Reblogged from the ARRL: NPR’s “All Things Considered” Segment to Include Spark Gap Morse


Here is a lovely note from the American Radio Relay League’s blogsite yesterday, to which I was alerted by Twitter.  I’m reproducing it verbatim here.  ‘NPR’, for you Europeans, is ‘National Public Radio’, the listener-funded network for Americans who, if they lived in the UK, would be Guardian readers.  Listener-funding means people donate through period on-air appeals.  There is no government underwriting, and there are no adverts.  Anyway, this is a demonstration of spark transmission for the lay public.  I’ve shown spark before on our blog here, but let’s do it again.  Picture and text all copyright 2014 by the ARRL.


As part of its series of vignettes exploring a “counterfactual” history, “What if World War I had never happened?” NPR afternoon news magazine All Things Considered” will air a segment, to explore “What if the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was not successful?”

“They needed a sound of a telegraph relaying the message of the failed assassination attempt,” said ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X. “They wanted it to be as authentic as possible, so we explained that in 1914, it would have been relayed via spark.”

The ARRL Lab has a working spark transmitter, so Kutzko got the desired text from NPR, which he sent by hand (yes, he’s a lefty) and recorded. “They said it was ‘perfect,’” he reported. “It was a real thrill being able to help NPR; I used to work at NPR affiliates in Illinois and Indiana in the 1990s, so being able to help the network was exciting.”

NPR’s “All Things Considered” typically airs at 4 PM Eastern Time (2000 UTC). ARRL Maryland-DC Section Manager Jim Cross, WI3N, believes the segment will air 35 minutes into the first hour of the show. The program segments are subsequently available on the NPR website. — Thanks to Maryland-DC Section Manager Jim Cross, WI3N, and Sean Kutzko, KX9X’

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