Nantucket Shoals, 1854 – 1983

by Pete Rapelje N2PYV


November 2005                              VOL.  78, NO. 11                                                   CIR 120

There was a discussion at the GARC October meeting about where the Nantucket Lightship was originally stationed. The Nantucket Lightship which GARC members operated from on lightship day, is now docked at Oyster Bay.  It is uncertain if it will continue to remain there.  The following, from the lightship website, describes the Nantucket Shoals area.


Location and Historical notes:

Originally referred to as “Nantucket New South Shoal” from 1854 through 1896; from 1896 through 1983 it was named “Nantucket Shoals.”  This lightship station marked the southern extremity of the extensive shoals that exist south and east from Nantucket Island.  It served as a primary leading mark for both the coastwise and trans-Atlantic traffic.  It was located variously at distances from 20 to 50 nautical miles from the nearest land.  It was repositioned several times to provide for greater safety margin from shoal areas, and to conform to changes in the international traffic lanes.  Nantucket Shoals was one of the most exposed lightship stations in the world and it was the last of the U.S. lightship stations to be discontinued. 



The Guglielmo Marconi Shack in Rocky Point

By Bob Wexelbaum W2ILP


         Long Island is rich in the history of pioneering radio communication.  Rocky Point, Long Island was once the location of RCA’s main transatlantic transmitting site..  On November 5, 1921, President Warren Harding pressed the buttons to start the mighty continuous wave alternators that transmitted the first transatlantic message.  The design of the original high powered RCA CW transmitters would more likely have been credited to Fessenden than Marconi, but it was Marconi who first attempted transatlantic communication between Long Island and England.  He failed on Long Island and he failed at Cape Cod but Marconi eventually succeeded in Newfoundland.  This being history, we must remember that Long Island, New York was considered to be an important communications link from the commerce of New York to Europe and using eastern Long Island as a communication center was inspired by Marconi.  He had set up a school for Morse Code radio operators on Long Island and he made several trips to New York, meeting with Armstrong and other early inventors and investors, who were interested in transcontinental radio communication..


            The only remaining structure that can be attributed to Marconi on Long Island is a radio receiving shack that was built in 1901 or 1902.  It measures only 12 feet by 14 feet, and. it looks like an oversized out-house.  Its appearance is similar to the “dog houses” that exist at the bottom of some AM MF broadcasting station antenna towers, where antenna tuning components are housed.   The shack was meant to be a station for receiving only and it has a table. The table height is so high that the operators must have operated standing up.  A photograph exists that shows Marconi and Armstrong in front of the shack and that serves to prove its authenticity.

            The shack is now located in front of the Carasiti Elementary School of Rocky Point on Rocky Point Road (Rte 21) near Rte. 25A.  To be historically accurate, this is not its original location.   

            Twice a year the shack becomes special event station, W2RC, manned by members of the Radio Central Amateur Radio Club.   The club members use modern Ham transceivers, just as they use on Field Day, not anything like the original Marconi spark equipment.   In April Marconi Day is commemorated on the week end closest to his birthday (April 25, 1874).  In November it operates to commemorate the anniversary of RCA’s first transatlantic message.  The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) actually took over the site that was first intended to be used by the Marconi Company. By the time you get this newsletter it will be too late for this year’s event.  However, according to Emil, KD1F, who is the RCARC president, you need not be a member of the RCARC if you want to visit the shack on future event days and have an interest in Amateur Radio.

            The Marconi events in which Long Island participates are not the only Marconi world events.  Others are sponsored independently by sites where Marconi stations also existed, at different times of the year to commemorate other mile stones.

            It can be argued that Marconi did not invent radio.  In truth, Sir Oliver Lodge had invented or at least perfected the coherer and Amos Emerson Dolbear had experimented with RF tuning and magnetic telephone receivers, before Marconi utilized these components.  Both Lodge and Dolbear were college professors who conducted lab experiments based on the theories of Hertz and Maxwell.  Lodge is discredited for much of his scientific work because of his work with “spiritualist” séances.  Marconi was, in his day, a systems integrator who put the coherer and the RF tuner together with an antenna system and pioneered work on long range communication.  For his efforts Marconi must be recognized as the inventor of radio communications systems.  Debatably it is like saying that Farnsworth or Zworkin invented all electronic television systems, and forgetting that both electromagnetic and electrostatic deflection of electron beams had been performed in laboratories by Crookes and others before these techniques were applied to television scanned deflection.  The vacuum tubes (other than the kinescope CRT, and image dissector or iconoscope) as well as most of the other circuit components had been invented and developed for radio communication and instrumentation before they were used for TV transmitters and receivers.   Until the successes of Farnsworth (working independently)  and Zworkin (working for RCA) nobody had built a working all electronic scanned TV transmitter and receiver system.

