Alexander Graham Bell & Lee de Forest Judge a Ham Contest

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by K8QS, Sep 29, 2021.

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  1. K8QS

    K8QS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    In 1920, newspapers, the Navy, the Marconi Co. and others supported the first big, public amateur radio contest. The contest did not require entrants to have a license or even a transmitter! Find out what happened -- with quite a strange conclusion to the contest, which was judged by an amazing group that included Alexander Graham Bell and Lee de Forest. A historical video from Ham Radio Perspectives, Quin (K8QS) and Tom (WA9TDD).

    Attached Files:

    KC7ZXY, M1WML and W8VTN like this.
  2. 2E0TWD

    2E0TWD Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Very very interesting!!! Certainly sounds very fishy. I think you were right with your speculation that the Navy were after Engineers and Ideas.
  3. K8QS

    K8QS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks, Paddy. We also are wondering about the turnaround time in terms of getting station photos taken, developed, and delivered to the papers.

    Quin, K8QS
    Ham Radio Perspectives YouTube Channel
  4. 2E0TWD

    2E0TWD Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Great point Quin, even getting a photographer may not have been an easy task, of course. The whole story brings up more and more questions than it answers. I will be pondering on it for a while I feel.

    Oh Quin, I must just mention your piece on “Hymns to Augustine” Oh my days!!! A great introduction to your website and your life’s work. What a great body of Honourable and Nobel Work, I salute you.
  5. KM5ZN

    KM5ZN Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is very interesting. I remember reading a Marconi paper from back then that envisioned using directional antennas for point to point radio services, and thinking about how visionary Marconi was. And later on, when anyone in the business talked down those amateurs, he could be quick to point out that he considered himself an amateur! I can imagine how he might be interested in anyone who was doing good work in radio science, and he wanted to bring radio to everyone.

    I can certainly imagine how the Navy would be more interested in acquiring as much development and technical manpower as they could, and own the airwaves!
    2E0TWD likes this.
  6. WA9TDD

    WA9TDD Ham Member QRZ Page

    The US Navy had a contentious relationship with the American Marconi Company which supplied the radio equipment to the Navy, as Marconi was a British company and the Navy had concerns of national security. In 1919, the Navy Dept. and the US government persuaded General Electric (US) to purchase the assets of American Marconi, thus forming Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Previous long distance experimentation by the Navy resulted in communications established a record distance between a ship off the coast of Japan and a receiving station in Long Island, CA. My supposition is that the Navy was interested in creating a large control group to ascertain the long distance reliability of radio communication and advancing the "state of the art", hence the active sponsorship of the "contest." Lee DeForest and Oliver Lodge both had patent disputes with the Marconi Company regarding their inventions. Transferring ownership to the US made the patent disputes moot.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2021
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  7. K8QS

    K8QS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Paddy, Tom and I like the story so much because it is so messy and interesting. We've also got material on the first licensed female ham in the US. That one is interesting as well. Keep tuning in!
    2E0TWD likes this.
  8. K4KID

    K4KID Ham Member QRZ Page

    Roodhouse Township IL is on highway 67 South of Manchester, North of Whitehall.
    Great story. Thanks

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