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History of Communications-Electronics in the United States Navy, Captain Linwood S. Howeth, USN (Retired), 1963, pages 237-251:


Wartime  Expansion  of  United  States  Naval  Communication  System


By Executive order, issued on the day war was declared, the Navy Department was directed to take over such radio stations within the jurisdiction of the United States as might be required by the Naval Communication System. The order further directed the closing of all such radio stations not necessary to the Government. In addition to the foreign-owned stations at Sayville, Long Island, and Tuckerton, N.J., 53 commercial stations became a part of the system on April 7. Most of these were the property of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co., of America. Twenty-eight of this number were unnecessary for wartime radio operations and were closed. Amateurs were directed to cease operations and to dismantle their transmitters. Most complied voluntarily once they became aware of the edict. Landlines were substituted for radio circuits wherever possible. Excluding Alaska, no commercial radio service was permitted except through stations operated by the military departments.1
    Upon our entry into the war the following stations of the primary network of the naval. shore radio system were operating or under construction:
U.S. Navy, for transpacific work:
    Cavite, Philippine Islands (near completion)
    Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (nearing completion)
    San Digeo, Calif.
U.S. Navy, for transatlantic work:
    Arlington, Va.
U.S. Navy, for other work:
    Darien, C.Z.
Federal Telegraph Co., for transpacific work:
    Lents, Oreg.
    South San Francisco, Calif.
    Heeia Point, Hawaii
Marconi Co., for transpacific work:
    Bolinas, Calif.
    Kahuku, Hawaii
Marconi Co., for transatlantic work:
    New Brunswick, N.J.
German-owned station for transatlantic work:
    Sayville, Long Island, N.Y.
Foreign owned, other than German:
    Tuckerton, N.J.
    In order to relieve the congestion on the single transpacific cable, the Marconi circuit between California, Hawaii, and Japan, and the Federal Telegraph Co. circuit between California and Hawaii, were operated by the Navy primarily for handling commercial traffic.2 Figure 20-1


Prior to the beginning of the war the commercial companies had not succeeded in establishing continuous and reliable transatlantic radio communication service. The Navy, by operating the augmented Tuckerton transmitting facilities and the existing facilities at Sayville, succeeded in increasing reliability, but there were long daylight periods during which communications could not be maintained. The American Marconi Co., spurred by competition, had completed a station at New Brunswick, N.J., which was initially fitted with a 350-kw. Marconi timed-spark transmitter that would have afforded service of about the same reliability as the other two stations. At the time of its completion its sister station at Carnarvon, Wales was taken over by the British authorities and it had remained without a running mate. Early in 1917 the General Electric Co. completed the first 50-kw. Alexanderson alternator. The Marconi interests were interested in this equipment but wartime considerations delayed final negotiations for its purchase. The General Electric Co., with the concurrence of the American Marconi Co., had commenced installation of this equipment in February for comparison with the Marconi transmitter. When the Navy took over the station this installation was practically completed. Under ideal conditions these two transmitters proved capable of handling some of the transatlantic traffic.3
    The cables were, and continued to be, the primary means of communication between this country and her Allies, but they were overloaded, and reliable radio circuits became increasingly essential. In view of the increased importance of the cables it was considered that the Germans would endeavor to sever them as quickly as possible. However, they did not take such action until 4 June 1918, when they severed two of them at a location about 60 miles east of Sandy Hook, N.J.4