            Some time in the 1980s a very professionally produced VCR taped film about the life of Marconi was shown at a GARC meeting.  The tape was borrowed from the IEEE.  It was produced by the Marconi Company of Canada. At a local meeting of an IEEE chapter in about 1985, Bob Fitzgerald, WA2MTG (A former GARC member) and your editor attended a lecture about Marconi given by Dr. Probir K. Bondyopadhyay, who was at that time a professor at NYIT. Dr. ‘Bondy’ spoke and showed slides about his meeting with one of Marconi’s daughters. .  She was trying to get contributions to bring a full sized replica of Marconi’s yacht, ‘Elettra” from Italy to the U.S.   The yacht was supposed to be a copy of the original ship which had been sunk during WW2 and carried much of Marconi’s experimental radio equipment.  The heirs of Marconi were seeking more recognition for him and Dr. ‘Bondy’ had proposed making a standard 1 GHz = 1 Marconi.   This definition was never officially accepted.  I don’t know if the Elettra ever came to the U.S...  Dr ‘Bondy’ moved to Texas and I have not heard or read anything about him since.   It was pointed out that before Marconi’s death in Italy he had

built a microwave communications link between the Vatican and the Pope’s summer home in Castle Gondalfo..  .  








     A few months ago I mentioned that I was a crossword puzzle fan, and usually do two or three every day from my daily newspapers. I enjoy it a lot, and really look forward to the Sunday papers, when there are at least 5 puzzles for me to do, two of which are very big ones. Since I don’t watch sports on TV on Sundays, I have time to read. I also think that these puzzles cause your brain to reach into places that don’t been exercised in a long time. Hopefully, this will help me to not get Alzheimer’s too quickly as I get older. My Mom has it pretty bad these days, and it’s not a pleasant sight. Maybe the mental effort doing all these puzzles will help. It certainly helps to improve your vocabulary, but that’s a questionable goal for a guy my age. Of course, I often wondered how hard it is to actually make a puzzle. It’s called “generating” the puzzle, and I read some articles from the experts on how this is done. Note that the good generators can spend a day or two making a puzzle, and then sell it to a paper or magazine for a hundred bucks. This is not something most people can make a living at. But, when I tried to compose a puzzle from scratch, I didn’t get very far before I was stuck. It was very frustrating, even though I have been doing crosswords all my life, I couldn’t think of words to fill in the spaces I had. I tried this a few times over the years, and always gave up. Then some years ago, the computer guys started writing some pretty decent software to do this. All you needed to do was give it a fairly complete list of words it could use to fill in the spaces. I think they call this a dictionary. They had scanned some dictionaries, and now had big lists of words. A really large dictionary might have over 100,000 words, many of them are ones we never heard of. Average humans may have a vocabulary this great, but in actual use, will employ about 5000 words for 95% of their conversational material. Now that we have some decent software, and fat PCs to run it on, I thought I would try some. I downloaded a few, and tried them out. Only one, Crossword Weaver, did a really good job of churning out new puzzles. It has a builtin dictionary, of course. But, it also has the nice feature, that you can feed it a list of your own words, and it will try to use them first. Then it fills up empty words from its internal dictionary. This is prefect for making puzzles with a theme, and I wanted to make some with a Ham radio theme. All I needed now was a list of Ham words. I pulled lots of stuff from Ham web sites, and read QSTs looking for unique words. I ended up with a list of about 550. This is a file with a word followed by its definition. It’s 10 pages long. Many of these are simple acronyms, as these are quite numerous in our hobby. My first problem was that you can run the demo software, and create some puzzles, but it won’t let you save them. You need a software license key for that, and I wasn’t willing to spend the money. So I didn’t pursue this any further. Then, a few weeks ago, I got lucky. The HR folks here wanted to do an Ethics poster in the form of a crossword. They bought licenses for the Weaver, and gave me one. Now I can generate some nice puzzles, save them, or print them out. Then I ran into problem number two. When I make a puzzle, it can’t seem to be able to use more than 30 of my words in a puzzle grid with 84 word spaces. So it fills in the rest with words from its list, and some of them I never heard of. Nevertheless, I can now make some theme puzzles, and I shall bring them to one of our Club meetings and we can play around with it for a little while. Also, the software has the ability to make a java based puzzle. So I made one, and installed it on our web site. Take a look at it, and give it a try. This puzzle has 84 words, and about 30 of them are from my list. The rest are from the software. Have fun!  -Pat KE2LJ









Pete N2PYV

The meeting was called to order by Pat at 5:40 PM.



