Father Roberto Landell de Moura (January 21, 1861 – June 30, 1928), commonly known as Roberto Landell, was a Brazilian Roman Catholic priest and inventor. He is best known for his work developing long-distance audio transmissions, using a variety of technologies, including an improved megaphone device, photophone (using light beams) and radio signals.
It was reported in June 1899 that he had successfully transmitted audio over a distance of 7 kilometers (4.3 miles), which was followed by a second, public, demonstration on June 3, 1900. A lack of technical details makes it uncertain which sending technology was being used, however, if radio signals were employed, then these would be the earliest reported audio transmissions by radio. Landell received patents in Brazil and the United States during the first decade of the 1900s.
Ronan O’Rahilly, Radio Caroline founder who inspired UK pop and pirate radio, dies aged 79
Ronan O’Rahilly, the Irish founder of the notorious Radio Caroline that popularised pop music on British radio, has died aged 79.
His death was announced by the radio station that is still broadcasting, who said: “In a pastime populated by unusual people, Ronan was more unusual than all of them combined.” He had been diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2013.
O’Rahilly first became known as a player in the burgeoning “swinging London” scene of the 1960s, managing Alexis Korner (the blues-rocker who nurtured the career of the Rolling Stones) and Georgie Fame. Fame eventually had three UK No 1 singles, but O’Rahilly initially struggled to get his musicians noticed by BBC stations and the then-popular Radio Luxembourg, and so founded his own station, Radio Caroline, in 1964.
He circumvented licensing laws by acquiring a former Danish passenger ferry, anchoring it in the North Sea off Felixstowe, and broadcasting from there. With a much less diverse radio industry than today and the BBC only playing two hours of pop music a week, Radio Caroline quickly amassed a listenership of millions for its daytime pop-focused output.
Many DJs would become household names and enjoy successful post-Caroline careers, including Tony Blackburn, Johnnie Walker, Dave Lee Travis and Simon Dee. Walker paid tribute, calling him an “amazing man … who made the impossible possible and changed radio for ever”.
In 1967, an act of parliament outlawed offshore radio stations on the grounds that they were not paying royalties to artists, and that their broadcasts could interfere with emergency channels. A number of Radio Caroline’s DJs moved to the newly created Radio 1, which had been influenced by the success of the former and another offshore station, Radio London. Radio Caroline then moved to Dutch waters, and continued broadcasting at sea until 1991.
O’Rahilly used Radio Caroline to promote his own philosophy of “loving awareness”, which espoused peace and love over hate, and even set up a band, Loving Awareness, to further the cause.
He also continued his management career, including representing James Bond actor George Lazenby. Lazenby paid tribute to O’Rahilly on Instagram, saying “rest well, Ronan”.
Lazenby shared “bittersweet” reminiscences about how O’Rahilly convinced him not to take a contract for multiple Bond movies, with the franchise passing to Roger Moore. “He was very influential on me giving up the role of James Bond back in 1969,” Lazenby wrote. “Ronan convinced me Bond was all over … I’d be in danger of becoming part of the Establishment. Something he rebelled against. Easy Rider was supposed to be the way forward and I could do three or four of those type of movies for every Bond. I wanted to be a free spirit, make love, not war. Ronan wouldn’t let me sign the Bond contract – kept sending it back … Who knows what would have happened had Ronan not got a hold of my brain? But I don’t regret a day of my life.”
O’Rahilly also produced Lazenby’s film Universal Soldier, as well as the Alain Delon and Marianne Faithfull film The Girl on a Motorcycle. The Radio Caroline story became the basis for the 2009 Richard Curtis film The Boat That Rocked, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.
I was working Andrew – G(M)4VFL on GM/SS-056 on 13cms (2.3GHz) FM last week and he happened to mention that earlier in the week he had worked VU (India) to activate G/LD-030. I was intrigued – of course via OCAR 100 – HERE . 13cms Up & 3cms down.
I asked him if he had a picture, and indeed he has forwarded a nice shot.
Now does anybody fancy working out the path distances? 🙂
How did Neil Armstrong communicate with Earth after stepping on the moon’s surface and say his famous words?
The PLSS life support backpack contained a VHF band radio which transmitted voice and biosensor data from the spacesuit to the LEM communications system, and voice signals from the LEM to the suited astronaut. The LEM communications system, then communicated voice and bio sensor signals with Earth using S-band, a UHF frequency range widely used in space because of its ability to pass through Earth’s ionosphere without distortion or reflection.
