Anthony W. DePrato wa4jqs at mikrotec.com
Fri Dec 24 15:11:32 EST 2004

>     The year was 1906.  Marconi had already invented the wireless 
> telegraph and land and sea communication networks were being 
> established.  DeForest was attempting to perfect his "audion" (triode) tube.
>     Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian inventor and Ernst Alexanderson, a 
> Swedish immigrant, were hard at work in Fessenden's Massachusetts 
> laboratory.  They developed a mechanical device to "alternate" a 
> continuous radio wave. The device consisted of a huge disc that revolved 
> at 20,000 rpm. They had connected it to a transmitter and a microphone, 
> and discovered that they could "modulate" a radio signal!
>     On Christmas Eve, as wireless operators at land stations and aboard 
> ships off the Massachusetts coast diligently maintained their radio 
> watches by listening to the familiar Morse code signals; they were 
> startled when they suddenly heard voices in their headphones!
>     They listened spellbound. Then, they heard a woman singing!  Finally, 
> they heard someone playing a violin! It was Fessenden himself...playing 
> the sacred carol "O Holy Night".  No longer would radio sounds be 
> restricted to the "dit's" and "dah's" of the Morse code.
>     That's how it happened.  Christmas Eve...Nineteen Hundred and Six.
>73 and the Merriest of Christmases in spite of the weather!

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