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Wellfleet in Barnstable County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Marconi Wireless Station

 
 
Marconi Wireless Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By Byron Hooks, September 2, 2014
1. Marconi Wireless Station Marker
Inscription.  Here stood one of the world’s greatest pioneer radio stations, Marconi’s South Wellfleet wireless, or “Old CC.” Unfortunately, the historic station was dismantled and abandoned in 1920, and the ocean has eroded away over half the land occupied.

A few remains are still visible, including concrete foundations for the transmitter house and northwest tower, and sand anchors that held guy wires.

The model encased behind you depics the station as it appeared in 1903 when it transmitted its first overseas message.
(the model has been removed)

Transmitter schematic diagram
A - Alternator, 60 cycle
B - 110 Volt storage battery
C - High tension transmitter condenser
G - 110 volt battery charging generator
H - Oscillating circuit inductance
J - Antenna tuning inductance
K - Tape machine for automatic key
M - Rotary spark gap motor
N - Main high-voltage keying relay
R - Rotary spark gap
T - Main high-voltage transformer
U – Radio frequency chokes
V - Rotary gap motor start box


[caption –
Drawing of the Marconi Wireless Station in 1903 image. Click for full size.
By Byron Hooks, September 2, 2014
2. Drawing of the Marconi Wireless Station in 1903
center, drawing of the station]

Tower
Four towers built almost entirely of 3” X 12” number provided support for the antenna. Each stood 210 feet high (64m). The towers stood on concrete bases, two of which are still in place.

Antenna
The wire antenna was shaped like an inverted pyramid. At the top was a square of heavy, stranded, copper wire. Attached to this were 200 smaller wires which converged in midair just above the transmitter house.

Headquarters
A manager, two engineers, and three operators lived in his large frame building. No trace of it remains.

Powerhouse
A 45-horsepower kerosene engine generator supplied 2,200 volts AC to a Tesla transformer which stepped it up to 20,000 volts. A smaller DC generator kept batteries charged.

Transmitter house
Here at the heart of the station were the 20,000 volt condenser, antenna tuning coil, and the whirling spark gap rotor which could be heard 4 miles (6km) downwind. The foundation is still visible.

Tower rigging
Twelve steel cables 1” (2.6cm) in diameter secured each tower against high winds. The guy wires were anchored to “dead men” of crossed timbers buried 8 feet (2.4m) in the sand.


[Upper right]
“The huge towers, the roar
Marconi Wireless Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By Byron Hooks, September 2, 2014
3. Marconi Wireless Station Marker
of the old spark-gapper, the excitement of wireless contact with some distant listener are gone forever from the dunes South Wellfleet.”


Marconi and his South Wellfleet Wireless
Cape Cod History Guide
1969

Chronology
Marconi’s South Wellfleet Wireless Station

1901 – Marconi selects site in begins construction of the station.
1901 – In November a severe storm wrecked the station.
1902 – Station rebuilt with antenna supported by four heavy wooden towers.
1903 – First transatlantic wireless message sent between the United States and England.
1906 – Marconi’s engineers warned that cliff erosion is endangering the station.
1912 – Station operator hears a distant call from the sinking luxury liner Titanic.
1917 – After fifteen years of commercial service, the U.S. Government closes the station for wartime security reasons.
1920 – Equipment salvaged, towers dismantled, and buildings abandoned to the sea.
1961 – Site acquired by National Park Service as part of Cape Cod national seashore.

[picture showing beach erosion] The ocean has extensively eroded the station site.

 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Location.
Transmitter schematic diagram image. Click for full size.
By Byron Hooks, September 2, 2014
4. Transmitter schematic diagram
A - Alternator, 60 cycle
B - 110 Volt storage battery
C - High tension transmitter condenser
G - 110 volt battery charging generator
H - Oscillating circuit inductance
J - Antenna tuning inductance
K - Tape machine for automatic key
M - Rotary spark gap motor
N - Main high-voltage keying relay
R - Rotary spark gap
T - Main high-voltage transformer
U – Radio frequency chokes
V - Rotary gap motor start box
Marker has been reported missing. It was located near 41° 54.838′ N, 69° 58.291′ W. Marker was in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, in Barnstable County. Marker could be reached from Marconi Station Road. Drive to the end of the Marconi Station Road and park in the lot. Follow the path to the marker. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Wellfleet MA 02667, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. Transatlantic Triumph (was here, next to this marker but has been reported missing. ); Transatlantic Wireless Telegraph Station (here, next to this marker); Guglielmo Marconi (within shouting distance of this marker); The Outer Cape: (within shouting distance of this marker); Cape Cod National Sea Shore Marconi Beach (approx. 1.6 miles away); Keeping the Light for 114 Years (approx. 3.8 miles away); Nauset Beach Light Station (approx. 3.8 miles away); The Nauset Lights (approx. 3.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wellfleet.
 
Also see . . .
1. Guglielmo Marconi. (Submitted on October 14, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia.)
2. WCC (radio station). (Submitted on October 14, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia.)
3. Morse code. (Submitted on October 14, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia.)
4. RMS Titanic. (Submitted on October 14, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia.)
5. Marconi Company
<i>Marconi Wireless Station, South Wellfleet, Mass.</i> image. Click for full size.
Postcard published by Detroit Publishing Co. (image courtesy New York Public Library), 1904
5. Marconi Wireless Station, South Wellfleet, Mass.
. (Submitted on October 14, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia.)
 
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Credits. This page was last revised on October 16, 2019. This page originally submitted on October 14, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. This page has been viewed 502 times since then and 3 times this year. Last updated on October 15, 2019, by Alan M. Perrie of Unionville, Connecticut. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 14, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia.   5. submitted on April 20, 2018. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.
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