Note - 1 June 2022: as announced since 2021, due to a large number of photos, diagrams, and other illustrations, the download size of this page had grown to about 40 MB! Depending on the user's internet access bandwidth, this page took "a while" to completely download. I have now split it into this main page and a dozen sub-pages.

©2004-2022 F. Dörenberg, unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be used without permission from the author.

Latest page updates: June 2022 (split into a dozen separate pages; added ref. 230R8, 245B-245D)

Previous updates: January 2022 (inserted section on bombing); December 2021 (added ref. 230Q5, 230Q6, 230R13); 28 May 2021 (note: now about 800 literature references provided on the WW2 Rad Nav pages, almost all downloadable!); April 2020 (started complete overhaul & expansion of this page).

red-blue line


The World War 2 Bernhard/Bernhardine radio navigation and command upload system of the Luftwaffe is described in great detail on this website. It is a "rotating radio beam system" for fighter aircraft navigation and guidance:

Berhard station

Fig. 173: The Luftwaffe rotating beacon ground station "Bernhard" Be-10 at Hundborg/Denmark

(source: www.gyges.dk, used with permission; US gov't = no ©)

But where does this system fit within the domain of radio navigation? First, we will briefly zoom out. Radio navigation is one of the radio aids to aviation:

  • Communication (one-way, two-way):
  • Ground-air (with air traffic control facilities)
  • Air-air (with other aircraft)
  • Navigation:
  • Long-distance
  • Short-distance
  • Approach and landing (in particular "blind" landing, i.e., solely with reference to instruments, and with limited or absent visual contact with the runway environment, etc.)
  • Secondary aids (ground-operated or airborne radio Direction Finding systems, Distance Measuring Equipment)
  • Collision avoidance:
  • Hazardous weather phenomena (using ground-based and airborne weather radar for potential turbulence conditions; detection of low altitude windshears (incl. microbursts) on the flight path while in the airport area by ground-based and airborne doppler-radar for predictive ( = forward-looking) detection. The latter was introduced in 1994 by the Bendix company. Non-radar based reactive windshear detection systems also exist).
  • Terrain (using radar/radio altimeters, ground mapping radar, and since the late 1990s: EGPWS/TAWS = GPS + 3D terrain/obstacle/airport database)
  • Other aircraft (e.g., transponder-based). Of course, the opposite of "avoidance" also exists, e.g., intercept radar used by fighter aircraft.

Also see p. 18 Trenkle Funkführungsverfahren.

"Radio Direction Finding" (D/F), Radio Location, Radio Guidance and Navigation"? This remainder of this page provides an overview of the history of the radio navigation domain, through the end of World War 2. The purpose is not to add yet another survey or taxonomy without verifiable and publicly accessible references, and rife with errors or omissions based on local-only view due to lack of foreign language skills, associated unawareness of foreign R&D, or the usual lazy copy-and-paste from other bad sources. Instead, to present an historic overview with documented origins, undistorted by persisting propagandistic or nationalistic versions of history ,or other forms of "fake history". With few exceptions, history school books reflect the "winner's" point of view, and WW2 is no exception. I did take the liberty to place some accents based on my personal curiosity and interests, including as a pilot and user of such systems in modern times. And, like Humpty Dumpty put it so well in Lewis Caroll's "Through the looking glass": "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less..."


"I don't trust those high-frequency thingies. One time I flew to southern Germany and landed inadvertently in northern Germany - all because of your high-frequency thingies!"

A. Hitler during a 1942 conversation with General Martini about the "X" system

"Radio-navigation requires boxes with coils, and I hate boxes with coils!"

H. Göring

Source: ref. 5, 6D

Air navigation without radio

Fig. 2: The alternative to radio navigation....

(source: 1987, unknown)


First, we need to introduce some basic terminology regarding air navigation (which, of course, is very similar to nautical navigation). Also see ref. 185X1. Rather than describing this textually, I will let the figure below speak for itself:


Fig. 2: Some basic terminology of air navigation - very similar to nautical navigation

Directional radio-frequency (RF) waves were discovered during the late 1880s. Starting in the early 1900s, concepts, techniques, and devices were invented and developed, to apply RF to direction-finding and navigation. So, we have to introduce some more terminology:

  • Radio direction finding (RDF). As the name suggests, this is a technique for determing the direction to or from a radio transmitter. I.e., determining Angle of Arrival (AoA) or Angle of Depature (AoD), respectively. The transmitter station can be fixed-base (stationary) or mobile, and cooperative or not ( = "enemy"). The direction is measured and expressed relative to a reference direction at the D/F station or at that transmitter station. The reference direction is typically True North, local Magnetic North, or the longitudinal axis of the vehicle (ship, aircraft, land vehicle, surfaced submarine). A distinction is made between:
  • RDF (D: "Fremdpeilung"): RDF-ing of a mobile transmitter station by a receiver station with known position. If this RDF-ing is done to assist navigation of the mobile station, then 2-way radio communication between the two stations is required.
  • Reverse-RDF (D: "Eigenpeilung"): RDF-ing by a mobile receiver station of a fixed transmitter station with known position. This can be done autonomously by the mobile station.
  • Radio location, a.k.a. radio positioning: determing the position (own or of a target) by radio means. This is also known as taking a "position fix", or "fix" for short. The position can be the absolute 2D position within some coordinate system on the face of the earth, or a relative 2D position ( = D/F direction + distance/range), or the 3D position of an aircraft ( = 2D position + altitude).
  • Radio navigation, in particular in-flight. One of the mantras that I remember well from my own pilot training, is about the top priorities of every pilot/navigator: always "aviate" ( = fly the airplane), "navigate" ( = figure out where you are, where you're going, and how to get there in 4D), and "communicate" (primarily with Air Traffic Control) - in that specific order of priority! Radio navigation is pre-dated by the following other forms of navigation, even though those were/are also used by airplane navigators, in particular on trans-oceanic and trans-polar routes, out of range of radio nav stations:
  • Pilotage: visual navigation by reference to landmarks and man-made objects on the ground (or in the water). This is also known as "contact flying". So-called "steel-beam navigation" followed railway tracks (UK: railroad), also referred to as the "iron compass".
  • Celestial navigation: based assessing the angle between one or more celestial bodies (stars, sun, moon, planets) and the horizon. This method has been used by mariners since ancient times. Most of these methods require the knowledge of time (e.g, local noon). Ref. 185Y1, 185Y2. Before the establishment of dependable inertial and satellite navigation (GPS, etc.), aircraft navigators used periscopic sextants during long distance flights beyond radio range (e.g., transoceanic and polar regions).
  • A related technique is Dead Reckoning (DR). It estimates the current position, based on a previous position fix (or known position), and an estimated position-change. The latter is based on estimated speed, direction, drift and elapsed time since that previous fix. The same approach can be used to estimate position at some time in the future, based on current position (known or estimated) and conditions. An automated form of DR is the inertial navigation system (INS). Such systems use multiple linear motion and rotation sensors: accelerometers and gyrospcopes (either mechanical, ring-laser, or fiber-optic) or nanotechnology (e.g., Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems, MEMS).

Clearly, the above radio-based activities are of strategic and tactical importance during times of armed conflict, and preparation therefore. Which also explains why corresponding RF-based countermeasures (interference, jamming, locate-and-destroy, etc.) have a similar level of importance.

Radio air navigation taxonomy

Fig. 3: Simplified taxonomy of radio-based location and navigation technology for aviation - through WW2

(note: lists of examples are not necessarily exhaustive; radar for non-navigational purposes is beyond the scope of this taxonomy)

Note that "determining" position or direction is actually "estimating", based on measurements or observations. Estimations always have an "accuracy" and a "precision". These terms are often confused, and even used interchangeably - which they are not! Simply put, "accuracy" expresses how close estimates are to the true value. "Precision" expresses how close multiple estimates of the same true value are to each other, i.e., "repeatability".

Note that with a single transmitter/DF-station pair, only a direction ( = bearing angle) can be determined - not position. The result of D/F-ing is basically a continuous straight (or great-circle) line of possible positions, emanating from the position of the D/F station, through the position of the transmitter, and beyond. This is a linear Line of Position (LoP, a.k.a., "position line"; D: "Standlinie"). See the left-hand panel of Figure 42 below.

Important: without further information, the position of the target on an LoP is not known! For a given position of the D/F or transmitter station, the LoP can be drawn on a map ("chart" in navigation parlance). Note that the bearing from a ground station to the aircraft (or vice versa) should not be confused with the aircraft's heading ( = the way the nose is pointing), nor with the aircraft's course ( = direction of the ground track, which is affected by wind).

Line of Position

Fig. 42: Linear, circular, and hyperbolic Lines of Position

Some other RF methods do not determine direction, but rather the distance ( = range) between an observer/anchor station and the "target". All points with the same distance to the anchor station now lie on a circle that is centered on that station. That is, all these points combined form a circular LoP. See Figure 42. Again, without further information, the target's position on an LoP is not known. Through air and space, radio waves propagate at the speed of light: close to 300000 km/sec, or close to 30 cm ( = 1 foot) per nanosecond. Now you know how long a nanosecond is! This finite-speed property makes it possible to use radio waves for determing distance: speed x time = distance traveled. The standard methods are as follows:

  • An fixed or mobile anchor station transmits a radio-wave pulse. That pulse is scattered from, and reflected by, the surface of the target. The target may be a cooperative/friendly, or non-cooperative/enemy aircraft, ship, land vehicle, or surfaced submarine. A reflected pulse is received back at the anchor station. The pulse has made a round-trip - to the target and back. The total time-of-flight (ToF) of the radio waves covers twice the distance between station and target. By measuring the time-difference (delay) between transmitting a pulse and receiving the echo, that distance (a.k.a. "range") is known. This is the "ranging" (D: "Enfernungsmeßung") part of what is called "Radio Detection and Ranging" (acronym: "radar") since late-WW2. The range from a radar station on ground to an airborne aircraft is actually "slant range", which is not the same as "down range". The latter is distance-over-ground, measured along the earth's surface, to the point on that surface, directly below the aircraft.
  • Rather than bouncing a radio pulse of a target, an "interrogator" station can transmit a pulse (or coded sequence thereof), and a compatible mobile "transponder" station replies with another pulse (or sequence thereof) on the same or (usually) different radio frequency. Transponders typically apply a pre-defined reply-delay. Again, half the round-trip time (minus any reply-delay) is equivalent to slant range. Modern transponders are required to apply a 3.0 ± 0.5 μsec reply delay.
  • The interrogator and transponder roles can be reversed: an airborne interrogator and a ground-based transponder. The latter is often co-located with a radio navigation beacon. The common post-war implementation of this is called Distance Measuring Equipment (DME).
  • In the world's first transponder-based ranging system (in 1927 patent nr. 632304 by Koulikoff & Chilkowsky), there were two interrogator/transponder stations. One initiated a pulse, and from thereon, the two stations ping-ponged the pulse. The resulting beat-tone was a measure of the distance between them.
  • Instead of transmitting and replying with a pulse signal, it is also possible to transmit a tone-modulated continuous wave (CW) signal, have the transponder send this back (typ. with a reply-delay) on a different frequency, and measure the phase-difference between the two signals. This round-trip difference represents a time-shift, hence distance. To avoid distance ambiguity, the wavelength of the transmitted tone has to be longer than the round-trip distance. E.g., a 10 kHz modulation tone has a wavelength of about 33 km (≈20 statute miles).

OK, just one more type of LoP to discuss! Above, we covered using the "time-difference = 2x round-trip distance" approach. It resulted in circular LoP's. This can be expanded to a system with not one but two anchor stations with known position. Of this station pair, one is referred to as the "master", the other a "slave". The master transmits an omnidirectional pulse. Upon receipt, the slave also transmits a pulse, on the same frequency. I.e., the slave is synchronized to the master. Both pulses are received by the target, where they arrive at slightly different times. Again, we have a time-difference (Time-Difference-of Arrival, TDoA). However, now this time-difference is equivalent not to a distance, but to a distance-difference! It is the difference between 1) the distance between the target and the master station, and 2) the distance between the target and the slave station. All points that have the same absolute distance difference, lie on two open curves. They are two branches of one hyperbola. The two anchor stations are the "foci" of the hyperbola. The two mirror-image curves of each hyperbola pass symmetrically between these foci. In fact, as with the linear and circular LoPs, there is an infinite family of LoP's. In this case, covering all possible distance-differences. Depending on the +/- sign of the distance difference, the target lies on one curve or on the other. So, we now have hyperbolic LoP's. See Figure 42.

