O'Neill's Electronic Museum

Penn Valley California

Historical Notes in Regard to Radio Development in Basel Switzerland

Click for Original German Version
all italics mine KKO

Carl Keel, HBR 51, receives the station license HB9P. Its location is: Number 22 Kanderer St.
The PTT (postal, telephone and telegraph) acquires the transmitter at Beromünster with 100 KW of operating power. A short time later Dr. Baumann, Alfred Müller and Mr. Friedlin perform field strength measurements. To their astonishment they only compute 60 KW. An unpleasant situation develops between these amateurs and the PTT. They are dismissed by the PTT as mere amateurs and dabblers. Many years later the PTT admits that they were only putting out 60 KW and the power was increased to 100 KW
Mr. Friedlin was the owner of a shop on the Hammerstrasse, that was all sold, to the amateurs at that time for tinkering material. difficult translation Alfred Müller HB9RAL later became one of the best presidents. He never made the transmission examination, faithfully copying a transmission: "There must also be listening amateurs". difficult translation
The morning of 13 Dec. the PTT gives R. Mangold the call sign HBR108 which 4 years later became HB9RBR.


Although not registered at the university, HBR108 listens to part of the last lecture of Professor "pinch off the wire" ("Zwick-ab-den-Draht" = pun on Zickendraht his name) TS At the end he (professor) says "So gentleman, that's it. Except for the triode today's tubes have so many more grids! For example: Pentodes, Hexodes, etc. I am too old, to explain all this. Radio engineering makes such very rapid progress".
HBR108 HB9T Ruedi Stuber HBR60 receives the station license, the new location is at Kannenfeld Route 27 with the call signal HB9T. Its antenna is diagonally tied to the tower of Anthony's church. (During the renovation in 1950 the cleats puzzled specialists as to their use.)

Wolfgang Frey HBR54 (Frulle) in Neu-Allschwil receives the call sign HB9AC

In those times the Radio-Club had about 10 amateur members. Some were senders, some were eager to learn listeners. The club meetings were first held in the hall at "Stocks vom Rest". Helm on the Eisengasse. The Club's officer was Dr. J. Dürrwang. The club became more of a technical debate club, over the program organization, (Jazz Or no Jazz...) this was a bit agitated.

We radio amateurs did not just sit in the background with nothing technical to say, this way the younger members learned much in the way of the experience and know-how of their elders. Once our clamorous conversation became so loud that the president felt disturbed and he proclaimed with annoyance: "If you cannot be quiet, then disappear from the scene". HBR 108 said: "actually why not?", stood up and left. All the others followed. The rest of us went to Steinenkloesterli and there created the local group USKA of Basel.

pic HB9B is ready (QRV) with a Colpitts transmitter on 40 and 80 meters. HB9P works with a QRP/QRO-TPTG-transmitter, largely built by HBR108. Since OM Keel became chief of the Swiss welders school he suffered from lack of time. Each and every weekend he queried HBR108, about this and than and how and why it was built like that. TS This was the best training for the transmission examination. HB9T developed a multi staged crystal controlled transmitter and worked HB9AC's TPTG transmitter with 12 watts on 40 meters.
pic Many receive only amateurs criticise the PTT for excessive training license fees.
Between 1930 and 1933 one could hear a number of call signals, which were new: D4MUX-D4FOX-D4DAX-D4MAX-D4TOX etc. As QTG always one area helped: Southern Germany....

On whit-monday the new OG organized a special exercise in the area of the Gempen tunnels. HB9P made a portable (two men with a shoulder carrying bar) transmitter available . 14 In addition two portable home built short wave receivers came. HBR108's radio was built from a kit supplied by the Merz radio company. Went through to the receivers H. Faust, late HB9AU, OM Kuebler HBR128, Hansfranz Stohler, B. Morellini and HBR108. TS

After the USKA general assembly had decided to request the representative body of the association for the two week bulletin printed by the executive committee to be changed to typewriting, this huge task was transferred to the Basler Hams. TS! The bulletin drawn up by the editor HB9P was written by HB9T and HB9AC on stencils and printed by HB9AE on his reproduction machine in the Maulbeer drug store bound and forwarded in covers.

In March appeared the Fasnachtszeitung "VL" (phase of night newspaper?) instead of the "old man" as the official organ of the USKA (Unter Schwerer Kontrolle Aufgezogenen (literally: under heavy control education). TS!

