Historical Notes in Regard to Radio Development in
1890 to 1992
Original German Version
The original notes are in German, and all pages
will eventually be translated, reviewed. and updated but
this is a slow process. I have also sacrificed some
accuracy for readability.
All italics are mine.
(TS)= Translation Suspect
This is as close to a direct copy as possible, if
for any reason, the owner (or their family) of the name
or call sign wishes it removed please visit the bulletin
board on the main english page and let me know.
1890 to 1930
Preface for the good hearted reader:
By coincidence 3 pages came into my hands, by which this
title received it's theme.
In these sheets a short summary was to be found of what
occurred in Basel in regard to the advancement of radio
engineering and amateur radio. The representation stopped
with the year 1984. 1992
The Indian Crazy Horse of the Oglala Lakota once said:
"people without historical knowledge are like wind, which
blows over the buffalo grass"
I have many new amateurs that have developed an interest
in this legacy? history? over the recent years.
(TS) What should we do with this historical knowledge, if
there are only a few complete books, many out of print.
The following reminiscences represent an attempt to write
from a large physical (from Basel) distance a
historically edited version. Such an enterprise is
personal and naturally biased, although the author has
endeavored to remain neutral. It could be that names of
amateur radio operators have been confused. There also
could be some confusion with events and times. It could
even be that some event was not mentioned at all. The good
hearted reader may excuse such. It is not very easy to
remember exactly everything and everyone during the
author's life of 87 years. The "Basler Reminiscences" has
been dispatched to a number of Basler radio amateurs. The
recipients have the right to publish or further duplicate
it in their monthly newsletters.(TS) Conceivably there
also could be a free delivery to all newcomers after
passing the examination (amateur license?), so that
they do not become the like the "wind, which blows over
the buffalo grass".
Penn Valley, Calif. USA
Asks the author: I, wish with the assistance of a
younger amateur, to have what happens from now on
recorded. If possible with lots of photos.
In the NCARC a special post "Historian" exists, who has
the task of chronologically arranging all historical
events and keep them in a binder. Could this be a
suggestion for the Basler amateur club?
The author will receive the silent key diploma in the
foreseeable future and will interest then it the younger
radio amateurs, which happened after 1992 everything.
If next to the year is a question mark, it means that the
author could not recall the exact date.
The web author has placed the photos as indicated by
the original text.
At the physics institute of Basel the exciting experiments
of Heinrich Hertz are repeated by professors: E.Hagenbach,
E.Hagenbach-Bischoff, and L.Zehnder
At the 75th annual meeting of the Swiss Nature Preservation
Society, Prof. L. Zehnder demonstrates these fundamental
attempts. of Hertz's experiments
The Rhine power station Augst starts business. For publicity
an exhibition of electricity was held at the Federal
Railroads yard, at the former coal works. The high point was
the slave (receive only) station for wireless
telegraphy, where the astonished visitor could, from a
headphone pressed to his ear, hear the time, messages, and
weather transmitted from the Eiffel tower. The deciphering
of the Morse code was not always a success, even for the
telegraphists, since they were not used to the strange tone.
detector a "red oxide of zinc-chalk of pyrite" combination
was used. For the tuning first a coil about 80 cm long and
20 cm wide along which was pushed a sliding contact.
Also, for demonstration, the Physical Institute was allowed
to try sending and receiving during the transmission breaks
of the Eiffel tower. Professor H. Zickendraht and H. Veillon
make attempts with knallfunken bang sender?? and
impact spark transmitters. From the tower of the Saint Peter
Church a 100 m long antenna was stretched to the room of the
city clock makers, where the plant stood. Likewise in 1913
Professor Zickendraht began lecturing on wireless
The company Klingelfuss begins building small spark
transmitters, since it had experience with the building of
Rhumkorff Induction Coils, which were used to power x-ray
tubes. The transmitters were supplied to Swiss army, which
had shown interest in the development of the radio since
1904. Otto Ess (H9r-19, Hbr-19, H9XB, HB9B, HB9AE) was at
that time active as pupil and assistant in his father's
pharmacy on the Maulbeerstrasse. The wireless station in the
exhibition inspired him to build his own receiver station.
