[Milsurplus] can anyone id the radio used on this clipper?

Mike Hanz aaf-radio-1 at AAFRADIO.ORG
Sat Mar 27 10:30:40 EDT 2010

Bruce Gentry wrote:
>>> There are other possibilities. One very real one was patent problems. 
>>> In those times, almost every component in a practical radio was 
>>> claimed under a patent. Not only the construction of the component, 
>>> but also the use and application. Into the 1960s, vacuum tubes had a 
>>> warning reading something like: "Licensed only to the extent listed on 
>>> carton" .   One prohibition was communications for toll or hire. On 
>>> such a luxurious airliner crossing oceans,  personal messages were 
>>> probably handled for  a price.  By building their own equipment, PanAm 
>>> may have been able to avoid  these problems. Patents apply to everyone 
>>> using them, but RCA and Hazeltine Research usually did not bother 
>>> small specialty builders ( like Scott)  for anything more than a 
>>> reasonable royalty for each radio built.  A larger manufacturer had to 
>>> register with them and pay all sorts of fees and b... s...

I don't discount that as a remote possibility, but it seems to me that 
there are three factors that argue against that scenario.  The first is 
that H.C. Leuteritz, the company's chief radio engineer, appears to have 
been a somewhat dominating personality.  He worked at RCA for several 
years prior to becoming Pan Am's architect for their radio system, and 
seems to have had pretty much carte blanch through the 1930s with 
whatever was fielded.  That degree of control was earned primarily by 
his accomplishment of putting together and maintaining the entire 
network as an effective communications system, not merely his prowess in 
designing a regen set for the aircraft.  Halo effect, as it were.  The 
second is that they apparently did not manufacture these radios for 
general sale like the big boys (RCA, Western Electric, et al), so even 
if they had used existing patents, the amount of royalties concerned 
would have been piddling for such a small number.  There were only 12 of 
the Boeing 314s built for Pan Am, for example, and the number of other 
Pan Am aircraft types in the fleet wasn't large either, so finding a Pan 
Am Airways System receiver today would be an amazing accomplishment.  
The reference I mentioned before at 
http://www.oldbeacon.com/beacon/pan_american_radio_1929.htm demonstrates 
how well he accomplished  his mission, and the cost figures, considering 
it was 1929, are astounding.  Finally, Juan Trippe, who ran Pan Am, 
obviously had some serious moolah and business connections behind him. 
That would (and still does) cut through a lot of silliness in a real 
hurry.  After all, there were well established precedents in the 
steamship industry for handling passenger traffic, and I suspect they 
simply adopted existing contracts and other mechanisms for the service.*

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