I made my first wireless in 1924 – just two years after the British Broadcasting Company (not Corporation) had started broadcasting. It was a Crystal Receiver. Thus started an interest which has continued for nearly 80 years. I was then 15 years old. When I was 21 I joined the Colonial Administrative Service, and was posted to Northern Rhodesia, now called Zambia. The first article I published was one in Practical Wireless, describing a battery operated Communications receiver employing reaction twice, on aerial and I.F., and reflexing. It was designed at a time of great battery shortage, to obtain maximum amplification with minimum valves. It appeared in Practical Wireless for December 1943 and remained my domestic receiver until the end of 1958.
For the next 25 years I did some experimental work; I did not publish anything. Early in 1959 I moved to Somaliland to become the last Governor and Commander-in-Chief, retiring in the middle of 1960. I then started my forty years of living in Devon.
Quite soon I sent an article to Practical Wireless, and received a polite letter from F.J. Camm who, however, declined to accept it. Then started a long period with Radio Constructor during which I had about 100 articles published. When they sold to Radio and Electronics World I published a few articles with them and later Radio Bygones. During this period 20 of my original receivers and amplifiers went to the National Wireless Museum, where they are under the t.l.c. of my friend Douglas Byrne.
A short time ago, Dr Brian Austin, head of the Electronics Department of Liverpool University, told me that he and his colleagues were interested in my Reflex receiver designs, and he had given one of my designs to an MSc. Student for his research project for his degree. I have since received a copy of the student’s 100-page dissertation, which was graded in the first class.
I was knighted (K.C.M.G.) on my appointment to Somaliland, and inherited my baronetcy on the death of my brother in 1978. This as an inherited title is, of course, automatic if one happens to be next in line, and has no academic value, and is not in any way connected with work done.
Now, at 93, I am still interested but do not pretend to have any experience in computers and such like devices unlike most of my three children, nine grandchildren and six plus great grandchildren.
Sir Douglas Hall