Faced with an urgent need for the augmentation of communication facilities, the Navy Department made repeated recommendations that a high-powered radio transmitting station be constructed in France, and that a similar one be erected in the southern part of the United States, to provide continuous duplex radio communication between the two countries. On 29 October 1917, M. Tardieu, French High Commissioner to the United States, cabled his government:
The American Navy considers as very important "the question to the construction of a new very powerful radio station. It requests to be informed without delay if it be decided to construct such a station. It promises all necessary assistance so far as concerns the rapid supply of American material which would be required."
Following this, Secretary Daniels, on 31 October, sent the following cable to the U.S. Naval Attaché, Paris:
Request immediately full information relative to action being taken in France to establish new extra powerful radio telegraphic station. If material from the United States is necessary, inform us immediately.
    The Inter-Allied Radio Commission, which had been formed to determine Allied communication requirements, had not decided upon the establishment of the transmitting station in France when, on 28 November 1917, General Pershing cabled the War Department urging that action be taken immediately to establish radio facilities capable of handling the traffic then being transmitted by cable. Immediately upon receipt of this cable a conference between communication officials of the Army and Navy was called to consider the problem. The conferees met in New London, Conn., on 4 December 1917, and again in Washington on 12 December. These two meetings were attended by representatives of the other Allied Powers.5
    At the New London conference the Bureau of Steam Engineering proposed the following:
The establishment of three receiving stations along the Atlantic coast of the United States connected to Washington by leased wires;
    The enlargement of, and duplication of, equipment in existing high-power stations;
    The erection of an additional station in the United States, so that a final plan of five transmitting stations might be fulfilled;
    The provision of sleet-melting equipment for the various transmitting station antenna systems, in order to assure freedom from ice during the winter season.
    The development in the allied countries, of the multiple sending and receiving station plan agreed upon for the United States; and
    The further recommendation that a super-high-power station be erected abroad as an additional channel for trans-Atlantic communications.6
    The conferees adopted this proposed plan and forwarded it, recommending approval, to the Inter-Allied Communications Committee which had been established in Paris. This committee approved the plan and requested that it be implemented. The U.S. Government approved the program and it became the basic plan for the improvement of the Naval Communication system. Figure 20-2


The Alexanderson alternator, installed at New Brunswick, was the first of this new type of transmitter. Its auxiliaries included an entirely new method of reducing the energy-wasting antenna resistances; a new type of control; and a magnetic as well as an electronic amplifier. Antenna resistances were reduced by the use of tuning coils which were spread over the surface directly beneath the antenna, one end grounded and the other connected to the antenna area directly above it. This reduced the antenna resistance 75 percent and quintupled the radiation efficiency.
    When the station was taken over, General Electric Co. officials requested that they be allowed to continue their experiments. Navy Department officials, seeking better means of transatlantic communications, readily acquiesced. By November 1917 sufficient information had been obtained to warrant discontinuance of tests to make improvements to the equipment. When these were completed, the operation of the 50-kw. alternator was superior to the Arlington 100-kw. arc and the New Brunswick 350-kw. timed spark.
    Seeking to further improve transatlantic communications, the Bureau of Steam Engineering, on 1 October 1917, addressed a letter to the General Electric Co. asking if they had one or more larger alternators. The reply stated that one 200-kw. alternator, complete with accessories, would be ready for testing in January 1918. The American Marconi Co. was asked to have it installed at New Brunswick, but their officials refused to defray the costs. Following receipt of this information the General Electric Co. agreed to install it at their expense. Work on the foundations commenced immediately, and the final installation was completed by June 1918. While the transmitter was being installed, improvements were made to the antenna supports and to the antenna and ground systems. Upon completion, 400 amperes could be delivered to the antenna. From July 1918 through February 1920 this station carried the bulk of the radio traffic between this country and Europe. It was the first high-powered station on the Atlantic coast that transmitted radio messages continuously and reliably.7 It was later utilized for radiotelephonic communication with the U.S.S. George Washington during President Wilson's trips to and from France during the peace conference.
    Much of the success of this station was due to the patriotic efforts, the unselfish expenditure of funds and the hearty cooperation of the officials of the General Electric Co. Dr. Alexanderson later stated:
The two years following the taking over of the New Brunswick station by the Navy formed a particularly productive period, and one on which I look back upon with great satisfaction and pleasure. A real friendship developed between the G. E. personnel and the Navy personnel. A spirit of effective cooperation was developed which one does not find very often. In spite of the fact that our early installation was very primitive, or what is known as 'hay-wire', the Navy helped us wholeheartedly to arrange for reception tests with distant points.8
    During 1917 the Sayville station was used for transatlantic work when conditions permitted. In consonance with the New London recommendations, work on the installation of a 200-kw. arc transmitter and other improvements were begun in the early part of 1918. This transmitter was also ready for operation by July 1918. It afforded increased reliability of transatlantic transmissions but did not possess the capabilities of the New Brunswick alternator.
    A 100-kw. arc transmitter with additional power-generating equipment was installed at Tuckerton. During the period improvements were being made at New Brunswick and Sayville, it handled most of transatlantic transmissions. After the installation of the 200-kw. arc alternator at New Brunswick was completed, Tuckerton was used primarily for fleet broadcast purposes.
    No endeavor was made to increase the size of the transmitter at Arlington as that station had sufficient power for the fleet broadcast purposes for which it was utilized.


