Wellfleet in Barnstable County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
Marconi Wireless Station
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 – center, drawing of the station]
Four towers built almost entirely of 3” X 12” number provided support for the antenna. Each stood 210 feet high (64m). The towers
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.
A manager, two engineers, and three operators lived in his large frame building. No trace of it remains.
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.
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.
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.
“The huge towers, the roar 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
Marconiís 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 – Marconiís 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. 41° 54.838′ N, 69° 58.291′ W. Marker is in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, in Barnstable County. Marker can be reached from Marconi Station Road. Touch for map. Drive to
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Transatlantic Triumph (here, next to this marker); Cape Cod National Sea Shore Marconi Beach (approx. 1.6 miles away); The Nauset Lights (approx. 3.8 miles away); Three Sisters Lit the Way (approx. 3.9 miles away); Pushed Back by the Sea (approx. 3.9 miles away); The Long, Black Cable (approx. 3.9 miles away); Doane Rock (approx. 4.9 miles away); The Life Savers (approx. 5 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. (Submitted on October 14, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia.)
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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 14, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. This page has been viewed 413 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 14, 2014, by Byron Hooks of Sandy Springs, Georgia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.