But where to get the material for a detector? Otto shredded
lead and sulfur powder into a test glass, heated the mixture
up and under lighting up developed a sintered together mass
with the characteristics of Bleiglanz(Galena). One can only
imagine the astonishment and disbelief of his parents, when
in the attic, in extreme silence, with strange wires
strained over the garden he received from the air and wrote
onto paper. Otto applied with the GO PTT for a receiver
permit. He received it "for study purposes". Two weeks later
the First World War broke.
A civil servant of the telephone management fetched crystal
detector, headphone, antennas, and earth wire including the
insulators and left, together with the physical material new
detector material?. Institute and the exhibition
material in the attic of the administration store. TS
Otto Ess would not have become such a deservedly respected
amateur, had he not looked for ways to continue wireless
receipt. He was now an apprentice in a state pharmacy. There
he melted a new Galena. And because the establishment of an
outdoor aerial was too risky, he used the overhead line of
the pharmacy telephone with success.
The military authorities allow telegraph transmitting
attempts from the Bernoullianum, where in Berne during the
summer the transmitters of the company Klingelfuss were
The Basler light bulb factory located one street back from
the Gundeldingerstrasse starts production of electron tubes.
The difference from all pervious foreign tubes is that they
had a bell-shaped anode, and over the heater element a flat
lying, spiral lattice. TS Their characteristic was a
Swiss cross with a Basel staff, etched in the glass, in the
center. Among them stood: ER1
(= receiving tube No.l). It is not well known, how many were
manufactured. 3 are still known of: 2 in the physikal.
Institute and one in the tube collection of HB9DU. Since
sent home to Basel! KO
On Sept. 29th the prohibition issued with the outbreak of
war was partially waived regarding the use of
radio-telegraphic stations. With the waiver an active
tinkering activity began again in Basel. At this time most
completed devices were usually from the USA, and were very
expensive. The tubes were heated with current from storage
cells and the anode voltages generated by connecting
flashlight batteries in series. To the batteries naturally a
charger belonged, which later swung to copper oxide electric
In order to help each other and to share experiences closed
to an individual, the calling went around to bring amateurs
to clubs. On January 19th the radio club of Basel (RCB) was
created in the Safranzunft. The first president was Dr.
Gustav Oesterheld, analyst in the society of chemical
industry. The registrar became Otto Ess. There were 12 radio
pioneers who, among others, are A. Krethlow (late KTA), Dr.
0. Kaiser (H9R 15), and Dr. K. Baumann (late HB9BY)
assistant to Professor Zickendraht.
On the initiative of Professor Zickendraht and Dr. A.
Krethlow the Basler radio cooperative was created. The airfield transmitter
with the arsenal is put to use for broadcast after the
break-down of the darkness at the disposal. TS!! The
studio is in the first story of the SBB owned building at
the Centralbahnstrasse. The sound technician in the studio
was A. Mueller, the broadcaster Dr. Schlageter.
Where the MUBA
stands now, was a small, empty place. In the winter it was
flooded and formed an ice-skating rink desired by small
Basel. R. Mangold of Hammerstrasse drove there to ice skate.
One evening he went to the Maulbeerstrasse lying beside it
and roamed alone in such a way as to be before the pharmacy,
until someone asked, why he waits. Then he was taken by Otto
Ess into his Ham Shack. When again at home he asks his
father to build with him a wireless receiver. The father
consents, would like to hear however first a positive
result, before he applies for a concession license.
The Basel Radio Club receives the call signal H9XB. Morse
code under the direction of Vr. O. Kaiser(H9R15), Otto
Ess(H9R19) is learned.
Since Mangold father and son receiver runs perfectly, He
receives the concession No. 4642 on December 19th. Annual
Fee 15 Francs.
L Biri and O. Ess acquire Radio telegraph operator licenses.
The Club Transmitter receives the new call signal HB9B. its
in an old farmhouse on the Luftmatt, where the KHS stands
now. Otto Ess op. HB9B organizes the first "fox hunt". The
receivers were heavy, between 3 and 6 kg! The world-long TS
about 175 m. Dr. W. Luethy gives a introductory course on
radio engineering. The Club transmitter is 172 days in