PA3CLQ's Leuke Linken Nr. 491
[skcc] So is that real CW? clarification re: The Alexanderson alternator at RCA in Rocky Point, NY
First the reason for filling the slots in the alternator disk.
While it may help with reducing the drag if the slots had been open holes; that was coincidental.
The slots were filled with brass, as brass when inserted into a magnetic circuit reduced it's field strength from "more reluctance".
the same way high test steel would enhance the magnetic field from
"less reluctance" when placed in a magnetic circuit.
The effect from spinning such a disk with brass inserts, between the poles of a magnet (I understand it was an electromagnet).
Would be to "modulate" that magnetic field at the rate at which the brass filled slots were passing the poles.
Using high test steel and brass caused the change in magnetic field to be greater.
Over winding the magnet with a tuned winding or even tuning the exciter coil with suitable chokes in the DC feed and you have VLF RF.
of brass and steel gave a higher level of induced EMF.
That is why I referred to the Alexanderson alternator as a reluctance modulator in my previous post.
A quick calculation regarding power o/p of Rocky Point, NY. 500 HP gives 373 Kw i/p and I guess not better than 25% to 30% efficiency 95 to 120 Kw o/p.
no I have not cribbed the answer off the Internet.
So the Swedish steam turbine at SAQ must also be delivering around 500HP to get 100Kw RF o/p.
I was not suggesting the prime mover (500 HP motor) was turned on and off.
This machine acts like massive flywheel. Rather the first method that comes to mind is to key the supply to the DC magnet either directly or with some kind of bucking coil that would kill (buck) the DC exciter field to give a low value resultant field under key up.
the reference to high values of inductance and I was thinking fast
keying would not be practical due to the large back-EMFs produced by
such a method when I wrote that.
I know of a method used on submarines post-WWI to over come the excess loading from a wet deck insulator immediately after surfacing.
With a wet deck insulator the transmitter (an arc) had a tendance not to restart when transmitting strings of dots, Vs, Hs 5s due to excessive loading.
The solution was to keep the transmitter (arc) running and pull the carrier frequency; absorbing the power in trap circuit tuned to this "back wave frequency".
The effect was to radiate a clean and steady on/off keyed (W/T) signal.
circuit, can be found in the (British) Admiralty
Handbook of Wireless Telegraph 1931.
See: para 488, starting at page 433.
Since we are talking about a time before high power tubes.
the above techniques were not used; how was Rocky Point signal keyed
73s, Dave in Ireland
What I recall about the RCA site in Rocky Point came from a booklet I read about a year ago and I won't have access to again until April some time when the Rocky Point Historical Society reopens the Hallock House to visitors.
While the brass inserts would have an improved electromagnetic effect I don't recall reading about that and I don't dispute that reasoning.
I do recall reading that the periphery of the disk would be moving at nearly 500 mph and the coils were placed about a millimeter of its surface.
did have a way of keeping the disk centered between the coils as it
rotated but I don't recall the details of that.
The Rocky Point alternator was rated at 200 kw but ran at about half that and I think their efficiency was about 35% at best.
The booklet I referred to did discuss all of the other electrical components as part of the system to accomplish the keying but I do remember it was a bit over my head to comprehend.
gonna have to get that booklet and try again! I think I read that
tests were none with CW speeds up to 500 wpm. Wow!
Messages to be sent out at Rocky Point would originate at their office on Broad Street in Manhattan and then sent to Rocky Point (65 miles) via telephone lines. Somewhere along the line messages were transferred to (paper?) tape and fed at high speed to the transmitter.
Visitors from SAQ came to Rocky Point to visit the RCA site and I gave them a walking tour of what's left there..nothing much!
Hi All, I have now discovered, after a day of digging, how the Alexanderson Alternator VLF carrier was keyed.
The same method was I think used later to put a voice modulation on the carrier.
The answer turn out to be either a Saturable Reactor or Magnetic Amplifier.
Similar so called “magnetic modulators were used in early short wave phone transmitters post WWI.
is a reference to a magnetic modulator in Ben W Stearn's book on
Arthur Collins, Radio Wizard.
