84 years ago, a teenager built a television in a basement in Hammond, Indiana. The teenager was a radio ham, [John Anderson W9YEI], and as it was the late 1930s, the set was a unique construction – one of the few in existence built to pick up one of the earliest experimental television transmitters at the time, W9XZV in Chicago. We know him from his mention on a 1973 radio show, and because it gave a tantalizing description, he caught the attention of [Bill Meara, N2CQR]. He’s researching every detail he can find through a series of blog posts, and while he’s found plenty of fascinating things about early TVs, he’s pleading for more. Any TV from the late 30s was worth mentioning, so does anyone else have a story about this one?
The set itself was described as an aluminum chassis with a tiny 1″ CRT, something that to a 1930s experimenter would have been an expensive and exotic piece. He found the details of a contemporary set published in a magazine, and looking at his circuit diagram, we were immediately struck by the relative simplicity of the circuit of an electrostatic deflection television. Its tuned radio frequency (TRF) radio frontend is definitely archaic, but something that probably made sense in 1939 when there was only one channel to receive. We hope [Bill] manages to get more information.
We covered some early television work here not too long ago, but if you fancy going for it yourself, it’s still not too late to join the party.