Transatlantic Tests of 1921

The date is December 11, 1921. The event was the test of amateur operations across the Atlantic Ocean. This page commemorates that significant test.

Until 1921 transatlantic radio communications were utilizing very long wave frequencies in the area of 500 meters and technologies such as Alexanderson Alternators and 200 kilohertz transmitters. Meanwhile, amateurs were utilizing the shorter wavelength of 200 meters and crystal detector-based receivers and spark transmitter, usually limited to relatively short distances, except for the rare high power rotary spark transmitters. 

During World War I, amateur operations were banned, while high power tube-based receivers and transmitters were developed as part of the war efforts.  At the end of 1919, amateur broadcasting was again permitted and advanced amateurs began to adopt and experiment with tube-based solutions.

In 1921 members of the Radio Club of America coordinated the development of an experiment to test long distance operations utilizing a tube based transmitter.  The video story created by Bruce Kelley, describes this effort and the validation of the ability to utilize 200-meter bands to communicate across the Atlantic Ocean.

The story of this era is documented in this Bruce Kelley video from the AWA YouTube Channel and shown below:

2021 Commemoration of Event

On December 11, 2021 the American Radio Relay League, The Radio Club of America and the Antique Wireless Association will recreate these historic transmissions on 160 meters near the same location that was used in 1921, using a replica transmitter constructed by volunteers at the Antique Wireless Association. This special event is your opportunity to relive a historic moment in amateur radio history.

AWA Member Joel Kosoff, W3ZT tests the 1BCG replica transmitter

For more information on the 1BCG accomplishment and the schedule of many activities planned for the 100th Anniversary Celebration December 11, 2021, visit the AWA’s website.