“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Inverness in Marin County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

AT&T & RCA Receiving Stations

Ship-to-Shore Communication

AT&T & RCA Receiving Stations Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, March 30, 2017
1. AT&T & RCA Receiving Stations Marker
Captions: (left side) Riggers raised and maintained the antennas at the Point Reyes and Bolinas radio stations. Here they pose at the base of a Marconi 300-foot steel mast at Bolinas in the 1940s. Skilled at climbing the poles to repair high voltage lines in all kinds of weather, their pride at accomplishing this dangerous work is apparent in this photograph.; (center) AT&T overseas radio-telephone messages were relayed from Point Reyes to these operators in the San Francisco control terminal in 1946.; (bottom center) Located in front of you to your left is the Point Reyes AT&T radio-telephone receiving station site, pictured here in June, 1946. The central white station building is still visible in the distance below the radio towers. The AT&T transmitting station was located in Dixon, California.; (bottom right) To your right remains a portion this extensive RCA antenna field. The 1931 RCA building can be seen at the end of the long cypress tunnel driveway located to the right of the wayside.
Inscription.  The remaining antenna fields and buildings in front of you were established by two cutting-edge worldwide communications companies in 1931. American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) radio-telephone station KMI provided two-way voice services between ships at sea or aircraft and telephones on land, sea, or in the air. The Radio Corporation of America's (RCA) station KPH provided commercial communication services to ships at sea through Morse code. Both assisted ships by broadcasting weather and gave top priority to distress calls, providing lifesaving services to ships at sea.

On December 31, 1931, radio-telephone communications was established between the AT&T station and Hawaii. The Atlantic had been bridged by radio-telephone only two years before direct service was established between this station and Sydney, Australia. By 1940, subscribers of the Pacific Telephone Company were linked to over 90 percent of the world's telephones by AT&T's three High Sea's stations: KMI in Point Reyes, WOO in New Jersey and WOM in Florida. Wave propagation technology became obsolete and was replaced by satellite communications. The Point Reyes AT&T
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station closed on October 13, 1999.

Side-bar on bottom right:
Sky Wave Propagation

Sky-wave propagation is the phenomenon which makes high seas communications possible. In sky-wave propagation, radio signals are refracted (bent) by electricity-conductive layers in Earth's upper atmosphere (ionosphere) and bounced back to Earth many miles from the point of emission.
Erected by National Park Service, Point Reyes National Seashore.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Communications. A significant historical date for this entry is December 31, 1931.
Location. 38° 5.502′ N, 122° 56.766′ W. Marker is near Inverness, California, in Marin County. Marker is on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard (County Route A109 at milepost 34.2) near North District Operations Center Road, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 17400 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Inverness CA 94937, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Providing Global Communications (a few steps from this marker); Portus Novae Albionus (approx. 3.9 miles away); Cross Honoring First Protestant Service in the Future USA (approx. 4.4 miles away); Nova Albion (approx. 4˝ miles
AT&T & RCA Receiving Stations Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, March 30, 2017
2. AT&T & RCA Receiving Stations Marker
Note radio antennas in the background.
away); Getting to Marconi (approx. 5.2 miles away); Beryl and Leonard Buck Hall (approx. 5.2 miles away); Drakes Bay (approx. 5.6 miles away); Whalewatching (approx. 6.8 miles away).
More about this marker. AT&T & RCA Receiving Stations are located in Point Reyes National Seashore.
Also see . . .
1. AT&T High Seas Service - Wikipedia. Before satellite communication systems were widely available, the only way ships at sea had to communicate with the rest of the world was via radio connections to land stations. To talk to people who did not operate radio equipment, a vessel at sea would make contact with a land station, usually using high frequency AM or single-sideband (SSB) radio. The operator of the land station would patch the radio connection though to a telephone call made over the regular telephone system (referred to as a landline). (Submitted on April 11, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.) 

2. KPH (radio station) - Wikipedia. The station dates back to the dawn of the radio era in the early years of the twentieth century when it began operations at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California, using the callsign "PH". Forced out by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, the station moved from one temporary site to another until it was acquired by the Radio Corporation of America
Radiotelephone Station KMI Control Console image. Click for full size.
By S. Edmund Johnson (CC )3.0, via Wikipedia, 1966
3. Radiotelephone Station KMI Control Console
(RCA) and relocated to Marin County.
(Submitted on April 11, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.) 

3. Wikipedia entry for Skywave Radio Communications. In radio communication, skywave or skip refers to the propagation of radio waves reflected or refracted back toward Earth from the ionosphere, an electrically charged layer of the upper atmosphere. Since it is not limited by the curvature of the Earth, skywave propagation can be used to communicate beyond the horizon, at intercontinental distances. (Submitted on December 28, 2019.) 
AT&T Radio-Telephone Network, 1946 image. Click for full size.
4. AT&T Radio-Telephone Network, 1946
Click on image to zoom in. Shows long-distance telephone service capabilities from this station to Hawaii and a number of other occidental points. Undersea cables in the 1950s and 1960s replaced most of this network for telephone calls, but stations like this continued to provide ship-to-shore telephone service until the advent of satellite telephone service.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 28, 2019. It was originally submitted on April 11, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 613 times since then and 109 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week December 29, 2019. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 11, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.   3. submitted on December 28, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.   4. submitted on December 28, 2019.

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Jun. 8, 2023