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Pages 1, 4 and 7 of "Vol. 1, No. 2," of the 9-page "radio newspaper" inauguarted as a regular, daily facsilime program over the St. Louis Post-Dispatch station W9XYZ, last month, are shown above. The pages are 8-1/2 ins. long, 4 cols. wide.

First Daily Newspaper
Radio-Craft, March 1939

Station W9XZY, the experimental radio facsimile broadcasting station operated by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, last month inaugurated the world's first regular broadcast on ultra-high frequencies of specially prepared facsimile newspapers. The broadcasts will be continued daily and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Number 1 of Vol. 1 of the Post-Dispatch's first radio edition consists of 9 pages 8-1/2 ins. long and 4 columns wide, using the newspaper's regular 7-point type.

In answer to inquiries by Radio-Craft, Robert L. Coe, Chief Engineer of radio station KSD, wrote as follows:

"So far as the transmitting equipment is concerned, it is the standard scanner manufactured by RCA, the output of which is fed into a 100-watt transmitter operating on 31,600 kc. We selected the ultra-high frequency band for our experimental operation because it offered the opportunity of broadcasting facsimile during the day time--in fact any time we desire--and it seemed to us these hours would offer us a much better opportunity for ascertaining public reaction to this new venture."

The facsimile equipment or Scanner, of the RCA-system fascimile setup is shown in center, above; left is a monitor fascimile receiver with a completed page issuing from the instrument. The 100-watt transmitter operates on 31,600 kc.

  "Of course, our range is limited on the 31,600 kc. channel, but our investigations to date indicate we are obtaining satisfactory coverage of this metropolitan area which certainly offers ample opportunity to develop our present experimental program. Later, if public reaction seems to justify, there is nothing to prevent our putting facsimile over our standard broadcast station KSD during the early morning hours to reach the rural areas surrounding St. Louis (Mo.)."

"The receiving recorders were also manufactured by RCA and are, of course, equipped with ultra-high-frequency receivers. Incidentally, we have not experienced nearly as much trouble with interference on the ultra-high frequency band as was expected. The characteristics of the recorders are such that far more interference can be tolerated than is the case in the reception of sound broadcasting an these frequencies."

For more than a month experimental laboratory broadcasts of printed matter, photographs and cartoons have been in progress and results have been studied by engineers of KSD, commercial broadcasting station of the Post-Dispatch. During the last few weeks (or about the time this story was written) they have been recorded on 15 receiving sets placed in the homes of members of the station's staff.

These sets, manufactured by the Radio Corporation of America, are the first capable of receiving high-frequency facsimile broadcasts, permitting station operation at any hour of the day. Experimental equipment recently in use by a few other stations employed standard broadcast wavelengths, restricting the period of their use to the early morning hours when regular commercial broadcasting stations were quiet.

Within the next month the manufacturer expects to be able to supply receivers at a cost of about $260. Several will be placed in public places for demonstration. The range of Station W9XZY, broadcasting on 31,600 kilocycles, is from 20 to 30 miles.

"On the first page of this "radio newspaper," now being received in every home in the St. Louis service area of W9XZY equipped with a facsimile receiver, are the leading news articles of the day. Then following sports news, several pages of pictures, Fitzpatrick's editorial cartoon, a summary of radio programs and radio gossip, and a page of financial news and stock market quotations."

Here you see the master copy being placed on the scanner drum for transmission. The drum turns at 75 turns per minute. The present experimental transmissions have a fidelity of 125 lines per inch. A photocell is the light-variation pick-up unit.

The original copy of the facsimile newspaper on being printed by regular processes, was placed one page at a time on the cylinder of the sending apparatus. As the cylinder revolves at the rate of 75 times a minute a tiny beam of light (no larger than pin point), and a photoelectric cell (commonly known as an "electric eye"), move across the page. The amount of reflected light reaching the "electric eye" varies with the black and white of pages of type and with the depth of shading in the photographs. These light variations control the amount of electric current flowing through the "electric eye."

The varying electrical current is amplified by the transmitter and the outgoing radio waves change in intensity in proportion to the amount of light reflected from the copy into the "electric eye."


The home facsimile receiver or Recorder is here shown open so that the mechanism may be viewed. A stylus (stubby needle) presses carbon paper against unreeling white paper to reproduce the original picture's light variations.

The antenna of the receiver set in the home picks up these waves. The receiver, a closed cabinet with no dials to be operated or adjustments to be made by the owner, contains continuously-feeding rolls of paper and carbon paper which pass over a revolving metal cylinder from which a small stylus projects.

Pressure, varying with the intensity of the radio waves, is exerted on a metal bar, parallel to the axis of the cylinder, beneath which the paper and carbon is fed. Thus the black and white of the original copy scanned by the "electric eye" is duplicated on the paper passing over the cylinder of the receiving set which is synchronized with that of the sending mechanism.

Printed on only one side, the copy may be cut or folded to make pages of the facsimile newspaper. It is unnecessary for the reader to be on hand when a broadcast begin since a clock, set for the scheduled time, will automatically start the receiving set and stop it at conclusion of broadcasting. It requires 15 minutes to transmit one page.

Arrival of the afternoon "radio newspaper," on schedule at 2 p.m., rain or shine, is a signal for the folks at home to gather around the facsimile receiver to see the cartoons, news photos, etc., that reqular radio programs leave to the imagination.

One of the receivers has been set up in the engineering department at Washington University, which is co-operating with station W9XZY in a study of problems incident to actual broadcasting outside a manufacturer's laboratory.

Station KSD's engineers have closely followed developments of radio facsimile broadcasting since 1934. Last April, RCA agreed to supply equipment necessary for an experimental program.

Related Article:
If Not “Television,” Why Not “Facsimile?”
So many people ask: “Are we ever going to have television in our homes?” Instead of replying, the Editors ask another question: “How would you like to have an attachment for your receiver that would print the original strips of text and illustrations shown on these pages?”
(Radio News, August, 1934)


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