 Finances continue to be in good shape.                    Gordon was not present.  Pat reported that the

                                                                                   Bethpage Repeater was on a backup antenna while

                                                                                   the Plant 14 roof is being stripped and replaced.                                                                 


VE REPORT – Bob, W2ILP                                  NET REPORT- Zack, WB2PUE

There were four VEs and only one applicant.           Zack reported that the Sunday morning 40-Meter              

The applicants failed the Technician Exam.              Net was pretty good with about nine check-ins.

VEs present were: KC2HNN, AB2NT,                        Pat reported that the Thursday night 2-Meter

N2SFT and W2ILP.                                                    Net was reasonably good.                                                                                                                                                     .



Next month is the time for the usual club elections.  

Bob W2ILP reported that the will be no VE session in November, as Nov. 8th is national election and he          will not be available.  Bill, N2SFT will also not be available to host the session at UL.  Regular VE   sessions will continue in December.



Marty, NN2C gave an interesting presentation about the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society (ARLHS). 

Marty is a member of this organization and has contacted many lighthouses when they have been            activated by Hams as special events stations.  He showed us a large book full of lighthouse QSL cards          and certificates.



40 Meters: 7.289 MHz at 7:30 AM EST Sundays.

20 Meters: 14.275 MHz at 12 Noon EST Wednesdays.

2 Meters (via repeaters): 146.745 MHz  (-.600)at 8:30 PM EST Thursdays.

                                           145.330 MHz (- .600) at 9:00 PM EST Thursdays.

[Tone for both repeaters is 136.5 Hz]         (ARES/RACES) Mondays



General Meetings of the GARC are held on the third Wednesday of each month, starting at 5:30 PM.   The meetings are usually held at the Underwriters Lab, 1285 Walt Whitman Road,  Melville, NY.  Driving directions and maps can be obtained from   It is suggested that the GARC Web Site be checked to be certain of meeting location, which may change after this newsletter is distributed. Board meetings are held eight days before the General Meeting and GARC members are invited. to attend, but please call Pat Masterson, KE2LJ, at 516-346-7125 to confirm place and time of meeting. 

                                                                                                                                   Page 4



The web site of the GARC can be found at     Webmaster is Pat Masterson KE2LJ.  Pictures of GARC activities, archives of newsletters, roster of members, and other information about the GARC may be found there.     


Internet Link of the Month for Internerds


Bill Savage, N2SFT, bought a Heathkit HW-16 at a flea market. The HW-16 is an interesting CW receiver-transmitter.  It is not really a transceiver because other than a common power supply the receiver and transmitter do not use many of the same circuits as most transceivers do.  The HW-16 was designed especially for Novice class hams, at a time when they could only use CW with crystal controlled transmitters of less than 75 watts of RF input.  When Bill brought the HW-16 home he found that the receiver worked OK but the transmitter was entirely inoperative.  He needed a schematic diagram to troubleshoot the unit.  He found a good one plus all the information he needed about the HW-16, by going to our internet link of this month.

Bill typed in <Heathkit Resources>. To a search engine and found:




This site offers a matrix of all Heathkit ham products.   It may be slow to download its menu matrix, so don’t give up until the index displays A through X as the first letters of the Heathkit model numbers.

The diagram for the HW-16 was available in two sections which download nicely and can be expanded for display of all component values..  Bill found that two of the HW-16 transmitter tubes had been wired incorrectly.  The plate connections were made to the wrong tube socket pins.  When he repaired this error the transmitter worked OK.

Some of the Heathkit schematics are not available and some link to the BAMA site which was previously covered in this column.  This site, however, has the most complete coverage of Heathkit models that I could find because its matrix lists every known model.   There are some sites that offer manuals for sale but this site allows you to print out anything that you need and may find there for free.  If you have any schematics, etc. that are not presently covered there, I believe that you may donate them to the web master for inclusion.  Additional inputs may make the matrix more complete for future use.  I found that the site had the schematic for my HA-14 linear RF power amplifier but referred to BAMA for my HW-101’s schematic.


