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ARRL Special Bulletin ARLX020 (2016)

ARLX020 Commemorative Fessenden Christmas Eve 600-Meter
Transmissions Set

QST de W1AW  
Special Bulletin 20  ARLX020
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  December 22, 2016
To all radio amateurs 

ARLX020 Commemorative Fessenden Christmas Eve 600-Meter
Transmissions Set

Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, of Forest, Virginia, will once again put his
600-meter experimental station on the air for a Christmas Eve
commemorative transmission. The transmissions from WI2XLQ on 486 kHz
will mark the 110th anniversary of Reginald Fessenden's first audio
broadcast on the airwaves.

Historic accounts say Fessenden played the violin - or a recording
of violin music - and read a brief Bible verse. It's been reported
that other radio experimenters and shipboard operators who heard
Fessenden's broadcast were astounded.

Justin will use a MOPA-design transmitter built largely with vintage
parts to replicate early vacuum-tube equipment; not a
Fessenden-period transmitter, it uses a UV-202 tube for the power
amplifier. He will conduct a run-up to the event starting at around
mid-day Eastern Time on Friday, December 23. The "official"
Christmas event will begin on Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24,
at 0001 UTC (the evening of December 23 in US time zones) and will
continue for at least 24 hours. Justin plans to repeat the
commemorative transmissions on New Year's Eve and on New Year's Day.

For his transmitter in 1906, Fessenden used an AC alternator
modulated by placing carbon microphones in series with the antenna
feed line. Justin's homebuilt station is slightly more modern, based
on a 1921 vacuum tube master oscillator power amplifier (MOPA)
design. The transmitter also uses Heising AM modulation, developed
by Raymond Heising during World War I.

Justin's WI2XLQ on-air operations coincide with dates in early radio
history as a way to recognize and honor some of the earliest
wireless pioneers and their achievements. Send listener reports
directly to Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, via email at,


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