Pursuant to the decision of the Inter-Allied Radio Committee, a site for an additional high-powered radio station on the Atlantic coast was selected at Annapolis, Md., across the Severn River from the Naval Academy. Construction commenced immediately under the supervision of Lt. Comdr. George C. Sweet, USN. The antenna, a four-sided, flattop, each side 400 feet long and supported by four 500-foot towers, was designed by Mr. L. F. Fuller, of the Federal Telegraph Co. The towers were spaced as far apart as possible, the limiting factor being the tensile strength of the antenna wires. With the maximum spacing, giving maximum possible antenna capacity, corona discharges were expected unless steps were taken to eliminate them. The Federal Telegraph Co. designed aluminum corona shields at their Palo Alto laboratory and, in conjunction with the Ohio Insulator Co., designed insulators of high tensile strength and low electrostatic capacity. These refinements permitted the use of 500-kw. transmitters in lieu of the originally planned 350-kw. ones. The transmitting equipment, which was in duplicate, was installed under the supervision of Mr. Haraden Pratt, then an expert radio aid. The station was placed in service in September 1918 and was satisfactory for transatlantic communications, but was not as capable as the New Brunswick station, equipped with the 200-kw. alternator.9


Following the approval of the New London recommendations by the Inter-Allied Communications Commission, Lt. Comdr. E. H. Loftin, USN, was ordered to Paris, where he was immediately made a member of the Inter-Allied Radio Committee and of the Inter-Allied Technical Radio Committee. At one of the first meetings he attended he outlined a proposal for construction of the station in France and convinced General Ferrie, of the French Communication Service, that the U.S. Navy had the experience and facilities for the construction of this proposed most powerful radio station in the world.10
    Owing to wartime conditions in France, the particular skills required for the erection of the towers to support the antenna system were virtually nonexistent. It was agreed that the station would be constructed jointly by the two countries. The French would provide the site, construct the buildings and the foundations for the towers. The United States would provide and erect the towers and antenna system and would furnish and install two completely duplicate 1,000-kw. arc transmitters with accessories. It was agreed between the U.S. War and Navy Departments that the latter would assume full responsibility for the construction of this country's portion of the station.11
    The Bureau of Yards and Docks immediately worked out the design of the towers and placed them under contract with the Pittsburgh-Des Moines Co., of Pittsburgh, Pa. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Steam Engineering completed installation plans for the arc transmitters, which were placed under contract with the Federal Telegraph Co. L. F. Fuller, chief engineer of that company, designed the ground and antenna system. The antenna system support consisted of eight 820-foot towers, 1,312 feet 4 inches apart, on centers, erected in a quadrangle 1,312 feet 4 inches by 3,937 feet on centers. The only structure in the world which was higher at that time was the Eiffel Tower.12
    The Annapolis station, which was being rushed to completion, placed a heavy drain on qualified labor available to the Navy. Notwithstanding this, a force in excess of 600 riggers, steelworkers, bridgemen, electricians, and other skills was quickly assembled. The first unit of these arrived in Bordeaux in the early spring of 1918. Construction of that part of the station for which the United States was responsible commenced on 28 May 1918 at the site selected near the village of Croix d'Hins, about 14 miles southwest of Bordeaux.
    Shortage of shipping facilities for such large quantities of fabricated steel slowed delivery, but by 1 October 1918 practically all the tower material and the radio transmitters had arrived. The construction was proceeding rapidly when the cessation of hostilities, on 11 November 1918, nullified the urgent military requirement for the station. Work was stopped in early December when it became apparent that hostilities would not be renewed. The construction force was returned to the United States and only a small caretaking group was left at the station pending final disposition of the project.
    After considerable deliberation, the French Government expressed the desire to have the station completed by the United States. A new formal agreement between the two Governments was drawn up and approved. In this, the U.S. Navy was to complete the station and the French Government was to assume the costs of all labor, material, and equipment.13 The Navy contracted the Pittsburgh-Des Moines Co., fabricators of the towers, to complete the erection. This work was recommenced on 4 May 1919 and completed in January 1920. The remaining work on the antenna system and the installation and testing of the transmitters was continued, utilizing naval uniformed personnel and civilian radio engineers employed for duty at the station.14
    Operational tests were satisfactorily completed on 20 September 1920. Immediately thereafter the French operators were given training. On 15 November the station was turned over to them for operation and on 18 December it was formally turned over to the French Government and American personnel were withdrawn. The cost of the station was $3,500,000. On this date the following radio message was transmitted by Annapolis.
Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 1920
Minister of Marine, Minister of War and Minister of Posts and Telegraphs,
Care United States Naval Attache,
Lafayette Radio Station.
    Cordial felicitations are extended to the Republic of France through the medium of the Annapolis Radio Station on the occasion of the inauguration of the Lafayette Super High-Power Radio Station. It is our firm conviction that as a result of the mutual co-operation and endeavors of the representatives of the French and American peoples engaged in the work incidental to the establishment of the great Lafayette Radio Station a notable advance has been made in the scientific progress of the world which will result in enduring benefit to France and to all mankind.
Secretary of the Navy15
    Shortly after this was transmitted the following was received at the Navy Department:
Lafayette Radio Station, France
December 18, 1920
To the Secretary of the American Navy,
Washington, D. C.
    I desire that the first message sent after the official inauguration of the Lafayette Radio Station be a cordial greeting to the Republic of the United States of America. In the name of the French Government I send many thanks to the American Navy for the great part which it played in the construction of the most powerful radio station in the world. This collaboration maintained during the period of peace strengthens still further the unalterable friendship born of common struggles and victories.
Asst. Secretary of Posts and Telegraphs.16
    A bronze commemorative plaque embodying the seals of the United States and France was placed over the main entrance to the operating building and was unveiled by M. Deschamps, Assistant Secretary of Post and Telegraphs. It contains the following inscription in both French and English.


