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 Invention Profile:
Peak
Limiter

Recollections of CKUA

Edward Jordan

In the early days of radio, two common problems found in broadcast studios were those of the sibilant "s" and the vocal tics of high-pitched voices—particularly those of women and tenors.

CKUA in Edmonton, Canada’s first educational broadcaster, was not immune to the problem, but it discovered a solution in the person of a young man named Edward Jordan.

Edward JordanJordan, a workroom boy in the University of Alberta’s Department of Extension, became so intrigued by radio technology that in 1932 he enrolled in electrical engineering. He became CKUA’s first control room operator, and while broadcasting a university lecture, saw the sibilance of a gap-toothed professor cause a modulation that forced the station off the air.

He would soon develop a device that not only solved CKUA’s dead air problem, but earned him his master's degree in 1936. His thesis was titled Automatic Gain Control for a Broadcast Amplifier, and the device would become better known as the peak limiter.

Following his convocation from the U of A, Jordan redesigned and rebuilt CKUA’s studio control panel, incorporating into it the first automatic gain control in Canada.

Jordan became an international radio expert, and after earning his doctorate at Ohio State University, became the head of the University of Illinois Department of Electrical Engineering.

Jordan was the author or editor of nine books, including the popular textbook, Electromagnetic Waves and Radiating Systems. At the time of his death in 1991, he was editing the 8th edition of Reference Data for Engineers: Radio Electronics, Computers, and Communications.

Dr. Edward Jordan, Recollections of CKUA

The Heritage Community Foundation is pleased to present this feature article, courtesy of the CKUA Radio Network.

Dr. Edward Jordan recalls his time working for the CKUA radio station in this excerpt from the book A Sound for All Seasons: CKUA’s 60th Anniversary. Read

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