Portable Radios for U. S. Cavalry (Sep, 1931)

Portable Radios for U. S. Cavalry
THE latest in portable radio receivers and transmitters has been developed by Signal Corps engineers for use by the U. S. Cavalry. The antenna is strung on a short mast, while the instruments are carried on the saddle, as illustrated below.

  1. mike says: January 21, 201011:09 pm

    Did those radios have tubes and if so how long would the tubes last on a galloping horse?

  2. Toronto says: January 21, 201011:56 pm

    Early car radios had tubes too, and they took a lot of shock.

    I wonder what they called this. The “Horsie-Talkie?”

  3. Firebrand38 says: January 22, 201012:53 am

    mike: What would they use if not tubes?

  4. Toronto says: January 22, 20101:33 am

    Firebrand: Oatmeal boxes, blue blades, and pencil leads.

  5. jayessell says: January 22, 201011:40 am

    In the radio manual, page One:
    Jousting strictly prohibited!

  6. Firebrand38 says: January 22, 201011:46 am

    Toronto: You neglected the wire and a rusty razor blade. Kind of difficult to transmit with though….

  7. Rick Auricchio says: January 22, 20101:17 pm

    This reminds me that I have a copy of an Electrical Engineer’s Handbook from 1901.

    No mention of radio or tubes, since neither had been invented!

  8. Rick Auricchio says: January 22, 20101:29 pm

    I have the third edition from 1901-1902. Google has the 1908 fifth edition online.


  9. Firebrand38 says: January 22, 20103:14 pm

    Rick Auricchio: Good stuff. “Wireless Telegraphy” is on page 1055.

  10. KD5ZS says: January 22, 20104:07 pm

    That’s true, you need the wire for the cat-whisker; meanwhile I’ve heard that razor blades could be used as a substitute for a galena crystal. As far a a transmitter a spark gap, but then you would be confined to morse code.

  11. Firebrand38 says: January 22, 20104:21 pm

    KD5ZS: Oh yeah! Follow the link I provided. It’s to a pdf file on how to build a “Fox Hole Radio” with a rusty razor blade. I was talking about the wire to wrap around the oatmeal box.

    As late as 1979 we were still jumping out of airplanes with crystal controlled vacuum tube GRC-109 radios

  12. Rick Auricchio says: January 22, 20104:45 pm

    Firebrand, my 990-page third edition doesn’t have “Wireless” anywhere! The word doesn’t even appear in the index. Very cool.

  13. KD5ZS says: January 22, 20108:17 pm

    Let me guess: The airplane was a DC-3/C-47?

    I could just imagine the batteries needed to run the equipment. Just to run the tube heaters would take quite a few watts! (A 6AC7 required almost 3 watts to operate the heater.)

  14. Richard says: January 22, 20109:02 pm

    KD5ZS, that GRC-109 stands a better chance than anything more modern in an EMP situation…

  15. Firebrand38 says: January 22, 20109:15 pm

    KD5ZS: At one time, but no we were jumping C-130’s & C-141’s by that time. More accurately the teams were carrying PRC-74Bs but the Commo School at Ft Bragg was still using GRC-109s. I’m not sure when they were totally phased out. In the field never mind about batteries….hand cranked generators, Brother.

  16. KD5ZS says: January 22, 20109:32 pm

    True, vacuum tubes are better with emp.

    In book about trains and locomotives, the US Army was still using a steam locomotive at one of its forts as late as 1965! Here’s for retro!

    I still haven’t scrapped my vacuum tube ham equipment.

  17. Firebrand38 says: January 22, 20109:32 pm

    Richard: That’s not a tribute to foresight, that’s just what the technology was at the time.

  18. Toronto says: January 22, 20109:42 pm

    I recall an SF story from the ’70s about a pilot in a state-of-the-art fighter being time-warped back to WWI, and being unable to shoot anything down with his heat-seeking missiles, etc, ’cause they were all too low, slow, and cool (though any early radial would have had some hot spots.

  19. jayessell says: January 22, 201011:32 pm


    At least Air-to-Air missiles from Tomcats work against Japanese Zeroes.


  20. Firebrand38 says: January 23, 201012:32 am

    jayessell: Plus the F-14 had a 20mm cannon. Not that this has anything to do with Portable Radios for U.S. Cavalry.

  21. hwertz says: January 25, 20107:07 pm

    Tubes wouldn’t necessarily be too bad because of the galloping horse. Besides car radios with tubes (as Toronto mentions), keep in mind that most head lights, tail lights, and in-dash lights use filament bulbs and these don’t seem to fail too often even in vehicles with a very bumpy ride.

  22. Arglebarglefarglegleep says: August 7, 201012:51 am

    Filaments can be ‘ruggedized’ as the military calls it. One way is to put a lot of filaments in so if one goes the others are still available. Another is to just make the damn thing so heavy duty it’d take breaking the tube envelope to break the filament and by that point it doesn’t matter.

    I keep remembering that both the Polish and German Armies had horse mounted forces during the 1939 Polish invasion. If I remember correctly, a Polish horse lancer took out a Panzer I. Of course a Panzer I wasn’t much more than a lightly armored car.

  23. Firebrand38 says: August 7, 20108:17 am

    Arglebarglefarglegleep: That’s crap too. You’ve been suckered in by Nazi propaganda. http://www.polamjournal…

    “If a single image dominates the popular perception of the Polish campaign of 1939, it is the scene of Polish cavalry bravely charging the Panzers with their lances. Like many other details of the campaign, it is a myth that was created by German wartime propaganda and perpetuated by sloppy scholarship. Yet such myths have also been embraced by the Poles themselves as symbols of their wartime gallantry, achieving a cultural resonance in spite of their variance with the historical record. – Steven J. ZALOGA: Poland 1939 – The birth of Blitzkrieg. Oxford”

  24. Dewey says: September 23, 20108:17 am

    Arglebarglefarglegleep and Firebrand: As I understand it, what happened is that some Polish cavalry (who actually fought more as mounted infantry but whatever) attacked some German infantry and were doing quite well, and then some German tanks came up in support and the Poles had to retreat. Also, the Germans used cavalry throughout the war, as did the USSR and the Italians. It was particularly useful for anti-partisan operations on the eastern front.

  25. Dewey says: September 23, 20108:19 am

    Well, Firebrand, I just actually read the article you posted, so you already know this!

  26. Firebrand38 says: September 23, 20108:37 am

    Dewey: Yeah, I try to have my facts straight before I say someone is full of crap. Manners you know.

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