Monday, July 21, 2014

Ancinet DX Report: 1907 and HMS Andromeda

            During the year 1907, the broadcast of radio programming was noted in the United States and in islands in Europe, as well as from anchored ships and ships at sea.  Even though these broadcasts were certainly still experimental in nature, yet the program content indicated the intent to entertain and to inform; thus the designation radio broadcasting.
            Soon after the beginning of the new year 1907, on February 6, Lt. Quentin Crauford of the Royal Navy in England presented a radio broadcast over the air from the ship HMS Andromeda.  At the time the "Andromeda" was anchored at Chatham, an inlet off the Thames Estuary on the east coast of England.
            This broadcast was organized by Lieutenant Quentin Crauford with the approval of the naval authorities and In recounting the event, Wireless Operator Crauford stated that he adapted the spark wireless transmitter QFP on the "Andromeda" so that it could broadcast music and speech.  His historic inaugural broadcast was a patriotic concert program performed by navy personnel.  This broadcast, with the approval of the naval authorities, began with a rendition of the national anthem, God Save the King.
            This surprise broadcast was heard by wireless operators on board other navy vessels anchored nearby.  However, as a security measure, Lt Crauford was not permitted to publicize the event, neither before nor afterwards, though the event attained historic significance as the first wireless broadcast in England and the first from a ship.  It appears that another radio broadcast was subsequently presented from another British ship nearby.
            American experimenter Lee de Forest also made several radio program broadcasts from ships, both at sea and at anchorage.  On July 18, he transmitted race results from the steam yacht Thelma at the Lake Erie Regatta and these voice reports were received ashore on a nearby island by his assistant Frank Butler.  Subsequently, Forest and Butler constructed additional transmitters and made many experimental transmissions with voice and music content between buildings in Toledo Ohio.
            As a result of the success of these radio ventures, Forest was invited to install two transmitters on the navy vessels Connecticut and Virginia; and this led to the the installation of more than a score of transmitters on other navy vessels. 
            On December 16, Forest made a special entertainment broadcast from the ship Dolphin as it was moored at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York.  Swedish born 34 year old opera singer Eugenia Farrar sang I Love You Truly and other songs during the live broadcast which was reported in a New York newspaper.  This broadcast was the send off for the round the world tour of the Great White Fleet.
            Over along the Pacific coast of the Americas, wireless operator Arthur Isbell made many wireless transmissions aboard the passenger ship President under the callsign V2.  The transmitter was manufactured under the Massie system and it operated on 750 kHz at 3 kW.  Several of these transmissions created new long distance records.
            Subsequently, Arthur Isbell established a wireless station in San Francisco with antenna masts 200 ft tall.  This station adopted the callsign IAA, a reversal of the operators initials.
            Many newspapers covered the story of Lee de Forests radio broadcasts from the Tellharmonic Hall at 38th and Broadway in New York, both before and after the events.  This program, the first in a short series, presented music from the Harmonium, and listeners were invited to make request for special selections of music.  Test broadcasts between the Tellharmonic Hall and the passenger liner Normandie" began a week in advance of the main broadcasts. 
            In Canada, the Canadian Meteorological Service began the broadcast of time signals on a regular basis, the first in the world.  The time signal was generated at the Dominion Observatory at St. John New Brunswick; it was on the air daily around 10:00 am; and it was broadcast by the Marconi coastal station HX at Camperdown near Halifax Nova Scotia. 
            Over in continental Europe, crystal radio receivers were developed by Tissot and Pelin in France; and Robert Goldschmidt in Belgium conducted wireless experiments between the Palace of Justice in Brussels and two cooperating locations, the Namur Citadel and the Liege Observatory.
            The Christchurch Exhibition in New Zealand, at which wireless transmission and reception was demonstrated, ended on April 15; and a huge Marconi wireless station was inaugurated at Cliffden in Ireland for trans-Atlantic service on October 17.

            Right towards the end of the year 1907, the Great White Fleet began its triumphal world tour and more than 20 American naval vessels were equipped with the new Forest wireless equipment.  That story will come on another occasion here in Wavescan.
(AWR/Wavescan-NWS 282)