Simple Battery Operated Spark Transmitter

Spark Transmitter

   The early wireless transmitter shown above was, in its time, was cutting edge technology but today is regarded as piece of curious apparatus. The banner images show a simple battery operated spark transmitter. Coast stations would be slightly different--the battery would be removed and a generator put in its place. If the generator was alternating current, the interrupter would be removed as well.

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   The early stations required a source of electricity only for transmitting. This was supplied by a Fairbanks-Morse single cylinder gasoline engine driving a generator. The unit would be manually started by giving the flywheel a spin. When the transmitter wasn't in use, the engine was shut down. Receivers required no power, and lighting was done by oil lamps.

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Antenna Switch

   So just how did the old time operators go from receiving to transmitting, using only one aerial. They both can't be connected at the same time.

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Typical Coast Station

   Here is a photo of a typical coast station at the turn of the century. The major items are all identified.

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1 kWatt Marconi Ship Station

   Retired ship operator's reminiscences on his old Marconi 1 kW ship station. Schematic and explanation.

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Improved Spark Transmitter

   A better spark transmitter is described in this section. It uses a quenched spark system to effectively double the efficiency of the transmitter.

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1918 U.S. DeForest Military Receiver

   Excellent photos of a deForest crystal receiver built for the U.S. military.

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Magnetic Detector Images

   Photos found on eBay, of all places.

September 1937 edition of "Radio World".

   Almost the full edition. Read what was holding the radio experimenter's interest in 1937.

The "Code"

   Wireless and landline codes lifted from a turn of the century book. Click to enlarge.

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