February 18, 2011
Who invented radio? It turns out that it is the result of several incremental discoveries made by many people over a 150 year time interval. This is a review of the contributions of these forefathers starting with Ben Franklin and continuing until the beginning of the 20th century. Most of these discoveries sprung from insights provided by earlier experimenters so there is a sequential thread of logic as the field of electro-technology evolved. Many of these forefathers are honored today by having an electrical unit named after them (volt, ampere, ohm, oersted, farad, henry, maxwell, hertz, tesla, etc.).
Bob Buus became interested in electronics as a child. He obtained his amateur radio license in 1953, upgrading to Extra Class in 1955 and presently holds the amateur call W2OD. He obtained his First Class Radiotelephone and Second Class Radiotelegraph licenses in 1954 while still in high school and went on to college earning a BSEE from the University of North Dakota in 1959 followed by an MEE from New York University in 1961. Bob joined the technical staff of Bell Labs in 1959 and worked on submarine cable systems, telemetry systems, and early personal computers. He holds two patents. He retired from Bell Labs in 1989 as head of the business terminals development department. Other than a little consulting work, Bob devotes most of his time to amateur radio.