Conceived for the purpose of insuring adequate and uninterrupted transatlantic communication facilities between the American Expeditionary Forces engaged in the World War and the Government of the United States of America.
    Erected by the United States Navy in conjunction with and for the Government of France.

WORK  STARTED  28  MAY,  1918

    During the construction period considerable friction arose between the French and American officials concerning the antenna and ground systems. Based upon his experience with naval high-powered arc installations, Fuller had made detailed drawings of these systems. These were flatly refused by the French, who later assumed responsibility for the design of the ground system. The antenna design, with minor changes, was finally used but the plans were redrawn, copied line for line except the words "Federal Telegraph Company" were eliminated and in lieu thereof were substituted, "designed by Captain Brassier." Thus was national pride assuaged. The French also resented the use of arcs instead of alternators because the arc harmonics would create radio interference over all of France.18 As early as July 1920 they were planning the installation of a 500-kw. alternator of their own design and this was later installed.19
    The remarkable work of the Federal Telegraph Co. in furnishing the transmitting equipment in record time was extolled by the Chief of the Bureau of Engineering in a letter to the company, dated 15 October 1920, which stated:
    The Bureau desires to congratulate your company in connection with the excellent results obtained with the duplicate 1000 KW arc equipment which was purchased from the Federal Telegraph Company and installed at the Lafayette Radio Station at Croix d' Hins, France.
    The results of the thirty day tests of this equipment are very satisfactory to the Bureau, the comparative strength of Lafayette's signals being three to five times as great as those from other European high-power stations, and solid copy being constantly obtained not less than 22 hours out of the 24, notwithstanding the fact that the tests were conducted during the most unfavorable static season.
    The services of your Chief Engineer, Mr. R. R. Beal, as the Bureau's representative to conduct the tests, under the authority of the commanding officer of the Lafayette Radio Station, were most praiseworthy and satisfactory, the entire tests having been conducted under Mr. Beal's supervision without interruption or casualities to the equipment.
    The Bureau feels that the results obtained at the Lafayette Radio Station reflect great credit on the Federal Telegraph Company as well as the Navy.
    Credit for performance of duty above that expected is due all the personnel who, during the wartime construction period, worked during all the daylight hours except during the midsummer months when the heat was so excessive that it was necessary to stop during the middle of the day. The wartime work at the site was under the administration of Lt. Comdr. George C. Sweet and the tower construction was under the supervision of Comdr. F. H. Cooke (CEC), USN. The postwar construction was performed under the direction of Capt. A. St. Clair Smith, USN, Naval Attaché, Paris. Lt. Comdr. D. Graham Copeland (CEC), USN, was his construction supervisor.20 Figure 20-3


