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Great Yarmouth Radio Club
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Welcome to GB100CS

Celebrating the Centenary of the Coastal Wireless Stations, with the Marconi Caister on Sea wireless station, one of the first in the Nationwide chain of stations.

These station were the forerunner of the present day Coast Guard stations.

GB100CS Special Event Station in Caister On Sea, Norfolk

Location and Functions

The Caister Marconi station was situated in a dwelling house 2 miles north of Great Yarmouth on the Norfolk coast. It was intended for communicating with ships in the North Sea and also served for communication with the Cross-Sand lightship. This was connected by Marconi private telegraph wire, common battery sounder set to the Yarmouth P.O and joined through to Norwich for night and Sunday services.

Type of installation

The station was fitted with a 3 part housed mast about 150 feet high fitted with 2 part steel wire aerial with extensions. The apparatus at the station was similar to Bolt Head Post Office Station but with a 1.5 KW rotary converter and a 4.25HP Campbell oil engine. No provision was made to drive the rotary converter from the oil engine only for electric driving from a battery of 54 chloride accumulators S type 7 plates. For charging the accumulators a separate d.c currant dynamo 135 volts 15 ampere driven by a belt was used. This plant was housed in a shed adjoining the premises whilst the accumulators were housed in a specially constructed annexe. The remainder of the plant was in the large front room of the man premises which also served as the operating room with the officer in charge living in the upstairs premises.

Range of Communication

The range of communication was 150 - 200 miles on the long wave (600 meter's) and the short wave frequency of 300 meter's would extend to about 100 miles.

Condition & Cost of the station

The condition was considered good and the location was considered ideal with the original cost of the station excluding the cost of the premises was £1500 in 1900, Today the premises would probably cost about £100,000. A copy of the station's license from 1907 shows that the maximum power output was 1000w (1KW) for operating on the 300 meters wavelength and was signed , sealed and delivered by Alexander Freeman king one of the secretaries to the Post Office.

The Coastal Communication System

The Coastal Communication System for the better prevention of loss of life from Shipwreck dates back to 1884 when the telegraph construction and maintenance company together with Trinity house laid a submarine cable between the "Sunk" lighthouse and Walton on Naze post office. The experiment was a success but very costly and in consequence of the unfavorable report issued by the committee appointed by the Board of Trade in 1887 to consider the question of electrical communication between light vessels and outlying light houses and the shore this idea was discontinued.

The Coastal Communication system as it exists today was the outcome of an agitation carried by a few private persons, by Chambers of Commerce and by the press for the provision of means for enabling lighthouse keepers, Coast Guards and others having special facilities for observing the coats to communicate with life boat and life saving apparatus stations in case of shipwreck.

This was pressed upon the attention of the house of commons by Sir Edward Birkbeck M.P on the 29th of March 1892 who formulated the Coast service proposals and on the 26th April 1892 the matter was brought to a definitive issue by a Resolution of the house on Sir Edward Birkbeck's motion:

"THAT WITH THE VIEW TO THE BETTER PREVENTION OF LOSS OF LIVE AND PROPERTY IN CASE OF DISTRESS OR SHIPWRECKED".

And so the Coastal station network was born.

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