In analogy with the various circular LoP methods, the same hyperbolic LoP's can also be created by pair of master-slave anchor stations that transmit a continuous-wave carier signal instead of pulses. Again, the slave is synchronized to the master. But now the LoP represents a fixed phase difference between their (continuous) transmissions, instead of a fixed time difference between pulse-pair receptions. But a phase difference between two sinewaves (audio or RF) of the same frequency is equivalent to a time difference.

As repeatedly mentioned above, without further information, the position of the target on an LoP is not known! It could be anywhere on the LoP - within the reception coverage area of the radio aids. How can this be resolved? By combining two or more independent lines of position into a point of position (PoP). For this approach to work, we need LoP's that intersect. I.e., LoPs that cross, or at least touch each other. This can be achieved with linear, circular, and hyperbolic LoP's, as illustrated in Figure 43:

Line of Position

Fig. 43A: Combining intersecting Lines of Position to estimate position

It should be intuitively obvious from this figure, that creating an accurate, clear and concise equivalent textual description is a rather tall order, and not necessarily more comprehensible or instructive. So, I will not attempt to do so. That said, a couple of words anyway...

The case of two "crossing linear LoP's" is standard classical triangulation (D: "Kreuzpeilung") - the simplest form of multi-lateration. This has been used since many centuries, if not millenia. Note that it works both ways: two (or more) fixed D/F stations can determine the position of a mobile transmitter. This was also done in the early days of radio D/F, and the position estimated by the D/F stations was reported to the transmitter station (ship, airship) via radio. Conversely, a mobile D/F station can determine its own position by using two (or more) beacon stations with known position. Accuracy ( = uncertainty) of the position estimate depends primarily on the angle between intersection LoPs. I.e., distance between the beacon pair or D/F station pair, as wel as the distance from the target to the baseline between the beacon or D/F station pair.

We can also combine a linear LoP (bearing) and a circular LoP (range). These two LoP's can be obtained with two spatially separated anchor stations: one D/F station and one range-finding station. Once can also combine a linear LoP and a circular LoP into a single system, at a single anchor station. Radar is a prime example of this. Two independent and spatially separated range-finding stations generate two overlapping circular LoP's. Conversely, a mobile interrogator station may determine the range to two spatially separated transponder stations with known position. Generally, two overlapping circles intersect at two points, not one - unless the target is located exactly on the straight baseline between the two anchor stations. I.e., there generally is ambiguity as to which of these two points is the actual position of the target. Overlapping hyperbolic LoP's can also have two intersect points.

Of course, the concept of positioning by means of intersecting LoP's also applies to hyperbolic LoP's. This is done with a chain of (at least) three anchor stations, one of which is the master to which the remaining stations of the chain are synchronized. Early such systems used maps (charts) with a lattice of hyperbolic LoP's, like the pink and light blue lines in the right-hand panel of Fig. 43 above. Each line of the lattice was marked with the associated time-difference.

Navigation is based on measurements. So we are interested in accuracy and precision of those measurements. Whereas these terms are related, they are definitely not the same! Unfortunately, they are used interchangeably by many people! Simply put: accuracy expresses how close measurements are to the true value, amount of inaccuracy is error. All measurements have some degree of uncertainty that may come from a variety of sources. whereas precision expresses how close repeated measurements of the same true value are to each other. I.e., repeatbility / reproducibility. An example of the importance of this difference is the simple "heading hold" mode of the automatic pilot of a ship or airplane. When activated, it ensures that the nose of the vehicle keeps pointing in the direction ( = heading) it had, at the moment the mode was activated. Here, the actual value of that momentary heading is completely irrelevant. As a matter of fact, the compass that provides the heading information may totally inaccurate and be as much as 180° off - no problem! A heading-hold mode will work just fine, as long as the heading information is precise, such that sign and amount of deviation from a reference heading are correct. Of course, in other cases - such as "intercept and hold a particular selected heading value", we are interested in both accuracy and precision. Unfortunately the terms error and uncertainty are often used interchangeably to describe both imprecision and inaccuracy

Likewise, when combining LoP's to make a position estimate. Note that This is inherently the case with direction finding systems that use radio beams.

intersecting LoP's

Fig. 43B: The effect of Linear LoP crossing angle on the uncertainty of a trilateration position estimate

(note: distance from Station A and from B to the LoP-intersection is the same in all three cases, as is the "beam" aperture)

The situation is different when the intersecting LoP's have an accuracy that is independent of the distance from the stations - as is the case with radar and transponder type systems:

intersecting LoP's

Fig. 43C: Uncertainty areas when combining LoP's

All necessary basic methods for, and concepts of, radio D/F and radio location/positioning were patented by 1935! See the time-line diagram below:


Fig. 44: Time-line of primary radio direction-finding/location/navigation patents through 1935

(source: patent table-3)

Note: basically nothing fundamentally new has been added by subsequent radio D/F, positioning, and navigation methods, including those that are based on satellites (Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), uses radar to verify position of the satellites, and a "GPS" receiver performs 3D multi-lateration based on time values received from at least three satellites). Likewise, positioning based on WiFi networks (WPS), mobile/cellular telephone networks, etc. ahas added no new concepts! OK, passive radar is new.

under construction

TO BE ADDED: timeline diagram of technologies and specific systems discussed on the sub pages.


under construction

Finding a direction by means of radio, implies using directive (directional) radio transmission or reception. This directivity is implemented with the antenna system at the transmitter station or at the receiving station.

Ref. 184A-184AA.

An EM wave is called "vertically polarized", if the E (= electrical) field is vertically polarized. The H (magnetic) field is always perpendicular to the E field.

EM wave E & H field EM E-field dipole

Fig. XX: Linearly polarized EM wave (left) and E-field of such a wave inducing current in an aligned dipole antenna

(image source: (left) wikimedia.org CC license; (right) wikimedia.org, CC license)

Nautical authorities considered fog signalization in coastal areas and on rivers to be of prime importance. Air-acoustics warning devices, such as fog horns, sirens, whistles, guns, and bells, do no allow clear determination of direction, nor of distance. Around 1905, underwater (submarine) acoustic systems were introduced for marking obstacles and lightships, and to avoid ship-to-ship collisions during fog. Sounds were generated with underwater bells, and received with hydrophones (one on each side of the ship's hull). While at sea, this enabled reasonable determination of the direction to the signal source. In coastal areas, their use was limited to marking lightships, as the sound waves must basically be received head-on.

In Germany, fog signalling devices was the realm of the Prussian Building Authority ("preußische Bauverwaltung"), which was part of the Royal Prussian Ministry of Public Works ("Königlich-Preußisches Ministerium der öffentlichen Arbeiten"). It was very expensive to install acoustic underwater systems fixed to the sea bed. Also, the high cost of on-board equipment and their maintenance was only affordable for large ships. Therefore, in 1906, the Building Authority started to investigate directional radio signals for fog signaling, under the direction of Privy Councillor ("Geheimrat") Walter Körte. Ref. 187A1, 187A6. The Government Secretary ("Regierungsbausekretär") of the Building Authority proposed that, at times of fog, lighthouses should transmit radio signals that could be received by small ship-board receivers, with an automatically rotating parabolic antenna that would stop turning and point in the direction of the transmitter. Körte contacted the Telefunken company mid-1906, who informed him that they had already been experimenting with directional radio waves - thusfar without satisfying results.

During 1906-1908, the Prussian Building Authority performed radio direction-finding tests. These initial lab and field tests were partly done with support from the physics department of the scientific institute Urania-Berlin and equipment from the Telefunken company. Field tests took place July-August 1906 near the then-Prussian Baltic port city of Swinemünde, about 160 km northeast of Berlin (since October 1945: Świnoujście, on the Polish side of the new border). Ref. 187A5-187A7. Test signals from Swinemünde were received by a steamer at 16 nautical miles (≈30 km). The ship-board receiver used a directional parabolic antenna system (ref. 187A7). Possibly a wire antenna configured, e.g., per Fig. 2 in ref. 229E2 was used. During the 1920s, there were experiments with rotating parabolic reflectors by the Marconi company in Britain, but at VHF frequencies, ref. 228V1-228V14. Such parabolic systems were heavy, large, cumbersome, expensive, and therefore considered unsuitable for boats and small ships. To be effective, the focal length of the parabolic antenna had to be larger than a quarter wavelength! Ship-board direction-finding systems also required ship-specific calibration due to the metal hull and structures. At the same time, similar ship-board DF experiments by their French counterparts came to the same conclusions. In parallel, the Italians Artom, Bellini, and Tosi also pursued radio direction-finding (ref. 184E), but with a different antenna system arrangement. The latter approach was evaluated by the German Imperial Postal Administration ("Reichspostverwaltung"), and was deemed too large and complicated to be promising. These conclusions are not surprising for the large radio wavelengths that were practicable at the time. Also, receivers were still without electronic tube (valve) amplifiers.

Note that even with a single radio navigation system that only provides a Linear LoP (bearing value), the distance to/from the station can be estimated, and therewith the position! The "trick" is part of basic pilot training (well, at least it was, when I got my license). It is based on simple trigonometry: the arctangent of a right-angled triangle with a 1° angle is close to 1/60 or 1-in-60. It also requires a simple flight maneuver, time measurement, and the knowledge that there are 60 sec in a minute. The resulting rule-of-thumb is simple enough for learning by heart, and is quite helpful when "lost".

Line of Position

Fig. xxx: The simple 1-in-60 procedure for estimating distance to/from a Non-Directional Beacon (NDB)

The above distance and time estimates assume that the airplane is flying at a constant speed. Of course, the accuracy of the estimate depends not only on the accuracy of the bearing and time measurements, but also on the 1:60 approximation, and on winds aloft (as this affects speed and direction over ground). This method can be used by airborne as well as by a ground-based direction finding stations. It is referred to as the wingtip-bearing-change method, bow-to-bow bearing method, and double-the-angle-on-bow method. This method originates in marine navigation.

An interesting RDF-based navigation application is the "Zeppelin-Telefunken" multi-lateration approach-to-landing system of 1936/37. Ref. 235P9. Like airplanes, airships land with the nose turned into the wind, preferable directly upwind (to minimize lateral drift). The system in question used three landing beacons simultaneously. These three beacons (A, B, and C) were mobile: each comprised a truck-mounted 20 watt long-wave transmitter and a telescopic antenna mast. Beacons A and B were placed several kilometers upwind and downwind, respectively, of the airship mooring ( = anchor) tower at the airfield. A third beacon, C, was placed several km to the right of the mid-point between A and B. See the figure below.

Zeppelin Telefunken landing beacon system

Fig. xx: The Telefunken 3-pointer RDF instrument and the Zeppelin-Telefunken "blind" approach & landing procedure

(source: adapted from ref. 235P9)

When approaching its landing position at night or during times of reduced ground visibility, the airship would use the "A" RDF system to determine its bearing to/from beacon A and determine its position, by taking a bearing to a known navigation beacon or broadcast radio station in the area. The position estimate would then be used to navigate to a waypoint about 10 km directly downwind of the landing point between the three beacons. From there, the airship would fly upwind on the extended line between beacons A and B. The bearings to these beacons was continuously indicated by the vertical A and B pointers of a special 3-pointer instrument. See the figure above. If the A and B needles were aligned with the vertical lubber line, the airship would be on the extended A-B line. The airship would then move upwind along this line, until the deviation pointer for beacon C was horizontal. At that point, the airship was exactly above the mooring tower. It would then maintain position, typically at an altitude of about 60-100 m above ground (≈200-330 ft), lower the handling lines (ropes), descend, and then have its nose attached to the mooring tower. Ref. 41A-41D.

Clearly, for this to work, the airship had to be equipped with a triple RDF installation. There was a standard long-wave Telefunken RDF "cruise & approach" receiver" (D: "Zielflugempfänger" for 300-1800 m wavelengths (167-1000 kHz). In addition, there were two long-wave D.B.G. "bad weather landing" RDF receivers (D: "Zielfahrt"; 800-2000 m wavelengths, 150-375 kHz). All were remote controlled. D.B.G. was the Deutsche Betriebsgesellschaft für drahtlose Telegraphie m.b.H. company (also abbreviated Debeg and DEBEG). It was founded in 1911, in response to a conflict between Telefunken and Marconi regarding maritime radio stations. D.B.G. primarily marketed maritime and RDF radio equipment made by Telefunken, Siemens, Lorenz (later also from Drake, Eddystone, ITT, Dancom, Sailor, and Scanti) - simply under its own brand and with its own equipment labels. Their in-house product development was very limited.

