HISTORY IS MADE
In 1921, transatlantic wireless was an arduous and intermittent link done with 250 KW transmitters and antenna superstructures for receiving and transmitting. Radio amateurs, with far less complex and less massive facilities, believed the latest technology, on the new ‘shortwaves,’ had the capability to span the vast distances. Of the many hams who felt that the capability of transatlantic contact was possible, RCA members, led by Major E. Howard Armstrong, had the know-how to undertake the task and proceeded to do so.
On the U.S. side, station 1BCG was located in a 10 ft. x 14 ft. wooden hut in a farmer’s field in Greenwich Connecticut. The transmitter had an input power of 990 watts. It was broadcast using a T cage antenna 100 feet long and 70 feet high with a radial counterpoise at a wavelength of 230 meters (1.3 MHz). The night of December 11 was a success, and the transatlantic link was confirmed.
A NEW ERA FOR WIRELESS
This Transatlantic Test Project, conceived of by radio amateurs (“hams”), proved that even with modest equipment, the Atlantic Ocean could be spanned, opening improved communications for many more purposes.
This project was a watershed. As a result, for the last 100 years many experimenters and inventors became focused on continually improving wireless technologies and devices. The progress of ‘smaller, farther, cheaper’ was born, leading to the later invention of smart phones, smart watches, smart TVs, wireless Internet routers, GPS tracking devices, and Bluetooth headsets, all of which depend on wireless technologies.
Those pioneers 100 years ago could never have envisioned the way society has been enabled and transformed by wireless—from their historic first!