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General remarks.

Royal Navy still the most efficiently equipped navy in W/T.

Advances in materiel have far out-paced the standard of operating which is very poor. The navy needs professional telegraphists who do no other duties other than W/T duties. The signalling department (note, not a Branch) consisting mainly of visual signallers, badly needs a special branch attached to it.

The USN are our most dangerous rivals. Their ships carry three chief petty officers to operate the W/T equipment.

Marconi Companies lead the world in W/T.

The Germans have formed a powerful company - Telefunken Co Berlin.

The USA are experimenting vigorously - Fessender, De Forest and Shoemaker.

France is behind the time, but Rocheford is considered to be a notable inventor.

Directional waves are in use - Marconi and the Italian Government.

Progress in HMS Vernon - W/T installed in HMS Vernon III - Vernon III was, or rather is, the ironclad HMS Warrior which now lies in Portsmouth Harbour not too far from where she was as Vernon III but ONE HUNDRED YEARS LATER. HMS Furious joins the W/T training and experimental world. Loss of Portland (ex HMS Ganges boys' take note) Boscawen II (boy's training ship) pays off and HMS Saphire II takes over as Portland W/T trials ship. Adverse observations associated with the old HMS Hector, not to be repeated in the new HMS Vernon III. Officers and ratings trained in W/T in 1905.

5kW transmitter for Horsea Island (Portsmouth) - plans aired and approved.

Experiments with 'C' Tune successful.

Electrolytic detectors keep on advancing.

Wave meters designed - soon to be at sea.

Aerials - split fourfold for A and B Tunes; roof for reception of Poldhu and special roof for C Tune.

Bradfield Insulators out - cowtail and deck tubes in (note, Bradfields will still be used with reception in the Silent Cabinets).

Destroyers - experiments in W/T. New destroyer set to be manufactured.

Alterations to the Establishment List (Parts/stores for W/T).

New in Service - Telaupads for blocking noise.

Silent Cabinets introduced.

Changes in shore stations round the British Coast.


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Equipment in the Fleet - All ships above destroyer size will be fitted with W/T. Destroyer and small craft fits are under consideration. The W/T offices are defined by their locations (within the ship) and by their overall dimensions. Bradfield insulators are to be fitted in all locations. The aerial runs and sitings are established and issued for large ships. The 'Standard Fit' shown, is the A and B Tunes each using a different wavelength of SHORT 'A' (400 feet = 2.5MHz approx) and LONG 'B' (1025 feet = 950 kHz approx) having 2 oscillators, 2 spark coils, two inkers, two receivers. The 'Reduced Set', a compromise because of space available, is for destroyers and (possibly) below. It is sometimes referred to as the "Scout Class Set". The associated aerial rig for the reduced set is shown at Figure 2.


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Inventions viewed - GARDNER'S Interference Preventer. ROOS'S Relay.

Reports from sea - C-in-C Mediterranean report. For reasons he explains "communications at present are ABSOLUTELY UNRELIABLE". W/T MUST NOT have precedence over V/S. W/T was not used to any great extent in the Russo-Japanese war.

Electrical branch in charge of W/T - because it uses electricity !

Yeoman of Signals employed as the early telegraphists to cope with the requirements of Morse code.

Shortage of V/S personnel as a result.

(Seen as desirable) - confirm those early telegraphists as permanent telegraphists and continue recruiting to their numbers from more junior members of the signalling (V/S) department.

But, surely this would cripple the signalling department at a time when bridge signalling was as important (if not more so) than W/T signalling.

Remedy ? Suggestions put forward by the C-in-C Mediterranean did not auger well for the future of the full time professional W/T operator.

HMS Vernon 'grasped the nettle' and came back fighting. Their report pours ridicule on the C-in-C's report.

Extract of Memorandum issued to the Mediterranean Fleet ships on W/T matters.

HMS Vernon's remarks - they liked the Memorandum and wished that all Fleet's could share it - a hearty concur was issued.

More feed-back from the Mediterranean - extracts of letters and observations of senior officers who supported the idea of professional telegraphists.


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Extract of report on W/T messages from Poldhu during Baltic Cruise of Channel Fleet - aerial arrays used in reception trials and HMS Vernon's answer.

