Frank Bell – Trans-world Radio Contact

The first ever trans-world two-way radio contact.

The following is a transcript of the log Frank Bell made for his amateur radio station Z-4AA on 18th October 1924.

This contact was by morse and was the first ever, trans-world two-way radio communication of any type. It was from Shag Valley Station, Waihemo, Palmerston, Otago and the contact was with Cecil Goyder G2SZ at Mill Hill School, London.

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.

Frank Bell in the clear air of the Shag Valley, Otago, had achived what no-one had done before – around the world wireless communication. Remember at that time the USA had not communicated with their antipodes, and neither had Australia nor Canada.

The wireless companies, already in possesion 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!

These days we think nothing of having at our command instant morse, telephone and wireless communication between people resident around the globe.