Dave in Ireland G4JHT/EI0DB/VP8ART
I mentioned "Fessenden: Builder of Tomorrows" written by Dr. Fessenden's wife, Helen M. Fessenden and published by Coward McCann, NY (1940)
The Fessenden book is available at archive.org:
was able to manufacture an alternator that outputted 100,000 cycles
per second with a half kW of power (500 watts) while General Electric
could only manage 10,000 cycles per second at the time.
Here is the part about the modifications to the (sic) high frequency alternator:
But it wasn't so simple as that; there were difficulties and intermediate stages of which Mr. Kintner did not know.
was a far cry between the high-frequency alternator as received from
the manufacturers and the transformation it had to undergo before it
was capable of giving the 80,000 cycles required for telephonic
The high-frequency alternator that was delivered in 1906 by the General Electric Company which had been doing the work on it, came with the statement that in the Company's opinion it was not possible to operate it above 10,000 cycles.
Reg scrapped everything but the pole pieces, designed a new armature
and had it built at his Washington shop.
After this rebuilding by Fessenden machinists under Fessenden supervision the alternator gave from 70, to 80,000 cycles and about one-half kilowatt of electric wave radiation.
A second dynamo built to a different type in the Washington shop with an 8 inch armature gave the same power but 100,000 cycles and operated as reliably as any other dynamo until 1911.
To his own engineers, Mr. Stein, Captain Hill and Mr. Mansbendel, Reg always felt profoundly grateful for splendid cooperation in this difficult work.
To the General Electric Company engineers Messrs. Steinmetz, Alexanderson, Dempster and others, he also felt a debt of thanks for their very earnest efforts to fulfill his admittedly unusual specifications.
did their best but that best could give only 10,000 cycles as against
the 80 to 100,000 cycles that he demanded.
Several things to unpack here!
1. Magnetic amplifiers ("mag amps") were used to modulate many early radiotelephone transmitters.
The method used before that was to simply insert a carbon mic in the final output.
That sounds so simple, but must have been a real hoot trying to talk into a water-cooled microphone with several kilowatts running through it!
we shake our heads at the old days when putting your finger in the
wrong spot on your key could give you a tingle.
2. Mag amps are still useful for switching large currents.
have a couple of books about them, and they are also mentioned in
Goldsmith's 1918 text "Radio Telephony." George Trinkaus'
text on them is still in print, and there are several articles
findable online from relatively recent magazine articles.
3. My understanding is that arc and alternator transmitters were either keyed by using a saturable reactor to "block" the signal during key up, or were keyed with a "back shunt" that shifted the transmit frequency a few kilohertz away.
Sort of like our present day DFCW, but actually just moving the "waste" to a different spot where it wouldn't interfere.
doing that on 20m and see what happens!
4. I have heard that some of the large antenna arrays imposed their own limits on transmission.
I don't recall just where I heard this, but the old 19 kHz Marconi station in California reportedly could only pass traffic at about 20 wpm due to the huge amounts of capacity needed to balance out loading coil inductance.
large parallel resonant circuit resulted that "rang" for an
extended time and tended to make the code sound mushy if the op
didn't give enough time for things to settle down before the next
element was sent.
5. I agree that "Wireless Telegraph" is probably the most technically correct term that captures both old and new technology.
"wireless" in North America, however, and most people start
looking for a Bluetooth, not a radio.
73, Chuck VE7PJR
About 50 years ago, when USN Radio Station Cutler, Maine was first built, despite having an antenna miles long and anchored in the local mountains with huge Dow Corning Pyrex insulators, if Morse was sent above 16 wpm there would be a SWR problem as the bandwidth of the system would climb to unacceptable limits and the transmitter (1 Megawatt) would arc over.
Soon engineers found a solution, have two sets of transmitters, one set on one side of the transmitter gallery, and another set tuned to a slightly different frequency on the other side, both feeding the same huge antenna system.
the transmitters or perhaps just keying one for "mark" and
the other for "space" permitted the Navy to use Frequency
Shift Keying (F1) and thus start sending more data on 19 kc/s (as I
remember the frequency).
73, David N1EA
Don't forget the Poulsen arc which also produced CW signals
"Unlike the existing radio transmitter of the time, the spark-gap transmitter, the arc converter produces undamped or continuous waves (CW).
