Thursday, December 28, 2017

Ancient DX Report 1913

Navy NAA spark transmitter Arlington 1913
The greatest tally of wireless development during the year 1913 occurred in the United States, where experimental transmissions and broadcasts took place in several different locations. Successful entrepreneur Charles Herrold in San Jose California continued his daily broadcast of music and speech, and he conducted arc test transmissions between Point Arguello and Mare Island on behalf of the navy; these transmissions were also heard across the continent at the navy wireless station NAA in Virginia.  These transmissions were radiated with 1½ kW on 100 kHz longwave.  He also developed a procedure whereby the frequency emitted by the spark could be adjusted so that it was in tune with the voice and the music.

On February 13, 1913, the navy wireless station NAA  at Arlington Virginia was taken into service, with three transmitters; 2 at 100 kW for international communication, and 1 at 5 kW for local communication. This station became very popular with jewelers across the nation with its daily time signals at noon. It is stated that station NAA was regulating 10,000 clocks across the continental United States. In addition, station 9XB at Beloit College in Wisconsin began the broadcast of daily time signals on February 3; and station 9YR at the St Louis University began the broadcast of daily weather bulletins in Morse Code during this same year.  A phonograph record played in the Metropolitan Wireless Telephone Tower in New York was heard by a wireless listener 225 miles distant.

Large new wireless stations were under construction at Somerset and Belmar in New Jersey, as well as in Bolinas and Marshall in California.  Another huge new wireless station was under construction at Kahuku at the northern tip of the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands. The United States navy is now operating nine wireless stations along the west coast of the United States, plus seven in Alaska, and twenty seven along the east coast and in the Caribbean. 

The first issue of a new wireless a magazine was issued in October (1913).  This new monthly magazine, the Wireless Age, grew out of the old Marconigraph publication. In an experimental demonstration, wireless news in Morse Code was picked up by a railway train traveling at 60 miles an hour.  Wireless towers were erected for this purpose at two locations of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad, at Scranton Pennsylvania and Binghamton New York. Youthful amateur radio operators were the first to bring news out of heavily flooded areas of Ohio, in which 1,000 people died and ¼ million were left homeless. At one location, people were crawling along telephone wires in order to escape from their flooded homes.

On the maritime scene, the ship Volturno burned during a storm in mid Atlantic on October 11, and a total of 11 ships responded to the SOS distress signals sent out by Morse wireless.  A total of 521 passengers and crew were safely rescued, though tragically 136 died in their attempts to escape the burning Volturno in lifeboats. Lloyd’s of London stated that their registry showed that 1500 ships were fitted out with Marconi wireless apparatus. The ship Hirondelle was fitted with a strange musical instrument, a wireless piano, that Prince Albert of Monaco demonstrated during a visit to New York. 

Wireless experiments were conducted across the Atlantic between the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the new NAA at Arlington in Virginia.  Sir Ernest Fisk in Sydney Australia founded AWA Amalgamated Wireless of Australia, the equivalent in Australia of RCA in the United States. On April 23, 1913, the International Bureau in Berne Switzerland issued a document outlining the approved initial letters in the English alphabet that may be used to identify wireless stations throughout the world.  Great Britain was allocated the initial letters B G and M, Italy was granted the letter I, and Japan the letter J.

New Zealand closed the wireless station on top of the Post Office in Wellington in favor of a new station above the hills of Wellington, and they installed the used equipment on distant Chatham Island under the call sign VLC.
(AWR-Wavescan/NWS 460)
photo/Wikimedia Commons