The severe winter of 1917-18 demonstrated the damaging effect of sleet upon antenna systems. Sleet-melting systems, whereby 60-cycle current could be fed to the antenna system at low voltage and high amperage, to heat them above the sleet-melting point, were installed at all major stations. The use of this device necessitated an undesirable stoppage of transmission.21 It was desired to locate a new high-powered station inland, beyond the range of bombardment by ships or from attack by the shipborne aircraft of the time, in an area which had been free of sleet for the preceding 10 years and yet within reasonable proximity of Washington. Some location in North or South Carolina22 was deemed to satisfy these requirements. In July 1918, Pratt and Clark were directed to locate a site in North Carolina with satisfactory power supply, good ground conditions, and nearby recreation facilities. During the weeks of the survey heavy rains fell throughout the area and after driving through many miles of slippery, muddy roads they selected a site at Monroe.23 Pratt later stated "only our Federal badges enabled us to get transportation at times, also to escape village constables and revenue agents."24
    The plans for this station were unique. The acute steel shortages which existed in the latter days of the war necessitated the substitution of 20 brick chimney structures, 500 feet high, in lieu of four self-supporting towers. The top portions were to be of porcelain brick which would serve as insulators, thereby increasing the effective height of the antenna by eliminating the capacity that would exist between the antenna wires and the lower portions of steel towers.25 The bottoms of the structures were to be of such diameters as would allow them to be used as buildings for housing the powerplants and transmitters.26 Federal arc, 2,000-kw. transmitters, which were to be installed in duplicate, would make it the world's most powerful station.27
    By the date of the armistice, the contract for the transmitters had been made and the future output of many of the brickyards in the South had been placed under contract. Cessation of hostilities brought the project to a stop and, to the regret of radio engineers throughout the world, it was finally abandoned. The idea of using the chimney-type structures to reduce power losses and to house equipment had appealed to everyone.28


The catalytic effect of war brought about a rapid development of higher powered radio transmitters. Prior to 1917, 350-kw. power was considered the achievable upper limit. The Annapolis station represented a material increase, and the Lafayette station was of theretofore undreamed-of power. Despite this the Federal Co., with the experience gained in building more powerful equipment, was willing to accept a contract for equipment twice as powerful as any yet constructed. The 200-kw. Alexanderson alternator, the most efficient high-powered transmitter yet built, though conceived prior to our entrance into the war, was rushed to completion by the urgings of the Navy Department.29


