"King Spark" Revived: A Proposal

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KA0HCP, Jun 24, 2016.

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  1. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Proposal: An Annual Event Commemorating The Spark Transmitter Era.

    When: New Years Day
    Time: 1300-1500 CST and 2100-2300 CST
    Frequency: Centered below 500khz/kcs (600m), to the best of the operators' ability
    Power Limit: 1000 Watts, DC Input
    Mode: Morse
    Interference Mitigation: Notams and Notmars to be issued to aviation and marine interests. Operators to register with contact information, transmitter location and intended equipment type and characteristics in advance which will be forwarded to FCC operations. Transmissions to cease immediately upon notification of interference by FCC, Civil Authorities or Utility companies.

    The event will commemorate the importance of spark transmissions in the development of communications. It will familiarize modern operators with older technology, give opportunity for new construction, demonstration of legacy equipment and learn operating techniques. The split operating periods will cover daytime and night time propagation. Date is chosen to minimize interference. FCC approval of the event and rules would be required. Notification of the ITU and IARU would be made.

    Proposed: KB4QAA Bill
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  2. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah, WTH, I will sign the bill Bill... sounds like fun.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  3. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Lead Balloon has been re-invented! GL, Bill!
    W0BTU likes this.
  4. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Are you aware of any previous attempts to get spark special events approved?
  5. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    ISTR mentions of it in the past but I don't know if there were any serious attempts. All they can do is say no, right?
  6. N0NB

    N0NB Subscriber QRZ Page

    While modern communications owe much to the pioneers that opened the airwaves with spark, I think actual usage of it for about any reason is best left in the past. I doubt that most amateurs would have the wherewithal to construct the clean high frequency generator required to keep from wiping out nearly everything in their immediate vicinity. I think that merely getting the FCC to actually open the now allocated 630m band to us so we can use A1A would be sufficient.

    As a tip, though, note the proposed times as 1900-2100 UTC 1 Jan and 0300-0500 UTC 2 Jan.

    W0BTU likes this.
  7. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    There's a big roadblock to your idea: Mode B (spark) transmissions were outlawed by international treaty at least 50 years ago. In amateur radio, they were outlawed more than 85 years ago.

    How are you going to get around that?

    Also, the bit about

    "Power Limit: 1000 Watts, DC Input"

    indicates a complete lack of understanding of spark transmitter design beyond very low-powered sets. It should be "AC input to the spark transformer".


    The truth about spark is that a well-designed-and-operated spark transmitter didn't radiate an extremely broad signal. If nothing else, antenna bandwidth prevented it. However, even the best spark signals were many kilocycles wide, while an equivalent CW signal was only a few dozen cycles wide.

    Here's what a kilowatt synchronous rotary sounds like in operation (into a dummy load):

    except that in real life it is much louder, brighter, and the ozone is right in your face.

    That complete setup was retired by 8TC in the early 1920s and found in essentially unchanged condition many years later. (Before WW2, western New York state was 8 land.)
    KA4DPO and W0BTU like this.
  8. KY5U

    KY5U Subscriber QRZ Page

    Dumbest idea since I can't remember when. (Movie reference alert) But keep thinking Butch, you're really good at that.
  9. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    Illegal or not, id still vote for it!

    Spark just sounds so cool... what we hear in that vid isnt what it sounds like through a rcvr, (of course not! We wouldn't hear the motor running)

    I wonder why someone cant get a permit for a short one way memorial transmission though...

    (You guys do realize that there was a tongue planted in the OPs cheek, right? At least i didn't think he was serious? Were you Bill?)
  10. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Some memory cells are kicking in...seems there was an experiment/demonstration in recent years of modulated CW...modulated in the format to simulate a spark station. Not referring to the annual Andreasson (sp) broadcast but something else. The Andre(sp) station event on VLF from Sweden has been copied in the US.
    If I could spell it I could probably Google it!

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