1874 - Guglielmo Marconi - a Tribute

Project Overview
1800s - Land Telegraphy
1874 - Guglielmo Marconi - a Tribute
1895 - Wireless Telegraphy
1901 - Wireless Telegraphy
1902 - Wireless Telegraphy in Australia
1904 - Australian Coastal Radio
1906 - Wireless Telephony
1912 - Melbourne Radio - VIM
1914 - Shortwave Wireless Telephony
1920s - Commercial Shortwave Telephony Development
1920s - Receivers
1920 - The huge RCA Longwave Station in New York
1920 - Wireless broadcasting in Australia
1920s - First shortwave stations in Victoria
1921 - Discovery of Shortwave Propagation
1921 - Koo Wee Rup (Victoria) Experimental Wireless Receiving Station
1923- Longwave Broadcasting in Australia
1923 - Evolution of Australian Domestic Radio
1924 - 3LO - Melbourne's Second Broadcaster
1924 - 3AR - Melbourne's first broadcaster
1924 - The Braybrook (Melbourne) Transmitting Site
1925 - First Shortwave Stations in Western Australia
1926 - First Shortwave Stations in New South Wales
1926 - RAAF Communications - Laverton (Vic)
1927 - Beam Wireless Worldwide
1927 - Beam Wireless from Australia
1928 - ABC Lyndhurst (Victoria)
1930 - AWA Receiving Station at La Perouse (Sydney)
1930 - AWA Radio Centre at Pennant Hills
1933 (to 1969) - Shortwave Radio Clubs in Australia
1936 - Ship Broadcaster - the MS Kanimbla
1939 - Belconnen Communications Station (Canberra)
1940 - RAAF Receiving Station at Werribee (Victoria)
1941 - RAAF Frognall (Melbourne)
1941 - ABC Brisbane
1942 - Army Wireless Chain - west of Melbourne
1942 - Dutch Stations in Australia
1943 - ABC Radio Australia - Shepparton (Victoria)
1943 - Army Shortwave HF Stations in Melbourne
1944 - ABC - Radio Australia - Looking Back
1945 - PMG Receiving Station - Highpark (Victoria)
1945 - Radio Australia - DXers Calling
1946 - Radio Australia - Communications Programs
1946 - VNG Time Signal Station
1948 - Radio Australia QSL Cards
1948 - ABC Sydney
1966 - ABC Cox Peninsula (Darwin)
1970 (to 2012) - Shortwave Radio Clubs in Australia
1975 - ABC Gnangara (Western Australia)
1975 - ABC Carnarvon (Western Australia)
1978 - Omega Navigation Station - Woodside (Victoria)
1985 - ABC Northern Territory
1989 - ABC Brandon (Queensland)
2003 - Private Shortwave Broadcasters
Timeline - Part One - 1839 to 1927
Timeline - Part Two - 1928 to 2012
SPECIAL - Licencing of Shortwave Broadcasters
SPECIAL - Radio Receivers for Shortwave
SPECIAL - Radio Monitoring as a Hobby
Bibliography, References and Resources
Links to the author's personal websites

1906 - Marconi

G. Marconi in 1910











Author's Note
This tribute to Guglielmo Marconi is acknowledged to the Cape Breton Wireless Heritage Society, Cape Breton, Canada. 

See the Society's Website for comprehensive information.

Many people contributed to the development of wireless communications, but the best known is Guglielmo Marconi. In1895, at the age of 21, Marconi demonstrated the transmission and reception of wireless signals over a distance of about one mile on the family estate near Bologna, Italy. He moved to England in1896, and set up a company there in1897 to manufacture and lease wireless equipment.

The next goal for Marconi was worldwide radio communications, and the first step was to bridge the Atlantic Ocean. In December, 1901 Marconi received a radio test signal at St. John's, Newfoundland that was transmitted by his station in Cornwall, England.

The company that operated the transatlantic telegraph cable threatened Marconi with legal action if he continued his experiments because they held a monopoly on telegraph operations in Newfoundland. Rather than endure legal delays, Marconi left Newfoundland and sailed to North Sydney, Cape Breton. There alert Canadian officials persuaded him to build a permanent station in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. In 1902 he built a radio station at Table Head in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia for transatlantic communications. In December of that year he transmitted Morse code messages from this station to his station in Cornwall.

Communications between Glace Bay and Cornwall proved unreliable, and only possible after dark, so between 1905 and 1907 Marconi and his company built large new stations on both sides of the Atlantic. These stations were at Clifden, Ireland, and just south of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. The latter station became known locally as Marconi Towers The two stations operated on wavelengths of thousands of metres, and were the most powerful radio stations in the world.

The technology was much like that used in the original experiments, but scaled up to gigantic proportions. Transatlantic communication was successful both day and night, and a regular commercial service between Marconi Towers and Clifden opened officially on October 17, 1907. In succeeding years it was followed by competing services operated by other companies and countries, spanning the oceans of the world, and leading to the worldwide wireless network that we take for granted today.

Initially the stations at Marconi Towers and Clifden were limited to one-way-at-a-time transmissions, either east-to-west or west-to-east. Telegraphers called this a simplex system. This limitation was due to the fact that the receivers, which were at the same locations as the transmitters, could not function while the transmitter was operating. When business justified it, the system was upgraded to a simultaneous two-way or duplex system by the addition of dedicated receiving stations at Letterfrack, Ireland and Louisbourg, Nova Scotia. The duplex service began in 1913.

The station at Clifden was destroyed by Irish rebels in 1922, and its service was taken over by a newer long wavelength station at Caernarfon (Carnarvon) in Wales.

Transmitter at Marconi Towers

1909 - Marconi Towers Station

Closure of Cape Breton Station
In the 1920's the advantages of short wavelengths for long distance radio communications were discovered, and were investigated systematically by Marconi. In 1926 the long wave transatlantic service with its Cape Breton stations was shut down and was replaced by a short wave service between London and Montreal.

The receiving station at Louisbourg was dismantled, but the station at Marconi Towers remained in operation until 1945. It performed various services, including long range communications with ships in the North Atlantic, and broadcasting marine weather information using the call letters "V A S".

In 1945 the Marconi Towers property was bought by Russell Cunningham, a local citizen, and it still is owned by the Cunningham family. About all that is left of the station today is the house that Marconi and his new bride lived in while the station was being built, and the derelict remains of the transmitter building.

The Louisbourg station site is located in the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Park. All that remains of it are the concrete foundations of the antenna towers and the concrete guy wire anchors.

The site of the station at Table Head in Glace Bay is called the Marconi National Historic Site. It is operated by Parks Canada, and contains an interpretive centre that is open to the public in the summer months. 

Marconi died at the age of 63 in 1937. Following his death radio stations around the world observed radio silence for two minutes.

1907 - official opening of Marconi Trans-Atlantic service

Marconi's kite at Newfoundland

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