All voice communication was amplitude modulated, which is why it carried readily recognizable AM signal distortions and noise. The S-band transmitter that talked to Earth also acted as a transponder, responding to coded ranging signals from Earth which were used to accurately measure the distance from a ground station on Earth to the LEM. Voice and data could also be routed through the CSM in orbit, and there stored on the DSE recorder for later spooled delivery to Earth, though I don’t know that this was actually done with lunar EVA data.
The VHF transceivers had two channels, and communications between the LEM and suited crewmen were “duplex,” meaning each could transmit simultaneously to the other. Ground transmissions, on the other hand, were “simplex,” and the characteristic Quindar tones were used to simplify single-channel (you talk, then I talk) communication.
Communication between the LEM and astronauts performing EVA was facilitated by a small VHF antenna deployed by the first crewman down the ladder. On the surface, the crew deployed a large, umbrella like S-band antenna for beaming voice and data directly back to Earth without having to relay through the CSM and its high-gain antenna array.
On later missions, of course, a somewhat smaller deployable S-band antenna was carried by the Lunar Roving Vehicle.
Original Article Courtesy of FORBES.COM – HERE and QORA.COM .
Glen Zook, K9STH, posted this to the Heathkit mailing list:
Many amateurs already know that “73” is from what is known as the “Phillips Code”, a series of numeric messages conceived for the purpose of cutting down transmission time on the old land telegraph systems when sending text that is basically the same.In the April 1935 issue of QST on page 60 there is a short article on the origin of 73. This article was a summation of another article that appeared in the “December Bulletin from the Navy Department Office of the Chief of Naval Operations”. That would be December of 1934.
The quotation from the Navy is as follows: “It appears from a research of telegraph histories that in 1859 the telegraph people held a convention, and one of its features was a discussion as to the saving of ‘line time’. A committee was appointed to devise a code to reduce standard expressions to symbols or figures. This committee worked out a figure code, from figure 1 to 92. Most of these figure symbols became obsolescent, but a few remain to this date, such as 4, which means “Where shall I go ahead?’. Figure 9 means ‘wire’, the wire chief being on the wire and that everyone should close their keys. Symbol 13 means ‘I don’t understand’; 22 is ‘love and a kiss’; 30 means ‘good night’ or ‘the end’. The symbol most often used now is 73, which means ‘my compliments’ and 92 is for the word ‘deliver.’ The other figures in between the forgoing have fallen into almost complete disuse.”
One of the chief telegraphers of the Navy Department of Communications, a J. L. Bishop, quoted from memory the signals that were in effect in 1905:
Wait a minute
Where shall I start in message?
Have you anything for me?
Attention or clear the wire
I do not understand
Love and kisses
Busy on another circuit
Finished, the end-used mainly by press telegraphers
My compliments, or Best Regards
Now days, 22 has become 88 (love and kisses). I don’t know when this came about. 30 is still used in the newspaper and magazine business to indicate the end of a feature, story, or column. And, of course, 73 is still used by amateur radio operators to mean “best regards”.Making any of these numbers plural (73s, 88s, etc.) is incorrect since they are already plural. 73s would mean best regardses and 88s would mean love and kisseses. Those make no sense.
Anyway, the subject of where 73 came from comes up periodically and this article reinforces the “Phillips Code” origin.
Jim, N2EY, adds:
Some other related stuff:Phillips Code “19” and “31” refer to train orders. They were so well known that the terms “19 order” and “31 order” were still in RR use in the 1970s, long after the telegraph was gone.
The abbreviation “es” for “and” derives from the Morse character “&”. The prosign “SK” with the letters run together derives from the Morse “30”.
The numeric code is a small part of the abbreviations outlined in the Phillips Code (developed by telegrapher Walter P. Phillips). Here are the numbers as referenced:
W I R E S I G N A L S
Preference over everything except 95
Wait a moment
What time is it?
Where shall I go ahead?
Have you business for me?
I am ready
Are you ready?
Close your key; circuit is busy
Close your key for priorit business (Wire chief, dispatcher, etc)
Keep this circuit closed
Do you understand?
What is the weather?
For you and other to copy
What is the trouble?
Form 19 train order
Stop for a meal
Repeat this back
Busy on another wire
Put on ground wire
Priority, very important
Do you get my writing?
