Most encyclopedias say that the first transatlantic television transmissions took place via the Telstar I satellite in 1962, but TV images actually crossed the Atlantic in the late 1920s via an Amateur Radio transmitter, according to historical accounts. An archive of documents and other material related to that event from television pioneer John Logie Baird and his colleague Benjamin Clapp, [G]2KZ, is at risk of being exported, and the government doesn’t want to see it leave Britain. Clapp’s 2 kW transmitter was used to send the crude images to a receiving station near New York City, and the archive includes some of his Amateur Radio logbooks as well as a hand telegraph key. UK Culture Minister John Vaizey has declined to issue an export license in an effort to prevent the historic archive from leaving the UK.
According to a UK government statement, Baird, a Scottish engineer, and Clapp first transmitted the television images over telephone lines from Baird’s laboratory in London to Clapp’s house in Surrey. From there, Clapp’s transmitter, identified by his Amateur Radio call sign, was used to send the images across the Atlantic, where Clapp was among those on hand in Hartsdale, New York, to receive them.
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