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Providence Sunday Journal
September 13th 1903
This was in the spring of 1903. Everything went well for the remainder of the spring, but during the summer there was a great deal of static, enough to interfere at times very seriously with the one?kilowatt of power being used at the transmitter. Moreover, high winds swept the. Island free and untrammeled. There was not the slightest protection for the high mast of the station.
The inevitable happened. During a heavy storm down came the mast of the station and great was the fall thereof. The operators looked about for some means of keeping in touch with the land station. DeForest happened to be on the scene at the time of the disaster. He spotted the telephone. In less time than it took to throw over the big change-over switch, the receiving apparatus was connected to the long land line which connected the station with the village in the direction of Pt. Judith. To the surprise of everyone connected with the experiment, the signals from the land station came in booming, louder than they ever had with the old antenna.
And so, through the merest accident, the use of the directive flat-top antenna was thus discovered in 1903 on Block Island by Lee DeForest. From the station, which was situated on the coast of the Island, the telephone line ran a straight seven miles to the village and at no point along its route was it more than a few yards above the surface of the earth. It formed an almost perfect type of the directive antenna which is now employed at all the large trans-oceanic stations.
Following this incident, of course, the old time mast was again installed, but the telephone line was cut in as the receiving antenna every time atmospheric or other disturbances caused the signals to fade. This observation was carefully noted and worked upon later. DeForest thought there was nothing in it that could be covered by a patent, so the only course was to keep the idea quiet and reserve its use for the company.
Much wide publicity had been given these first newspaper stations on account of the far reaching possibilities in connection with the journalistic field. As a consequence, the stock of the American DeForest Wireless Telegraph Company began to sell at encouraging figures. Conditions were again looking upward. 2
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Block Island Wireless, 2nd issue
1 Squeezing to the mainland through space By Robert M. Downie
2 Radio News March 1925
3 This week in Block Island Histoy: July 9, 1903 - Block Island's only daily newspaper ends publication, By Robert M. Downie