Once upon a time, television stations didn’t broadcast round the clock. Late at night and in the morning, there was a break in transmission. The symbol for these time-outs was the PTT television test card. A look back at a not too distant echo of a time when life wasn’t moving quite so fast – the test card hasn’t been gone all that long.
Sirens wailing!? A worried glance at the clock. 1:30 p.m. precisely. Aha – siren test! Switzerland’s annual siren test takes place on the first Wednesday in February. But how long have we had sirens in Switzerland anyway, and what’s the history of this hair-raising means of communication?
In 1978, PTT launched the National Car Telephone, or Natel for short, heralding the start of mobile telephony’s meteoric rise. By the turn of the millennium, the Natel had gone from being a status symbol in Switzerland to an everyday object which everyone takes for granted.