O'Neill's Electronic Museum

Penn Valley California

Historical Notes in Regard to Radio Development in Basel Switzerland

1890 to 1992

Click for 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.

Basler Reminiscences
Part 1
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".

Ruedi Mangold
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.
Difficult translation

Technical notes:
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. coil As 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. Basler sender and
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 telegraphy.

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 heard.
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 rectifiers mostly.
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. Albert
                Müller Chefttechniker 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.
Studio von Radio
                Basel Dr.
                Schlageter-Basler Flugplatzsender 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 location: Bauernhaus Fuchsjagd RCB 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 operation.
1930 to 1940
1940 to 1949
1950 to 1980
1980 to 1992
Copied and translated with respect 2002-2003 Kevin K. O'Neill