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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
  • 1 Background Information
  • 2 The earliest marine radio stations
  • 3 Typical 5Kw Radio Operator's Room Circa 1913
  • 4 External Resources
Background Information[edit]

Reference 1 in the last section of this entry provides an excellent starting point for anyone interested in the early history of ship's radio and includes a page about radio on early mail ships.

The earliest marine radio stations[edit]

The image below shows the "temporary" installation aboard the East Goodwin Lightship in 1898. This is believed to be the first "shipboard" radio installation. It was fitted by Marconi with the permission of Trinity House and experiments were carried out to the South Foreland Lighthouse which was about 12 miles away. The equipment was taken out in an open boat and fitted in one afternoon. It worked immediately and was onboard for two years. During that time it played it's part in saving several vessels and a number of lives.

The large square suspended object in the photograph appears to be the capacitors. The batteries are under the desk and the operator appears to have his hand on the key. The spark gap is along the right side of the apparatus.


For those wanting to know more of the principles of spark transmission please see Reference 2 in the last section of this entry. It includes simulations of the sound of spark transmissions.

Typical 5Kw Radio Operator's Room Circa 1913[edit]

The photograph below is from the Marconi Yearbook for 1913 and show a typical setup for a liner like RMS Morea.


The same source provides the following information about the radio on RMS Morea:5kw-Marconi-Liner-Station
Call signal: MMF (this was correct in 1913 but changed later)
Normal range: 450 kilometers
Wavelength: 300 and 600 meters
Charge per word: 0.40 Francs No minimum word count

External Resources[edit]

1. Website for information about early radios on ships here:
2. Website for information about spark radio transmitters: (This site also provides simulations of the sounds you would hear with a receiver.)
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