Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bart Lee's Radio Spies

Bart Lee (K6VK) from the California Historical Radio Society and Antique Wireless Association has written extensively on early radio communications and signals intelligence. He has the technical knowledge on radio communications but also did thorough research on the subject.

One of his splendid works is "Radio Spies, Episodes in the Ether Wars", a comprehensive 134 page work on radio interception and signals intelligence. The papers traces the origins of radio intelligence in the early 1900's and covers its rapid evolution due to the exponential rise of wireless telegraphy during Word War I. Radio communications were used by all of the military forces, and friend and foe discovered the benefits of radio communications, but also its drawbacks. Exploiting the disadvantages became an essential part of military strategy, politics, diplomacy and espionage.

Signals intelligence, traffic analysis and cryptology developed rapidly into a race between those who were seeking secure communications and those who intercepted and exploited it. If World War I was the kick-off for radio intelligence, then World War II confirmed that signals intelligence and codebreaking had become a vital part of modern warfare. Since then, radio is a powerful weapon. Bart Lee did a wonderful job on explaining the evolution of radio interception and the efforts by American, British, Soviet, Japanese and German intelligence organisations to master the radio waves.

I can highly recommend Radio Spies, Episodes in the Ether Wars (pdf) on Bart's web pages. The images that go with the paper are found in this pdf file. Many more great publications, related to radio communications history and technology, are found on Bart Lee's web page, hosted on the California Historical Radio Society's Radio History section.

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