Who'll win the race for the vacuum tubes?

Questions, answers, comments, and ideas about the story.

Who'll win the race for the vacuum tubes?

Postby PaulGazis » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:50 pm

Every contestant is laboring under some handicap. The crew of the Tranquility have no idea of their importance, the Japanese nationalists have no idea when they'll be delivered, the Warfields have no idea where they are, the Fat Man has no idea who has them, and our heroes (and heroines) have no idea what is going on.

Who will win?
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Re: Who'll win the race for the vacuum tubes?

Postby Kona » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:33 pm

Not being much of a gambling man, I’m not going to put any money on the contestants; however, I am kind of interested in knowing what the vacuum tubes are for myself. Having worked in early electronics decades ago, I understand the principle of tubes, although I have had no idea how they were used in the development of nuclear weapons until today. Other than more advanced styles of tubes such as magnetrons and high-voltage arc tubes, they have three basic functions that I know of; rectifiers, oscillators and amplifiers.

Taking a crash course in pioneering nuclear development, I have learned that nuclear fuel was refined from uranium ore and further separated into fissionable U-235 and its less useful isotope, U-238. This was done by three different processes, electromagnetic, gaseous and thermal. Zeroing in on the magnetic process, we find that U-235 was extracted in a cyclotron, using rapidly alternating magnetic fields. Voilà, oscillators and amplifiers!

Now, I’m going to speculate that the vacuum tubes in question are probably essential to whatever project the various schemers have in mind; however, if they are capable of producing a cyclotron, with all its attendant layers of theoretical, metallurgical and other technological advancement, they are probably capable of producing their own vacuum tubes. Or maybe raiding a few RCA’s and Philco’s they might find sitting around. Just saying.
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Re: Who'll win the race for the vacuum tubes?

Postby Pastor_Mac » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:26 pm

Even though I'm an amateur radio operator, my knowledge of tubes is essentially zip. But it appears dear Kona has figured it out. Now our well travelled author has the intimate knowledge of these as well as enough gleaned from the early days of the development of these things that make a big boom to weave a story together.
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