The figure below shows the control gondola (D: "Führergondel") underneath the hull of the 245 m long (800 ft) Luftschiff Zeppelin ("Zeppelin Airship") LZ 129 "Hindenburg". The RDF-room (D: "Peilraum") was in the aft part of the gondola.

Zeppelin Telefunken landing beacon system

Fig. xx: Control gondola and three RDF receivers of the LZ 129 "Hindenburg"

(source photos: adapted from ref. 41E and 187F2)

Two of the RDF antennas were installed forward of the gondola. The smaller loop, nearest the gondola, was connected to one of the D.B.G. receivers. Per ref. 41B/C it was a 2-turn loop. The larger loop was shared by the Telefunken and the second D.B.G.receiver, via transformer coupling. There was a metal ring on both sides of each loop antenna. Their purpose was to compensate for reflections and other influences by the steel frame of the airship. In addition, there two large crossing RDF wire-loop antennas on top of the hull, and at least one simple omni-directional "sense" antenna. Such antennas are used to resolve the 180° directional ambiguity that is inherent to loop antennas. There were two 3-pointer instruments: presumably one in the radio/RDF room, the other in the control room in the bow of the gondola.


Clearly, "radio" navigation per definition requires some form of "radiation". VLF to SHF microwave. Before 1887, the only human-made pollution of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum was sparks generated with quarz flint stones to ignite fires, and tiny triboelectric effects such as observed by the Greek Thales of Miletus about 2600 years ago, when he rubbed a piece of amber - which about 2000 years later gave us the word electricity (amber = ἤλεκτρον "elektron" in Greek, "electrum" in Latin).

Rather than providing a wordy treatise on the history of radio transmitter technology, I will simply refer to the time-line diagram below and to ref. 186A-186Y.

Early transmitter technology

Fig. 45: Simplified time-line of radio transmitter technology through 1940

(source: ref. 186A-186W)

Private industry had continued to improve the spark-gap transmitter (D: "Knallfunkensender", "Knatterfunkensender"). This type of transmitter is based on using high voltage pulses to generate an electrical spark, like the spark plugs of an automobile combustion engine. The final major improvement to the spark gap transmitter was proposed by Max Wien in 1906 (ref. 186C): the so-called “tonal” or "singing" quenched-spark transmitter (D: "Löschfunkensender", "Tonfunkensender"; F: "transmetteur à étincelle musicale", ES: "transmisores de chispa sonora"). He subsequently joined the Telefunken company, where his idea was developed and commercialized. See further below. In parallel, the C. Lorenz Company (ref. 263A) had bet on Valdemar Poulsen's "spark-less" light-arc transmitter (D: "Lichtbogensender") technology. Telefunken had unsucessfully attempted to bypass Poulsen's patent during 1906-1908, then rejected the light-arc transmitter as inferior (ref. 187B).

Whereas spark gap transmitters were used on-board aircraf. For practical reasons, arc lamps and radio-frequency machine generators where not. All three technologies were doomed by the advent of vacuum tube transmitters. The demise of spark transmissions was not only caused by their inefficiency, but also by their very large occupied radio frequency bandwidth. This often caused interference, and severely limited the number of operating frequencies (so-called "tunes") that could be used simultaneously. Therefore, the International Radiotelegraph Conference of 1927 (ref. 186H) decided to immediately forbid new spark transmitter installations on land, and per 1 January 1930 in ships and aircraft (except low power). Not only installation of new stations, but also the use of undamped wave "spark" transmissions was phased out: first forbidden below 375 kHz as of 1 January 1930, then forbidden from land-based stations per 1 January 1935, and completely by 1 January of 1940 (except with less than 300 W power supply consumption, i.e., no more than about 150 watt transmitted power). §2 of article 4 of the adopted regulations also implied an immediate ban on all amateur radio use of spark transmitters. But by that time, simple vacuum tube telegraphy transmitters had already become relatively inexpensive and very efficient compared to sparkers.

The first aircraft-to-ground radio communications took place in Germany 1909, when the Telefunken company installed a spark transmitter in a Parseval airship (ref. 186Y). In France and the USA, two-way wireless air-ground "Morse code" telegraphy (W/T) transmissions took place in the following year. The first air-to-ground radio telephony (R/T, "voice") transmission took place about five years later, with a small 1-tube transmitter. Early aircraft had very limited propulsion power and payload. The latter is the carying capacity of the aircraft for items that are necessary to the purpose of the flight: fuel, passengers, freight, equipment, ordnance such as bombs, etc. Radio equipment comprises transmitter(s), receiver(s), associated antennas, instruments and control panels, and sometimes a dedicated power supply (battery packs) or power conditioner. The equipment has weight and takes up space, that is then no longer available for other payload items. Compared to ground-based radio equipment, airborne radio equipment must work reliably under significant vibration levels, temperature and pressure variations - quite difficult for early vacuum tube technology. High-power radios may imply larger and heavier power generators. Vacuum tube technology did make it possible to build radio-frequency amplifiers. This also greatly improved receiver sensitivity, and, hence, significantly increased the range of radio communication and radio navigation. Finally, antennas typically protrude from the fuselage or wings. This causes drag - which reduces fuel range and maximum speed.


Below is a listing of patents related to radio direction finding, radio location, radio navigation (generally covering the early 1900s through WW2).Patent source: DEPATISnet. Patent office abbreviations: KP = Kaiserliches Patentamt (German Imperial Patent Office), RP = Reichspatentamt (Patent Office of the German Reich), DP = deutsches Patentamt (German Federal Patent Office), US = United States Patent Office, GB = The (British) Patent Office, F = Office National de la Propriété Industrielle (French patent office), AU = Dept. of Patents of the Commonwealth of Australia, NL = Nederlandsch Bureau voor den Industrieelen Eigendom (patent office of The Netherlands).

Note: in the USA and other countries, a company or business cannot apply for a patent. In such cases, the employee-inventor (i.e., the invention was made as part of the employment) has to apply for the patent (or the patent is applied for in the inventor's name), and then transfer (assign) the patent rights and ownership the employer/company. This assignment transfer is typically done during the application process. An inventor who is not obliged to assign the patent to an employer, may assign his patent (transfer of rights, not of invention) to any other party.

