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Editors note: Dashtoons is proud to present for your kind consideration numbers 22 and 23 of the popular Dead Electrical Dudes series by Phlip A. Neidlinger, PE, KA4KOE, spotlighting the double trouble Proto Ionospheric Layer Lads Arthur Kennelly and Oliver Heaviside. (Yes, our own Dash! The Dog-Faced Ham attended Heaviside's upstate New York namesake high school, and was a pissed-off member of its radio club, dominated by senior Student Council resume-padder radio ragtimers)


Arthur Kennelly
Honorary ZZ Top Band Member
Entered Mortal Coil: 17 December 1861
Assumed Room Temperature: 18 June 1939


Oliver Heaviside
AKA “Wolverine”
Entered Mortal Coil: 18 May 1850
Assumed Room Temperature: 3 February 1925


Well, my fellow amateur radio operators, friends, and vicious enemies, I’m back out of hiding. The seething outrage following my Dead Electrical Dudes 20 and 21 Yagi-Uda Combo Special exploded in fine 1883 Krakatoa style. The backlash drove me into fearful seclusion. I cannot verify rumors that a reward was issued by THE POWERS THAT BE for my lifeless carcass. Anyway, I survived. For reference, here is a print of the catastrophic Krakatoa eruption…..



Does the average radio enthusiast realize that the theories of Messrs. Kennelly and Heaviside established a foundation for worldwide HF (and below) communications today? My first guess would be “no”. We concern ourselves with solar fluxes, A- and K-Indices, sunspot numbers, solar wind velocities, and geomagnetic storms as they pertain to talking, via the ham radio bands, with Cousin Bubba-Joe, who is located a few states over and deep down in the heart of inbred land. Finally, let’s not forget how much time your significant other will graciously allocate for radio “play time” before disciplinary rolling pin deployment; no need to even turn the sucker on if the bands are deader that the aforementioned Dudes…’er…anyway, I digress.

A lot of head scratching was going on after the first successful radio tests by Marconi and others. The signals were often received beyond “line of sight” even considering knife-edge diffraction and atmospheric effects. The ranges observed were far in excess of the calculations. So, what other unexplained mechanism was at work?

As is often the case in the scientific community, different researchers postulate explanations for observed natural phenomena at approximately the same time. Messrs. Kennelly and Heaviside were indeed figuratively scratching their heads more or less simultaneously over the radio signal range question. The scientific community at large was loathe to consider a reflective layer in the lower reaches of the so-called “ether” because the concept seemed to violate the laws of physics pertaining to the speed of light. Without getting into a whole mess of equations that I am incapable of understanding, much less explaining, the reflection hypothesis required that the waves exceed the speed of light while inside the layer versus the hard vacuum of dark, cold, inhospitable, alien-infested space. The issue was solved when it was later discovered that electromagnetic radiation had a “phase velocity” and a “group velocity”. Again, don’t ask me to explain this concept. Now, let’s get back to our Dudes…

In 1902, Mr. Heaviside, who bears a striking resemblance to Marvel Comics’ “Wolverine”, was a self-made electrical engineer, physicist, ginger, and mathematician. He theorized that an ionized layer of gas existed high above the Earth that served to reflect radio waves back to the ground. In that same year, Kennelly also predicted that a layer existed. Something was indeed afoot as Marconi successfully received signals transmitted from England while at Newfoundland. The theoretical zone of ionized atoms above the Earth was subsequently referred to as the Kennelly-Heaviside Layer. The glory, unfortunately, would ultimately go to British scientist Edward V. Appleton, who experimentally proved the layer’s existence in 1923. In 1947, Appleton received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work. The rarefied area is now known as the E-Region. Additional layers were added as one wasn’t good enough as the kiddies started playing around with stuff above MF. For illustrative porpoises, note the following admittedly poor sketch below. I could have searched the internet for a suitable copyrighted image but got lazy and here is the regrettable result:

What else did our pair accomplish in their lives other than make educated musings about invisible layers above Terra Firma? Both were heavily involved in the scientific communities of late Victorian Era society.

Wolverine attended a school for girls run by his mother in his early years. A bout of Scarlet fever had left him partially deaf. The young, red-headed Oliver dropped out of school at age 16 but continued studying on his own. Fortunately for Heaviside, his uncle, Charles Wheatstone (a bridge is named after him) sponsored the eclectic lad’s studies in the German and Danish languages as well as mathematics, electricity, and telegraphy. Later, as an employed telegrapher, Heaviside became familiar with the problem of transmitting messages over long distances as the information would be distorted and weakened by the various reactances present in the hard-wired circuits. Wolverine analyzed the problem mathematically and devised a working solution, thereby making possible long distance telegraphy and telephony. Mr. Heaviside also advanced the concept of electrical reactance and made significant contributions in the area of advanced mathematical analysis. Unfortunately, due to his difficult early childhood and other factors, the scientist gradually lost his marbles, became a recluse and used boulders for furniture in his home. Yes….boulders. Now on to Mr. Kennelly.

