1937 was a year in which George VI was coronated, but also the year a breakthrough was made in telecommunications technology. Canadian inventor Donald Hings was the man who first made a portable radio signalling system, this for his then employer CM&S who were a mining and smelting company now more commonly known as Teck Resources Limited.
The first radio to be widely known as the more common name “walkie-talkie” was developed by current market leaders Motorola. Then known as the Galvin Manufacturing Company, a contract was received in 1940 to develop a portable, battery powered voice radio receiver/transmitter from the War Department of the US Government. The size of a backpack, the SCR-300 was used by the American Army, with around 50,000 units believed to have been built over the course of World War 2. This radio being a huge success for the American Military was later adopted by the British, using the design of the SCR-300 for the “Wireless Set No. 31” in 1947.
The first truly handheld radio was the AM SCR-536 yet again made by Galvin Manufacturing, only 3 years after the SCR-300 was made in 1937. Mass produced in 1941 this radio would also play a large part in WW2 with 130,000 models being manufactured throughout the war, with this model being carried by many of the first waves to hit Omaha Beach in Normandy alongside operatives of the SCR-300.
“Walkie Talkies” have long been used for military communications since first being introduced before the second World War. Modern day TETRA units are now used in line with Militant Forces across the world, with the ability to communicate on a variety of bands and modulation schemes whilst also including encryption capabilities. The advancement of technologies for the military now allows for use of GPS in order to help locate troops and their radios.
The SCR-300 would have been a rigorous exercise for the radio carrier, even with the lighter version B battery the radio still weighing 15kg, whilst also having an antenna that was 33 inches in length, and having an optional 10-feet 8 inches whip antenna. The SCR-536 on the other hand is a much lighter radio, weighing more similarly to the modern-day communication equipment at 2.2kg although the radio was extremely large in size.
Communication technologies has come a long way since the first system development in 1937, used for a variety of working environments radios such as the SCR-300 and SCR-536 have shaped the way people communicate in a vast array of settings.
Moving forward in 1947 was when Galvin Manufacturing Company changed their name to Motorola, a brand that would become a house hold name in terms of telecommunications devices both cellular and two way radios. From this point Motorola would go on to release the HT200 radio, a portable device that was classed as small and lightweight at the time weighing in at just 0.9Kg but nicknamed the “brick” due to its shape and durability.
Following on from the success of the HT200 the MX300 was released in 1975, these radios would operate on the 900MHz band. Including such features as status, identification and emergency alert features would set Motorola’s latest radio apart from the rest of the competition, this alongside its ability to work alongside computer-aided radio dispatch systems.
Motorola began their TETRA development in 1996, apha testing on the Island of Jersey in the March of the year. Also being awarded a contract to provide a TETRA radio system for the new airport in Oslo Norway, the airport that would go on to become the main International airport for both the capital city and the country as a whole.
In the most recent decades Motorola have continued to lead the way in terms of radio communications equiptment, with the GP340 being branded as the most popular radio ever made. Although discontinued in 2015 the radio is constantly requested by business buyers as it is still renowned for its quality, although not currently in production there are many newer Motorola models that share traits with the GP340. The Motorola DP1400 is currently one of the market leaders more popular radios, this alongside others such a the DP2400e and the DP4400e.
Although Motorola have long been the dominant force within a small space for communications equptment, companies such as Hytera and Icom are hot on their tails moving into the 21st century with more big things to come from all participants in the market.