Patent number Patent office Applied Inventor / assignor Patent owner / assignee Title (original, non-English) Title (original English or translated) + brief summary
716134 US 1901 John Stone Stone Whicher, Browne, Judkins (trustees) --- "Method of Determining the Direction of Space Telegraph Signals" [Determination of the bearing of a transmitting radio station by means of a rotable loop antenna (or symmetricall arranged pair of verticals) with which "null" signal direction is found.]
716135 US 1901 John Stone Stone Whicher, Browne, Judkins (trustees) --- "Apparatus for Determining the Direction of Space Telegraph Signals" [Identical to Stone's 1901 US patent 716134.]
770668 US 1903 Alessandro Artom Alessandro Artom --- "Wireless Telegraphy of Transmission through Space" [Generation of a "compact cone" [directional beam] of radio waves, by means of combining 2 or more antennas, transmitting with different phases and directions.]
165546 KP 1904 Christian Hülsmeyer Christian Hülsmeyer (Huelsmeyer) "Verfahren, um entfernte metallische Gegenstände mittels elektrischer Wellen einem Beobachter zu melden" "Method for detecting distant metal objects by means of electrical waves" [This is the invention of radar!]
771819 US 1904 Lee de Forest Lee de Forest --- "Wireless Signalling Apparatus" [Improved, simplified devices for localizing direction of a radio station; rotable antenna (horizontal dipole, horizontal monopole + ground/earth, or vertical loop) + detector/coherer + telephone receiver, with or without battery.]
13170 GB 1904 Christian Hülsmeyer Christian Hülsmeyer (Huelsmeyer) --- "Hertzian-wave Projecting and Receiving Apparatus Adapted to Indicate or Give Warning on the Presence of a Metallic Body, such as a Ship or a train, in the Line of Projection of such Waves" [Expansion of his primary German 1904 radar patent 165546, with closely spaced transmitter & receiver antennas that are shielded from each other, antennas with cardanic suspension to maintain their orientation during ship roll & pitch movements, rotable directive transmit antenna (concave / parabolic reflector) with collocated spark gap, fed with high-voltage via slip rings; receive antenna could also made directive in same direction as transmitting antenna by using reflector.]
25608 GB 1904 Christian Hülsmeyer Christian Hülsmeyer (Huelsmeyer) --- "Improvement in Hertzian-wave Projecting and Receiving Apparatus for Locating the Position of Distant metal Objects" [Expansion of his 1904 British radar patent 13170, with constructional improvements to make elevation angle of the transmision antenna variable, so as to be able to find the azimuth & elevation combination with the strongest reflection from the target. This also allows determination of distance ( = range), as elevation angle is determined and antenna mounting height is know. For ship-mounted installation: mounting on fore deck is limited to 180° sweep due to ship superstructure behind it, so a 2nd transmitter / receiver on the aft deck can expand coverage to 360°.]
833034 US 1905 Lee de Forest Lee de Forest --- "Aerophore" ["radiation concentrating device" (directional transmitter such as spark gap + parabolic reflector) that is slowly rotated by a motor that also drives a "signalling wheel" disk (with dots & dash notches + contact) and a voltage generator + up-transformer + oscillator capacitor; the contact interrupts the voltage to generate high voltage pulses for a spark gap. Sends "code signals" (distinct patterns of several dots and/or dashes) in each azimuth sector. Rotating antenna: parabolic reflector + spark gap, or angled mono-pole  as described in the article "Notizen über drahtlose Telegraphie" ["Notes on wireless telegraphy"] by Ferdinand Braun in Physikalische Zeitschrift, Vol. 4, Nr. 13, 1 April 1903, p. 361-364, which includes §2 "Versuche über eine Art gerichteter Telegraphie" ["Tests with a form of directive telegraphy]).
192524 KP 1907 Otto Scheller Otto Scheller "Sender für gerichtete Strahlentelegraphie" "Antenna arrangement for directional radio transmission" [Multi-antenna systems could not be made directional with spark transmitters, as transmitter output could not be split; patent shows how to do this efficiently with undamped-wave transmitter.]
201496 KP 1907 Otto Scheller Otto Scheller "Drahtloser Kursweiser und telegraph" Wireless course indicator and telegraph. [Invention of overlapping beams with equi-signal; English translation is here.]
378186 F 1907 Alessandro Artom Alessandro Artom "Système évitant la rotation des antennes dans un poste de télégraphie sans fil dirigable et permettant en particulier de déterminer la direction d'un poste transmetteur" "System to avoid rotation of the antennas of a directional radio station and in particular enabling determination of the direction of a transmitter station." [identical to Artom's original Italian patent nr. 88766 of 11 April 1907. Invention of the goniometer, often erroneously attributed to Bellini & Tosi, who lost their case in Italian court against Arthom]
943960 US 1907 Ettore Bellini & Alessandro Tosi Ettore Bellini & Alessandro Tosi --- "System of Directed Wireless Telegraphy" [Antenna configuration with 2 perpendicularly crossing triangular loops (with open top = inverted-U with tips nearly touching), using a goniometer. ([FD = Artom's 1907 French patent 378186) to rotate the antenna system's directivity without physically rotating that system. The 2 antennas are excited by a transmitter such that their radiated fields superimpose and combine.]
11544 GB 1909 Henry Joseph Round Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Co. --- "Improvements in Apparatus for Wireless Telegraphy" [For directional receiving purposes: switched directional beams, here obtained with 2 inverted-L antennas.]
1135604 US 1912 Alexander Meissner Alexander Meissner --- "Process and Apparatus for Determining the Positon of Radiotelegraphic receivers" [Invention of stepwise-rotating-beam Radio Compass beacon. (FD: later referred to as the "Telefunken Compass"; also see equivalent Telefunken's 1912 Dutch patent 981).]
1162830 US 1912 Georg von Arco & Alexander Meissner Telefunken GmbH --- "System for signalling wireless telegraphy under the quenched-spark method" [Improved transmission scheme, with loose coupling between tuned antenna and spark generating circuitry, such that the continous sequence of generated spark oscillations is in sync with the oscillations in the antenna, such that they do not (partially) extinguish one another and a nearly undamped wave results.]
1051744 US 1914 Alexander Meissner Telefunken GmbH --- "Spark gap for impulse excitation" [Pair of round spark-gap plates, one with multiple round dimples (or concentric grooves), the other with mating bumps (or concentric ridges).]
981 NL 1912 - Telefunken GmbH "Inrichting voor het bepalen van de plaats van ontvangers (schepen) door middel van draadloze telegrafie" "Arrangement for position determination of receivers (ships) by means of wireless telegraphy" [Equivalent of Meissner's 1912 German patent 1135604.]
299753 RP 1916 Otto Scheller C. Lorenz A.G. "Drahtloser Kursweiser und Telegraph" "Wireless direction pointer and telegraph" [Expanding his 1907 patent with a radio goniometer to couple transmitter to antenna pair; English translation of the patent claims is here.]
328274 RP 1917 Leo Pungs Leo Pungs "Verfahren zur Feststellung der Richtung eines Empfangortes zu einer Sendestation, von der gerichtete Zeichen ausgehen" "Process for determining the direction of a receiving station relative to a transmitting station that is sending directional signals" [Accuracy of bearing determination with stopwatch of rotating-null beacons that transmit north/south signal (such as Meissner/Telefunken Kompass) depends on synchonicity between beacon & stopwatch. Invention proposes stopwatch with compass degree-scale, two hands/needles, both started simultaneously, one stopped upon reception of first null/minimum, the other upon receipt of second null. In ideal case, angle between the 2 pointers is always 180°. A second, rotable scale is aligned with first pointer and value at second pointer shows bearing correction factor if angle when angle is not 180°.]
130490 GB 1918 Frank Adcock Reginald Eaton Ellis --- "Improvement in Means for Determining the Direction of a Distant Source of Elector-Magnetic Radiation" [Receive only; 2 pairs of vertical dipoles, dipoles of each pair connected with a feedline taht includes 180° twist, in order to suppress received horizontally polarized signals. (FD: this patent is sometimes erroneously attributed to R.E. Ellis, who is actually only the assignee who acted as intermediary / patent agent in the patent application, as the inventor / assignor was serving military duty in WW1 France at that time).]
1301473 US 1919 Guglielmo Marconi, Charles Samuel Franklin Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd. --- "Improvements in reflectors for use in wireless telegraphy and telephony" [For receiving & transmission antenna systems; several reflector configurations, comprising screens of parallel rods, strips, or wires. arranged on a parabolic surface; FD: same as marconi/Franklin's 1919 Australian patent nr. 10922.]
328279 RP 1919 Hans Harbich & Leo Pungs Hans Harbich & Leo Pungs "Schaltung für die Richtungstelegraphie mit Vielfachantennen" "Circuit for directional telegraphy with multi-element antennas" [Antenna ranngement (many crossing dipoles connected to taps on a cylindrical coil winding, with a coaxial rotable second cylindrical coil) usable for transmission and reception; instead of rotating contactor/distributor (subject to contact wear & generating noise during reception) or goniometer (small imbalances cause large large phase shift / detuning, hence requiring very loose coupling), instead proposes tightly coupled transformer coupling with single-point-of-tuning for complete transmitter/antenna system.]
198522 GB 1922 James Robinson & Horace Leslie Crowther & Walter Howley Derriman James Robinson & Horace Leslie Crowther & Walter Howley Derriman --- "Improvements in or relating to Wireless Apparatus" [one or more symmetrical pairs of vertical antennas and feedlines, suppression of transmissioin of horizontally polarized signals of each antenna pair by crossing-over of the feedline at the mid-point between paired antenna. (FD: this is the transmission equivalent of the Adcock's 1918 GB patent 130490]
1653859 US 1923 Ludwig Kühn Dr. Erich Huth G.m.b.H. --- "Apparatus for influencing alternating currents" [Method for AM modulating a continuous RF carrier signal with of iron-core choking coils (several configurations), whose self-inductance is varied with the tone or speech audio signal current.]
252263 GB 1924 Alexander Watson Watt Alexander Watson Watt --- "Improvements in and relating to Radio-telegraphy Direction Finding and other purposes" [Adds CRT display to Adcock's DF antenna system arrangement of GB patent 130490]
475293 RP 1926 Hidetsugu Yagi Hidetsugu Yagi "Einrichtung zum Richtsenden oder Richtempfangen" "Arrangement for directional transmission or reception" [Invention of the "Yagi" / "Yagi-Uda" beam antenna; vertical monopole + ≥1 reflector (≥λ) + ≥1 director (≤½λ), spaced ¼λ); German version of the original 1925 Japanese patent nr. 69115; also see ref. 229H]
1860123 US 1926 Hidetsugu Yagi Radio Corp. of America (RCA) --- "Variable directional electric wave generating device" [Placing a vertical (passive) conductor or antenna at some distance of a likewise vertical main (but energized) antenna, and that passive conductor is resonant at a frequency lower than that main attenna (i.e., is at least ½λ long), then the conductor will reflect the waves of that antenna (project them away), and shape the radiation pattern of that antenna in a directive manner accordingly. Conversely, a conductor with a higher resonant frequency than the main antenna (i.e., is shorter than ½λ) will direct the waves of that antenna in the directions of that conductor. Patent refers to it as a beam antenna. Illustrated with several circular configurations of multiple conductors; also see ref. 229H]
481703 RP 1927 Dr. Max Dieckmann, Dipl.-Ing. Rudolf Hell Dr. Max Dieckmann, Dipl.-Ing. Rudolf Hell Funkentelegraphische Peileinrichtung Direction-finding system for spark transmitter stations [RDF system with stationary loop and a reference antenna, fast switching between antennas, galvanometer "on course" instrument]. Follow-up patent 482281, also 1927, uses pair of switching valves instead of motorized inductive coupler.
1741282 US 1927 Henri Busignies Henri Busignies --- "Radio Direction Finder, Hertian Compass, and the Like" [D/F receive; 2 perpendicularly crossing loops (each with a signal amplifier) + 2-coil galvanometer needle instrument that points at compass scale with 0/90/180/270° ambiguity; ambiguity resolved by slightly rotating the loop's pattern with a servo-driven capacitive goniometer; third config, also to eliminate ambiguity, with separate vertical omni antenna, to yield rotable cardioid pattern).]
632304 F 1927 Alexandre Koulikoff & Constantin Chilkowsky Alexandre Koulikoff & Constantin Chilkowsky "Procédé et dispositifs pour le mesure des distances au moyen d'ondes electro-magnétiques" "Method and apparatus for the measurement of distances by the use of electromagnetic waves" [invention of the radio responder / transponder and distance / range measurement obtained therewith; two receiver / transmitter stations, one initates transmission of a (pulse?) signal. Upon receipt, the second station automatically also transmits a (pulse?) signal (at the same or different frequency). Upon receipt by the first station, the latter automatically again transmits a signal, etc. The resulting back & forth transmissions have a modulation with a beat frequency that is proportional to the distance between the stations. Conversely, in absence of significant time delay between reception and tranmissions, the distance is equal to the speed of light divided by twice the beat-frequency; identical to the1928 GB patent nr. 288233 of the same inventors]
305250 GB 1927 Alexander Watson Watt & Labouchere Hillyer Bainbridge-Bell Alexander Watson Watt & Labouchere Hillyer Bainbridge-Bell --- "Improvements in and relating to Apparatus adapted for use in Radio-telegraphic Direction Finding and for similar purposes" [Expansion of their 1924 GB patent 252263; adds omnidirectional / non-directional sense antenna.]
