The Wireless Set No. 19 Homepage


W.S. No. 19 Group
                                        Sig Telecom Sect of MAMH
                                        c/o 1309 Sunbury Rd, R.R. #2
                                        Inverary, Ontario
                                        CANADA     K0H 1X0

                                        12 1414 EST December 2000

Distribution List


Ref:    A.  19 Set Gp voice net, 12 Nov '00
        B.  19 Set Gp voice net, 10 Dec '00

Time Zone Used Throughout This Order is: EST

1.      SITUATION.  The Wireless Set no. 19 Group has a tradition of
mounting special operations to draw attention to historical events.  Such
an event occurred on 23 December 1900 when Reginald Aubrey Fessenden made the
first radio transmission in voice -- details of that historic event, and
other information on Fessenden can be found at

It seems fitting that the Wireless Set No. 19 Group should celebrate the 100th
 anniversary of this event by holding commemorative nets.

In keeping with the vintage radio aspects of the group,
it would be desirable for participants to use vacuum
tube equipment and amplitude modulation on that day.

2.      MISSION.  On 23 December 2000, the Wireless Set No. 19 Group will
hold AM nets to mark the 100th anniversary of the first voice transmission
by radio.

3.      EXECUTION.
        a.  General Outline.  Two AM voice nets, of approximately one hour
duration each will be held - one on 40 M and the other on 80 M.  During
these nets, outstations will check-in and provide a description of their
station.  These nets can also be used as an opportunity to log contacts for
the Vintage Operator's Award and to establish distance records with vintage

        b.  Grouping and Tasks.
                (1)  Net Control Station (NCS) - VA3ORP (alternate is VE3CBK).
                     Task is to organize and conduct the net.
                (2)  Outstations - all available W.S. No. 19 Group members
                     Task is to check-in per normal 19 Set Gp procedures

        c.  Co-ordinating Instructions.
               (1)  Date:      23 December 2000
               (2)  Time:      40 M net: 1400 - 1500 EST
                               80 M net: 2000 - 2100 EST
               (3)  Freq:      40 M net:  7.275 MHz (+/- 25 KHz)
                               80 M net:  3.975 MHz (+/- 25 KHz)
               (4)  Mode:      AM (MCW also permitted)
               (5)  C/S:       Collective call for net: '19 Set Net'
                               Outstation calls as issued by local governments
               (6)  Exchange:  per Vintage Op Award (C/S, name, RST, equipment
			       type, serial)
               (7)  Reports:   operating hints discovered during the net
should be reported to NCS ([email protected]) via email.
                (8)  Loss of Contact:  Outstations are reminded to search
aggressively for the NCS at the times listed.  NCS will transmit as close to
the listed frequency as possible (depending on QRM).  In the event that the
listed frequency is busy, preference will initially be given to going higher
in frequency.
		If no contact is established between NCS and any outstations
by H + :15, then the AM net is free and outstations may commence calling at
their discretion.  If no voice contact is established by H + :30, then NCS
will switch to high power CW operations on 7.017/3.703 MHz (+/- 5 KHz).

4.      SERVICE SUPPORT. Nil for equipment.  Station VE3RCS at the Canadian
Forces Communications and Electronics Museum (Kingston) will provide assistance in
preparation of a commemorative certificate,  postage to be paid by individual

5.      COMMAND AND SIGNAL.  In command for this operation is David
Lawrence, VA3ORP.  He may be reached by telephone at (613) 387-2094
(between 0800 and 2300 hrs EST) and by email at [email protected]  In the absence of
D. Lawrence, Chris Bisaillion, VE3CBK, shall take command.  He may be reached
at (613) 592-2008 (between 0800 and 2000 hrs EST) and by email at
 [email protected]

Acknowledgement:  Outstations planning to participate in this event should
advise VA3ORP not later than 2000 hrs EST on 22 December 2000.

(original signed by)

D.G. Lawrence, VA3ORP
NCS, W.S. No. 19 Gp

Distribution List
        [email protected]
        VE3BDB (for website)
        VA3ORP (file copy)


						Wireless Set No. 19 Group
						Sig/Telecom Sect of MAMH
						c/o 1309 Sunbury Rd, R.R. #2
						Inverary, Ontario
						CANADA  K0H 1X0

						27 December 2000

Final Report - Operation "FESSENDEN"


1.	Background.  Operation "FESSENDEN" was a special event in which members of
the Wireless Set No. 19 Group used vintage radio equipment to mark the 100th
anniversary of the first wireless voice transmission.  The original event
occurred on 23 December 1900 when Reginald Aubrey Fessenden sent a voice message
over a distance of one mile.  The equipment used for that experiment was a
spark transmitter having a spark rate of 10,000 Hz.  A carbon microphone in the
antenna lead was used to produce amplitude modulation.  A good biography of
Fessenden and his experiments can be found at:
"".  Queen's University
(Special Collections) also has an interesting collection of original
documents and copies of magazine articles related to Fessenden.