On the 29th of April the USKA GV became retired. Held in the Shultzenhaus. On Sunday the 30th of April in the morning one the author visited the physical Institute. The admiration for both the HF Laboratory of Prof. Zickendraht and the 60 meter high steel lattice antenna mast with the intertwined net like antennas was very large. The antenna down lead went into an intermediate wood hut. On the door was a sign prohibiting entry in the strictest terms. Unfortunately we were not allowed inside. Official reason: No more custom and to large maintenance costs. The unofficial reason was different (see A -) The rest of the lunch was care free (Sans Souci) due to the hamfest atmosphere.

During the summer holidays of 1933 HBR108 was with his uncle {earlier a gold prospector from Nome, Alaska) in Minusio, Tessin on holiday. There in a rowboat with two tall wooden poles, with an antenna strained between them, heard many stations over several days among massive alps with a self built KW receiver. However here and there the YL generated QRN was stronger.

15 Since the call signal was frequently wrongly read by Otto Ess HB9AE, the PTT required it be amended to HB9AE. Hansfranz Stohler HBR135 receives the call signal HB9FZ.

G. Maurer receives the call signal HB9AI.

On invitation of the land section of the REF HB9T and HB9AC participated on the 11th June in a reunion in the National Hotel in Mulhouse (Elsass). Except F8NR {OM Gerre in Lautenbach) met others under F8AP (OM Peugeot, automobile manufacturer from Audincourt, F8FL (COM Diehl of Metz), F8N8 OM Henk von Riedlisheim), F8NY COM Sigrist von Colmar), F8PI (OM Samuel von Epinal and the legendary F3AM (OM Fernand and Munsch von Guebwiller). On the 21st Dec. 933 HBR108 became a member of the American Radio Relay League. His document of identification carries still the signature of Hiram Percy Maxim.

The RSGB is called to an annual Field Day. A radio station without strange foreign, alien? batteries should not be operated in the neighborhood of inhabited houses 24 hours. a day? Setup started Saturday at 1200. QRV from 1700 until Sunday 1700.

16 Transmitting power max. 25 W. The local group from? Basel ruled that 9 further HB stations should participate. 8 operators and 500 kg of material were transported by a passenger/pickup vehicle to the Gempen plateau. The transmitters were 40 and 80 meter Hartley's (CL 1257 Tube with the plate voltage connected directly to the gas generator. As a receiver the newly released Telefunken (1-V-2) short wave amateur receiver was used. The participating operators:
K. Baumann HB9B
W. Frey HB9AC
O. Ess HB9AE
C. Keel HB9P
A. Kubler HB9RBJ
E. Iselin HB9RGH
R. Mangold HB9RBR.
The call sign of the station at Gempen was XHB9P. The maximum score and thus Swiss winner was reached with 47 contacts in 4 Swiss districts, 15 English districts and 10 other countries. (The unexpected acoustic noise of the gasoline generator was so great, it was relocated approximately 200 meters from the station. In the absence of a cable that long nails were struck into the trees, empty beer bottles used as insulators over that and on it an overhead line was strung pulled back from bare wire for the 500 V.)
In November HB9B was equipped with an American Collins transmitter and began with permission of the Obertelegrafendirektion (lit= over telegraph direction akin to the FCC)to radiate for? the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG) and the radio club from Basel each Thursday starting from 2200 MEZ (central European time) on 7118 KHz. The foreign Swiss transmissions from the studio Basel were taken up by foreign Swiss with enthusiasm. difficult translation


The USKA broadcast was radiated each Thursday around 2300 MEZ on 3770 kHz by HB9B. The USKA general assembly of 20 January selected as it's president: Dr. K.Baumann (HB9B), secretary Eugen Kempf (HB9RCU, hb9bf), chief press officer C. Keel HB9P, in Basel and to the QSL manager Wolfgang Frey HB9AC in Neuallschwil. R. Mangold HB9RBR brought a QST recommended assembly specification in the "Old Man One" for a 5-m Transceiver, which utilized European tubes and converted construction elements. 17

Otto Ess built in Bettingen at the Linsbergweg a large Chalet. see right Amateur Sender in the "high mountain village in the canton Basel".
E. Kempf, HB9RCU receives the transmission license with the call sign HB9BF.
In the press questions emerge as to why the PTT does not accomplish broadcast transmissions on the very high frequencies. In the USA it is stated that these are affected substantially less by atmospheric and industrial disturbances. The PTT always responded with "These wavelengths are only suitable for flat land. They are absorbed, reflected and polarized and are of no use in Switzerland". Since the Basler amateurs already had some experience with 56 MHz, they wanted to prove in a full-scale test that contrary to the PTT they (VHF) are useful for broadcast purposes.
They provided a complete VHF broadcasting station in the tower room of the brewery on a corner in small Basel. (see special report No. 1)

