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Sunday, April 1, 2018:   If you have an old radio, such as this one from the 1930s, you may be confused on how to tune in a local radio station when the dial is marked in Kilocycles rather than the now familiar Kilohertz.
Yes, radio frequencies used to be measured in Kilocycles and Megacycles.  The world has changed.

Today is the day we remember and celebrate the life of German physicist Heinrich Hertz.  He is credited with proving that electricity can be transmitted in electromagnetic (radio) waves, first theorized by James Clerk Maxwell's electromagnetic theory of light.  Hertz lived just a short 36 years from 1857 to 1894, but made a huge impact on our world. 

Back on April 1st, 1960, the world-wide radio frequency spectrum numbering scheme was converted from "cycles per second" to Hertz.  This caused quite a bit of confusion among scientists and the public alike.  Most learned the new way within a year or so.  Einstein's Theory of Relativity comes into play here as well, causing further uncertainty.

A throwback to the old days, radio dials were labeled KC (kilocycles) and MC (megacycles).

If you come across a relic radio built before 1960 and want to tune into your favorite radio station, you will need to convert the station frequency from say, 103.5 MHz (Megahertz), to Megacycles.  The formula is: Subtract 10 from the frequency in MHz and take the square root.  Then multiply that number by itself.  Add 10 to get the frequency in Megacycles. That will get you pretty close.    

For the math challenged, there is a graph below to help with the conversion.

Remember, Heinrich Hertz is to blame for all of this.

Quote of the day:    April fools!   Mark    < Back to previous story Ahead to next story >

Questions, Comments?  Email Mark Persons  teki@mwpersons.com

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page last edited 04/18/2018