2.	The W.S. No. 19 Gp marked this centennial event by using the
amplitude modulated mode with both vintage and modern equipment.
Some attention was drawn to the event by announcements on
local amateur radio nets (Trans-Provincal Net) and by contact with the
local television station.  Although the television station expressed
considerable interest, they did not follow through.

3.	Purpose.  The purpose of this report is to document the special event
and to record the lessons learned.


4.	Organization.  Organization of the event was as detailed in "Operation
Order - FESSENDEN dated 12 1414 EST December 2000".  The plan called for two
nets - one on 40 M at 1400 EST and the second on 80 M at 2000 EST.
Times and frequencies were chosen to favour ranges out to approximately 500 Km.
Once all of the out-stations were checked-in, they were each given an
opportunity to make contact with one of the other stations.  The Net Control
Station operated with modern equipment having 25 watts output (AM carrier power).

5.	Propagation.  Solar conditions during the event were as follows:
23rd @ 1400 EST - SF=190.9, A=20, K=3; 23rd @ 2000 EST - SF=193.0, A=5, K=1.
Although this would suggest better propagation for the later period, in fact
the earlier one was by far the better opportunity.  By 2000 hrs signals were
weaker and QRM was very bad.

6.	Participants.  The following eleven (11) stations participated in
this operation:
	a.	VA3ORP (Dave), near Kingston, Ontario
	b.	VE3CBK (Chris), near Kanata, Ontario
	c.	VE3CSJ (John), Orleans, Ontario
	d.	W1HIS (Chuck), Belmont MA
	e.	VE3BBN (Dave), near Niagara Falls, Ontario
	f.	VE3RIH (Alan), Mississauga, Ontario
	g.	AJ1G (Chris), Stonington, CT
	h.	W1GDZ (Joe), Fairfield, CT
	i.	W1NU (Vic), Farifield, CT
	j.	VE3BDB (Bob), Orillia, Ontario
	k.	VE3RCS ("Jimmy"), near Kingston, Ontario (club station)

7.	Contacts Completed.  During the two operating periods there were ten
(10) QSOs completed.  For 70% of these exchanges, vintage vacuum tube equipment
was being used.  Carrier levels varied from a low of 2 watts (VA3ORP/VE3RCS with
 W.S. No. 19, Mk III) to a high of 100 watts (AJ1G with AN/GRC-19).  The greatest
range achieved between 19 Sets was 82 miles (W1HIS & AJ1G).  The greatest range
between vintage gear was 232 miles (VE3CBK & VE3BBN).  Details of all of the
exchanges are as follows:
	a.	1355 EST - VE3CBK (19 Set) and VA3ORP (19 Set)
	b.	1417 EST - VE3CBK (19 Set) and VE3BBN (Apache TX-1 & HRO)
	c.	1427 EST - W1HIS (Icom 775) and AJ1G (AN/GRC-19)
	d.	1443 EST - W1HIS (19 Set) and AJ1G (19 Set)
	e.	1454 EST - W1NU (Heath SB-1400) and VE3BBN (Apache TX-1 & HRO)
	f.	1457 EST - W1GDZ (Kenwood TS-50) and W1NU (Heath SB-1400)
	g.	1503 EST - VE3BDB (19 Set) and VE3BBN (Apache TX-1 & HRO)
	h.	1941 EST - VE3CBK (19 Set) and VE3RCS (19 Set)
	i.	2004 EST - VE3RCS (Kenwood TS-440) and W1HIS (19 Set)
	j.	2021 EST - W1HIS (19 Set) and W1GDZ (Kenwood TS-50)

8.	At the end of the 1355 EST contact, a transmission very similar to that
sent by Fessenden 100 years ago was made.  VA3ORP transmitted to VE3CBK, "one,
two, three, four - is it snowing where you are Mr Bisaillion?  If you can hear
me, please email a message back".  The response from VE3CBK was, "Yes, it is
snowing here".  That reply was made using a W.S. No. 19 in MCW (modulated
continuous wave).

