Summer and the radio go hand in hand. Listening to a baseball game on the front porch. Singing along to pop music with your friends while you’re out of school. Listening to the weather reports to decide whether to head down the shore for the day.
New Jersey officially recognizes 1664 as the year the state was founded when land owned by the Duke of York was given to Sir George Carteret and John Lord Berkeley. That transaction record proclaimed that “said Tract of Land is hereafter to be called by the name or names of New Cesarea or New Jersey.” That makes this year New Jersey’s 350th Anniversary! To celebrate this major milestone, we’ve undertaken a project we’re calling 35 New Jersey Firsts where we highlight 35 things that first came to life in New Jersey.
The first FM radio broadcast was made from Alpine by Maj. Edwin Howard Armstrong.
Armstrong invented many things related to radio signals but the most important might have been the wide-band frequency modulation (FM) radio. He received a patent on wide-band FM on December 26, 1933.
By 1937, Armstrong was ready to finance the construction of the very first first FM radio station, W2XMN, a 40 kilowatt broadcaster in Alpine. The signal (at 42.8 MHz) could be heard clearly 100 miles (160 km) away, despite the use of less power than an AM radio station.
A patent fight between RCA and Armstrong ensued because he had worked for RCA for a time. RCA’s momentous victory in the courts left Armstrong unable to claim royalties on any FM receivers, including televisions, which were sold in the United States. His legal battles brought ruin to Armstrong. After his death, though, many of the lawsuits were decided or settled in his favor, greatly enriching his estate and heirs. But the decisions came too late for Armstrong himself to enjoy his legal vindication.
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