Long distance reception - report from Battle Fleet & 2nd Cruiser Squadron of Atlantic Fleet - reception 1000 miles from Poldhu.

Wireless Cipher Telegrams (Contents not revealed) received during Baltic Cruise Channel Fleet - HMS Vernon's remarks. (Notice here and elsewhere, in all books e.g., the 1907 Book of Seamanship of this period, that the twenty four hour clock has not yet been adopted and time is referred to as shown).

Extract from report on W/T installation at Port Blair.

Portable Stations (Marconi Co).

Report on the Post Office work carried out between Alderney and Portland Bill.

Report on W/T operations carried out by Donegal with 3rd Cavalry Brigade at Rush Camp - HMS Vernon's remarks. (Note that the Army were supplied their equipment by the Lodge-Muirhead Co and the Navy, by Marconi Co. The systems were different, but because of the agreement between the Admiralty and Marconi Co, the differences could not be mentioned or discussed with the Army)


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Progress in Foreign Countries.
Germany - the Telefunken Co (which was first mentioned above in this file Click Here is now so powerful that they claim to have fitted more stations that all the other systems put together. Even our Army has resorted to buying one of their portable W/T stations.
USA - is flooded with systems and providers: Marconi, Telefunken, De Forest, Fessenden and Shoemaker. Many of her warships are fitted with the Slaby-Arco system, but the US Government is still trying all systems.
Italy - of course, use the equipment made by one of their own boy's - Marconi.
India - are using the Lodge-Muirhead system.
American systems - Shoemaker transmitter and receivers with the US Battleship Maryland experimenting with a 250 mile set. Fessenden Patents including a liquid (water) aerial and his Wireless Telephone invention. De Forest reported on by HMS Ariadne, say a report from a Naval Attache to the Naval Intelligence Department (NID) indicates that the Slaby-Arco system is fitted in all warships except for three and they have the Fessender system. There are another four armoured cruisers waiting to be fitted out, and at tender, Shoemaker came in with a guarantee of 250 miles/135' high aerial for $8000.00 whereas Marconi tendered with a guarantee of 60 miles range for a cool $41,000.00. The US Defence Department will not commit themselves until they have evaluated all systems on the market.
German systems - Telefunken arose out of an amalgamation of Braun-Siemens and Slaby-Arco in 1903. Have a look at the intercepted German naval message by HMS Venerable.
Dutch system - German and Dutch ships and shore stations. Note Morse code symbol, then as now AS (a pro-sign so all run together) meaning wait, I am busy. This report is by HMS Exmouth on information gathered by the RN. Thus, we may assume that AS was not at that time used by the RN to signal wait, and if it was, why all the fuss ?
French systems - come 1905, the French had 'taken their fingers out' and had progressed markedly into the world of modern W/T. However, note the comments made about the French Navy whilst they were visiting Cowes I.O.W. - there was no organisation - signals were sometimes sent six times before being received - no method of calling up several ships at a time - their wavelengths were 970 feet = nearly 1MHz and 1030 feet = just over 1 MHz. The comments on the Morse code in this section are worth a small observation. Internationally, and as far as we can ascertain Britain and France adhered, so the use of the symbol VA (pro-sign so all sent as one symbol) meant end of working, i.e., no more messages, goodbye - see This file section xxix file page 6. Close to VA was the pro-sign VE which meant I understand. Here the navy is saying that they used the abbreviation R D for the end of working symbol, thought to be coined from the first and last letter of the word Recoded, as in 'finish time' in an operators log book. Today, one often hears the expression ROGER D. As for the accentuated letter e's (three of them here) each of course adding a different sounding and meaning to a word, no provision has been found other than the Morse pro-sign of ITI to signal the accentuated letter 'e'. Near proof of this can be found in a book called "MANUEL" (published in 1940) a wonderful little book showing Sea/Naval terms and the whole spectrum of Radio Communication Terminology in both English and French. Here is a look at the page which states that Frenchmen use ITI for all their accentuated e's accentuated letter e in French. Since I have the book it would be poor style not to greet a Frenchman visiting the site in his own language, so here goes. Voulez-vous m'indiquer la position de ma station sur la base des relevements pris par les postes radiogoniomtriques que vous controlez ? For those of you without access to the book, or like me, an inadequate knowledge of the French language, I have said.....Will you give me the position of my station according to the bearings taken by the direction finding stations which you control ?