This was an important feature as the use of damped waves resulted in lower transmitter efficiency and communications effectiveness, while covering the RF spectrum with interference.
more refined method for generating continuous-wave radio signals was
initially developed by Danish inventor Valdemar Poulsen."
"In 1922, the Bureau of Standards stated, "the arc is the most widely used transmitting apparatus for high-power, long-distance work.
is estimated that the arc is now responsible for 80 per cent of all
the energy actually radiated into space for radio purposes during a
given time, leaving amateur stations out of consideration.""
Rail Road Code is American Morse.
Continental Code is a pre-cursor to the adopted Intentional Morse Code.
I seem to recall it was keyed through a process of frequency shift keying.
created a back wave on an adjacent frequency and the CW on the
I also seem to recall that this was done at high levels in the LC tank circuit by shorting a few turns using a rather large contractor, therefore keying speeds were limited.
73, JW (WB8SIW)
I dont care how he generates it..
more concerned on how its decoded..hopefully by the gray matter
between his ears, thats what really makes it real cw...using decoders
and skimmers is not real cw..
The Future of Amateur Radio?
Sounds like it'd be very easy to script it into completely unattended operation, even for non-programmers by using various keyboard automation and scripting utilities.
I'd be surprised if someone wasn't doing it already.
that with a J38-- considerably more programming experience
would be required, hah!)
And here it is... fully-automated FT8 robot:
I do make my FT8 QSOs personal.
That last frame that sends the 73 message, is where I add the other persons name.
73 message line is always TNX (NAME) 73.
I am using N3FJP logger program so I can see the other contacts name and fill in that line while the rest of the QSO is completing.
would love to see the other guys face when he see his 73 message come
JT Alert shows the other guys name and other info.
And you can program a macro to send something like TNX Bob 73.
it has a message window that allows you to send the other guy a
message, but he won't see it unless he's running JT Alert also.
73 Buddy WB4M
What happened to the rule that a control operator had to be present or in remote control of a station that is on the air?
Is that no longer a requirement?
In my mind, if you are not there to make the contact, there was no contact.
like going to a car race and when the winner goes to the podium they
give the prize to a fan that was in the stands watching!
It seems that even the Department of Defense has recognized the potential effectiveness of CW and morse code transmission.
have begun training in morse code for those in the radio intercept
As far as amateur radio, I think that there are two basic problems:
1) the ARRL has grown to become a lobbiest and publisher first, and an amateur radio enthusiast organization sevond.
So for this mission they need money to maintain a position of power.
whatever it takes to increase their subscription numbers the better
it is for them.
2) society in general is looking mor for instant gratification.
So the idea of being patient and having to wait for band openings or pileups before contacting that elusive callsign or location or to just talk, they would rather email, tweet, or text (sometime without thought).
real conversations or comradery.
So, ham radio is what it is.
Hopefully, ham radio efforts like those in Puerto Rico will give the world a better look at the public service, compassion, and ability to communicate where our high tech communications and government communications fail.
(hams) might be a bit strange, at times persnickety, nerdy; but we
can accomplish where modern technology fails and in the process
promote good will and understanding amongs all of the humans on this
As far as I know, DOD hasn't "begun training in morse code for those in the radio intercept positions."
have continued to do so just as has been done for many years.
are correct, however, they have started to increase areas where this
knowledge is required.
Just FYI Allen, not having a control operator at the station's control point was the very thing that was the proverbial nail in the coffin for K1MAN Glenn Baxter and his amateur radio broadcast show.
FCC went to inspect his station and nobody was at home although he
was transmitting an episode of his show at the time.
do we get around this with repeater operation?
97.109 Station control.
(a) Each amateur station must have at least one control point.
(b) When a station is being locally controlled, the control operator must be at the control point. Any station may be locally controlled.
(c) When a station is being remotely controlled, the control operator must be at the control point. Any station may be remotely controlled.
(d) When a station is being automati- cally controlled, the control operator need not be at the control point. Only stations specifically designated else- where in this part may be automati- cally controlled…...
I think this is what covers a repeater.
It is an “automatically” controlled station.
control operator need not be present but he is still responsible for
the operation of the station.
