ARRL Special Bulletin ARLX013 (2001)

ARLX013 Spark, ARISS QSO mark Marconi transatlantic centennial

QST de W1AW  
Special Bulletin 13  ARLX013
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  December 13, 2001
To all radio amateurs 

ARLX013 Spark, ARISS QSO mark Marconi transatlantic centennial

The sound of a spark transmitter was heard once again on an amateur
band to mark the centennial of Guglielmo Marconi's first
transatlantic radio success. It was 100 years ago, on December 12,
1901, that Marconi--at his receiving station in Newfoundland--copied
the three dits of the Morse letter ''S'' transmitted from 2000 miles
away in Cornwall, England. An Amateur Radio on the International
Space Station (ARISS) contact with students in Newfoundland also was
successfully completed.

David Wilson, VE3BBN, near Niagara Falls, Ontario, built a low-power
rotary spark transmitter and had permission from Industry Canada to
use it December 12 from 9 to 10 PM Eastern Time (0200-0300 December
13 UTC). The operating frequency was approximately 3550 kHz.

Wilson says the transmitter has a bandwidth of 20 kHz, and AM mode
reception with a wide IF bandwidth works best. He transmitted
''MARCONI S'' every minute during the one-hour period.

''This is a very low-powered transmitter with 10 W spread over 20 kHz
(3-dB points) and having very broad skirts,'' he said. He said the
spark signal is highly unlikely to interfere with normal amateur
operations, but a test signal was copied at distances of at least
250 km (approximately 155 miles). Wilson used an 80-meter Windom

VE3BBN invites signal reports via e-mail, David Wilson, VE3BBN,

An Amateur Radio on the International Space Station contact December
12 between Frank Culbertson, KD5OPQ--operating NA1SS on the ISS--and
students at the Marconi site in Newfoundland also marked the Marconi
transatlantic centennial. During the contact between NA1SS and
Marconi Radio Project special event station VO1S, 10 students got to
quiz Culbertson about life in space. Culbertson is completing his
tour of duty aboard the ISS this week. The ninth-grade students were
winners of a crystal-set building competition associated with the
centennial observance.

The contact was arranged with the assistance of Memorial University
of Newfoundland, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers, and the Society of Newfoundland Radio Amateurs.