Sunday, October 15, 2006

160-Meter Experiment Will Explore Marconi`s 1901 Transatlantic Success

A 160-meter beacon will take to the air this fall and winter from
Cornwall, England, to explore how Guglielmo Marconi was able to span
the Atlantic by wireless for the first time on December 12, 1901.
Radio history says that`s when the radio pioneer at a receiving
station in Newfoundland successfully copied the Morse code letter
``s`` sent repeatedly by his team in the Cornwall town of Poldhu.The
latter-day venture is a cooperative effort of the Poldhu Amateur
Radio Club and the Marconi Radio Club of Newfoundland. The Poldhu
club`s Keith Matthew, G0WYS, said the 2001 centenary of Marconi`s
achievement reopened discussion into the mechanism by which the 1901
spark transmitter signal propagated.

``The winter of 1901 coincided with a sunspot minimumm and it was
realized that this coming December 2006 should show similar
conditions to those of December 1901,`` he said. Just how Marconi was
able to receive the transatlantic transmission has long been a topic
of discussion and even controversy, especially given the frequency
Marconi is likely to have used, thought to be between 800 and 900
kHz, and the time of day, afternoon in Newfoundland.

``The beacon will help understand the possibility of low sunspot
number transatlantic medium wave propagation 24 hours a day, but
especially 1400 through 1800 UTC,`` Matthew said. The 160-meter
amateur band is being used, he explained, because Marconi`s original
frequency today is a highly populated piece of the radio spectrum.
Matthew has announced that starting on or about November 1 and
continuing through next February, the GB3SSS beacon will transmit on
1960 kHz.