1937876 US 1928 Eugene S. Donovan Ford Motor Company --- "Radio beacon" [A/N beacon, 2 orthogonal crossing triangular loop antennas (one "A", the other "N"; top/tip grounded, goniometer for rotating combined pattern, remote control, separate low-power transmitter + vertical omni-directional cage antenna for alternating "station indicator" (omni overfly-marker beacon; also to be installed separately along airway) or telegraphy message broadcast; equisignal beam width of 6 miles at 200 miles range (i.e., 1.2°) based on experiments; no specific modulation tone implied]
1831011 US 1928 Frederick A. Kolster Federal Telegraph Co. (part of ITT in 1928) --- "Radio beacon system" [upward beam with hollow conical radiation pattern, in-ground antenna + parabolic reflector; related US patents: 1820004 (1928, Geoffrey G. Kreusi "Aerial navigation system and method"), 1872975 (1928, Frederick A. Kolster "Navigation system and method"), 1944563 (1931, Geoffrey G. Kreusi "Directional radio beam system")]
529891 RP 1928 Alexander Meissner Telefunken GmbH "Verfahren zur drahtlosen Richtungsbestimmung" "Method for wireless determination of direction" [Improvement of Compass with stopwatch, results depend on stopwatch operator and relatively low speed of beacon rotation, hence, requires time-consuming repeated measurements and averageing. Patent: automatic, replace stopwatch with an optical indicator that (somehow...) rotates synchronously with beacon, light pulses light up at 2 spots on compass scale, based on reception of pulses from beacon beam rotating at 10-20 rps (!!!)]
502562 RP 1929 Ernst Kramar & Felix Gerth C.Lorenz A.G. "Verfahren zum Tasten von Richtsendern für rotierende Richtstrahlen" "Method for keying directional transmitters for rotating directional beams" [Using two iron-core choking coils (per Kühn's 1923 German patent 165385, but switching between 0 & 100% saturation, instead of analog modulation) for alternatingly connecting two antennas to a transmitter without using contact-switches or relays]
1941585 US 1930 Eugene Sibley Eugene Sibley --- "Radio beacon system" [A/N beacon with two orthogonally-crosssing rectangular loop antennas, separate synchronized "A" and "N" transmitters. However, not interlcoking A & N Morse characters (and "T" equisignal), but 5-bit Baudot-type encoding of A & N (11000 and 00110 respectively) and K (11110) equisignal. Combined with a "Teletype" keyboard teleprinter system for transmitting the (adjustable) beacon course to the pilot via the beacon's directional loop antennas, or course, weather and other broadcast info, via the non-directional marker of the beacon station or en-route marker beacons. Automatic compact "Teletype" tape printing telegraph in the cockpit. Demonstrated.]
546000 RP 1930 Meint Harms Meint Harms "Verfahren einer selbsttätigen Ortsbestimmung beweglicher Empfänger" "Method for position finding by a mobile receiver" [Invention of hyperbolic radio navigation; autonomous localization of a moving receiver by using 2 (or more) coherent CW transmitter stations with spacing equal to integer multiple of the wavelength. One station acts as master, with stable phase, the second is synchronized to it and transmits on 2x the Master frequency (or, in general, any frequency that is coherent with the Master's) without phase shift. Receiver has 2 antennas, one for the Master frequency, the other for the Slave frequency. The receiver amplifies both signals separately, while at the same time doubling (or whatever the coherent Amster-Slave frequency factor is) the frequency of the Master's CW signal. The 2 resulting same-frequency CW signals are combined/compared, and the result drives an electro-mechanical up/down counter. Starting at a know position, each time movement causes Master-Slave phase difference to make a 360° → 0° transition, the counter value is changed in one direction, and in the opposite direction upon each 0° → -360° transition. So, during movent along a 0° phase difference hyperbel, the counter vale is not changed (FD: i.e., counter value change corresponds to 1λ hyperbel change).]
363617 GB 1930 Reginald Leslie Smith-Rose & Horace August Thomas Reginald Leslie Smith-Rose & Horace August Thomas --- "Improvements in or relating to Wireless Beacon Transmitters"  [Rotating beacon, 6-10 ft square loop antenna, rotating about a vertical axis at 1 rpm; transmitting a characteristic signal when passing the geographical meridan [ = north/south direction], receiver uses stopwatch to measure time between passage of reference signal and signal's minimum-intensity passage; vertical loop or inclined loop with suppression of non-horizontal radiation; also covers version comprising 2 pairs of vertical antennas with a goniometer with 1 stator and 2 rotors.]
661431 RP 1930 Ernst Kramar C. Lorenz A.G. "Einrichtung zur Richtungsbestimmung drahtloser Sender" "Arrangement for direction finding of wireless transmitters" [Apparent width/sharpness of "A/N" (or similarly complementary keyed) equisignal beam, depends on accuracy of the A/N signal-strength comparing electronic instrumentation that is used for determining course deviation, esp. for visual indicator. Constant two-tone instead of A/N keying system requires accurate tone filtereing and high signal strength and/or high-gain reed-instrumentation. Significant improvement of sensitivity / apparent beam-sharpness by using (diode tube) rectifiers with quadratic characteristic, to increase the apparent relative signal strength of the received 2-tones.]
2014732 US 1930 Clarence W. Hansell Radio Corporation of America (RCA) --- "Radio beacon system" [3 crossing rectangular loop antennas (or 3 vertical antennas on corners of triangular footprint) + 1 vertical omni-directional antenna at center; cardiod pattern; transmitter = crystal controlled carrier-frequency generator + modulator + "modulating wheel" tone generator driven by synchronous motor (continuously variable pitch = FM modulation with tone "chirp": 2 Hz sawtooth signal with 150-250 Hz linear tone ramp) + 4 amplifiers (1 for each of 3 loops/verticals, 1 for central vertical omni antenna). Synchronous 2 rpm motor also drives goniometer to continuously rotate the cardiod pattern. Receiver audio output is fed to a circular indicator with 36 reeds, each tuned to a tone in the 150-250 Hz range. Patent claims system was actually demonstrated.]
349977 GB 1930 John M. Furnival, William F. Bubb Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd. --- "Radio beacon" [2 orthogonal crossing triangular loop antennas + goniometer; cam-driven callsign/identifier Morse code; standard 2 or more adjustable equisignal directional zones (e.g., cam-driven A/N system), and rotating directional signal/beam (cardioid or figure-of-8 using same 2 loop antennas) with predetermined speed + omni-directional reference direction marker (e.g., north passage ID), i.e., the 1912 Telefunken/Meißner system per German patent 1135604]; same as the Furnival/Bubb US patent 2045904 filed a year later (in 1931), which has, however, Radio Corporation of America (RCA, originally Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Co. of America, "American Marconi") as assignee/owner.
1945952 US 1930 Alexander McLean Nicolson Communications Patents, Inc. --- "Radio Range Finder" [One of the stations initiates an RF carrier impulse of predetermined duration (e.g., 10-100 cycles of a 1 MHz carrier). The receiver of the second station (referred to as "reflecting" station) keys the associated transmitter for the duration of the received pulse. The resulting is received back at the initiating station, after round-trip travel time at the speed of light. That time is proportional to twice the distance between the stations. Like the second station, the receiver in the initiating station now keys the associated transmitter for the duration of the received pulse. This results in continuous back-and-forth transmissions. The resulting beat-frequency indicated on a meter instrument with distance scale. (FD: this method is a copy of the one in the 1927 Koulikoff & Chilkowsky responder/transponder patents FR632304 and GB288233!) In a second embodiment of the method, a manually variable re-transmission delay is used in the originating station is used, which is adjusted until the circulating beat frequency is zero. Patent claims that meter or audible tone may also indicate direction of travel. However, it can only do so in the sense of increasing or decreasing distance (i..e, not bearing)! ]
1949256 US 1931 Ernst Kramar C. Lorenz A.G. --- "Radio Direction Finder" [Visual course-deviation indicator/meter with dial/scale, for use with an equi-signal beam fixed course-beacon (e.g., A/N, or easier to interpret by pilot: E/T = dot/dash). Four embodiments (circuit diagrams) shown, all transformer-coupled audio output of receiver, a rectifier (tube/valve) with quadratic characteristic (to obtain high gain for small differences), and a galvanometer. The meter-needle swings about the non-zero deflection corresponding to the equi-signal, in the rhythm of the received dots & dashes, and the swing amount depends on the relative strength ( = course deviation direction and amount). Note: this is not a "kicking meter" arrangement, in which dot/dash pulses are passed through an inductive differentiating circuit, and meter deflection is about the zero indication. Also proposes transmitter keying not with square pulses, but rounded pulses with "rapid rise"/"slow decay" pulse flanks for one of the two overlapping beams, and the opposite for the complementary beam.]
1923934 US 1931 Frank G. Kear US Government --- "Radio beacon course shifting method" [shift 2 beacon courses from their normal 180° displacement to align them with 2 airways that intersect at an angle other than 180°; expand 2-loop/2-pair antenna config with separate vertical antenna (inductively coupled to one of the goniometer primaries) whose omni-directional patternn combines with the figure-8 of 1 loop to create a cardioid.]
1992197 US 1932 Harry Diamond US Government --- "Method and apparatus for a multiple course radiobeacon" [rapid increase in number of airways emanating from major airports means need beacon capable of marking > 4 courses; 3-tone beacon with up to 12 simultaneous courses; 2 triangular vertical loops crossing at 90°, several transmitter configurations (transmitter with master oscillator (carrier freq) + 3 intermediate modulator-amplifiers (65, 86⅔, 108⅓ Hz tones) + 3 final amplifiers, special goniometer with 3 stators (1 for each PA, spaced 120°) + 1 rotor (2 coils crosssing at 90°, each coil 3 sections); several other transmitter configurations.]
1913918 US 1932 Harry Diamond & Frank G. Kear US Government --- "Triple modulation directive radio beacon system" [expansion of H. Diamond triple-modulation/12-course beacon system 1932 US patent 1992197, same diagrams, adding method for shifting the normally 30°-spaced individual courses of the 12-course beacon, to align them to the airways.]
577350 RP 1932 Ernst Kramar C. Lorenz A.G. "Sendeanordnung zur Erzielung von Kurslinien" "Transmission arrangement for creation of course lines" [This is the invention of what was later called the "Lorenz Beam", localizer part of the Instrument Landing system; create equisignal beam, not with two separate directional antenna systems with overlapping patterns, but with a single omnidirectional vertical dipole antenna whose continuously active circular pattern is alternatingly deformed into a bean-shaped pattern to the left and right, by activating a corresponding parallel vertical reflector ( = passive) that is placed at some distance to the right & left of the vertical antenna. The two reflectors are alternatingly enabled in the standard A/N or similiar dots/dashes rhythm. The shape of the "bean" patterns depends on the length of the reflector rods and the distance between the reflectors and the dipole antenna. This method also eliminates key-clicks, since the vertical dipole is allways energized (i.e., not keyed).]
592185 RP 1932 Ernst Kramar & Felix Gerth C. Lorenz A.G. "Gleitwegbake zür Führung von Flugzeugen bei der Landung" "Glide path beacon for guiding airplanes to landing" [Blind/fog landing requires localizer/course beam and glide-path guidance. The latter follows the curved constant-field-strength path upon beam intercept. So far, ground stations used a LW localizer beam and separate VHF glide path beacon. This requires two complete beacon transmitter and receiver systems. Patent proposes simplification by using a single VHF equisignal beam beacon system with complementary keying (with choking-coils; FD: see Kühn's 1923 US patent 1653859 and Karmar/Gerth's 1929 German patent 502562) with asymmetrical pulses (short-rise/long-fall times for one beam and the opposite for the other beam; here: triangular pulses (FD: Kramar's patent 1949256 proposes rounded pulses). The VHF receiver's audio output is rectified. The rectifier output is fed to a galvanometer that indicates the combined/summed strength of the two beams, and is used to fly a constant-strength curved glid path. The rectifier output is also transformer-coupled to a push-pull amplifier stage that drives a kicking-meter (alternatively, the rectifier output can feed a differential-galvanometer). This meter indicates course deviation.]
405727 BP 1932 --- C. Lorenz A.G. --- "Directional radio transmitting arrangements particularly for use with ultra-short waves " [Same as Lorenz' 1932 German patent 577350]
589149 RP 1932 --- C. Lorenz A.G. "Leitverfahren für Flugzeuge mittels kurzen Wellen, insbesondere ultrakurzer Wellen" "Method for guiding aircraft by means of short waves, in particular ultra-short waves" [Landing beacon arrangements to accommodate final descent to a landing from various heights, in particular steep descents from higher altitudes, and glide path intercept (FD: from below = the way it shoud be done) from greater distance. One arrangement with standard Lorenz course beacon ( = vertical dipole + 2x reflector) placed at the approach end (!!!!) of the runway (serving as course beacon and runway marker beacon), and a standard equisignal glide path beacon placed at the departure end (!!!) of the runway. By using different modulation tones, both could operate on the same frequency (in particular with appropriate tone filters at the receiver). Other arrangement with two co-located standard Lorenz course beacons side-by-side, the plane of the antenna systems of these beacons at an appropriate elevation angle instead of vertically (to generate glide path beam of 8-11° (FD: vs. 3° standard in modern times), and at an angle with respect to each other such that their equisignal beams cross; slightly expanded by Lorenz' same-title 1933 German patent 607237.]
