About Central Electronics
Founded by Dominic Tusa, Central Electronics is a valued technical, marketing and client retention resource supportive of land mobile radio manufacturers, system integrators, and those having an interest in radio communications technology.
Best known as the founder of Tusa Consulting Services II, LLC, Dominic (Nick) Tusa has served both public safety and private commercial markets for 40+ years.
The Story of Central Electronics
The story of Central Electronics is written in two parts, by a pair of enterprising radio enthusiasts bonded by friendship and their passion for its technology. The company’s first incarnation as Central Electronics, Inc. was founded in Chicago, Illinois in the aftermath of World War-II.
Our inception was rooted in solving a problem.
In the 1940s, Amplitude Modulation (AM) was the principal mode of voice communications, as used by amateur, commercial and military radio services.
At the conclusion of World War II servicemen who were exposed to two-way radio communications flocked to the Amateur Radio Service, bitten by the "radio bug." The large number of operators, coupled with the limited frequency resources available to amateurs, led to near-intolerable levels of AM voice interference.
Single sideband, suppressed carrier technology was born in backyard workshops as a means for cramming more voice signals into the fixed radio spectrum. By 1951, several amateur radio test stations were operational on the new mode, but the barriers for entry remained high for mainstream adoption.
Central Electronics, Inc. is generally credited with giving the initial push that got amateur single-sideband off the workbench and into the ham shack.
Our first commercial product, the Central Electronics 10A, was formally released in September 1952. It took Don Norgaard's "Single Sideband Junior" exciter concept (originally featured in General Electric's Ham Notes) and made it into a viable multI-frequency system.
The 10-A used the hetrodyne scheme, whereby the single-sideband signal was first generated at 9MHz and later mixed, using either crystals or an external VFO, to the desired output frequency.
Effectively, the 10-A used the hetrodyne principle in a manner typical for high-performance receivers of that time and was the first amateur transmitter to utilize a mixing scheme. The result was a stable, low-cost single sideband exciter that was attainable for most amateurs.
Central's founder, Wes Schum (call sign W9DYV), was a major influence in the single-sideband movement. His skilled engineering, ability to simplify technical jargon, unstoppable spirit and light-hearted personality shaped the company culture, and the industry at-large.
Central continued to manufacture a line of high-quality products, culminating with our 100V and 200V transmitters. Designed by Schum and lead engineer, Joe Batchelor, these transmitters were decades ahead of competitors.
Central became, in late 1958, a subsidiary of Zenith Electronics and continued transmitter production until 1962 when the Company was suddenly, and unexpectedly, deactivated – financial decision spurred by Zenith’s need to serve the then-exploding color television market.
A Legacy Rekindled
Zenith Electronics was later acquired by LG, becoming its U.S. research subsidiary for consumer electronics, hospitality and health care technologies, broadcasting standards and related technologies.
Central Electronics faded from memory as a mainstream consumer brand, but continued to inspire the minds of amateur radio enthusiasts across the U.S., including Dominic Tusa.
Growing up in the 1960s and 70's, Tusa fell in love with the 100V and 200V models, which represent the highest standard of vacuum tube transmitters ever made. He reached out to Schum for information, which led to mentorship, friendship and a partnership that rekindled Central Electronics.
Over the years, Tusa and Schum collaborated on a variety of projects, including:
several Comtronics products;
the expansion of Schum's high voltage test set product line;
continued Central Electronics equipment support and development of high-power broadband amplifiers.
When Schum passed peacefully in 2015 at the age of 93, the legacy of Central Electronics passed to Tusa. After Tusa sold his previous consulting firm (Tusa Consulting Services II, LLC) in 2020, Central became his primary focus.
In its modern iteration, Central Electronics seeks to preserve the culture of amateur radio while offering professional-grade expert consulting services for your company or community.
Looking for insights into the past, present or future of radio communications? Fill out the contact form below - we look forward to hearing from you today.
Ivanhoe and Galahad
At the mere mention of names like Ivanhoe and Galahad, one thinks of King Richard, the Crusades, and the Knights of the Round Table. Now, us radio amateurs can relate those same names to Central Electronics, Zenith Radio, Wes Schum, and also to a lesser known, but CE-important electronics design engineer: Robert H. Redfield, W9NPB, SK.
All right, I know what you’re thinking: “Nick, have you been sniffing too many solder fumes lately? How can Central Electronics have anything to do with Ivanhoe or shining knights?” As it turns out, plenty.
Picture yourself at Central Electronics in the 1960 era...
Click to read the FULL article, Sir Ivanhoe: Central Electronics’ Gallant Novice Rig!