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Aug 1, 2005 12:00 PM, By Kari Taylor, associate editor

Do you remember?

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The TCM-6, manufactured by Terracom about 30 years ago, was a portable microwave radio that provided performance for up to 1,200 frequency division multiplexing (FDM) voice channels or high bit-rate digital data transmission. The unit offered 0.005 percent frequency stability across its 1.7 to 15GHz range. Other features included continuous frequency tuning, automatic fault indication, a solid-state modular design and internal subcarrier program channels. The system was available for simplex, duplex, hot standby and diversity operation. Convertible mounting configurations allowed rack installation, stacking or vehicular mounting. The RF unit plug-in modules could be remote controlled from hundreds of feet away in weatherproof enclosures at the antenna, eliminating waveguide.

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That was then

Manufactured around 1954 in Indianapolis, the Regency TR-1G was one of the first consumer transistor radios. The radio received AM broadcasts only, as FM was not yet an option. Using transistors instead of tubes allowed portable audio entertainment to become a common part of everyday life.

This is now

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Today portable audio devices are not limited to radios. CD players, Minidisc players and now media file players such as the Apple Ipod provide consumers with access to more audio choices than ever before. As portable as the first transistor radios, modern media players add extensive battery life and vast amounts of storage space to hold hours of audio material.

The distance consumer technology has traveled from the transistor radio to the Ipod has come full circle with the emergence of N&S Valveworks' tube-based amplifier. This vacuum-tube amplifier allows the portable Ipod to be used as a table-top set in a way that appeals to audiophile interests while making something of an homage to the humble transistor radio's ancestry.

Sample and Hold

If Internet radio was available on your cellular phone for a reasonable fee, would you pay to listen?

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Source: RRadio Network, Survey 29, Music, Cell phone, The Future, 2005.