1961206 US 1932 Harry Diamond US Government --- "Twelve-course, aural type, triple modulation directive beacon" [Explicitly aural beacon ( = requires interpretation of 3 audio tones (e.g., 850, 1150, 1450 Hz) by pilot, i.e., not 12-course VISUAL beacon with visual instrument to interpret the tones; Aural 12-course beacon were considered impossible, as for 6 of the 12 courses, the 2 overlapping tones that form the equi-beam are overpowered a much stronger figure-8 lobe of the 3rd tone; LW (e.g., 290 kHz) transmitter blockdiagram for 2 configs; keying device between modulators with slip contacts on rotating cylinders with patterns of conductive patches)pilot selectable audio filters.]
2093885 US 1932 Ernst Kramar & Felix Gerth Standard Elektrik Lorenz A.G. --- "Means for guiding aeroplanes by radio signals"  [Two overlapping VHF beams for lateral guidance, curved glidepath on constant signal strength of same 2 beams; FD: equivalent to Lorenz' 1932 German patent 592185.]
408321 BP 1932 --- C. Lorenz A.G. --- "Radio beacon for directing aircraft" [Two overlapping VHF beams for lateral guidance, curved glidepath on constant signal strength of same 2 beams; FD: equivalent to Lorenz' 1932 German patent 592185.]
2028510 US 1932 Ernst Kramar C. Lorenz A.G. --- "Transmitter for electromagnetic waves" [FD: equivalent to the 1932 German "Lorenz Beam" patent 577350.]
1981884 US 1933 Albert H. Taylor, Leo C. Young, Lawrence A. Hyland Albert H. Taylor, Leo C. Young, Lawrence A. Hyland --- "System for detecting objects by radio" [Detection of moving objects (e.g., aircraft, ship, motive vehicle), system comprising CW transmitter and remotely located receiver, continuously receiving ground waves directly from transmitter (constant signal), and intermittently receiving skywaves that are not reflected (!!!) but re-radiated by such conductive/metallic objects (or parts thereof) that have a size of ca. ½λ of the transmitted CW signal, and that interfere/combine with the ground waves signals (causing variable amplitude at receiver). Amplitude of the interence pattern signal fluctuates when object moves, more rapidly (and with larger amplitude) when moving over receiver or transmitter site. Also, moving parts of the object (e.g., rotating propeller(s) = "propeller effect"), cause superimposed distinguishable modulation of the interence pattern signal. Ground wave may be extinguished by the time it reaches receiver, or be transmitted in dirction of receiver if using directional transmitter.]
2121024 US 1933 Harry Diamond US Government --- "Radio transmitting and receiving system" [System for simultaneous transmission of radiotelephone (e.g., broadcast of weather & landing conditions) and radio range beacon signals. For some time, these 2 radio services used different radio frequencies; due to expansion of beacon network, frqeuencies becoming scarce. Method for simultaneous transmission, without overlapping modulations. 2 loop antennas for beacon service, separate omni antenna for broadcast service; single master RF oscillator for both services, with 3+1 intermediate modulator amplifiers (3 keyed tones + microphone or recorded message), and 3+1 final amplifiers; 2-outputs tone filter unit between receiver and headphones, with LPF for beacon signals and HPF for broadcast audio.]
2172365 US 1933 Harry Diamond US Government --- "Directive antenna system" [Radio range beacon; to eliminate erroneous course indications with crossing loop beacons due to "night effect", now antenna configuration with 2 pairs of 2 vertical antennas, evenly spaced, each with ground plane, all with same feedline distance to transmitter, coupled to a single transmitter via a radio goniometer and tuned feedlines to a coupling transformer for each antenna pair, with 180° twisted feedline between on the antenna side of these transformers. Refers to patents GB130490 (1919), GB198522 (1923), and GB363617 (1932).]
1999047 US 1933 Walter Max Hahnemann C. Lorenz A.G. --- "System for landing aircraft" [Upon intercept, as indicated on meter, the pilot adjusts vertical flight path as necessary, such that the meter deflection does not change from the indication at moment of intercept (absolute deflection is not important). Various converging curves can be selected ( = steepness), by adjusting the receiver/indicator gain, also possible a receiver device that is triggered by reception of the marker beacon and with a timer, moves the indicator scale to indicate estimated height above ground.]
2348730 US 1933 Francis W. Dunmore & Frank G. Kear US Government --- "Visual type radio beacon" [Fixed course beacon comprising 2 pairs of "transmission line" (TL) antennas (pair of vertical monopoles with ground planes, instead of 2 crossing loops) with figure-8 pattern (90° phase shifted excitation), with a different modulation tone (65 & 83⅔ Hz) for each pair (feed-line arrangement to eliminate "night effect"), combined with two co-located omni-directional transmissions on same frequency but with 270° phase difference, with the same 2 modulation tones; combined "figure-8 and omni" pattern pairs form cardioid pattern; two 2 overlapping cardioids form 2 equisignal course lines; refers to description in CAA-ACM 1932 No. 2.]
653519 RP 1933 --- Marconi's Wireless Telegraphy Co. Ltd. "Verfahren zur Übermittlung von Nachrichten allert Art auf drahtlosem Wege" "Method for wireless transmission of messages" [directly readable, omni-directional transmission of, e.g., weather data, as pointer on CRT display with scale, without synchronization complexity of TV or fax]
2072267 US 1933 Ernst Kramar C. Lorenz A.G. --- "System for Landing Aircraft" [Expanded by 1937 follow-up Lorenz' 1937 US patent 2215786 "System for landing airplanes".]
2120241 US 1933 Harry Diamond & Francis W. Dunmore US Government --- "Radio guidance of aircraft" [UHF landing/take-off beam beacon, method and apparatus, able to serve all wind directions with a single beacon that has variable glide path steepness to a proper/predefine touch-down point. Demonstrated at College Park/MD and Oakland/CA airports. Beacon antenna placed in a pit, just below ground level of the airfield / landing zone. First antenna arrangement: horizontal UHF dipole. With this installation position, the dipole's torus radiation pattern in free space (FD: i.e., figure-8-on-its-side vertical cross-section in all directions) is pushed upward with increasing distance from the antenna, enabling curved constant-field-strength glide path. The horizontal dipole can be made rotable about its vertical axis (with remote controlled motor and 2 slip rings to feed the antenna) to accomodate any pair of 180° spaced directions (2-course). A rotable 4-course equivalent can be obtained by using two crossing dipoles with 2 pairs of slip rings.]
2044852 US 1933 Ernst Kramar C. Lorenz A.G. --- "Electric indicator for comparing field intensities" [E/T equisignal beam deviation indicator; standard circuitry with rectifier and transformer; galvanometer. References 1928 US patent 1782588 "Electrical mesasuring instrument" (2-pole galvanometer with rotary coil) by F.E. Terman. The desrired meter sensitivity reduction for increasing meter / needle deflection is obtained electromechanically instead of electronically, by tapered (instead of concave) shape of the galvanometer poles.]
616026 RP 1934 --- C. Lorenz A.G. "Sendeanordnung zur Erzielung von Kurslinien gemäß Patent 577 350" "Transmission arrangement for obtaining course-lines per Lorenz' 1932 German "Lorenz beam" patent 577350" [vertical dipole + two near-resonant reflectors]
612825 RP 1934 --- C. Lorenz A.G. "Verfahren zum Betrieb von Funkbaken" "Method for operating a radio beacon" [2-course A/N or E/T beam; left/right beams are swapped, based on which of the two courses is actively used by aircraft, such that indicated left/right course deviation indications is correct for both, i.e., A & N (E & T) always on the same side of the equisignal beam when approaching the beacon]
2196674 US 1934 Ernst Kramar & Walter Max Hahnemann C. Lorenz A.G. --- "Method for Landing Aircraft" [Localizer beacons that are used to provide guidance for curved, constant field-strength approach to landing, typ. depend on constant transmitter power and constant receiver gain (FD: at least during the beam intercept and final approach & landing phase). The latter is more difficult to ensure than the prior. Method usable with equisignal course beam beacons, elevated/upwardly transmitted radiation patterns, and torus-shaped patterns (FD: e.g., from a vertical dipole or monopole). Method uses a marker beacon (accoustic or - preferred - radio) below the intended point of positive intercept of the desired constant field-strength curves. This also supports using the same curve, even if intercepting at a different altitude. Aircraft to approach & intercept the beam (FD: from below) at a predermined altitude. The marker beacon may transmit vertically or at some other, steep elevation angle in te direction of the approach. Upon intercept, as indicated on meter, the pilot changes vertical flight path such that the meter deflection does not change from the indication at moment of intercept (absolute deflection is not important). Various converging curves can be selected ( = steepness) with method covered by Hahnemann/Lorenz' 1933 US patent 1999047. Patent also references Kramar/Lorenz' 1932 US "Lorenz Beam" patent 2028510]
2217404 US 1934 Walter Max Hahnemann & Ernst Kramar C. Lorenz A.G. --- "System and Method for Landing Airplanes" [Expansion of Hahnemann/Kramar 1934 US patent 2196674 with the manually adjusted receiver/indicator configurations per Fig. 4 & 5 of Hahnemann's 1933 US patent 1999074]
2025212 US 1934 Ernst Kramar C. Lorenz A.G. --- "Radio Transmitting Arrangement for Determining Bearings" ["Lorenz Beam" beacon station with continously rotating equisignal beam course direction. Standard antenna arrangement (continously excited vertical dipole (with omni pattern), a vertical reflector on each side, motorized A/N keying for complementary reflector interruption). However, now with the reflectors continously rotating about the vertical dipole, with the relays used to interrupt each reflector controlled via slip rings, to create a rotating 2-course equisignal beam system. This is much simpler than an arrangement with a motorized radio goniometer. During passage of the equisignal beam pair through a predetermined bearing (e.g., north/south), the interruption of the reflectors is briefly stopped and a predetermined combination of Morse characters is omni-dirctionally transmitted via the vertical dipole (keying by hand or motorized). receiver station determines bearing to/from station based on timing beam passage after "north" signal (FD: = Telefunken Compass stopwatch method). Alternatively, a short special character (e.g., a single dot) could be tranmsitted omnidirectionally at regular bearing increments (e.g., every 5°), and the receiver's bearing be estimated simply by counting the number of received dots since the north/south signal reception]
2083242 US 1935 Wilhelm Runge Wilhelm Runge --- "Method of Direction Finding" [3D RDF method, searching direction with maximum signal strength (unlike minimum method, accuracy is not affected by background noise, static, etc.) with a highly directional antenna system; antenna beam is moved, such that its narrow/sharp beam is precessed (conical movement) about a pointing direction (without changing the polarization direction of the antenna). Beam precession is obtained either mechanically (precession manually or with motor drive, and receiving dipole with a parabolic reflector, on a platform with manual or motorized rotation about vertical axis to change bearing, manual elevation axis adjustment; adjustments until strength of received signal remains constant (FD: this is referred to as "hill climbing" technique in modern control systems engineering terminology), or electrically (a stationary "flat" symmetrical 2D array of dipoles, with beam sweeping by means of changing phases (feed line lengths) between the dipoles.]
2184843 US 1935 Ernst Kramar C. Lorenz A.G. --- "Method and Means for determining Position by Radio Beacons" [Method of determining bearing at the receiving station, automation of this method, for use with rotating equisignal beam beacon with 1) E/T keying (60 per 360° rev of the beacon = 15 per quadrant = 1 per 6° rotation), 2) omni-directional transmission of sync/timing/zero signal upon beam passage through specific direction (e.g., north), and 3) beam transmission only during the first 180° rotation after the sync signal; standard "kicking meter" differentiating circuitry (transformer) for converting leading & trailing edge of received E & T tone pulses into short voltage peak pairs (polarity sequence +/- for E, -/+ for T); these + & - peaks are counted separately with 2 electro-mechanical counting devices; stopwatch-type bearing indicator that is reset & started manually or automatically based on receipt of the omni "north" signal) and stopped automatically by the counters upon detection of the equibeam signal; bearing ( = angle from the sync signal) is difference in number "a" of dots and number "b" of dashes reecived between the sync signal and equisignal beam passage, multiplied by half the number "f" of dots & dashes per 360°, i.e., (a-b)*(f/2).]
180995 CH 1935 --- C. Lorenz A.G. "Sendeanordnung zur Erzielung von Kurslinien mittels zweier verschieden gerichteter, abwechselnd asugesandter Hochfrequenzstrahlungen" "Transmission arrangement for generating course lines bei means of two high frequency fields, alternatingly sent in two different directions"  [standard Lorenz landing beam beacon = vertical dipole + 2 alternatingly switched parallel passive reflectors, E/T = Dot/Dash keying]
180996 CH 1935 --- C. Lorenz A.G. "Verfahren zum Betriebe von Funkbaken" "Process for operating radio beacons" [standard Lorenz landing beam beacon = vertical dipole + 2 alternatingly switched parallel passive reflectors, E/T = Dot/Dash keying, but two sets of outer & inner marker beacons (on front course & back course); to avoid confusion interpreting inverted left/right meter deflection on front course vs backcourse, keying of the reflectors can be inversed, depending on which equisignal course the inbound aircraft is using.]