Les Leslie Hock WB5JWI
Part 97.205 authorizes automatic control repeaters (10 m and shorter only) and other parts specifically authorizes automatic control in other cases
stations, beacons, and such).
97.221 does authorize automatic control of RTTY and data with some restrictions (NOT that i am advocating this!):
§97.221 Automatically controlled digital station.
(a) This rule section does not apply to an auxiliary station, a beacon station, a repeater station, an earth station, a space station, or a space telecommand station.
(b) A station may be automatically controlled while transmitting a RTTY or data emission on the 6 m or shorter wavelength bands,
and on the 28.120-28.189 MHz, 24.925-24.930 MHz, 21.090-21.100 MHz, 18.105-18.110 MHz, 14.0950-14.0995 MHz, 14.1005-14.112 MHz,
MHz, 7.100-7.105 MHz, or 3.585-3.600 MHz segments.
(c) Except for channels specified in §97.303(h), a station may be automatically controlled while transmitting a RTTY or data emission on any other frequency authorized for such emission types provided that:
(1) The station is responding to interrogation by a station under local or remote control; and
(2) No transmission from the automatically controlled station occupies a bandwidth of more than 500 Hz
to clarify, my understanding is this section is intended to authorize
internet /. radio interfaces.
Ronald Legere de N1ZTY
Required control operators present?
Well it is almost CERTAINLY not happening with the pest who runs QRO all day every day on 7040.070 kHz with WSPR.
That station is always 20 dB over S9 anywhere I have listened in the southeast U.S.
It cranks up on top of CW QSOs all the time.
have to use the super narrow filter and then you miss other stations
It's been said that "weak signal" modes are not QRP modes.
Since a high power station will always be weak at some location it is acceptable to use QRO in weak signal modes.
least, that is the explanation I've heard.
A guy in another group said he did 1 KW in FT8, "just for a test".
guess if he received any weak signal reports that would be
justification for using high power.
WSPR stations are essentially beacons and fully automated.
we have fully automated FT8 stations...
73, Drew AF2Z
Hi All, Correct me if I am wrong.
But the situation described under this heading.
With QRO digi-modes swamping out CW QSOs in what were the CW-only segments.
Often over well established CW QSOs can be placed fair and square at feet of the click of digi-mode mad small children in the ARRL who supported the partition to the FCC 18 months 2 years ago to allow digi-modes into the CW-only segments.
This support for this rule change was against the best interests, advice and protest of CW operators world wide, who predicted the adverse effect on CW as is now happening.
And who before the rule change was approved protested to both the apparent stone deaf ARRL and the FCC.
Despite not being a member of the ARRL, I also protested as radio knows no political boundaries.
operators in the US cause all of us world wide problems.
It is a bit late to this self inflicted problem.
Have a great weekend and 73s, Dave in Ireland
Placing Speed Keys Vertically
All the talk about the Viz Key Vertical had me wondering what it would take to place Vibroplex or any other speed keys vertically.
So this past week I experimented with several Vibroplex Vertical keys.
All it takes is to slightly modify the damper.
Since the dampers were designed to be used horizontally.
Which only takes a few minutes to make the mod. I put together a google Blog on it as well other info on how to adjust speed keys.
I've never tried to post a Blog before so hopefully this link works.
Let me know if it comes through properly.
I suspect there will be interest in some of the info --which I've developed over the past 60 yrs !!
Interesting! Thanks for posting.
For anyone interested in vertical bugs, I suggest you take a look at Bill Smith's books on building modern speed keys.
He developed an
interesting pivot setup many years ago that works much better than
73, Chuck VE7PJR
Maybe William Smith at:
I just ordered some "Rub N Brite" from Bill's widow.
She is doing well after bill's passing, but misses him as we all will.
bought it a:
This is the best metal polish I have yet to find. Bill's books, DVDs, etc. can be found at the top of this web site.
Besides my Uncle Stan, Bill was my other mentor in machining, but all in key making.