Kennelly enjoyed a storied career and participated in the current wars between Edison and Westinghouse, vis-à-vis DC vs. AC. While on Edison’s team, the boys dreamed up public demonstrations of AC’s supposed greater danger by electrocuting dogs, thereby convincing officials that it should be used in that nifty new tool of the penal system; the electric chair. Kennelly also published papers on the use of complex numbers, impedance, and alternating current theory. The canine torturer later served on the professorial staffs at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Both Dudes contributed more to their fields of study than is described herein. The curious and learned reader is encouraged to perform further independent reading. Until next time, my friends, I remain

Respectfully Yours,

Philip A. Neidlinger, PE, KA4KOE
Richmond Hill, Georgia USA




































Born in France in 1914 and baptized Capucine by a prosperous if surnameless family of Lyon bakers, a jeune fille discovered her loving knack for edible representations of this and that, which is to say pretty much anything but one more damn baguette.

At first chance she ran away to Paris, changed her name in rapid succession from just Capucine to just Miou-Miou before finally settling on just CiCi. That resolved, the headstrong young practitioner of comestible plastic arts brazenly rattled gastronomic cages on both sides of the Seine until she secured an apprenticeship with Auguste Escoffier's personal marzipan sculptor in 1930.

Sometime during this period, perhaps while straying from the rue Coquillière cooking supplies district to the nearby rue Galène radio supplies district in search of inspiration, CiCi conceived of marzipan candy fashioned as resistors, capacitors, inductors and other wireless components -- which in certain progressive youthful circles were iconic of a new mode of magic that made Merlin's seem like so many parlor stunts.

Sadly, the anachronistic Salon de Marzipan rejected CiCi's radical designs. Accustomed to miniature marzipan pears and putti, her superiors had no patience or praise for precise almond paste replicas of radio parts, no matter how much they cried out for 90 volts of B+.

CiCi pretended to give up, returning to pears, putti and miniature marzipan dead ducks, ever popular for hunting lodge centerpieces. She knocked out the schlock for five long years, saving her wages and secretly building entire superheterodyne receivers out of marzipan, right down to itty-bitty tunable marzipan IF slugs.

By 1936 CiCi found herself triumphantly sailing into New York harbor, straining to see Cortlandt Street from the deck of the SS Île de France. She knew just where she was going because in all the world she belonged no place more than Radio Row.

Not alone, she was. At that moment, another dreamer under an assumed name, a skinnybones busker was looking for a place to set up along Cortlandt Street. He tentatively dropped his hayseedy kit at number 73, storefront of Kaplowitz The Capacitor King. Slouched in the open doorway was a young man with a full head of hair and a jazzy air, lightly plucking a standup bass, biding time until his first customer of the day.

"Friend..." the cheapsuited hick doffed his fedora and extended his hand. "I'm a Knight of the Road they call Sir Hugh Mann-Radio."

"They call me Kappy," smiled the bassist, nodding his head toward an empty folding chair by the storefront steps. "Hey Sir Lancelot, why dontcha take a load off and listen to this?"

At last CiCi knew she was among those who understood. Here, her raison d'etre required no explanation.






Hams of Tomorrow

While all we hams are airborne, some hams are already in space. Astronauts and Cosmonauts for sure, but plenty of Terrestrial hams now joyride the radio space lanes, and plenty more look on enviously. So I ask you, are we not Hams of Tomorrow?

Just like Sun Ra always said, Space is the Place. Our hemoglobin runs hot with hamanifest destiny. Our hopes fly with every mission to Mars. Our hearts, young and old, to a ham, ache for new worlds of novelty and wonder, untracked as a front lawn after a blizzard, waiting for our snow angels.

Are you with us?

If you are, Hams Of Tomorrow welcomes you aboard. Our booster is heavy. Our spirits are high. And our countdown is now in progress.

HOT stuff.

Like, where else but



Hugo Gernsback was so far ahead of his time he made completely serious fun of himself, something like a proto-Andy Kaufman, only with headphones instead of ascots and wrestling trunks.

In this starling remembrance by Buzzer All-Night Radio Lunch Wagon proprietor Buzzy Buzzer - Gernsback's closest confident during those crazy days and nights on lower Manhattan's fabled Radio Row, we plumb the depths. With Buzzy leading the way, we dive deep into Gernsbackian secrets that lie beneath those streets yet today, the mystery cultic Dionysian wellspring of our modern wireless world.

Yes, in addition to publishing scores of magazines about radio, TV, shortwave, DXing and electrical experimentaton during the earlier 20th century, Gernsback also published "Sexology," a purportedly serious mag about...well, look it up. No judgement here, we just don't work blue, if you know what we mean, nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

And by the way, if you think the above reference is gratuitous, just look into Jack Parsons, the J. P. namesake of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the pioneer solid rocket fuel formulator, the guy who dreamed up JATO bottles.

Never mind feet of clay, but of course, Techno Seekers are of the flesh as much as any of us. They think a lot, and not always about rocket fuel and variable capacitors.

Not for nothin', stay tuned.

When Buzzy talks, nobody walks.