44879 F 1935 --- C. Lorenz A.G. "Appareil transmetteur pour les ondes électriques et en particulier pour les ondes ultra-courtes" "Transmitter for electrical waves, in particular ultra-short" [A vertical dipole at an appropriate height above ground has a radiation pattern that resembles a torus (ring) that is slightly angled upward, away from the antenna (as opposed to a perfect torus when in free-space), instead of a perfect torus if that dipole were in free space. Likewise, if the dipole pattern is deformed with a vertical deflector. Thus upward angle makes it possible for the same beacon to provide glide path guidance. Localizer beacon placed at standard position (on the landing course-line, beyond departure end, and outside the boundary of the airfield (FD: in those days, airfields were often round, without runways). Lines of constant equisignal field-strength emanate from the beacons antenna system, curve downwards towards ground level over some distance, then curve upward with increasing distance. No radiation straight up (FD: i.e., the "hole" in the torus). Pilot follows equisignal localizer beam inbound at the certain altitude, until intercepting a particular curved constant-strength line (or receiving the signal from a marker beacon placed on the course line), and then descends to landing, ensuring that the indicated signal strength remains constant, i.e., the aircraft follows the associated curved line (glide path). Similar to Kramar/Hahnemann's 1934 US patent 2196674.]
2134535 US 1936 Wilhelm Runge Telefunken GmbH --- "Distance Determining System" [Based on received signal-strength. Method depends on receiver sensitivity and transmitter power. Distance is derived from signal strengths received by 2 antennas installed at the same location but a different heights above ground/sea. In general at VHF and horizontally polarized waves, received field intensity is zero at zero height, and changes in sinusoidal manner with increasing height, due to interference of slanted direct wave and ground-reflected wave (single "bounce"). Path-length difference between those waves is equal to 2x product of the transmitter & receiver antenna height, divided by distance over ground level. Receiver audio level is proportional to square of field strength. For known transmit & receive antenna heights + audio volume ratio of the 2 receive antennas, a formula for distance-over-ground is derived.]
2117848 US 1936 Ernst Kramar C.Lorenz A.G. --- "Direction Finding Method" [D/F antenna and circuitry arrangement to produce 2 alternating/opposed cardioid patterns. Instead of standard arrangement of two loop antennas that are alternately combined with an omni-directional antenna, or of single loop with alternatly used center tap: loop antenna + 2 omni antennas, one of which generates 2x the signal strength as the other and with opposite sign, all 3 antennas coupled to the input tube of the same receiver. The "2x" omni antenna is connected via variable coupling, to create a rotable cardioid. Same antenna is activated with switch, typ. in rythm with 50% on/off duty cycle.]
2170659 US 1936 Ernst Kramar C.Lorenz A.G. --- "Direction Finding Arrangement" [D/F antenna and circuit arrangement, with alternately connecting 2 loop antennas with opposite sense of winding (and directivity), switching controlled by a motorized commutator, aural output and visual indication to pilot/operator (the latter in the form of a signal-strengths comparing indicator per Kramar's 1933 US patent 2044852).]
2141247 US 1936 Ernst Kramar & Heinrich Brunswig C.Lorenz A.G. --- "Arrangement for Wireless Signaling" [References Kramar's 1932 US patent 2028510, which itself is equivalent to Kramars 1932 German "Lorenz Beam" patent 577350, as baseline for the antenna arrangement of 1 vertical dipole + 2 switchable reflectors (FD: resulting plane measures ca. ½λ x ½λ). The physical length of the dipole and the reflectors is reduced significantly (e.g., to 1/8 λ or 1/3 λ), and the associated reduction in electrical length is compensated by adding inductances (FD: "loading coils"). The omni-directional radiation pattern of the dipole is hardly affected by shortening the dipole, as well as by the angles of intersection between the two overlapping beams. If the electrical length of the reflectors is also reduced, and compensated back up to ¼λ or ½λ, the patterns becomes more cardioid than that of the baseline arrangement. (FD: ¼λ spacing must be retained for the reflectors to work as such). Principle of the patent is applicable to directional reception and transmission. ]
734130 RP 1937 Ernst Kramar & Walter-Max Hahnemann C.Lorenz A.G. "Ultrakurzwellen-Sendeanordnung zur Erzielung von Gleitwegflächen" "Arrangement of VHF transmission for generation of glide path planes" [Curved "constant field strength" glide path: curve to be used (FD: steepness & gradient) depends on aircraft type (approach speed, etc.). If beacon beyond departure end of runway, then beam elevation adjusted such that flat bottom of curves coincides with intended touch-down point. More optimal curve(s) obtained when curve bottom coincides with ground level at the beacon location. This requires beacon installation at the intended touch-down point. E.g., 2 UHF beacons with horizontal diople just below ground level at the intended touch-down point (FD: i.e., per Diamond/Dunmore's 1933 US patent 2120241). Straight glide path guidance can be obtained with equisignal beam, e.g., two VHF dipoles below ground (fed in-phase by common transmitter), spaced several wavelengths on the localizer course line. Also see equivalent Hahnemenn/Kramar 1939 US patent 2210664]
816120 FR 1937 Le Matériel Téléphonique S.A. Le Matériel Téléphonique S.A. "Systèmes de guidage par ondes radioélectriques par exemple pour l'atterrissage des avions sans visibilité extérieure" "Radio guidance systems, e.g., for landing aircraft without external visibility" [Antenna arrangement for creating 2 overlapping beams with equisignal zone, front-course only, no significant back-course beams (i.e., 1-course, not 2-course pattern). Hence, no ground & obstacle reflections from the back-course emissions. arrangement with vertical dipole + reflector at ¼λ + 2nd vertical dipole (or director) at ½λ + side-reflector at ¼λ, transmitter located behind the reflector (in the now suppressed back-course zone). Two such arrangements to obtain the 2 overlapping beams. Vertical (glide path) guidance via standard visual/instrument method (curve of constant field-intensity), enhanced with device that converts signal strenght to audio tone frequency, hence, deviation from constant field-strength curve changes the audio pitch.]
2147809 US 1937 Andrew Alford Mackay Radio & Telegraph Co. --- "High frequency bridge circuits and high frequency repeaters"  [transmission-line bridge to combine two tone-modulated RF signals with same carrier frequency; used on 90/150 Hz Localizer and Glide Slope systems]
705234 RP 1937 Ernst Kramar & Dietrich Erben C.Lorenz A.G. "Sendeanordnung zur Erzeugung von geknickten Kurslinien" "Arrangement for generating angled/bent course lines" [In the standard configuration of equisignal beam beacon with 1 vertical dipole + 2 alternately switched vertical reflectors (FD: i.e., "Lorenz Beam"), is with reflectros spaced symmetrically left & right of the dipole. Resulting radiation pattern has 2 equisignal beams that point in opposite directions. Beam directions can be shifted to obtain angles other than 180°/180° ((FD: this is referred to as "course bending"), by spacing the reflectors asymmetrically with respect to the dipole. Extreme case of using dipole with single reflector also has this effect, but makes equisignal beam unsharp. Alternative configuration is vertical dipole with symmetrically spaced reflectors, but reflectors of unequal length, one ½λ and the other < ½λ (FD: i.e., 1 reflector + 1 director).]
720890 RP 1937 Ernst Kramar & Werner Gerbes C.Lorenz A.G. "Anordnung zur Erzeugung einer geradlinigen Gleitwegführung für Flugzeuglandezwecke" "Arrangement for generating straight glide path guidance for aircraft landing purposes" [Curved "constant field-strength" beacon glide paths are generally (too) steep on approach and (too) flat near ground, resulting in (too) high landing speed and associated extended floating before actual touch-down. (FD: also require constant power controls and pitch angle adjustments by pilot, instead of stabilized approach, which is highly undesirable and bad practice). A (near-)straight glide path guide beam can be obtained with an upwardly angled equisignal beam (of two vertically overlapping complementary keyed beams, instead of using curves of horizontally overlapping beams). Optimal equisignal beam elevation angle is ca. 3°. High sensitivity for glide path deviation indication requires very sharp/directive sub-beams. For practical antenna system dimensions, this implies UHF radio frequencies (freq. > 300 MHz = wavelenghts < 1 mtr); multiple equisignal beams (at separate elevation angles), separated by sharp nulls, are obtained when antenna system placed several wavelengths above ground. No problem, if always intercepting the equisignal beams from below. So far, nothing new. Proposed antenna configuration: two stacked vertical collinear dipoles. A/N keying makes it possible to identify the multiple glide slope (GS) beams, as the "A" & "N" sub-beams are above/below the lowest GS beam, below/above the next (steeper) GS beam, etc. Same beam patterns can also be obtained with a single vertical antenna that is several wavelengths long (FD: to obtain pattern with multiple lobes), the electrical length of which is cyclicly momentarily slightly increased in the standard complementary keying rythm. Also see Kramar's 1938 US patent 2297228]
2215786 US 1937 Ernst Kramar & Walter Max Hahnemann C.Lorenz A.G. --- "System for landing airplanes" [Partial continuation of Kramar/Hahnemann's 1934 US patent nr. 2196674. Known is VHF beacon with upwardly-angled omni-directional torus-shaped radiation pattern, creating constant-signal-strength glide path curves. This required constant transmitter output and constant receiver gain during the landing phase. Patent proposes using one or more marker beacons, with narrrow pattern across thee approach course line, to indicate glide path intercept planes, and starting point for following constant-signal-strength glide path. (FD: no significant expansion of the referenced 1934 patent).]
2226718 US 1937 Ernst Kramar & Walter Max Hahnemann C.Lorenz A.G. --- "Method of Landing Airplanes" [Continuation of Kramar/Hahnemann's 1934 US patent nr. 2196674 and their 1937 US patent 2215786. ]
767399 RP 1937 Ernst Kramar & Joachim Goldmann C.Lorenz A.G. "Verfahren zur Erzeugung einer vertikalen Leitebene" "Method for creating a vertical guidance plane" [Method for long-range navigation; standard beacon with two complementary-keyed (e.g., A/N) overlapping beams with associated equisignal beam course-line, operating on Longwave or VHF frequencies, suitable for short-range; very long range navigation (great-circle) requires short-wave frequencies; on short-wave, radio waves propagate as groundwaves and skywaves. The latter are refracted by E &amp; F layer in ionosphere, depending on wave elevation angle and frequency. At the receiver station, these various waves combine / interfere; associated phase differences cause periodic fading and A/N distortion, affecting apparent course line. Solved with elevated directional beams (3 parallel vertical dipoles one 1 line + 2 reflectors on perpendicular line through center dipole), such that received skywave is always stronger than the groundwave. Antenna arrangement can be made azimuth-rotable. References Hahnemann's 1924 German patent 474123, Yagi's 1926 German patent 475293, and LMT Co.'s 1937 French patent 816120.]
2206463 CH 1938 --- C. Lorenz A.G. "Sendeanordnung zur Erzielung von Kurslinien" "Transmission arrangement for generating course lines" [Simplified Lorenz landing beam system; vertical dipole with single periodically activated parallel passive reflector.]
731237 RP 1938 Ernst Kramar C.Lorenz A.G. "Empfangsverfahren für Leitstrahlsender" "Method of reception of guide beam beacons" [Method for obtaining simultaneous aural & visual indication regarding equisignal beam of beacons with two overlapping-beams that are complementary-keyed with two different modulation tones. At receiver, the 2 tones are separated with 2-channel filter unit, rectified and fed to a comparing visual instrument. Beacon also broadcasts its keying signal via separate modulaton frequency. This is also received, and used to drive a commutating relay (i.e., synchronized to the beacon keying) for passing the filtered received tones to circuitry that generates their harmonics that are modulated such that the 2 complementary keyed tones now have the same audio frequency (i.e., as if the beacon was a standard 1-tone complementary-keyed one), and fed to the headphones. Also see Kramar's equivalent 1939 US patent 2255741]
206464 CH 1938 --- C. Lorenz A.G. "Rotierende Funkbake" "Rotating radio beacon" [Motorized rotating antenna arrangement of 2 pairs of vertical antennas (grounded monopoles or dipoles) at corners of a square, Adcock arrangement, simultaneously fed by transmitter via , central vertical monopole, fed simultaneously by same transmitter; creates rotating equi-signal beams; using shortwave to obtain long range]
767522 RP 1938 Ernst Kramar & Felix Gerth & Joachim Goldmann & Heinrich Brunswig C.Lorenz A.G. "Empfangsvorrichtung zur Richtungsbestimmung mittels rotierender Funkbake" "Receiving device for determining direction with a rotating radio beacon" [Rotating-beam beacon with omnidirectional north-signal pulse and rotating minimum/null; mentions optical device with synchronously rotating light bulb (inaccurate, complicated construction) and CRT display (Braunsche Röhre) showing pip upon receipt of max signal]
711673 RP 1938 Ernst Kramar C.Lorenz A.G. "Gleitweglandeverfahren" "Glide Path Landing Method" [The curved/parabolic constant-field-strength VHF glide paths are too steep at altitude and too flat near ground (with high engine power setting, resulting in floating down the runway due to high speed), which cannot be done with all aircraft type. Beam method provides (near-)straight glide path (FD: i.e., glide slope), allowing descent to landing with constant descent rate ( = constant vertical speed), and round-out (UK) / flare (US) with idle engine(s). This is achieved with a beacon that has a heart-shaped horizontal radiation pattern (heart-tip at the antenna system), angled towards the inbound approach direction (line hearth-tip / heart-dip crossing the approach track outside the airfield perimeter). Radiation pattern obtained with 2 vertical antennas, spaced 3.87λ or 1.95λ, fed 180° out of phase. Also see Kramar/Hahnemann's equivalent 1938 US patent 2241907, and Kramar's 1939 German 1-course expansion patent 2241915]
