More: Microwave Technology

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Thu Apr 5 03:10:37 EDT 2007

--- NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at> wrote:

> To read some of the postings on this site you would

> assume that before

> Sputnik we were living in the stone age as far as

> communication was

> concerned. In the 1950's General Electric

> developed and installed a

> microwave relay telephone system connecting the

> entire Southern Railway

> System, which they still maintain for Norfolk

> Southern to this day. When

> I came to Gainesville in 1956 there was a microwave

> relay tower with two

> dishes on top which was visible about a quarter of

> a mile north of the

> depot. Sputnik, Shmutnik indeed. Bill Sellers.


Slightly off topic as not directly rail connected ....
so read no further if you're NOT interested!

I was at friends recently for dinner, and one of their
other guests had been in the telecoms/wireless
industry, and interested in an article in the latest
edition of the Journal (of what used to be the
Instutution of Post Office and then British Telecom
Engineers) (see below).

The other guest, Basil Carter, wrote me concerning
Reeves, and of his own career including early

"When I joined STC in 1951 his (Reeves) work on
information theory and a new mode of transmission (I
can't remember the designation PCM being used at that
stage, but perhaps that is just a faulty memory) were
the subject of considerable discussion amongst the
senior members of the Line Transmission Laboratory in
North Woolwich, where I worked. I seem to remember
that most people thought it too complex and bulky to
be practical when the only switching devices available
were hot-cathode valves or gas tubes. The arrival of
the transistor changed all that of course. I am afraid

I did not know of his involvement with OBOE however,
so anything about that will be new to me.

It is now over 30 years since I had dealings with any
PO engineers. Prior to that most of my contacts were
at Lutyens House, and very few names now come readily
to mind. I do remember that the Headquarters engineer
in charge of the Manchester - Kirk-o-Shotts microwave
link in 1952 (the first one on which I was engaged)
possessed the somewhat distinctive surname of Crank,
but what his first name was I do not remember. I am
sure that if I heard the names of my other contacts
again then bells would begin to ring, but at the
moment I am stumped for more. I look forward to
reading about Alec Reeves if you can get me a copy.
Many thanks for the offer."

When microwave was first used in the UK railway
communications and signalling networks I don't know.

It was the 100th anniversary year of The
Communications Network in 2006, so there's been quite
an interest in the history, including this time an
article on Alec Reeves (who invented PCM, developed
OBOE), and on TAT1.

The guy who wrote the Reeves piece, David Robertson,
is working on a Reeves biography, an article on John
Bray, and amonst other things works with the Bawdsey
Radar Group - I've never been up there

See also related to OBOE

Dominic Pinto

Live or work in Covent Garden or Westminster?
Check this out:

e-m: dominic.pinto at
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