern to the radio industry a century ago are still those we worry about today: spectrum and power.

The SIG has grown out of some themed events that Cambridge Wireless held at Duxford last year. Cambridge has a long and distinguished history in radio, with many people being second- and even-third generation family members to have worked in the industry. Names such as Pye and Philips jostle with CSR and u-blox in the list of companies where denizens of Cambridge work or have worked.

The February event is seen as the first of several for the SIG while it moots a wireless antiques roadshow. There is also a forward-looking aspect to the SIG; it's a well-established technique of futurology to look back at where we have come from to predict trends for the future and this fits in with the general Cambridge Wireless remit. The whole thing will be uploaded to the website afterwards.

Cambridge Wireless is an organisation which brings together people from many of the companies doing some of the most bleeding-edge radio work. Its special interest groups look at and specify technology such as White Space and software-defined radio.

There are more details at the Cambridge Wireless website. ®

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