2212238 US 1938 Frederick A. Kolster Int'l Telephone Development Co. (part of Int'l Telephone & Telegraph Corp. (ITT), the parent company of C. Lorenz A.G. since 1930) --- "Ultra short wave course beacon" [100% copy of the Lorenz A/N with dipole & switched reflectors landing beam system, with operating frequency increased to higher VHF [30-150 MHz, vs. 30 MHz for standard Lorenz A/N system], so as to avoid night-effect / ionospheric distortions (but susceptible to reflections from terrain and man-made structures), with an added colocated beacon with figure-of-8 pattern for wide-angle approximate location by aircraft far from primary course lines]
2282030 US 1938 Henri Busignies Henri Busignies --- "System of Guiding Vehicles" [Ground-based D/F apparatus comprising 2 sets of 3 antennas (1x 3 orthogonal loops, 1x 3 orthogonal crossing dipoles), eliminating night effect and aircraft effect (transmitting with trailing antenna = horizontally polarized); 2 antennas of each set are connected via amplifiers to 2 pairs of oscilloscope deflection plates. The remaining antennas are alternately connected to a signal strength indicator via an amplifier.]
2290974 US 1938 Ernst Kramar C.Lorenz A.G. --- "Direction Finding System" [Method of indicating equisignal beam beacon (2 switched directional antennas or 1 omni antenna + 2 switched reflectors) course line deviation, by comparing amplitude of the 2 signals. Standard Visual Indicator (vibrating reeed) for use with non-keyed 2-tone equibeams does not provide acoustic deviation indication, but pilot requires both to be available simultaneously. Existing instruments for equisignal beam aural beacons are based on electrical pulses derived from the flanks of the received tone pulses (rectified tone-pulses ( = DC-pulses) are passed through a transformer ( = inductance), which creates a positive induction pulse for each rising flank of a DC pulse and a negative pulse for each falling flank, the pulse amplitude being proportional to the DC-pulse amplitude ( = relative tone strength). This only works with beam-keying with single elements per side (e.g., complementary E/T keying, with only dots on one side, only dashes on the other). However, with these, it is difficult to assess the course deviation by listening to the combined audio signals (except for very large course deviations, when only one sub-beam is received). Aural interpretation is better with complementary dots & dashes keying patterns where both characters have the same number of dots and the same number of dashes (A/N, D/U, etc.). However, these cannot be used with the existing "kicking meter" indicators. Patent fixes this limitation, by inserting a 2-tone filter + 2nd rectifier stage between the 1st rectifiers and the standard summing moving-coil meter. Filters tuned to the repetition rates of the positive (or negative) induction pulses (i.e., factor 2:1). Hence, meter decaying pulse reflections to one side for "A" and to the other side for "N". This is a co-patent / split-off of Kramar's 1939 US patent 2241915. Also see Kramar's 1931 US patent 1949256, and L.M.T. Co.'s 1937 French patent 816120, p. 99 in ref. 21B.]
2297228 US 1938 Ernst Kramar C.Lorenz A.G. --- "Glide Path Producing Means" [Equivalent to Kramar's 1937 German patent 720890]
2288196 US 1938 Ernst Kramar C.Lorenz A.G. --- "Radio Beacon System" [Equivalent to Kramar's 1938 German patent 731237, with some expansion.]
7105791 RP 1938 Ernst Kramar & Heinrich Nass C.Lorenz A.G. "Sendeanordnung zur Erzeugung von Leitlinien" "Arrangement for producing course guide-beams" [The standard "Lorenz Beam" equisignal beacon configuration ( = 1 vertical dipole + 2 reflectors, per Kramar/Lorenz 1932 German patent 577350) is based on complementary keying of the reflectors, and transmitting continuous single tone via the dipole. Equisignal "visual" beacons continuously transmit 2 overlapping sub-beams with different tones, which allows simpler indicator system. Patent modifies the "Lorenz beam" configuration, by not hard-keying the reflectors, but replacing their keying switches / relays with interruptors / variable capacitors / goniometers that are each driven by seperate motor; one motor with 90 rpm, the other with 150 rpm, resulting in 90 & 150 Hz modulation respectively ( = standard modulation tones of Visual Equisignal Beacons), and constant carrier transmitted via the dipole. However, without further measures, this this results in suppression of the equisignal course-lines! This is fixed by changing the reflector length and reflector-dipole spacing such that the deformed dipole patterns have less overlap. Same result if, instead of dipole & reflectors placed on a straight line, they are arranged as a triangle. Can be used with standard Visual Indicator (e.g., reeds). Also see Kramar/Nass's equivalent 1939 US patent 2238270]
2241907 US 1938 Ernst Kramar & Walter Max Hahnemann C.Lorenz A.G. --- "Landing Method and System for Aircraft" [Equivalent of Kramar's 1932 German patent 711673]
2238270 US 1939 Ernst Kramar & Heinrich Nass C.Lorenz A.G. --- "Radio Direction Finding System" [Equivalent of Kramar's 1938 German patent 710591]
2210664 US 1939 Ernst Kramar & Walter Max Hahnemann C.Lorenz A.G. --- "Radio Direction Finding System" [Equivalent to Hahnemann/Kramar's 1937 German patent 734130 (UHF beacon with horizontal diople just below ground level at the intended touch-down point (FD: i.e., per Diamond/Dunmore's 1933 US patent 2120241).]
525359 GB 1939 Frank Gregg Kear Frank Gregg Kear --- "Improvements in or relating to radio transmitting systems" [Equisignal beam beacon, with antenna configuration comprising 2 omni-directional antennas, spaced ½λ and alternately & complementary keyed in-phase and 180° out of phase, to create 2 overlapping cardioid patterns. Alternatively: 2 separately fed omni-antennas, physically spaced ¼λ, with bi-directional transformer-coupled ¼λ feedline between them (= 90° phase difference); can be generalized for X° physical spacing; antennas fed by transmitter(s) via transformers, either 2 tones (Visual Range) or complementary keyed Aural Range. With this arrangement and resulting sub-beam patterns, contrary to conventional 2-/4-course beacons, there is no need for TO/FROM switching on the indicator, as the same characteristic signal (keying pattern or tone) is always (i.e., for all 4 courses!) on the same side of the equisignal beams when flying FROM (or, conversely, TO) the beacon! Various transmitter / modulator-amplifier / transformer configurations.]
2255741 US 1939 Ernst Kramar C.Lorenz A.G. --- "System for determining navigatory direction" [Equivalent to Kramar's 1938 German patent 731237]
718022 RP 1939 Ernst Kramar C.Lorenz A.G. "Antennenanordnung zur Erzeugung einer Strahlung für die Durchführung von Flugzeugblinlandungen" "Antenna configuration for generating a beam for blind landing of airplanes" [Expansion of Kramar's 1938 German patent 711673]
2241915 US 1939 Ernst Kramar C.Lorenz A.G. --- "Direction-Finding System" [Expansion of Kramar's 1938 German patent 711673. Instead of a 2-course glide path beacon with 2 antennas spaced 3.87λ or 1.95λ and fed 180° out-of-phase, now a 1-course beacon based on same cardioid pattern concept, with 2 linear arrays with 3.87λ or 1.95λ spacing between array centers, each array comprising 4 antennas with ¼λ spacing, and the 2 arrays fed 180° out of phase.]
2272997 US 1939 Andrew Alford Int'l Telephone Development Co. (part of Int'l Telephone & Telegraph Corp. (ITT), the parent company of C. Lorenz A.G. since 1930) --- "Landing beacon system"  [2-transmitter beacon system, one producing landing beam with curved, constant field intensity approach path, the other (also) located on the approach course but displaced in the direction of the approach, its field combining with the first, so as to create a linear (straight) landing path.]
767254 RP 1939 Ernst Kramar C.Lorenz A.G. "Verfahren zur kontinuierlichen Ortsbestimmung eines Flugzeuges längs der Anflugstrecke zu einem Landeplatz" "Method for continuously determining position of an aircraft along a the approach path to an arfield"  [From marker beacon to touchdown, rotating wave interference pattern, one beam with phase modulation, one with unmodulated CW, wavelength at least approach path length, e.g., 900 m or 4 km, located at departure end of runway]
2294882 US 1940 Andrew Alford International Telephone & Radio Mfg. Corp. [subsidiary of ITT] --- "Aircraft Landing System" [methods & means for providing a glide path with antenna location remote from landing runway [FD: beside runway, abeam T/D point]; parabolic/curved GP too steep at higher alt, but correct shap at T/D point; straight GP at higher altitude but too sharp angle at T/D point; patent proposes hyperbolic GP shape that is substantially straight but curved at lower alt; antenna system has symmetrical pattern in opposite directions, i.e., 2 GP's in opposite directions (FD: undesirable, since only 1 can serve a correct T/D point!)
2404501 US 1940 Frank Gregg Kear Frank Gregg Kear --- "Radio beacon system" [VHF rotating-beam radio beacon with, e.g., 200-300 MHz carrier frequency; narrow beam rotates in azimuth at a constant rate (e.g., 12-30 rpm); the 360° azimuth is divided into a fixed number of consecutive arc-segments (e.g., 5° wide), starting with, e.g., north. The odd-numbered segments all have a different-but-fixed modulation tone. No transmission when beam sweeps through an even-numbered segment. E.g., with 5° wide arc-segments, 36 segments each with a distinct tone, interspersed with 36 no-tone segments. A receiver on an abritrary azimuth/course, will receive sequentially 3 tones: the strongest is the tone associated with the arc-segment in which that course lies; this is preceded by the (weaker) tone of the preceding arc-segment and followed by the (weaker) tone of the next arc-segment. Transmitter has tone-modulator with tone stepwise altered by same motor as rotating the directional antenna. Receiver has 3 audio filters with center frequency that is operator-selectable to the tone-combination of the desired & adjacent arc-segments. The tone of the center arc-segment directly drives a signal strength indicator. The other 2 tone filters are both followed by a slow-decay signal peak-capturing circuit, the outputs of which drive a zero-center meter, indicating relative strength (with sign) of the 2 adjacent arc-segment signals. Instrument provides continuous indication of deviation from any selectable course.]
2283677 US 1940 Armig G. Kandoian Int'l Telephone & Radio Mfg. Corp. --- "Localizer beacon" [ILS localizer system, 5 loop antennas, transmission line bridge, 2-tone continuous modulation]. Also see 1951 "Localizer antenna system" US patent 2682050 by A. Alford.
2288815 US 1940 David G.C. Luck Radio Corporation of America (RCA) --- "Omnidirectional radio range" [equivalent to the German UKW-Phasendrehfunkfeuer “Erich”; precursor to the post-WW2 VOR system]
581602 GB 1942 Robert James Dippy Robert James Dippy --- "Improvements in or relating to Wireles Signalling Systems" [invention of the Grid / GEE/ G hyperbolic system; covers GEE pulse-signals receiver & CRT display system design]
581603 GB 1942 Robert James Dippy Robert James Dippy --- "Improvements in or relating to Wireles Systems for navigation" [co-patent to Dippy's 1942 British patent 581602]
2436843 US 1943 Chester B. Watts & Leon Himmel Federal Telephone & Radio Corp. [subsidiary of ITT] --- "Radio Antenna" [UHF directional antenna system with 2 overlapping beams, radiating predominantly horizontally polarized waves, without rear lobes, suitable for operation with a mobile glide path transmitter, lower end of GP changes from straight GP angle to zero; finalization of US patent 2419552 (filed 1 month earlier) with same title, by Leon Himmel & Morton Fuchs]
862787 DP 1944 Joachim Goldmann C.Lorenz A.G. "Antennenanordnung zur Erzeugung von ebenen Strahlungsflächen der Strahlung Null" "Antenna configuration for generating narrow nulls in beam radiation pattern" [Invention of the "Elektra" multiple beam system]
148430 GB 1918 Hugo Lichte Hugo Lichte --- "Improvement in navigation by means of an alternating current cable located in the water" [inductive pilot-cable / leader-cable; also same-date French patent 524960]
163741 GB 1919 William Arthur Loth William Arthur Loth --- "Improvements in the system and apparatus for enabling a movable object to pursue an electrically staked out route in a more precise way than by means of visual points of reference" [inductive pilot-cable / leader-cable system for surface/submerged ships/boats, energized with electrical power with specific rhythms or frequencies.]
423014 DE 1919 William Arthur Loth William Arthur Loth "Empfangseinrichtung auf Fahrzeugen zur Navigation nach Führungskabeln" "Reception arrangement on vehicles for navigation by pilot-cables / leader-cables" [crossing loop antennas and "Telefunken Compass" switched dipoles in star-configuration]
410396 DE 1920 William Arthur Loth William Arthur Loth "Vorrichtung zur Navigierung von Fahrzeugenm insbesondere von Schiffen" "System for navigation of vehicles, in particular of ships" [crossed-loops receiver antenna for inductive pilot-cable / leader-cable system]
2224863 US 1938 Edward N. Dingley Edward N. Dingley --- "Blind landing equipment" [inductive pilot-cable / leader-cable system, cables in or on ground; with equi-signal; supplemented by 1938 US patent 2340282 and its equivalent 1938 GB patent 522345]
820319 GB 1950 Brian D.W. White National Research Development Corp. --- "Improvements in or relating to azimuth guidance systems" [aircraft azimuth guidance system; a wire supplied with AC power runs parallel with each side of the runway; the frequency of the supplies are either different or have the same carrier frequency with differing modulation frequencies and two equisignal fields exist along the runway center line; aircraft equipped with pick-up loop(s) to detect EM field and derive position relative to the wire(s) and runway center line.]

Table 3: Selected patents regarding radio direction finding, radio location, radio navigation through WW2


Note 1: due to copyright reasons, this file is in a password-protected directory. Contact me if you need access for research or personal study purposes.

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