Prior to the entrance of the United States into the war there were no separate and remote facilities for the reception of trans-atlantic signals. Some progress had, however, been made in duplexing other high-powered stations so that transmission and reception might be accomplished simultaneously.
    At this time two series of receiving antenna system experiments were being conducted: one, the use of an underground system; and the other, a means for increasing the signal-to-noise ratio. These two series of experiments soon merged.
    Just north of Washington lived an elderly gentleman, Dr. J. H. Rogers, who had become interested in radio reception utilizing underground antenna. At his Hyattsville, Md., laboratory he had constructed a maze of various types of antenna extending in all directions from an underground receiving hut. There were bare wires, insulated wires, wires in lead conduit, wires in sewer pipe, all buried in the earth. Some were of short, some were of medium, and some were of long length. Reception was normally accomplished by connecting the receiver to two wires stretching out in opposite directions. Rogers was so insistent that he had discovered a cure for static that the Bureau sent representatives to inspect his method. Clark witnessed tests of it on 16 December 1916. He reported that the antenna could not be sharply tuned because of the great distributed capacity, and that in receiving arc-transmitted signals more trouble was encountered with harmonics than when a sharply tuned elevated antenna was used. However, he recommended further investigation of the promising indication that the system would give a better signal-to-noise ratio because of its static-reducing and directive properties.30
    Dr. Hoyt Taylor,31 USNR, was, at this time, the District Communication Officer of the 9th Naval District with headquarters at Great Lakes, Ill. Early in 1917 he was directed to establish a temporary laboratory on the shores of Lake Michigan and to conduct investigations, using buried and submerged antennas, to determine their directional and static-reducing properties. From the results of his investigations it was decided that the method possessed possibilities in the reduction of static. Low-frequency arc signals emanating from a distance could be heard well, but the reception of signals from spark transmitters was poor. Local electrical storms affected reception much less than they did with an elevated antenna. It was discovered that the underground collector was aperiodic and that several stations transmitting on different frequencies could be received on the same one. Following further tests, Taylor discovered that wires submerged in fresh water gave signal strengths 10 times stronger than the same type laid underground. Other tests indicated an optimum length of wire for a given frequency, and that the best was one-eighth of the wave length.32 In October 1917 it became necessary to transfer Taylor to other duty and, although the experiments were continued, they resulted in no further gain of information.
    There appeared to be valuable features in the undersurface collector system. In an endeavor to hasten and extend the range of the experiments, Lt. E. H. Loftin, USN, who had completed his duty in Paris and had been ordered as District Communication Officer of the 10th Naval District with headquarters at New Orleans, was directed to conduct experiments to determine the feasibility of utilizing such a system operationally. Extensive trials were conducted over a 3-month period during which time it was learned that the directive feature of this type of collector eliminated much of the interference created by the proximity of transmitters to receivers. Underground receiving antenna systems were installed at Norfolk, New Orleans, and Great Lakes, all important relay stations. These systems permitted simultaneous transmission and reception and approximately doubled the traffic capabilities of those stations. The same increase could have been accomplished by distant separation of the transmitter and receiver stations, but at far greater effort and cost.33
    With the knowledge obtained from these experiments, Dr. Austin conducted scientific studies endeavoring to obtain exact reasons for the results which had been obtained. He reached the conclusion that the reduction in static was due to the balancing property inherent in the types of subsurface collectors used and that directivity was inherent when the direction of the antenna and the bearing of the transmitter were the same. During the summer of 1918 he developed several balanced circuits, one of which; utilizing the aperiodic quality of a subsurface collector, was used for multiple reception of signals at various receiving stations.34
    Prior to the taking over of the transatlantic stations by the Navy, the Marconi Co. had been conducting static-elimination experiments at Belmar in an endeavor to increase the number of hours in which traffic could be successfully received from European sources. These experiments were based on the premise that unwanted signals might be balanced out by properly designed antenna systems. Dr. Roy A. Weagant, Chief Engineer of the American Marconi Co., was the director of these experiments. Upon assumption of control of the station, the Navy not only concurred in the continuation of Weagant's work but in the following months supplied him with all the information derived from its own experiments.35
    Weagant's method was based on the use of two opposing, tuned, single-loop antennas supported on towers 400 feet high and connected through a three-winding transformer. In an early test, on a day when static was deafening, he succeeded in reducing this to a mere background murmur while signals from the station at Lyons, France, on a frequency of 22.2 kc., came in loud and clear. However, the height of the towers required to support the loops militated against their usage. The Navy suggested the use of multiturn smaller loops and, following this suggestion, the Marconi Co. erected 10-turn loops 75 feet long and 40 feet high. In comparative tests these loops proved much more effective.36
    In October 1917 the Navy activated the Belmar station as a transatlantic receiving station. Taylor, who was more inclined toward the use of the underground system than the Weagant balanced system, was ordered in command. Weagant's experiments and Taylor's emplacement of his underground wires mutually interfered. The Marconi Co. moved their experiments to Miami, Fla., where severe static is experienced the year round. The Navy detailed Clark to represent it in further Marconi tests. At Miami the Weagant system was markedly superior to the best subsurface wire system which could be installed.37
    The Weagant system was also superior to any of the collector systems devised during this period. Taylor, who possessed an abiding faith in the subsurface system and in its future development, failed to appreciate that the balanced-loop system allowed the reception of signals which could not be copied using a subsurface system. The Proctor system, later installed at the Navy's Otter Cliffs, Maine, receiving station, did have static-reducing qualities and was simpler to install, and easier to operate.38
    Weagant and Taylor both filed patent claims on their collector systems. These actions precipitated interference claims between Weagant and Taylor and with Mr. John V. L. Hogan, who had also worked on similar ideas. The issue was finally settled by compromise, with the patent being issued to Taylor, who sold it to the Radio Corp. of America, which, in turn, for a nominal amount licensed the Navy to manufacture and use it and the Alexanderson barrage system.39


