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Marconi Calling June 13, 2009

Posted by mirl in Favorite Sites, ham radio.
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Up until a few years ago, the FCC still required code (as in the International Morse Code) for a ham license.  So when I was trying to get my first ham license a few years ago, I had to learn code and take an aural exam, apart from a written one.  It was not easy (because of the code part) but I did manage to pass both the code and written parts of the test and get my license.  (They say that learning code is easy for those who are musically talented, which makes sense, but I am not one of those.  Still, the ability to send and receive code at more than a snail's pace is a specialized skill which requires patience and practice.)

After that experience, I got fascinated by, among other things, the art of morse code—the required skills, the equipment, the history.  This fascination naturally led me to Guglielmo Marconi, mister wireless radio himself, and the excellent website, MarconiCalling.  Which is, after all that babbling, the real reason for this post.  I was immediately blown away by this website.  MarconiCalling is a rich resource about Guglielmo Marconi and the history and influence of wireless radio.  It includes interactive exhibits and a very accessible archive of the Marconi collection, including photographs, sound clips, newspaper articles, and other historically relevant materials.

My favorite exhibit has to be the wireless messages relating to the Titanic.  It gives a pretty good timeline of the events relating to the disaster.  It's really fascinating.  The image below is a 'CQD' message sent by the Titanic and received by the Celtic.  It reads:

'CQD require assistance position 41.46 n 50.14 w struck iceberg

MarconiCalling.  Check it out.

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