An Amateur Radio special event on December 11 will commemorate the 95th anniversary of the first transatlantic shortwave reception between Greenwich, Connecticut, and Scotland. A school near the original site is hosting the event. ARRL, the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), and the Radio Club of America (RCA), are partnering in sponsoring the activity. The Greenwich Historical Society will also participate.
On December 11, 1921, reception in Ardrossan, Scotland, of a radio signal transmitted from an RCA test station — located in a small shack on the property of Minton Cronkhite, 1BCG, on the corner of Clapboard Ridge Road and North Street in Greenwich — helped to usher in the age of global communication. The special event will use N1BCG, the call sign of Clark Burgard of Greenwich, who obtained that call sign to commemorate this bit of radio history. Burgard was instrumental in making arrangements for the event.
The N1BCG special event will begin on Sunday, December 11, at 1200 and conclude at 0300 UTC on December 12. It will include an attempt at a two-way contact between N1BCG and GB2ZE, operated by Jason O’Neill, GM7VSB, in Ardrossan.
Reception in Scotland of the 1BCG signal was part of the second series of ARRL transatlantic tests. For the receiving end, the ARRL Board had selected a receiver designed by Paul Godley, 2ZE, and Godley traveled to the UK to oversee that end of the circuit. Joining Godley in a field in Ardrossan, southwest of Glasgow, was Marconi Company District Inspector D.E. Pearson. As the QST article, “The Transatlantic Tests” (QST Dec. 2014) by Michael Marinaro, WN1M, recounted, “The two attempted to keep out of the driving wind and rain by sheltering themselves — and their equipment — in a tent. This rough listening post was comprised of a (superheterodyne and regenerative) receiver, a 1,300-foot Beverage antenna suspended 12 feet above ground, batteries, and auxiliary equipment.”
On the morning of December 10, CW signals of 1BCG, which had been designed and constructed by Radio Club of America members — were solidly copied on 230 to 235 meters (about 1.3 MHz). They were the only signals heard that morning in Ardrossan. By the end of the test, eight spark and 18 CW stations had been heard as well.
N1BCG operation will be on AM on 75 and 40 meters; CW and SSB on 40 meters, CW on 30 meters, and CW and SSB on 20 and 17 meters.
Approximate frequencies are 3.880 (AM), 7.290 (AM), 7.235 (SSB), 7040 (CW), 10.112 (CW), 14.280 (SSB), 14.040 (CW), 18.125 (SSB), and 18.088 MHz CW.
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