The stations at Tuckerton and Sayville were used for transatlantic reception until October 1917. At Tuckerton the receiving antenna was a single wire, 4 miles long, supported by telephone poles. This antenna was almost aperiodic and had some directional qualities due to its azimuth. The transmitting antenna was not used directly for reception but was grounded when receiving so that it reradiated upon the receiving antenna, increasing the strength of the signals. At Sayville the counterpoise was divided into halves, with the northeast half connected to one binding post of the primary circuit and the southwest half to the other, without use of a ground connection. The primary circuit was coupled to the secondary which was connected to a two stage radio-frequency amplifier, which in turn, was connected to the detector circuit and thence to a two-stage audiofrequency amplifier. Frequency changing was complicated and difficult. Due to the directive property of the counterpoise the signal strength was fairly good. This station was the primary transatlantic receiving station during the winter of 1917-18.
    The Tuckerton and Sayville stations were connected with the Radio Central at the Navy Department by leased landlines. The transatlantic receiving was done at these stations and manually relayed to Washington. Outgoing transatlantic messages were delivered to the stations by landlines and the transmitters were keyed locally.
    Receiving conditions on the transatlantic circuits were poor during the summer of 1917. In an endeavor to improve them it was decided to duplex the circuits by utilizing the Marconi station at Belmar, N.J., for reception. This station, built in 1914, as a receiving station for the Marconi transmitting station at Carnarvon, Wales, had not been utilized by the Marconi Co., except for experimental purposes. The operating building was located on the edge of a shallow inlet of the Shark River. Taylor installed an intricate system of submerged and underground collectors, laid out with the operating building as a center and on a line of bearing with Europe. This work was completed by October 1917 and the station was placed in operation. The transmitting stations at Tuckerton and Sayville were connected by landlines and the transmitters were keyed from Belmar.40 Reception was improved but solid copy was unattainable, necessitating the continued assistance of Sayville for receiving.
    In November 1917, the Marconi station at Chatham, Mass., was established as a receiving station to assist Belmar. Submerged and underground collector systems were installed. Reception at this station was of no aid because Belmar could invariably make solid copy of all signals which it could copy. During the operations there, it was learned that collectors submerged in salt water gave weaker but more static-free and receivable signals than those submerged in fresh water or buried in the earth.41
    Despite Taylor's endeavors at Belmar and Chatham, the reception of oversea transmissions was not possible at all times. Early in the war a young and talented amateur, Alessandro Fabbri, who owned an elaborate amateur station at Otter Cliffs, Bar Harbor, Maine, turned this station over to the Navy for research purposes. Fabbri had, in turn, been commissioned an ensign in the Naval Reserve Force and ordered in command of the station. He was directed to copy the European stations and his success in continuous reception caused Taylor to shift his experimentation from Belmar to Bar Harbor. The rugged terrain and the rocky coastline around the Bar Harbor station did not lend itself to the successful use of subsurface collectors. Hence, "blind end" loops were installed by the Wireless Specialty Apparatus Co.42 A number of these small loops housed in huts of telephone-booth size were installed all over the Fabbri estate. Although this system was inferior to Weagant's, it worked well at Bar Harbor because the direction of the source of static was normal to that from which the signals emanated.
    By midsummer of 1918, receiving conditions at Bar Harbor were satisfactory on all frequencies used on the transatlantic circuits. It then became the primary receiving station for this purpose. The received signals were "patched through" and carried over leased wires to Radio Central, Washington, where they were copied. The keying controls for all transatlantic transmitters were also transferred to Washington at this time.43 The Chatham and Belmar stations were disestablished in October 1918 and February 1919, respectively.44


The U.S. Government's appropriation of the commercial shore stations necessitated paying rightful compensations to their owners. When the income of a station could be determined, payment was made on the basis of revenue and property value. A fixed rental was agreed upon for the low-powered stations which were continued in operation, with lower rates being paid for those which were closed. The Navy maintained all the stations that were kept operative, while their owners paid taxes and insurance.45
    Early in 1918 the U.S. Shipping Board requested the Navy to make arrangements for the purchase of all radio stations on vessels owned or operated by them. The Marconi Co. was unwilling to sell these installations unless the coastal stations were included. The Navy acquiesced to this and, on 1 November, purchased, at a cost of $798,500, the low-powered stations which had been taken over from the Marconi Co., plus the high-powered stations at Ketchikan and Juneau, Alaska, and Astoria, Wash., and the obsolete station at South Wellfleet, Mass.46
    Except for those mentioned, this transaction did not include any of the operating high-power stations used by the Marconi Co., for long-distance radio communications during peacetime. The parent company, British Marconi, intended to resume such operations as soon as possible, and was making plans to utilize continuous-wave equipment. They had already negotiated for the exclusive use of the Alexanderson alternators, but this was being held in abeyance. It became known that they were also interested in the purchase of the patents and stations of the Federal Telegraph Co. The acquisition of these patents would give them control over the American rights to Poulsen arc patents, and the arc transmitters would complement the alternator since it could be utilized for their low-power requirements. To avoid complications and to obtain control of the Federal patents, the Navy, on 15 May 1918, acquired these together with three high-power and five coastal stations for $1,600,000.47