9.	Lessons Learned.  This was the first time that the 19 Set Group
operated an exclusively AM net (operations are normally conducted in Morse code).
This presented problems as the power levels were only about 1/3 of normal, the
modulation levels were low and the QRM was more bothersome than in CW operations.
The following lessons were learned:

	a.	Modulation must be checked to ensure that it is at least 50%.
The output from most of the original microphone elements is insufficient reach
this level.  The use of the Control Unit No. 10 (aka "high level modulation box")
is highly recommended. (see Wireless for the Warrior, Vol II - page W.S. 19
Control-12 for wiring details).

	b.	Power output must be checked.  Normally the carrier level on
AM will be about 1/3 that of the CW signal.  With one set it was found to be
only 1/7 of the CW output level.  No explaination was found for this and the
set seemed to be operating normally in all other regards.

	c.	The advantage of a high powered Net Control Station cannot be
overstated. For this event NCS had only 25 watts, and while this was adequate,
higher power would have held the frequency better.

	d.	Finding a frequency for AM opertions is difficult.  At the high
end of the 40 M band (where AM stations tend to congregate) there are a lot of
broadcast stations. There are also a number of amateur AM stations in the 200
watt class and many SSB stations in the 100 to 1000 watt class.  This amount
of activity, plus the wide bandwidth of the vintage rigs, presents a challenge
for the NCS to find a suitable piece of spectrum.  One solution is to have the
NCS and his alternate occupy a frequency for a minimum of 15 minutes before net
time using 100 watts SSB.  With such a QSO in progress, it is easier for the
out-stations to find the net.  Further, once the QSO is firmly established,
there is somewhat less chance of being QRM'd off of the frequency.  The NCS
should be prepared with 100 watts on SSB to advise interfering stations that
there is a net in progress.

	e.	For this event, the NCS directed individual out-station to make
a short transmission and then checked to see which of the other out-stations
could copy that station best.  Once this was determined, those two stations
were directed to make the necessary exchange of information.  There were several
advantages to this "listing" procedure.  First, net time was not wasted attempting
to make marginal contacts.  Secondly, the NCS station was on-the-air for a
large percentage of the time, thereby holding the frequency more effectively
than if low power stations were occupying the frequency.  Finally, NCS was able to ensure
that all out-stations had a chance to complete a full exchange.

	f.	Out-stations must keep their comments brief.  While this is
important in any net, when there are ten out-stations and conditions are
marginal, brevity becomes critical.

	g.	Having two operating periods was helpful.
Not only did it provide a backup period in case of unsatisfactory propagation,
but it allowed participants to more easily work the event into their
weekend schedule.

	h.	A short testing skeds was organized for the day prior to the event.
This proved to be extremely useful as it uncovered a modulation problem while
there was still time to have it corrected. This problem had not been
identified through normal serviceability checks.
The lesson is that there is no substitute for a complete on-air check.

	i.	The "Loss of Contact" procedure was satisfactory.
The net was operating  close to the advertised frequency and
out-stations seemed to have little problem in finding the net.
On two occasions the net QSY'd slightly and this was preceded by a short announcement.
The NCS did not confirm that each of the out-stations understood this announcement,
as to do so would have taken considerable time.  There is an obvious danger
in such a procedure.  It is recommended that all Op Orders emphasis the need for
out-stations to search aggressively for the NCS, both at the start of the net
and any time that contact has been lost.

	j.	It is important for the out-stations to read the Op Order
carefully.  Some time was spent in passing information that was not included
in the formal exchange.  In a net such as this, brevity and adherance to the
procedures is essential to ensure that all out-stations get a chance
to participate. While do so (the Op Order requested participating stations
to advise NCS not later than 22nd 2200 EST Dec).  In the past, some operations
have been cancelled due to lack of interest simply because
out-stations have not complied with this request.

	k.	News coverage of this event was essentially non-existant.  Radio
Canada International (Radio Mailbag) had brief mention of our event about a week
prior.  The Canadian Broadcast Corporation noted the anniversary during
the 8 AM news on the 23rd.  The local Kingston television station expressed
an interest but did not follow through as promised.  This, and previous
encounters with the press, suggest that the best way to capture their
interest is with a press release and agressive follow-up.  In essence, the
work has to be done for them as they are unwilling/unable to do the
research for themselves. Giving them a press release increases, but does
not guarantee, the likelyhood of them getting at least some of the details correct.


10.	From an operating perspective the event was a resounding success.  It
provided an opportunity for the W.S. No. 19 Gp to expand its activities,
restore some equipment and provide some recognition to one of the true
pioneers of radio. This alone made the effort worthwhile.  The group
should build on this success by further developing the capability for voice operations.
Not only would this add to our own understanding of the difficulties
encountered by WWII military operators, but voice operations is more likely
to draw the attention of the general public.

11.	From a public relations perspective the event was an opportunity lost.
If public recognition of vintage amateur radio activities is a goal, then it
will have to be considered at the very start of the planning process.  This may
be the most important lesson learned from this event as we begin to think about
the activities to mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Corps of
Signals in 2003.

D.G. Lawrence, VA3ORP
Net Control Station
W.S. No. 19 Gp
(613) 387-2094

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