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Dr. tech. Dipl. Ing. Hermann Berger

Berger, also known as Berger Funk, as Dr. Techn. Berger GmbH, and as Berger Arel, was an electronics company in Innsbruck and Wien (Austria), established shortly after WWII, in August 1945, by Dr. Hermann Berger (14 January 1913 - 16 August 1993). The company produced radio equipment for the post-war Austrian government and others, and also manufactured some of the components that were in short supply after the war. The company existed until 1965, after which Hermann Berger worked for Valvo (Philips) in Hamburg (Germany) until his retirement in 1978 [1].

Berger equipment on this website
Prototype of spy radio set
Spy radio set built for the French Army
Spy radio set built for the Austrian Abwehr
 Main BE-20 page

Hermann Berger was born In Innsbruck (Austria) on 14 January 1913. His father, who was an electronics engineer, died two years later during WWI (1914-1918) at the Italian front. Hermann was fascinated by technology and radio in particular, and built his first detector receiver in 1926 at the age of 13. In 1929, he was one of the first in Austria who managed to receive live television images from London, using a homemade Nipkow disk. Not a small achievement for a 16 year old.

In 1930, Berger goes to university and eventually becomes an Electronic Engineer (German: tech. Dipl. Ing.) in 1937. His first job is at C. Lorenz, where he is appointed head of the valve lab a year later. During his time at Lorenz, he registers no less than 45 patents. He continues to work for Lorenz throughout WWII.

In the meantime, Berger had become interested in amateur radio. He joins the amateur radio club, learns morse code and finally takes a test. In 1934 he receives the call sign OE7HB, which he will use for the rest of his life.

At the end of WWII, in 1945, he is marched home on foot to Innsbruck in a 600 km walk. A few months later he establishes his first company in the half-destroyed house where he was born at Speck­bacher­straße 27. Here, Berger repairs equipment and even starts manufacturing parts that were in short supply in post-war Austria, such as wire-wound resistors. A year later, in 1946, he opens a branch in Wien (Vienna).
Hermann Berger with his beloved portable radio set BE-11206. [2][3]

Although Berger is extremely busy with his company, he completes his thesis and becomes Doctor in 1947, 10 years after he became an Engineer. In 1948, Berger starts the development of a 100 Watt transmitter that would become known as the BE-01/1. That same year, he also develops the BE-20/1 prototype of a modular spy radio set for the French Army. Between 1949 and 1952, 100 of these sets are manufactured.

In the following years, Berger continues to innovate, and regularly introduces new radio sets and other equipment, such as alarm systems, until the tide turns. In 1956, he is forced to close down his company and takes up a management position at Valvo (Philips) in Hamburg (Germany), where he is responsible for 12 more patents. Finally, in 1978, Hermann Berger retires at the age of 65.

Known radio sets
  • BE-01/1
    100W SW radio station
  • SW spy radio set
  • BE-11187
    100W SW radio station for B-Gendarmerie
  • BE-11206
  • BE-11460
    VHF FM Bergophon 70-87.5 MHz (1960-1964)
  • BE-11560
    VHF FM Bergophon 156-174 MHz (1960-1964)
1913   Born
Hermann Berger born on 14 January 1913
1915   Father dies
Berger's father dies at the Italian front
1926   First experiments
Berger builds his first detector receiver at the age of 13. A year later he even built his first single-valve radio.
1929   TV
At one of the first in the country, Berger succeeds in receiving moving images from London, using a homemade Nipkow disk.
1930   University
Start studying at Vienna University.
1931   Amateur radio
Interested in Amateur Radio.
1932   PTT test
Completed amateur radio test.
1934   OE7HB
Berger receives his amateur radio licence, and gets call sign OE7HB.
1937   Tech. Dipl. Ing.
Berger finishes university and get the official title of Electronics Engineer.
1938   Lorenz
Started working for C. Lorenz.
1939   Valve lab
Becomes head of valve lab.
1945   Innsbruck
End of WWII. Foot-march home. Establishes his own company in Innsbruck (Austria).
1946   Vienna
Extra division opened in Wien (Vienna, Austria). Development of 100 Watt BE-01/1 transmitter started.
1947   Dr. Hermann Berger
Hermann Berger becomes Dr. Hermann Berger.
1948   BE-01/2
Development of BE-01/2 transmitter. Between 1948 and 1950, 20 units are sold to the French Army. Also in 1948, the BE-20/1 prototype is developed, resulting in an order for 100 units.
1953   BE-11187
Started building the BE-11187 short wave station for the B-Gendarmerie. Between 1953 and 1956, 100 units with an output power of 100 Watts are delivered to the B-Gendarmerie, and an even larger number of 50 Watt variants to radio amateurs.
1960   BE-11560FM
Introduction of the small BE-11560FM VHF radio, also known as Olympiagerät (Alympia device). 100 units sold to the police. In production until 1964. Also around this time is the development of a television set under the name AREL.
1965   Demise
Berger closes down the company and starts working for Valvo (Philips) in Hamburg.
1978   Retirement
1993   Death
On 16 August 1993, Dr. Hermann Berger dies at the age of 80.
  1. AR ObstLt Johann Prikowitsch (OE1PQ), Auf den Spuren eines Genies...
    In the footsteps of a genious (German).
    FMTS Forum, December 1992. pp. 8-10.

  2. Waltraud Berger Coli (OE7WCT), Correspondence with OE5AWL on ADL508
    9 October 2016.

  3. Heinz Binder, Berger Legende OE7HB
    Website (German). Retrieved July 2017.
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