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    Re: Did transistors transform celestial navigation?
    From: David Pike
    Date: 2018 Jul 14, 14:59 -0700

    Ed

    The life-raft radio you describe was known as the ‘Gibson Girl’.  One look on Google Images at its shape and how it was held will explain why.  It was originally a German design in WW2, copied by the British, and then by the USA.  It was essentially a very simple transmitter on 500kcs, which is why it needed such an incredibly long aerial.  It was never a receiver, which is presumably why Trevor Baylis was able to become the acknowledged inventor/developer of the wind-up radio receiver many years later.  There were apparently even earlier devices than the Gibson Girl dating back to the 1920s.  The original Gibson girl had two vacuum tubes, which must have been able to withstand the g forces of an aircraft ditching.  The device was retained within multi seat lifeGrafts well into the 1970s, although whether the vacuum tubes had been replaced by transistors by then, I know not.  The reason for retaining GGs for so long in multi crew life-rafts when smaller personal battery powered VHF and UHF transmitters were becoming available must have been because of the greater ranges available on lower frequencies for oceanic work, and because they were hand powered, so you didn’t need to worry about batteries running down.  DaveP

       
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