Television: On the Bounce

Like scaled stones skittering atop a lake, radio and TV signals ricochet from the electrically charged ionosphere. Some fall to earth in unpredictable patterns that baffle scientists. Because of the ionosphere's quirks, the man with the world's widest range of TV viewing may well be an English electronics engineer named George F. Cole. His address: Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, thousands of miles from Europe's transmitters.

Cole started to fiddle with complex antennas in 1955, was soon picking up a babble of languages but no picture. Then he set up a great rhombic aerial, a "V" that spread over 80 ft. of ground....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!