Friday, September 30, 2005

Memories of Wellfleet

It was the autumn of 1979; just about this time of year. A friend and I decided to go on vacation to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Our goal was to photograph the beautiful reds, yellows, browns and golds of the changing New England foliage. We were not disappointed; and to this day I have those photographs tucked away.

The way south, home to New Jersey saw us take a detour to visit Cape Cod. It was there, passing through Wellfleet when I spied the sign on the road, diverting my attention to Marconi Station. I was a new Ham at the time, licensed for under a year. I was learning the ropes and was eager to soak in as much about the hobby and it's glorious past as I was able. The old ruins of the radio station beckoned; and I headed in the direction that the road signs indicated.

I was not disappointed, even though there is not much there anymore. This was the site of the first wireless communications that spanned the Atlantic. President Teddy Roosevelt used Mr. Marconi's station to send greetings to King Edward VII in Great Britain. All that was left of the giant curtain antenna were the concrete anchors that supported the giant masts in the dunes of sand. A gazebo with a diorama of the orignal radio shack and antenna displayed what was built there so many years ago.

Standing there on that chilly October day; I looked out upon the vastness that is the Atlantic Ocean. As the sea gulls cried, and the breeze howled I was able to feel the electricity in the air. Radio waves emanating forth; traveling up to the ionosphere; only to be bent - refracted back to the surface of the earth so many, many miles away. In an instant, the size of the world was conquered. Vast distances were made relatively small; but being there reminded me how really vast those distances truly are. And like Mr. Marconi, I too, travel them with ease. My meager few watts travel over the oceans and continents at the speed of light, making the world smaller; but at the same time reminding me of it's vast beauty and grandeur.

73 de Larry W2LJ

1 comment:

CapeLinks said...

Not many folks today know that the first wireless transmission originated from Cape Cod. The first trans-atlantic wireless message was sent from the Cape by Guglielmo Marchese Marconi in 1903.