Nos. 1 to 183
Radio Service Bulletins were
issued monthly by the Bureau of Navigation (and later the Radio Division, Department of Commerce)
from January 1915 into the 1930s and beyond to keep mariners, aviators, radio listeners, and others
abreast of developments in the new medium of radio. Radio was used for radiotelegraphy,
ship-to-shore, and ship-to-ship communications, and increasingly as the
1920s and 1930s advanced, broadcasting. The bulletins reproduced here
offer a snapshot of the state of the radio art during these years.
Bulletins issued before 1921 are primarily concerned with radiotelegraphy communications between ships although there are some references to land stations too. Present-day readers should keep in mind that these bulletins were intended for the use of radio operators who needed to contact other ships or shore stations to relay messages. As such, the bulletins frequently list radio-equipped ships as well as rates for radiotelegraph and radiotelephone messages. The bulletins also refer to weather, time, and ice warning stations, and occasional information such as warnings about areas that may contain explosive mines (after World War I). After 1921, the bulletins increasingly refer to early pioneer broadcast stations, some of which still exist today (although generally on different frequencies and at different power levels than initially authorized). Notice that many call letters presently used by broadcasters today were once assigned to radio stations aboard ships.
The August 31, 1931, edition of the RSB contained an index to orders of the Federal Radio Commission which were published in the RSB up to that date. For your convenience, this index (Index of Regulations and Miscellaneous Articles Appearing the in RSB, Years 1920 to 1931) has been extracted and is available separately at the top of the bulletin list on the left as FRC Orders in RSB.
The August 31, 1931, edition also contained a list of items appearing in the RSB over the previous decade, under the heading Index of Regulations and Miscellaneous Articles Appearing the in RSB, Years 1920 to 1931. This is also available as an item at the top of the left hand column as Items In RSB.
The continuous series of 183 bulletins (in PDF format) available here starts with No. 1 / January 1915. Note that no bulletins were issued from April 1917 until August 1919 because of World War I.
When making selections from the drop down menu below, please allow suffcient time for the bulletins to download to your browser. Depending on your connection speed, it may take a short time to download individual bulletins. Users who want to download many issues or who are retrieving documents over slower Internet connections may want to download the entire set of PDF files to their computer in a single ZIP file. Save it and unzip it to a directory of your choice.
Note: Before the creation of the Federal Radio Commission by Act of Congress in 1927 (and later the FCC in 1934), the Department of Commerce was responsible for the licensing of radio stations.
Some abbreviations in the Radio Service Bulletins: