|In this file.
If you have been reading these files as intended
i.e., from 1895 onwards, you will have observed a pattern of events and
in your mind you might have a mental picture of Captain Jackson and
Marconi, the two real powerhouses of the RN roller-coaster, saying, OK,
tough, but after 11 years, so far so good. A reasonable assumption don't
you think? Well, if you have, your picture needs to be
over-painted by the revelations which are about to follow. It starts off
slowly but at the finish...well, wait and see!
Inter-Fleet W/T exercises - W/T on the up! Four exercises conducted with
three major battle Fleets, Atlantic, Channel and Mediterranean and have
a quick look at the results of Exercise 3. Here also we come across F
Tune for the first time. Connected to the aerial in the old
fashioned way [plain] as opposed to 'oscillator', F Tune transmitted on
a frequency of 330kHz [3000 λ] with
reception employing the magnetic detector supplied simply to receive
Poldhu signals. It was immune from A and B Tune [both on very much
higher frequencies] and F Tune employing Tuned Shunts with great success
to rid the air waves of as much interference as possible. F Tune
was a great success, and the ships using A and B Tunes got themselves
into a pickle. Had the exercises revealed an inherent weakness in
Marconi's A and B Tunes which could bring about their demise.? What
follows is the HARD HITTING report of those manoeuvres.
Lets us have a look.
Report by representatives of Channel,
Mediterranean and Atlantic Fleets on board HMS Exmouth at Lagos.
Outcome of the meeting which was attended by
Lieutenants Torpedo Branch and one Commander RN, a group which would
change the modus operandi for the naval W/T branch recommending
such detailed and profound changes which lead to an Admiralty re-think
which must have impacted upon HMS Vernon and HMS Defiance,
as well of course upon the Marconi Company.
I recommend here that you read the file
over to the right. I am simply going to summarise the 14 points
which were to alter the navy and in effect, cause a watershed and a
change of direction for equipment and operators. The end result
would still be the spark-gap age but that wouldn't last much longer
anyway as you will see.
1. To get rid of A Tune [2.5MHz short wave] both oscillator and receiver
2. To get rid of B Tune receiver box, and to keep B Tune [950kHz]
transmission for peacetime use only
3. Introduce a considerable number of other Tunes for wartime use which
should be kept confidential
4. To keep the magnetic detector which could receive both B Tune and
Poldhu [and other Tunes yet to come]
5. Abolish the coherers
6. Abolish 'double reception' where an operator would keep his eye on
both receivers, A and B just in case he was called on either
7. For the first time make the operator concentrate on his duties by
introducing 'Telephonic Reception', which means wearing earphones and
listening to the signals rather than watching them on an ink-marker. Telephonics to become the standard reception method in the Fleets.
8. Could the aerials be combined into one to serve for all purposes -
send and receive on all the TUNES and still receive Poldhu out to 2000
miles? Yes was the answer by rigging a special roof aerial which all
ships with slight modifications would adopt.
9. Could transmitter circuits be improved to effect quick change-overs
to new Tunes? Yes was the answer.
10. How many Tunes clear of each other out to 2 miles [not causing
interference to each other] could we have? Answer - Experiments
will have to be conducted but we are certain it is at least six
providing the Tuned Shunts are used to stop interference.
11. Will AC alternators give better results than DC? Yes, certainly.
Inductive coils work at their maximum power with AC, plus, if the enemy
jammed a Tune, with an alternator it is still possible to transmit with
a distinct note which friendly forces can still read. The
alternator would do away with our biggest bugbear which is the hammer
make-break on the very induction coil itself.
12. If smoke from the funnel [previously reported] causes so many
problems, why don't we move the position of the W/T office? Is the
after Shelter Deck a suitable place? They agreed to think about
new ships and where the W/T office should be sited, but for the present, to leave the one and only W/T office
where it was, and if the enemy were sighted and engaged, the W/T office
struck and taken below into the armour belt for safe keeping: it
was not required when the shooting started.
13. What about the operators? Permanent W/T operators are a must and
they are needed now. Signalmen consider it a punishment to have to
go to the W/T office to keep watches because they cannot distinguish
themselves on the bridge for promotion. There are too few
operators in the Fleets. The present state is most unsatisfactory.
Training boys from scratch is too lengthy a process - we need
Any member of any branch can volunteer to join the
new branch of telegraphists. A good education in reading and
writing is required - good character and intelligence - good ear for
telephonic reception and an aptitude for reading the magnetic
detector after a course of instructions. Branch structure for
advancement and promotion, Branch to be under control of the
Torpedo Department and Torpedo Officers. An officer from the
Torpedo Branch should be appointed a W/T expert and appointed to each
Fleet. He should be a Lieutenant Torpedo with sea experience.
14. Bearing in mind that everybody knows our radio callsigns, would it
not be advisable to have a definite plan for changing these in wartime ?
End of Report and Recommendations.
The Tuned Shunts are taken seriously -
90 sets to be issued to the Fleets, and the AC revolution has started
with 6 rotaries [alternators] issued for trials.
W/T during grand manoeuvres on July
S Tune issued as the standard Tune for the RED FLEET and no serious
interference experienced from the BLUE FLEET or from ashore.
Mediterranean Fleet definite spark note both strong and deep: Channel
Fleet high pitched spark note.
Defects and Suggested Improvements -
Existing W/T offices should be shifted to upper deck and all ships
should have a silent cabinet. Improved deck-insulators and better
insulation. More operators required per ship - two only at
Summary of General Policy -
Most powerful transmitters possible to be fitted to increase present
range and to render communications more reliable in atmospheric
Minimum height of masts to be 170'.
Destroyers should have a special λ so as not to interfere with the main
W/T communications of the Fleet[s]. They should be able to receive
all λ's. All ships will have silent cabinets.
Alternators to be introduced.
Quarterly W/T exercises to be arranged.
Constant λ changing exercises should be carried out.
W/T experts to Reserve Fleets as well as to seagoing Fleets.
Institution of operators branch as soon as practicable. Minimum
number in each ship to be four.
Large power [C Tune] to be fitted in following ships.
C Tune MkII [medium power] to be fitted into following ships.
All other ships will have MkI C Tune [low power].
39 destroyers to be fitted with W/T,
both River and Ocean-going classes.
HF Power/alternator advantages.
C Tune MKII/SERVICE MK II - the W/T
office will be on the upper deck or the shelter deck.
Many warnings about the danger of
electric shock from aerials. Read below by clicking on the
What of Captain Jackson aspirations I wonder, and what about
Marconi's future with the Royal Navy ?