New Haven W/T.

French W/T station at Brest.

Russian system.


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Report on W/T in HMS Defiance. Stokers mess or wardroom - which will become the wireless office ?

Magnetic detectors no good whilst under weigh. (Not for me to comment on let alone correct, but today we tend to say underway (one word). The weigh in 'under weigh' has nothing to do with the anchor of a ship).

Magnetic key - the lever of which they speak is very soon to be incorporated onto the magnetic key itself. Soon you will have a perfect picture of it and of the one that replaced it a few years later in 1910.

Tuned Shunts - very important and very necessary for good tuning and trouble free reception guarding against atmospheric interference, are almost impossible to obtain because of the difficult nature of the manufacturing.

Extracts of Experiments - aerials 'T' aerial for A Tune, split 'T' for A and B Tunes - comparing 'T' and fourfold aerials for medium wave........HMS Vernon transmitted a 2500 feet wave (approx 400kHz) using a 'plain' aerial as opposed to an 'oscillating' system (see Experiments).

HMS Zephy's experiments with W/T wavelength 670 feet (approx 1.5 MHz).

Suitable weight of W/T equipment for a destroyer out to 30 miles thought to be 400 lbs with stores and equipment (3.5 sacks of coal).

Electro Static Syndicat.

C Tune experiments in HMS Vernon - range achieved 285 miles over land and sea. Wavelengths used are 2760/4250 feet approximately 350/280 kHz.

Proof that the electrolytic coherer was superior to the magnetic detector: 'T' aerial superior to fourfold aerial:
  At maximum range of the trial, all the longs (dashes) could be heard but only a few of the shorts (dots).
  Tuned Shunts were used to try and tune out the atmospherics.
  Poldhu frequencies were 5650/6350 feet (approx 170/155 kHz) and HMS Vernon's were 4250/2760 feet
  (approx 220/350 kHz).

HMS Furious did not have a 'silent cabinet' (more of these later) fitted from where it could have read the signals with less environmental disturbances. It was noticed, as on other occasions, that smoke from the funnels when blown towards the aerials weakened the signal somewhat. Further experiments with C Tune came when HMS Vernon had modified her transmit gear which whilst suited to B Tune, didn't suit C Tune. Marconi loans equipment to HMS Vernon to effect the modifications. HMS Furious re-sailed, this time to the North Sea area. Bad atmospherics in HMS Furious' sea area leading to loud buzzing and high pitched whistling in all receivers and "violet" sparks from the aerial to earth. The tune shunts helped but the conditions worsened and the aerials had to be earthed. Shortly afterwards, the trials were abandoned.


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The experiment abandoned on the third day left HMS Furious to return to her duties, and HMS Vernon to analyse the results of the trials.

Magnetic Detectors are to be abandoned. Electrolytic Coherer versus Shoemaker Coherer but both were swamped with heavy atmospherics. Three electrolytics will be evaluated; Schlomilch (Telefunken), Shoemakers electrolytic (ITC of New York) and Mr. W.H. Sullivan's which had impressed the Admiralty.

Principles of electrolytic coherers.

Tuned Shunts.

Effects of resistance in HF circuits.

Testing Mica condensers.

Tuners - mention of D Tune for first time ?

Telephone condensers.


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Magnetic no load key - AC or DC - trial of electrolytic condensers to reduce sparking at key - ordinary telegraph key with an electrolytic condensers versus a magnetic key; which is best ?

Experiments with AC Current on coils supplied for W/T use.


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AC as a source of power for W/T purposes ?
In the present day system condensers are charged by DC using make and break. AC with the natural alternations will do the charging job much more efficiently. However, a shock from an AC charging circuit will be severe and short circuiting the spark through ones body would be fatal. Many extra precautions not required for DC would be needed.


W/T measurements by Duddell & Taylor with HMS Vernon's remarks.

For no other reason than it being ten years since we first heard of HMS Defiance and the experiments her Commanding Officer (Captain H.B. Jackson Royal Navy) carried out whilst in the ship, and, since it is unlikely that we will see his name again in these HMS Vernon records, I thought you would like to refresh your memory as to what his fortunes were starting in this year 1905. See image below.