A beacon from the past

Alf Bell, of Lake Hayes, with some of the equipment used in 1924 to transmit the first transworld...
Alf Bell, of Lake Hayes, with some of the equipment used in 1924 to transmit the first transworld radio broadcast, at Shag Valley Station yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
It was off the beaten track but it was a trip well worth making.

Dunedin hosted the New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters Inc annual conference during the weekend and as an "add on", 30 members of the association went to Shag Valley Station, near Palmerston, yesterday to visit the site of the first transworld radio broadcast in 1924.

Amateur radio experi- menter and operator Frank Bell made history on the evening of October 18, 1924, when he transmitted Morse code messages from his home in Shag Valley.

The short-wave signals were received and replied to by London-based amateur operator Cecil Goyder.

At the time, this was not only the first amateur radio contact around the world, but also the first radio transmission of any kind to be sent and received at such a distance.

Mr Bell's radio gear has been preserved at Shag Valley Station and was visited by the enthusiasts yesterday.

Conference organising committee member Lindsay Strong said the equipment was fascinating and although had little in common with modern devices, it demonstrated Mr Bell's perseverance.

Frank Bell's son Alf Bell was present to talk about the pieces of equipment in the collection.


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