I sure miss
73, Joe, K8JP - V31JP
I picked up a silicone baking mat from Bed, Bath & Beyond.
a lot of grip for my keys should I get over-aggressive when on the
air. $14.99 is not terribly
73 - KI5IO ... Nolan Kienitz
is the factual story on the VIZKEY Vertical Bug:
I had always coveted a Wire Chief Vibroplex bug but I had heard they were insanely expensive even IF you could find one. So about a year after I started the VIZKEY line of bugs and keys I had an idea. (unusual for me!) Anyway, one evening I tried out running my 90 degree horizontal bug vertically.
I rigged up a clamp and stood it up on end.
Low and behold it worked perfectly.
All I then needed to do was to extend the base plate and fit a "foot" on it.
Plus a little bit of work on the knuckle joint for the operating arm.
Low and behold
the VIZKEY VERTICAL bug was born.
The parts are the same for the most part on both the bugs.
Plus it is WAY simpler than the operating mechanism of the Wire Chief.
years ago I sold the company to Curt and he continues to do an
excellent job making fine keys.
There are only 29 Upright Wire Chiefs Vibro bugs known to exist.
Some of the pictures indicated a few weren't made the same mechanically.
And at the same time Vibroplex was changing the Mod X design into several different variations until stopping production of the Mod X altogether before 1921.
I own 2 variations of the Mod X made just before production ended.
And I can confirm that mechanically they leave a lot to be desired.
them the new and improved Mod X but that was an understatement.
I have probably the worlds largest collection of Mod X keys .. not that they work better than an Original.. but they are a very unique and interesting mechanical design & because the same contact is used for both dot and dash, its best to not try sending over 30wpm with them.
They favor the slower speeds.
And are a hoot to use on the ham bands.
Here is the
info on the wire chief..
In 1917, Martin started making the Upright, or Vertical model, described in U.S. Patent 1,260,008.
It’s easy to see why he called it the Upright, because it was designed to stand up on the operator’s desk, thereby saving space.
A typical telegrapher’s desk was very small and space was definitely at a premium.
Since the lead telegrapher, or “wire chief” presumably had even more paper on his desk, the Upright is sometimes called the “Wire Chief’s Special.”
uses a modified version of the Model X’s single-contact design,
mounted on a narrow upright casting which is itself mounted on a
U-shaped base. The casting is finished in black crackle, and the base
Unfortunately, the Upright was a lousy bug, and it was discontinued in 1919.
That probably explains why Uprights are so scarce.
At the moment (2013) there are 29 known Uprights.
Uprights the damper assembly is an integral part of the casting, but
a few have a separate U-shaped damper piece.
for the info on the modified Vibroplex and history of the vertical
I checked the patent office site.
I thought the
vertical bug was a new adaptation.
73, Rick - N8XI
Dentsu-Seiki Standard Hand Key - info request
I am wondering if anyone knows about this (I assume postwar 1950s) Japanese straight key?
just added it to the
I am going to the MTARS Tullahoma TN hamfest this weekend to sell some radio equipment.
I have become
disabled and we downsized our house due to that, so will be selling a
bunch of radio stuff.
So I am thinking of selling this key there as well, but cannot find anything about it online & no clue how much $ to sell it for.
It's intact save for having a chip in the left corner of the top of the base.
Thanks Jilly WA4CZD
believe that is the Standard. A Predecessor to the Dentsu_Seiki HK-7.
I have the HK-7 and the Dentsu_Seiki Swalow bugs.
is Swallow and the other is Swalow. One "L" and two "L"
You can see one in action here:
you don't want to take it to the fest, contact me offlist and I'll
make you an offer.
Why would an old Japanese key be stamped in English?
Not questioning the authenticity just find it odd.
am no expert but would put the value at about an old J38. 50 to 75
dollars considering the condition from the photo.
being the international language at the time and the largest market
he was selling to probably had everything to do with it.
My 1952 “Swalow” (one L) is in English and as far as I know all Dentsu-Seiki and Hi-Mound keys/bugs are stamped/printed and cast in English.
Mr. Takaitsu Takatsuka fought a long hard battle both in WWII as a radioman in the Japanese Navy and then in courts to retain his founding of Dentsu-Seiki Co. Ltd. And later Hi-Mound Electro Co.
After the war Mr. Takatsuka founded those company's and kept them active into the 21st century.
The Hi-Mound name is actually a translation of his name. Taka meaning “High” and Tsuka meaning “Mound”.
