Monday, October 22, 2012

Ancient DX Report 1900

During the year 1900, which many people would identify as the first year in the new century, multitudes of wireless signals in Morse Code were noted in many countries on five wide spread continents.  Long distance coverage for wireless transmissions began to increase quite rapidly; and in addition, wireless equipment was installed into a large numbers of ships, mainly naval vessels, though some cargo & passenger ships as well.

            In England for example, Marconi reported that his manufacturing company had supplied transmitting & receiving equipment for 26 ships and six coastal stations.  In addition Captain Jackson of the Royal Navy at Devonport on the south coast of England provided an additional 19 sets for navy usage during this same time period. 

            In October, Marconi commenced work on the construction of two major coastal wireless stations, a larger one at Poldhu and a smaller one at the Lizard, both on the Cornwall coast. The large Poldhu station was designed for international communication, and the smaller Lizard station was designed as a fill in for Poldhu as needed, and also to check on the actual performance of Poldhu.

            Germany opened its first permanent wireless station as a maritime coastal station on Borkum Island on February 19.  Then, half-a year later, two more wireless stations were opened in Germany for mutual communication, one at Kugalbake at the mouth of the River Elbe, and the other 30 miles distant on the island of Heligoland. 

            Russia also opened its first maritime wireless stations during the year 1900, one at Hogland Island and the other 25 miles distant at Kymi on the coast of Finland.  The Finnish station operated in Morse Code on 1155 kHz. 

            Over in the Americas, there were three successful attempts at wireless communication by voice.      In the Spring of the year 1900, the Canadian born Reginald Fessenden established a wireless station for the Weather Bureau on Cobb Island in the Potomac River some 50 miles south of Washington DC.  On December 23, he successfully transmitted the human voice over a distance of one mile from one end of the island to the other with the use of two wireless masts 50 feet tall.  Due to the fact that this transmission was via spark wireless, the voice comprehension was almost unintelligible.

            It is also claimed that Archie Collins successfully transmitted the human voice over a distance of one mile across the Delaware River in the United States during the year 1900.  For this event, he used the spark transmitter that he had developed during the previous year.

            Down in South America the Catholic priest Padre Landell de Moura made several successful voice transmissions on the edge of Sao Paulo in Brazil.  He conducted his experiments in the vicinity of the hill Santana; and on June 3, he made a successful transmission to the down town area, Avenida Paulista, a distance of 5 miles, and this was reported in the city newspaper.  

            De Moura had invented three different though related systems of transmission & reception and an examination of his circuitry reveals that he was at that time actually a little ahead of his fellow inventors in Europe and the United States.

            De Moura gave technical names to his inventions, which in English could be described as follows:-

                        1. Anematophone       A wireless telephone              

                        2. Teletition                  A wireless telegraph

                        3. Wavemeter             A wave transmitter

            Down in Australia, successful wireless experiments were independently conducted in three different states.  Mr. Henry W. Jenvey, Post Office Engineer for the state of Victoria, sent a telegram to a fellow experimenter on November 17, in which he mentions the success of some of his own wireless experiments.

            Early in the year 1900, Mr. W. P Hallam of Hobart, the capital city of the island state of Tasmania, conducted successful wireless transmissions between ship and shore; and up in Queensland, the navy conducted successful transmissions between the gunboat HMQS “Gayundah” and the shore based navy depot at Kangaroo Point, in suburban Brisbane, the state capital.

            Over in Europe, the Belgian passenger ship, “Princesse Clementine”, was fitted with Marconi wireless equipment which was called into action for several wireless experiments over progressively increasing distances, at 50 miles & 60 miles and then 90 miles.  The German luxury liner, “Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse” was the first passenger ship in the world to be fitted with wireless, on February 28, 1900, and their new equipment achieved a distance of 60 miles.

            The Russian navy vessel “General-Admiral Apraksin” carried personnel for the installation of the wireless station on the island of Hogland but it became stranded in the frozen waters of the Gulf of Bothnia at the end of April.  A rescue ship was summoned by wireless, the icebreaker “Yermak”, which came and freed the ice bound “Apraksin”.  

            Off the east coast of Africa, wireless equipment was installed into 5 vessels of the British navy.  This equipment was a blending of wireless equipment from English Marconi & German Siemens which had been imported into South Africa during the Boer War.  The 5 navy vessels established a new distance record for wireless, covering a distance of 250 miles from Delgoa Bay in Mozambique to Johannesburg in South Africa.  It should be mentioned though, that this accomplishment was made in a cascade relay, from one ship to another.    

            Next month, you will hear another bulletin of Ancient DX News, and this time it will cover the year 1901.
(AWR Wavescan/NWS 191 via Adrian Peterson)