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1st Transatlantic Message Sent 101 Years Ago Today

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by N1BCG, Dec 11, 2022.

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  1. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    It was on December 11, 1921 that 1BCG in Greenwich Connecticut sent the first message transmitted by an amateur radio station to span the Atlantic using short waves.

    The 1921 Transatlantic Tests were organized by the ARRL to determine if radio signals around the 200 meter wavelength (considered shortwaves at the time) could travel long distances at night. The interest began with rumours of U.S. based amateurs possibly hearing European amateur signals.

    Paul Godley (2ZE), considered one of the finest radio operators of the day, was sent to Ardrossan Scotland to listen for the participating station's signals which included both spark (damped wave) and CW (continuous wave). One of the two receivers used was custom built by Major Edwin Armstrong who was also one of the operators at 1BCG.


    1BCG Designers, Builders, Operators: (L-R) Ernest Amy (2VK), John Grinan (2PM), George Burghard (2SS), Edwin Armstrong (W2XMN), Minton Cronkhite (1BCG)

    This was the first message received at 9:52pm (Eastern US time) on December 11, 1921...

    "No.1 de 1BCG. W-12 (Words 12)
    New York Date 11/12-21
    To Paul Godley
    Ardrossan Scotland
    Hearty Congratulations


    The celebration of the birth of DXing and DXpeditions is being celebrated on-air today on the 20, 40, and 80 meter bands with help from the VRCMCT (Vintage Radio & Communications Museum of Connecticut) and several amateurs who have participated in these anniversary events over the past several years.

    Here are some excellent links for additional information about the Transatlantic Tests:

    ARRL 95th anniversary in Greenwich (2016):

    Video hightlights from the 100th anniversary at the VRCMCT using a replica 1BCG transmitter (2021):

    The Antique Wireless Association produced an excellent documentary called The Trans-Atlantic Test of 1921:

    W2PA wrote a fascinating 1BCG story that can be read on his Ham Radio History page:

    n1BCG Homepage:
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2022
    K7OSI, OE3IAK, UT7UX and 17 others like this.
  2. KE8BHP

    KE8BHP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Now that right there is a radio shack
    N4KRX, G4RBH, G3SEA and 7 others like this.
  3. KA4JAM

    KA4JAM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wow, that is amazing! Where was the picture of the ham shack taken?
    M1WML likes this.
  4. KF0GVX

    KF0GVX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I guess that were the idea of a "ham shack" came from.
    M1WML likes this.
  5. AD5HQ

    AD5HQ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It makes me appreciate just how far we've advanced technologically within the lifetime of a few folks who were alive to experience all this. Radio, television, computers, cell phones. 101 years seems like a long time ago but it really isn't.
    G3SEA, M1WML and KO4CES like this.
  6. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    In an open field here in Greenwich, CT.

    Before that shack was used for the event, it was Minton Cronkhite’s (1BCG) little sister’s playhouse where her dolls were kept.

    That all changed when it got out that the scruffy radio friends were planning to build some kind of electrical thing that used thousands of Volts to send short wave signals around the world.

    “You’re not bringing those dangerous wires and all that in this house!” declared Minton’s mother.

    “Well where else can we set up our transmitter?” asked the boys.

    Shortly thereafter, Minton’s sister was in tears as discussions began on clearing out the dolls and dragging the shack out to the middle of a field.

    By the way, here’s a look at the inside after the boys finished redecorating:

    Last edited: Dec 12, 2022
    G4RBH, KE8BDQ, VE7NGK and 8 others like this.
  7. KA4JAM

    KA4JAM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks a lot for all the information! That was really helpful. Where did you get all of this information?
    M1WML likes this.
  8. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    YEARS of research since getting the n1BCG call. Besides, I live near that site so it’s of local interest as well.
    M1WML, W3KKO, KF5KWO and 1 other person like this.
  9. W3AMT

    W3AMT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Real like the Transmitter that was used. Great story!
    M1WML likes this.
  10. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    ...and only 99 years until the next significant anniversary date!
    M1WML likes this.
  11. KF2YD

    KF2YD Ham Member QRZ Page

    By closely examining the picture I think that Armstrong in the 5th peraon and not the 4th one.

    Can anyone find a clearer picture?
    M1WML likes this.
  12. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    M1WML likes this.
  13. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not correct.

    The February 1922 issue of QST, page 33, also shows Edwin Armstrong as the fourth person from the left. Minton Cronkhite is the fifth person from the left:


    You can see the article and the entire issue here:
    G4RBH, M1WML and KN4YEM like this.
  14. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    M1WML likes this.
  15. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    How do you know it's not? Every picture I have seen of the operators together and individually supports this.
    M1WML likes this.

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