Marconi sends transatlantic message...really

-September 19, 2016

Having now been to the Bell National Historic Site in my adopted island home a couple of times, I'm glad to have finally found myself at the Marconi museum too. It's a modest, but very tasteful and well executed display, and has the attraction of being right at the site of the first North America-to-Europe wireless transmission – arguably in fact, the first transatlantic wireless communication of any sort.

While Marconi's infamous di-di-dit morse-code "S" sent in 1901 from Poldhu, Cornwall to Newfoundland has been a subject of controversy, no one doubts the long and clear messages sent in December 1902 from Glace Bay to Poldhu, at a frequency of 170 kHz. Or was it 182 kHz? Perhaps they didn't have frequency counters back then.

Signor Marconi greets you at the entrance, a gift from his family.

The beautifully executed model of Marconi's station

Alexander Graham Bell offered Marconi the use of his Baddeck estate.

When capacitors were real capacitors, and men were but specks among them.

A Marconi shipboard spark-gap transmitter, ca. 1915

VE1VAS ham station. VAS was Marconi's original station name, for Voice of the Atlantic Seaboard.


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