Mr Takaitsu Takatsuka became a Silent Key on 28 February 2003, at ripe old age of 92!
73 for now, Randy_KB4QQJ
you can post keys for sale in this group.
may want to include photos also.
You can also add your keys to the SKCC key catalog database here:
Tick the "For Sale" and/or "For Trade" boxes also when you add them.
this one of
my Junker is *not* for sale/trade!!!)
But I don't know that group members routinely view the key database for sale/trade items so you might want to post a link to your keys here also.
73, Drew AF2Z
[slowspeedwire] Powder River
Well, Dr. Google gives me this site:
Given the large number of shows they offer, a few individual programs downloadable for free including several from "Power River" (I just downloaded "The General" ) .
Do you recall the program with the American Morse?
They appear to have been producing the Power River series now for 14 years, maybe half a dozen programs a year, so the organization appears relatively large and long lasting (I'm playing The General in the background as I write this and they just mentioned that the telegraph has gone dead, likely due to Indian activity).
73, Chris Hausler
received an answer from Jerry who plays the Marshall .....
"Hi Skip - the telegraph is a sound effect of an actual model from the late 1800s- both transmitting and receiving; however, we only have the recorded effect and cannot telegraph actual messages -- so it's not actually transmitting the actual action being described in the various scenes.
In Season 1, before we had that effect, we used a coin tapping on a desk, which didn't have the right sound of course.
My dad was well versed in Morse Code (he got his HAM license in 1937) and could always relate to me what was being telegraphed in movies.
However, by the time we started taping POWDER RIVER, he was too ill to assist me with the codes.
for listening! cheers - Jerry R"
[slowspeedwire] Re: WU hookup dates
To the best of my recollection, it was 1984.
This was the last decent-sized meeting we had.
I believe it was the following year, 1984, that the circuit was "upside down" (marks were spaces and spaces were marks.)
Ace Holman called the Western Union test board (or whatever it was called by that time,) and the young fellow had no idea what a Morse circuit was, or what to do about the problem.
There was only man in the small group (6 or 7 people) who could read the upside-down signals, and that was Dick Hoffman, retired Vice President of the Reading Ry.
This may have been 1985, but I believe it was 1984.
As I recall, we met for the next several years at Ace Holman's home, but I do not recall having any kind of connection.
On February 10, 1989, Ace's Dial-Up Morse was introduced, and according to one write-up there were five offices on his first dial-up connection.
I was not one of those original five, because Ace did not build my Dial Up box until October 1990.
I would like to know who the other four Operators were for the 1989 event.
-- 73 SW & (abram burnett)
Since last week I noticed this strange phenomenon on the shack clock, various alarm and oven clocks.
want to be late for a sked so I check the time on my watch or on an
Internet connected device.
73, Yann, F5LAW.
All kinds of bad things can come from this, burned up motors and other stuff.
Sure hope they get it fixed soon.
friends in the USA and the group,
Darrel, thanks for reminding us the time change date in the USA, no change in AZ (lucky you).
Daylight Saving Time starts on March 11 in the USA.
states observe DST.
the Intercontinental SSN stays on UTC, i.e. 1500 and 1600 UTC.
73, Yann, F5LAW.
The latest report from Space Weather
,,, amateur radio and emergency communicators will continue to suffer from poor radio propagation this week
Tamitha Skov report: A Sunspot Fizzles Storms Head to Earth: Solar Storm Forcast:
73 Darrel, aa7fv
a nice day / week(end) gents, BCNU.
73, Yann, F5LAW
By OM Yann F5LAW SideSwiperNetGroup
73, from the town at the rivers "De Bergsche Maas" and "De Dongen" Geertruidenberg (800+ years city rights) at: 51.702211N 4.853854E
Here is everything,,,, There is nothing even nothing is not there,,,,
Editor Jan Pieter Oelp PA3CLQ
My simple website about Gigantic DF-Antennas
Part 1 "DF-Antenna Wullenweber Array"
Part 2 "DF-Antenna USSR Variants"
Part 3 "DF-Antenna USA Variant"
Next Part 4 "USSR OTHRA DUGA 1,2 & 3" at: