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History of Communications-Electronics in the United States Navy, Captain Linwood S. Howeth, USN (Retired), 1963, pages vii-ix:


Preface

SINCE  THE  PERIOD covered by the work is that in which electronics, for the most part, was primarily a system of radio communications, it is fitting to quote a statement of Adm. Forrest P. Sherman, USN, which was made shortly after he became Chief of Naval Operations:
Successful communications systems do not just happen. They represent the combined skills of the engineer, the craftsman, the technician, and the operator. They reflect the countless hours spent at drawing boards and in the development laboratories of a vast electronics industry, the painstaking work of artisans and trained installation teams, the carefully drawn plans of the technician, and the proficient hand of the operator who ultimately mans the controls.
Radio was developed as a result of the intense desires of men to exchange intelligence as rapidly as possible over long distances without physical interconnections. At its birth, like human beings, it was an infant, limited in its own capabilities. In fostering its growth, scientists and engineers sought better means of propagation of waves, and the detection and amplification of the signals imposed upon those waves, as well as a better understanding of their actions in traveling from the source of propagation to the point at which they were received.
    Early in these studies and efforts to improve the distances the new mode could cover, the vacuum tube, the heart of electronics, was invented as a means of detection. For almost a decade it was considered inferior to other means of detection and its uses for other purposes remained undreamed of. Another decade passed before it assumed its present major importance in radio communications, and still another before its almost infinite possibilities were realized. During these years it was constantly improved and made into a rugged and reliable tool.
    It was only proper that the United States Navy, fresh from a war in two hemispheres, should take an active interest in the early development of a means of communication which might reach its men-of-war at sea.
    The chapters of part I narrate the Navy's effort to prevent monopoly, improve equipments and to achieve orderly regulation of radio to the end that it might serve mankind.
    Part II relates the usage and improvement of radio during World War I and the years that followed, and of the Navy's responsibilities in the radio communication field during this period. It relates the effort to establish a Government monopoly following the war and the failure of this which directly led to the formation of American operating companies which assumed world leadership in the field. Towards the end of this period commercial broadcasting became of major importance in the field of radio after its advent had been brought about as a result of the Navy's support of the American radio industry in the improvement of the vacuum tubes. Higher frequencies became usable for covering longer distance with greatly reduced transmitter powers. Their usage was hastened by Navy and amateur cooperation and by the deductions of naval scientists as to the action of waves of these higher frequencies.
    The final part continues the narrative through World War II and contains the history of the Navy's development of such electronic systems and devices as radar and its allied equipment, sonar, drones, and the proximity fuse. It describes the use of radio as a communication system and the improvement in equipment in the early part of this period to the point where the Navy possessed the most reliable and farflung system in the world. It relates the failure to continue research in this field, as a result of this, and its effect upon available equipment in World War II. It tells the success in overcoming this, the development of improved equipments during hostilities, and the problems of usage during a war which required such a large number of worldwide channels that it became necessary to develop the use of the spectrum's hitherto unthought of frequencies.
    The author desires to express his appreciation to the hundreds of persons who assisted by supplying materials, to the authors of the numerous books and articles in periodicals listed in the bibliography. He especially desires to thank the personnel of the Electronics Division of the Bureau of Ships, particularly to Mr. Mark Swanson, and the Communication Division of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. He is deeply indebted to Rear Adm. J. B. Heffernan, USN, who was instrumental in activating the project and to Rear Adm. E. N. Eller and Capt. F. Kent Loomis, USN, and the personnel of their offices, for their forbearance during the course of the project.
    The able assistance of Capt. Ferdinand Fisher, who did the writing of the preliminary manuscript of part I and who, with the able assistance of Miss Miriam Braeger, collected the major portion of source material, is gratefully acknowledged. Finally, it is desired to express thanks to Mrs. Richard N. Rivers of Brandon, Vt., who so painstakingly typed the numerous preliminary and final drafts of this work and to Mrs. Anne M. Vezzi and Mr. L. P. Eckenfelder who rendered invaluable assistance for all those necessary arrangements for its publication.

LINWOOD  S.  HOWETH        
Captain, USN (Retired).

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