Private, deliver in sealed envelope
No more (end)
Form 31 train order
I understand that I am to …
Car report (Also, answer is paid for)
Message for all officers
You may use my signal to answer this
Diversion (Also, inform all interested)
Important, with priority on thru wire (Also, sleep-car report)
“No one could comprehend how it could be done. If you stand on the Cornish coast, facing towards North America, because of the curvature of the earth, there is in front of you a wall of water 100 miles high“
Faking The Waves
A hundred years ago this week, Guglielmo Marconi sent the first radio signals across the Atlantic – or so he claimed. Laurie Margolis on the historic moment that may never have happened
It goes down as one of the great moments in science, along with Newton’s apple and Fleming’s mouldy dish of penicillin: and all it amounted to was three sounds – click-click-click.
The time was 12.30pm on December 12 1901, at SIGNAL HILL, a gale-swept cliff on the Newfoundland coast. Some 2,200 miles away, at Poldhu in Cornwall, it was 4.30pm, dusk. There, on the southwest coast of England, was a radio transmitter, the most powerful then built, sending groups of three Morse code dots, repeated over and over – the letter S. There is nothing special about S, other than that it comprised only dots. There were fears that anything longer – a dash – might cause the transmitter to break down.
It is the scene in Newfoundland that requires analysis. It shouldn’t have been Newfoundland. The North American end of the experiment was to have been sited at Cape Cod, but dreadful weather had destroyed a huge aerial system built there. So at short notice, on that clifftop, in a hut, were two men – the Italian Guglielmo Marconi, and his assistant George Kemp. They had what passed in 1901 for a state-of-the-art radio receiver connected to a makeshift aerial – 500 feet of wire supported by kites.
Marconi and Kemp waited for three days, their ears battered by atmospheric noise. Picture the scene – Marconi, a 27-year-old Italian-Irishman, brilliant, handsome, well born, a bit flash, ambitious; and Kemp, an ex-petty officer, an assistant chosen for loyalty and workshop skills rather than for academic ability, one of life’s NCOs.
They knew what they hoped to receive: three clicks. And this is extremely important. At 12.30pm, Marconi became convinced he could hear the signal. According to a Science Museum specialist, Keith Geddes, Marconi handed his earphone to Kemp. “Can you hear anything, Mr Kemp?” he demanded. Kemp confirmed that weak but unmistakable signals could indeed be heard. Marconi’s notebook records simply: “Sigs at 12.30, 1.10 and 2.20.” Marconi and Kemp had successfully received the first radio signals ever to cross the Atlantic ocean. It was a massive moment; everything in telecommunications followed on from that click-click-click.
Except that it may never have happened?
It could have been imagination. It could have been made up. Or something may have taken place, but not what Marconi planned. It is one of science’s great unsolved mysteries. The controversy – did Marconi really hear that signal? – rumbled away from the start. Today’s centenary has resurrected all the doubts.
Pat Hawker, a writer for the Radio Society of Great Britain’s journal, Radio Communication, says: “Many radio-propagation experts are convinced that whatever clicks Marconi and Kemp heard on that windy Newfoundland cliff, they could not have originated from the three dots automatically transmitted from Poldhu.” The late Gerald Garratt, a top man at the Science Museum in the 1970s, wrote: “The story has been described by many, competent to judge, as ‘a hoary old myth’, and certainly, when one examines the undoubted facts, Marconi’s claim does seem to be quite incredible.” Dr John Belrose, of the Communications Research Centre in Canada, says: “There are those who say he misled himself and the world into believing that at mospheric noise crackling was in fact the Morse code letter S.”
So why the doubts? Guglielmo Marconi was the issue in 1874 of an Italian aristocrat and an Irishwoman, Annie Jameson, from the whiskey family. Marconi was a dilettante but also a fine craftsman who loved physics. In 1894 he sent a signal a few yards. A year later he managed more than a mile. He took his findings to the Italian authorities, who were supremely uninterested, arguing that the telegraph, using wires, could already send signals long distances.
Annie Marconi was ambitious for her boy and took him to England, figuring that the world’s premier maritime power would appreciate a communications system without wires. She was right. Marconi, barely in his 20s, thrived in England.
There are parallels between the internet explosion of the 1990s and the radio boom of the 1890s. Both were new technologies, little understood, but about to emerge with unpredictable force. Marconi realised that if he could make radio work, he could make a fortune. He progressed fast. In July 1896 he sent signals a mile over central London; by September, two miles across Salisbury Plain. By May 1897, Marconi was transmitting across the Bristol Channel; in December that year from the Isle of Wight to a ship in the English Channel. He registered a business, which became Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company Ltd. How poignant that commercial disaster should befall the Marconi company precisely 100 years on.
