Duplex Radio-Telephone (Revisited)

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W. B. Lewis  

From Nuclear Pursuits - The Scientific Biography of Wilfrid Bennett Lewis - by Ruth Fawcett:
It is likely that Lewis's interest in wireless also led him to become involved in the Cambridge University Officers Training Corps (OTC). This was a voluntary organization that aimed at training men as part of the Territorial Army. Most public schools and universities had an attached OTC and Lewis had been a member of the Haileybury Corps. In 1931 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Territorial Army. Soon he was working in the research section of the Signals Unit of the Cambridge University OTC. His main project from 1931 to 1938 (during which time he was promoted from second lieutenant to captain in command of the signals unit) was to develop duplex telephony on ultra-short waves - effectively a primitive walkie-talkie. The main problem lay in devising an instrument that could act as both receiver and transmitter; in other words, one in which conversation could pass in both directions at the same time. Experiments were carried out on a rifle-range that lay on the outskirts of Cambridge. One of the huts on the range housed Lewis's laboratory, where he did much of his design work. J.C. Kendrew and S.W.H.W. Falloon, undergraduates at Cambridge, both joined the Signals section of the OTC and quickly became involved in Lewis's experiments. Lewis needed someone to operate a set at a considerable distance to see if the voice was being transmitted clearly. According to Kendrew, the climax to these experiments came during the annual athletics meeting when Lewis managed to convince the higher authorities that they would provide the radio communication from the middle of the stadium to the telegraph. Apparently this was a success and, as Kendrew commented, "quite entertaining."

John C. Kendrew - Biography