These articles are scanned and OCRed from old editions
of The Wireless World
As radio equipment builders and operators, we still battle two fundamental issues that
have been around since the beginning of time (well, from Marconi's time, anyway) - grounding
and power supply fluxuations. Both topics are addressed briefly here in this editorial column
from a 1932 The Wireless World magazine.
See all the available The Wireless World articles.
THE water pipe has been the wireless user's best friend for many a long year, and, despite
many attempts to persuade the public to adopt the ideal of efficiency in the shape of a specially
constructed earth buried in the garden, the vast majority of listeners still adhere to the
original expedient of making the earth connection to the water pipe. No book of instructions
on the installation of a set has been complete without the advice that, if a buried earth
is impracticable, then a clean . connection to the water pipe should be as a very satisfactory
After all these years of quiet enjoyment of the facilities which the water pipe offers
it will come as a shock to learn that an attempt is being made to divorce wireless sets from
water pipes on the grounds that the practice "is likely, in course of time, to cause serious
deterioration of the water pipes and mains, leading to subsequent leakage of water.
The first instance of objection to come to our notice originates with the Portsmouth Water
Company, and it seems likely that, if their view is accepted, other water-supply authorities
will also take steps to prevent the use of their water pipes for wireless earthing purposes.
It is difficult to estimate the inconvenience to wireless users which would be caused if they
were deprived of this means of earthing, and we therefore feel that a scare in regard to the
damage which might be caused to the water pipes ought not to be started unless there is ample
and unchallengeable evidence that damage does actually result. Up to the present we cannot
recollect having seen any evidence published of damage resulting from, this practice, and
we would like to be referred to any reliable source of information on this subject or records
.of experiments which have been carried out. Surely this subject must have been fully investigated
long ago, and the reason that no action has been taken is that there is no justification for
Whilst recognizing that if damage to water pipes does occur, then water-supply companies
have every right to protect their property, yet we feel very strongly that when the use of
the water pipe for this purpose has been so universally adopted over many years no restrictions
ought to be imposed on frivolous or ill-founded evidence.
IT is interesting that, just after we have been discussing in our columns the question
of fluctuation in the voltage at consumers' mains, a case should have been brought up at the
Exmouth Petty Sessions, where a local Electric Light and Power Company has been fined for
selling electricity at a voltage lower than that declared by the company and required by the
It appears that many complaints were received in this case in regard to the variation in
supply; the voltage at consumers' terminals should have been 220, subject to a possible variation
not exceeding 4 per cent. above or below. Voltages as low as 196 were recorded by an inspector,
and proceedings were taken against the supply company after a number of investigations had
In imposing the fine of £10, the Chairman of the Bench remarked that the actual liability
of the company was some £95. It is to be hoped that the wide publicity which this case appears
to have received may have the effect of reminding other supply authorities of their responsibilities,
so that they take greater precautions to maintain voltages within the prescribed limits.
Posted May 14, 2011