Marconi, by now enjoying celebrity, linked Queen Victoria’s Isle of Wight home, Osborne House, and the royal yacht lying off Cowes, so that Victoria could monitor the health of the convalescent Prince of Wales. In 1899, he set up a circuit between the French resort of Wimereux and Dover. This worked well. The Wimereux signals were heard clearly in Chelmsford, 80 miles away. This was hugely important: for the first time, radio signals went way beyond a line-of-sight path.
The mechanism for this was unknown in 1899, and still has something of the magical about it. Just how does an ordinary short-wave signal, using the power of a light bulb, cross the globe? The answer is the ionosphere, a zone of the atmosphere 50 miles up. The ionosphere bounces short-wave radio energy across the world by bending signals back to earth.
By 1900 the new company was under financial pressure. In typically flamboyant style, Marconi went for the most dramatic gesture possible. He would transmit across the Atlantic. The scale of his ambition was fantastic. The longest radio contact so far had been 80 miles. Marconi was going for 2,000-plus miles. The scientific world, and his business associates, were stunned. No one could comprehend how it could be done. If you stand on the Cornish coast, facing towards North America, because of the curvature of the earth, there is in front of you a wall of water 100 miles high. How could anyone get a radio signal over that?
And so to December, 1901, and whatever did or didn’t happen. Marconi built a massive aerial at Poldhu. It was destroyed by gales and a more modest system was substituted.
The receiving aerial on Cape Cod was also blown down, and the site in Newfoundland had to be established. The transmitter in Cornwall was a beast of a thing, generating thousands of watts of power. The receiver in Newfoundland was crude in the extreme.
The major obstacle to accepting Marconi’s achievement lies in an understanding of radio propagation. Sure, the ionosphere can easily aid signals across the world on short wave. The problem is that, as far as can be judged, Marconi’s equipment was transmitting in what we now know as the medium wave, or the AM broadcast band, between about 500 and 850 kilohertz. Now, even medium-wave signals can go long distances – but only at night. On a daylight path – and it is absolutely crucial that the Cornwall-Newfoundland path was entirely in daylight – medium-wave signals fade quickly. It is defying credibility to suggest that Marconi could have got his signal from Cornwall to Newfoundland on the medium wave in daylight, however powerful his transmitter or huge his aerials. Mathematical analysis says it is impossible. The later reception reports, at 1.10pm and 2.20pm Newfoundland time, are slightly more believable, as the transatlantic path edges into darkness, but still implausible.
So what happened? No one has ever suggested that Marconi and Kemp lied, though certainly they had motive and opportunity to make it up. There were no independent witnesses. Marconi had good financial reason to hype his achievement. On occasion, people close to a major breakthrough have fabricated success. But Marconi’s honesty has never been impugned, and Kemp’s rather stolid NCO qualities make it unlikely that he would have gone along with a massive fib.
Could they have imagined it? Possibly. They knew what signal was coming. The experiment would have been so much more impressive if the message had been unknown or random, a double-blind test. There would have been atmospheric noise and electrical hash. Might Marconi, willing success, have hallucinated three clicks in all that racket? His reputation was on the line. And people who want to hear things sometimes hear them even if they aren’t really there.
But there is another explanation, a technical one that exonerates Marconi from fabrication or imagination. It lies in the simplicity of the equipment. Modern radios need three qualities; sensitivity, the ability to hear a signal; stability, the ability to stay on the required frequency; and selectivity, to sort out the wanted signal from all the other radio rubbish. Marconi’s gear had little of any of these. His receiver may well have been picking up a large chunk of the radio spectrum, not just the frequency he intended. Likewise, his transmitter, though theoretically broadcasting in the modern-day medium-wave band, may well have been blasting away across a wide range, generating harmonics and spurious transmissions on much higher frequencies.
It is possible that, entirely unknown to him, Marconi was using a short-wave frequency well above the medium wave. This part of the spectrum was terra incognita in 1901, but was soon found to allow easier long-distance coverage. So maybe Marconi and Kemp really did hear the Ss, but with their equipment transmitting and receiving on quite unexpected frequencies.
Even if Marconi wasn’t quite there in 1901, he was thereabouts. Within a year he had established reliable communication with ships over 2,000 miles away, albeit at night. By the 1920s the Marconi Company linked the entire British empire by radio.
Marconi’s later years were troubled. In 1923 he returned to Italy and joined the fascists, to the delight of Mussolini. He sought a messy marriage annulment and suffered heart trouble. In 1935 he was banned from the BBC by Sir John Reith – a bitter irony for the founder of broadcasting. When he died in Rome in 1937, radio stations the world over went silent for two minutes in tribute.