Friday, October 07, 2016

Ancient DX Report

Research into the radio events that took place during the year 1911 indicates two areas of major activity; rapid and widespread development of the Marconi company in England and beyond, and the equally rapid and widespread activity of amateur radio operators throughout the world.  It should also be mentioned that primitive radio communication was conducted from an equally primitive airplane, and that wireless stations were installed at many locations worldwide, on lonely islands and in isolated countries.
The Marconi company was involved with so many projects worldwide that they introduced their own radio magazine, Marconigraph, in April (1911).  Even this very first issue presents a mind-boggling array of new projects and stations in which the Marconi company was involved.
 For example:-
  * Four station network in the islands of Fiji in the South Pacific
  * Four new stations in Italy
  * Four new stations in the United States
  * Two new stations in Canada
  * A multitude of additional stations in South America
  * New stations in the Mediterranean and in Asia, Middle East & Africa
 At the end of the year, Marconi reported that more than 600 commercial ships were carrying Marconi wireless apparatus, in addition to an undisclosed number of ships in major navies throughout the world.
 In India, four stations were erected and these were installed in the British Fort in Calcutta, the Red Fort in Delhi, on top of a sharp hill at Jutogh on the edge of the Himalayas, and in Allahabad, apparently in the old fort.  It was also in this year, 1911, that the British transferred the capital city of India from Calcutta to Delhi.
 At midyear, the Radio Division of the Department of Commerce was formed for the regulation and control of wireless and radio throughout the United States.  In Canada, a total of 30 shore stations were in operation for maritime communication.
The United States installed a wireless station on lonely and isolated St Paul Island, off the coast of Alaska, for the purpose of monitoring and controlling the seal population in the area, thus ensuring that encroaching sealing ships did not endanger the viability of the seal colony.
In Australia, a new though temporary wireless station was installed on the 6th floor of the Hotel Australia in downtown Sydney for maritime communication.  This station was granted the monumental callsign AAA and it was in continuous use until a new and larger station at Pennant Hills was inaugurated during the next year.
In Italy, King Victor Emmanuel officially opened a new wireless station at Coltano; and in Germanic Europe, successful communication was established between two new wireless stations, one at Nauen near Berlin in Germany and the other at Vienna in Austria.
A large new station was installed at Cadiz in Spain and a photograph shows the large antenna system that was supported on four masts.  Each pair of masts was connected with aerial wires, and 10 cross wires were stretched between the two pairs.  Although wide area coverage was intended with this aerial arrangement, yet it would seem that the resultant propagation gave two major lobes, one straight up and the other straight down.
The first overseas tour for a reigning British monarch took His Majesty King George 5 and Queen Mary to India and beyond.  While en route on the HMS Medina, maritime wireless communication was maintained with England for the transfer of news and royal information.
During the year 1911, the authorities in New Zealand enacted the stringent requirement that all outdoor antenna systems were banned.  In Australia, if an outdoor aerial was erected, the payment of a wireless receiver fee was required.
On January 21, a wireless test was conducted between an airplane and a nearby ground location.  The Western Wireless Equipment company built a special radio transmitter with a Morse Code key on top for the occasion.  Lt Paul Beck held the 29 pound box of wireless equipment on his lap while the Wright Bros plane travelled at 55 miles an hour at a height of 50 feet for a distance of 40 miles.   
The wireless aerial was a 95 ft long 7 strand trailing wire, and a clip-on wire from the transmitter was attached to the open metalwork frame of the plane as a grounding counterpoise.  Thus the counterpoise grounding system was actually above the transmitting aerial rather than below, a unique though successful procedure.
A photograph taken at the time shows the totally open frame of the plane, with the pilot and the radio operator sitting without any apparent protection from falling off.  The noise of the plane motor was so loud that reception in the air was impossible, though Morse Code signals were successfully sent from the plane and received on the ground.
During the year 1911, radio programs were broadcast by William Dubilier in Seattle Washington, and also by Charles Herrold in San Jose California.  An innovative entrepreneur in Seattle erected a small tent and charged a small fee for people to come in and hear the Dubilier music programs.
Back at this era, it is estimated that there were 10,000 amateur radio operators in the United States, and another 10,000 in England, together with another 10,000 more throughout the world.  Although the total information is unknown, yet it would be suggested that at least some of these radio amateur operators throughout the world were at times transmitting music programs during the year 1911.
(AWR-Wavescan/NWS 397)