Vintage Radio for Listening to Mars (for Aliens!) During Moments of ‘Military-Imposed Radio Silence’ in 1924
I stumbled upon this very curious object in the digital collection of the Henry Ford. Listed as a ‘SE-950’ radio receiver, this hamr website describes it as a “U.S.Navy direction finding receiver.” The Henry Ford website says it was made in 1918, and perhaps more common during World War I. Curiously, they also mention it was utilized in 1924 when Mars was at it’s closest to Earth during a once-every-80-years or so opportunity; and that during this time a supposed “military-imposed radio silence” was ordained over the American public – wow!
The receiver has some unique features: the different knob styles, perhaps to physically identify the sensitivity of the knob being used; numerous external terminals perhaps for connecting to other wired devices; the horizontal square-toothed dial barely protruding from the surface, below the text ‘INTERNAL B COIL’ – all neat features!
The SE950 was produced commercially during WWI as a rugged field radio; its versatile nature allowed it to remain useful in Charles Francis Jenkins’ laboratory. The radio was used in a curious 1924 experiment as Mars drew near Earth’s orbit. The SE950 was connected to a device capable of photographically recording any “alien communication” broadcast during military-imposed radio silence.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.