After one winter the VHF transmitter was dismantled. It was built into A C5 airplane of the AVIA at Sternefeld. The receiver stood in the area of the airfield. The pilot of the C5 had to fly concentric circles and the amateur broadcasting from the plane had to continuously announce it's position. It was a large amazement to myself that the range was substantially larger, as weak output was expected. difficult translation
One thinks that this transmitting method would have had a lasting reaction on the press. But this was not the case. We sent the detailed test evaluation to the GB PTT, they let us know that passing it on was judged by the daily papers as an "unfriendly act". At that time the regulation stood that the PTT is permitted to revoke any transmission license if an "unfriendly act" is present.
But we sent the report to the boss of the transmission troops, from where we received a nice letter of thanks with the statement that it is a valuable contribution to national defense.
Successes of VHF encouraged the amateur club of Basel to energeticly participate in the coming air defense exhibition at the MUBA. (see report No. 2)
Three further Basler operators receive the transmission concession:
Ersnt Iselin HB9RGC with call sign HB9BJ, Robert Schönholzer with HB9BS and Dr. K. Baumann HB9BY.


19 H. Emmerich. ( "the sailor") receives the call sign HB9CL.
The operator Basel regrets that the call sign HB9BS was already used. HB9RBR negotiated with Robi Schönhotzer and reached agreement that the PTT be requested that he receives the favor of another call sign for the local group`s station.

Again a Field Day was held on the Gempen plain. For the first time a three element beam was used designed in the workshop of Mangold senior. Also a weather balloon, that carried an 80 meter antenna. 20 The obtained results left much to be desired, particularly because on Sunday morning the bright yellow balloon was shot down from the guard tower by the Reservists from Dornacher.

Rudolf Mangold (HB9RBR) receives the call signal HB9DU. Since ordinary technical designers "on the air" was very very rare, which DU in the call signal had to be continuously clarified due to inaudibility. difficult translation
HB9DU decided to go through at the NMD.(?) built a 80 m Transceiver, which together with headphone, antenna material and the heavy batteries was scarcely over the prescribed 6 kg weight. 21 By building the whole micro key of magnesium metal it would be under the weight limit. Serious loud songs from experienced group leaders furthered the small myths of the Maderanertal. TS Vicker mist with Saint Elmo´s fire (elmsfeuren) flashing therein prevented QSO's on Sunday morning until about 1100, which naturally was not sufficient to win. Nevertheless: during the whole time a narrow film was turned. (in the year 1994 when demonstrated it became a large success in the NCARC, which does not know NMD).
Authors note: I have seen "Elmsfeuren" off the back of airplanes during storms. It is a bright blue corona discharge. Ruedi seems to be talking about this phenomena coming off of either the antenna or surrounding trees and that it was filmed. The film was later viewed at the local radio club. I will attempt to find this film and duplicate it for this site
In August the general mobilization was proclaimed. 90% of the Swiss amateurs went in the service. The local group of Basel was completely shut down. All transmitters and receiver were rudely appropriated by the PTT.


On May 21 the military was provided with a 5 m Transceiver built by teamwork. Were this:
VHF-Transceiver TL 7 asset of: Dr. Alois Gassmann
VHF-Transceiver TL 8 asset of A. Schenker Riehen
VHF-Transceiver TL 9 asset of OG-Basel
VHF-Transceiver TL 10 asset of A. Müller Binning
VHF-Transceiver TL 14 asset of Edwin Kramer
VHF-Transceiver TL 12 asset of Ernst Iselin
VHF-Transceiver TL 11 asset of Otto Ess Bettingen
1 Short wave transmitter and receiver station TS 1 in carrying crate with material.
22 The KW station and the VHF Transceiver of Carl Keel, as well as the VHF Transceiver of HB9DU were not brought to the PTT. They were already put at the disposal of the troops. KW station and some Transceivers were set up by the city command in the deep cellar of the Bernoullianums (seismograph cellar), in order to serve as "underground stations, in case of assault by the Hitler army. The other Transceiver went together with HB9DU, which during the existence of the ad hoc formed "Gempen Division" service, served. There it was set up in a ladies bathroom of the school building, including civilian clothes, mustaches and makeup, if HB9DU had to go into the Resistance. On the occasion of special instruction HB9DU could visit once, where the telephone management of Basel kept the confiscated equipment: in the roof floor of the white house at the Rhinesprung. It drew the attention of the officials to the fact that one bomb attack could destroy everything and the PTT is then liable for damages. The storage was shifted immediately into the cellar.
1890 to 1930
1940 to 1949
1950 to 1980
1980 to 1992