1924 - as it happened

Below, for those who find the actual operating technique interesting, are the log entries of Frank Bell and Cecil Goyder on 18th October 1924. There is a lot of abbreviation in the notes, but it is generally possible to understand what was happening.

The log of Frank Bell:

October 18, 1924.

G2SZ loud on about 100. A/C ripple in note. No interference and keying perfect and good operator. Stronger than most Yanks and very loud indeed at start, fading gradually. I had just cut flat top off aerial and shortened counterpoise. Using a 4 Meissner. Input 150 miliamps at 100 (?) volts. Radiation 1.1 on 92.5. Had not had report on new signals since altering aerial. Gave G2SZ a call just for something to do….”


6.10 p.m. Heard G2Sz call V1XAV and say “but can’t hear him … am listening about 80 as heard No Dice . . . this morning. 1XAV UG2SZ. Terribly sorry old man, can’t hear you. Something is wrong this end so I am listening about 80. Try once again on 80. 1XAV UG2SZ. 6.25 p.m. (I then called him for about four minutes. – he came back.)

6.30 p.m. 4AAZ G2SZ. Received your message. If you are really Z4AA, cable. (I said sure would cable and sent congratulations also.) Another one to Radio Society of Great Britain. “Greetings from New Zealand, signed Bell Z4AA.”

6.35 p.m. 4AAZ G2SZ. Received you. Here is another one to New Zealand. “Greetings from us”. Can’t realise you are in New Zealand. Daylight now. Call tomorrow at 6.30 G.M.T. for me. Amateurs G2SZ. Are you troubled by static? or fading? Will you cable address?

6.40 p.m. I sent my address “Bell, Waihemo” and he said daylight still here. Call him tomorrow. Nil fading. Very little static. Gave my input 150 watts and sent another two to G2OD. 6.45 p.m. 4AAZ G2SZ. (Greetings call) Address Goyder, Mill Hill School London. Input 200(?) watts, and gave radiation etc. No Dice from him in reply . . . .”

Within hours Frank Bell was inundated with congratulatory telegrams, call cards and letters. For Frank Bell in the clear air of the Shag Valley, Otago, had achieved what no-one had done before: around the world wireless communication. The United States had not communicated with their antipodes, neither had Australia nor Canada. The wireless companies, already in possession of air time and armed with laws preventing interference by amateurs had not been able to open up communications. This particular achievement was left the Hams to make so that now we may think nothing of having at our command instant morse, telephone and wireless communication between peoples at opposite points of the globe.

Frank Bell's radio equipment

Another view of the Z4AA equipment

The log of Cecil Goyder:

“I called u1KC at 5:30 or so and as QRN was bad and I got no reply I stood by and at about 6 GMT I heard g20D working u1XAV. Apparently u1XAV had heard me and wanted to get QSO, so g20D was helping us to connect; but I could not hear u1XAV and he seemed to lose us. While g20D was trying to get him again and I was searching for him I heard a station, pure DC, very steady, good strength, and on about 95 meters, calling me and signing z4AA. Owing to his steadiness and strength I doubted the genuiness of his sigs, but this is the log:

2SZ gz 4AA K. 4AA zg 2SZ–R QRK If u r really z4AA cable K. 2SZ gz 4AA–Wl cable OM hr nr 1 to Radio Society GB–Greetings fm NZ –sig Bell–K.

4AA zg 2SZ-Nr 1 R OK Wl cable but QRA? Greetings fm us OM–QRX 6:30 tmw GMT fr G amateurs Congrats OM–K. 2SZ gz 4AA–Wl cable OM Hr nr 1 to hemo NZ–Still dalite IU fainter now Input 150 watts Hr nr 2 to g2OD–Ur sigs QSA last night–sig z4AA K. 4AA zg 2SZ–Nr 1 R OK Wl cable but hr hw K. 2SZ gz 4AA–R vy psed to greet u friend …. (qss)….l.3 amps Dusk hr nw Congrats OM….(too faint to read but audible for few minutes more).

“This was about 7:30, so I worked him for an hour and a quarter. At 11 a. m. a cable confirming above was received and read ‘Congratulations on first trans-world message.-Bell’.”

The 2SZ antenna on the science building at Mill HIll School