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Rediscovering the magic of wireless communication

Rediscovering the magic of wireless communication


Fascinating history of wireless communications, with lots of info and schematics to try reating your DIY wireless communication system on Ashish’s Programming Journal:

By Ashish Derhgawen, Logan, Utah, United States


In this modern age of high tech gadgets, it is easy to take the technology around us for granted. If we look at the world around us as if we have never seen it before, it would be impossible not to be filled with awe and wonder.  In this article, I will tell you the story behind one of the most important technological inventions of modern times – wireless communication. I will also describe some of my own experiments with high voltage spark transmitters and coherers! But before I talk about those, a little background is necessary to appreciate how they work. We’ll have to step into the shoes of the early pioneers in the field of electricity and see the world in a completely different way!

Many years ago, when there were no cell phones or Internet, a great scientist by the name of Michael Faraday speculated the existence of electromagnetic waves when he observed the influence of magnetic fields on polarized light (Faraday Effect). Faraday speculated that light could be a form of electromagnetic disturbance propagating through space. However, this idea was received with considerable skepticism, and it was rejected by everyone until a mathematician by the name of James Clerk Maxwell proved it mathematically in his paper “The Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field” (1865). Maxwell predicted the existence of electromagnetic waves that could travel indefinitely at the speed of light until absorbed. He proved their existence mathematically without any experimental proof.


About thirteen years later, David Edward Hughes (an Anglo-American concertina player and inventor) observed something very bizarre. When working on his Induction Balance, a loose contact was creating sparks. Hughes noticed that a telephone circuit connected to his carbon microphone on the other side of the room was somehow picking up that noise. He took the telephone circuit outside, and he could still hear the clicks made from the induction coil up to 500 yards away! You could consider this the first mobile phone call in history. Hughes wrote –

“Further researches proved that an interrupted current in any coil gave out at each interruption such intense extra currents that the whole atmosphere of the room (or in several rooms distant) would have a momentary invisible charge, which became evident if a microphonic joint was used as a receiver with a telephone. This led me to experiment upon the best form of a receiver for these invisible electric waves, which evidently permeated great distances, and through all apparent obstacles such as walls &c. I found that all microphonic contacts or joints are extremely sensitive.”

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