    1 Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 1917 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1917), p. 44.
    2 Ibid., p. 45.
    3 "Radioana," Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., G. H. Clark, "Radio in War and Peace," p. 263.
    4 Ibid., p. 285.
    5 S. C. Hooper, "The Lafayette Radio Station," Journal of American Society of Naval Engineers, vol. XXXIII, No. 3, August 1921, p. 401.
    6 "History of the Bureau of Engineering, Navy Department. During the World War" (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1922), p. 93.
    7 "Report of the Federal Trade Commission on the Radio Industry" (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1924), p. 15.
    8 "Radioana," op. cit., Clark, "Radio in War and Peace," p. 264.
    9 Ibid., pp. 282-284.
    10 Ibid., p. 290.
    11 Hooper, op. cit., p. 404.
    12 D. Graham Copeland, "Steel Tower Construction at The World's Greatest Radio Station," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Annapolis, 1920, p. 290-291.
    13 Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 1920 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1920), p. 57.
    14 Copeland, op. cit., p. 292.
    15 Hooper, op. cit., p. 407.
    16 Ibid.
    17 Ibid.
    18 "Radioana," op. cit., Clark, "Radio in War and Peace," pp. 291-293.
    19 Radio Electricite, July 1920.
    20 Copeland, op. cit., p. 293.
    21 "Radioana," op. cit., Clark, "Radio in War and Peace," p. 286.
    22 Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels was a native of North Carolina.
    23 "Radioana," op. cit., Clark, "Radio in War and Peace," p. 286.
    24 Undated memorandum Haraden H. Pratt to George H. Clark.
    25 A later naval adaptation of this idea was the use of opposing mountain ridges as supports for high-powered, low-frequency antenna systems.
    26 "Radioana," op. cit., Clark, "Radio in War and Peace," pp. 287-288.
    27 "History of the Bureau of Engineering, Navy Department, During the World War," op. cit., p. 96.
    28 "Radioana," op. cit., Clark, "Radio in War and Peace," p. 288.
    29 "History of the Bureau of Engineering Navy Department During the World War," op. cit., p. 95.
    30 "Radioana," op. cit., Clark, "Radio in War and Peace," p. 348. A description of the Rogers collector system is contained in app. M.
    31 Taylor was born in Chicago, Ill. He entered Northwestern University in 1896. In 1899 he entered the employ of the Western Electric Co. Returning to Northwestern in 1900, he lacked but one semester of graduating when lack of funds forced him to accept a position as an instructor at Michigan State College. In 1902 he was awarded his bachelor of science degree by Northwestern University. Following this he became an instructor at the University of Wisconsin. In 1908 he was granted a year's leave of absence which he utilized to take postgraduate work at the University of Goettingen, Germany, where he obtained his doctorate. Returning to America, he accepted the position as head of the Physics Department, University of North Dakota. He continued in this capacity until 1917. Meanwhile, he had become a Naval Reserve officer and upon the outbreak of the war was assigned duty as District Communications Officer, Ninth Naval District, Goat Lake, Ill. From this time he continued his association with the Navy until his retirement in 1950.
    32 "History of the Bureau of Steam Engineering, Navy Department, During the World War," op. cit., pp. 101-102; A Hoyt Taylor, "Radio Reminiscences: A Half Century" (Naval Research Laboratory report), pp. 79-82. A description of the Taylor collector system is contained in app. M.
    33 "Radioana," op. cit., Clark, "Radio in War and Peace," p. 350.
    34 "History of the Bureau of Engineering, Navy Department, During the World War," op. cit., pp. 103, 107.
    35 Ibid., p. 105; "Radioana," op. cit., Clark, "Radio in War and Peace," p. 353.
    36 Ibid., pp. 351-353. A description of the Weagant collector system is contained in app. M.
    37 Ibid., pp. 354-358.
    38 Ibid., pp. 264-267.
    39 Taylor, op. cit., p. 99.
    40 "History of the Bureau of Engineering, Navy Department, During the World War," op. cit., p. 105.
    41 Ibid.
    42 This design of this collector system had been attributed to many people, Pickard, Fabbri, Wood, and Proctor. The latter was at the time chief engineer of the Wireless Specialty Apparatus Co. and the system was patented in his name. In a letter dated 25 Jan. 1920, Fabbri supported Proctor's claim. A description of the Proctor collector system is contained in app. M.
    43 Taylor, op. cit., p. 101.
    44 "History of the Bureau of Engineering, Navy Department, During the World War," op. cit., 105, 107.
    45 "History of the Bureau of Engineering, Navy Department, During the World War," op. cit., p. 113.
    46 Ibid., pp. 113-114.
    47 Ibid., p. 113.
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