Left to right: Bob Morris, Bill Shaw (me), Chuck Brelsford and Bill Holly
A demonstration of the spark 1921 Transcons (transcontinental) message relay test from Connecticut to California and back was set up at the Sheraton Inn in Canandaigua on September 30, 1983 at 8 PM.
These tests were conducted using high power spark transmitters on 200 meters back in the early days of Amateur radio. Soon afterwards Amateurs were crossing the continent and oceans with no spark relay necessary using tubes on short wave.
On January 18, 1921, from 3 to 4:45 AM all Amateur stations remained completely silent except four key stations. Five messages were sent.
. A - 23 minutes
. B - Failed
. C - 6 1/2 minutes for the record
. D - 13 1/2 minutes
. E - 7 3/4 minutes
used for the demonstration and the stations are:
. 1AW, Hartford, Connecticut with Bob Morris, W2LV as operator
9ZN, Chicago, Ilinois with Chuck Brelsford, K2WW as operator
. 5ZA, Roswell, New Mexico with Bill Holly, K1BH as operator
. 6JD, Los Angeles, California with Bill Shaw, W2HYN as operator
message sent to California was "What time did you start msg" signed "Maxim".
The returning message was "Started ur msg at 1:10 AM" signed "6JD".
Conditions were much better in 1983 than they were back in 1921and we beat the old record by better than 2 minutes!
All four of these large 1 KW plus spark transmitters were set up in one room at the Inn operating with Morse code. No antennas were connected for obvious reasons. We did manage to blow the line circuit breakers in the hotel because of the excessive load on their AC lines in a second demonstration with all the lights out. All the operators had left their large motors running so as not to have to operate the large switches in the dark. After resetting the breakers no more problems were encountered but I think perhaps we were giving the city of Canandaigua quite a show on their TV sets for a few minutes. The effect of all the sparking and individual different transmitter noise in the dark of the room was fantastic!
1 Kilowatt transmitter and a bit of ozone