Come on all of you Internerds!  Send me information on any Web sites that you link to that would be of interest to hams in general or to the members of the GARC.  I realize that I could avoid  printing any articles in this newsletter if I could fill it up with Web links…but then there would be no way to add personal comments, jokes and opinions.  I also understand that all members may not be Internerds and may not have a computer and ISP.  Some may have outdated computers that are too slow and are not able to rapidly download.  To those members I apologize.  I want to hear from everyone about their opinions relating to this web site advisory column and I want you guys to send in your favorite links as well.


Just as a good example; Stan Rogak, KB2QFT, has been sending suggestions about internet sites to me via e-mail. Here they are:



From EE Times News Letter….Something to ponder.



From EE Times Newsletter…Will we be ready?



NASA’s “World Wind” computer program was originally designed to deliver satellite images and data to the

Internet on Earth.   The program recently expanded to “transport Web users to almost anyplace on the Moon, when they zoom in from a global view to closer pictures of our natural satellite taken by the Clementine spacecraft in the 1990s.  The PC-compatible World Wind program is available free of charge via an Internet download.  Computer users from more than 100 nations have acquired the free World Wind program.  To download World Wind, visit:


From Dave Ledo, AB2EF

I received the following Web site address.  It is Tony’s VA3AVR site.



From W2ILP your editor:

For those who are interested in International Marconi Day, there is a web site that is run at Marconi’s original radio transmitting site in Cornwall, England where you can find out about the history of the first transatlantic messages and also get the list of Marconi Day Award stations that operate from original historical sites, which are coordinated by the Cornish Radio Amateur Club. It is:-





Here is another cryptogram:











Howard Liebman, W2QUV called me and complimented me on the features of this newsletter   Howard likes to do the crypto puzzles.  He had found an error in November’s puzzle.  The letter “y” of the word “any” was improperly encoded..   Thanks for the kudos Howie.  I’ll try to be more careful in the future.   . 

                                                                                                                                                    Page 6



We are continuing to proctor exams for all classes of ham licenses on the second Tuesday of each month, starting at 5:00 PM.


The present exams are: Element 1: 5 WPM CW, Element 2: Technician,

Element 3: General and Element 4: Amateur Extra Class. The fee for 2005 is $14 for all exams taken in one sitting.


Applicants for upgrading should bring a photocopy of their present license and their FRN number.


New, first time, applicants should be aware that their Social Security

number will be required on their application form. All applicants should bring drivers license or other picture ID. The exams are given at the Underwriters Lab in Melville,

unless otherwise noted.   This is the same building where GARC meetings are presently held.


For any further information e-mail: -

[email protected] or phone: - (631) 499-2214


Study material information is available at the or the web site.


All VECs use the same Q & A pools.


Since the beginning of the VE program the GARC has provided opportunities to take ham exams monthly, during all twelve months of every year.




Bob Wexelbaum, W2ILP

and the Grumman VE team.



                                   Page 7



November 2005

 VOL.  78,  NO.  11



Bob Wexelbaum  W2ILP

(631) 499-2214

[email protected]





And all the members of GARC (we hope!)


CQ de WA2LQO is published monthly by the Grumman Amateur Radio Club for its members and friends. Send articles and amateur equipment advertisements to:




If you want to submit articles or amateur equipment ads via e-mail do the following:

1. For submission direct to editor call him at above number to set up a transfer.

2. For e-mail transfer:

Internet Address

[email protected]




The VE session for November 2005 was cancelled.  I did not like to cancel a scheduled VE session, as we had managed to run VE sessions every month of the year for as long as I can remember.  Bill Savage had a medical appointment and therefore we cold not use the Underwriters Lab for the session.  I had to work as an election inspector, and there was no one available to coordinate the session if we could use another location.  November 8th was Election Day.


Our normal VE sessions are scheduled to continue in December 2005 and throughout 2006 as noted on this page. 


Our club will also be holding elections at the November meeting.  I hope to see you all there.




W2ILP ( I LICENSE PEOPLE)…with the help of at least two other VEs, my VEC and the FCC.




President               Pat Masterson              KE2LJ              V01-01    516-346-7125

Vice President       Gordon Sammis             KB2UB            Retiree     631-666-7463

Secretary               Peter Rapelje                  N2PYV          Retiree     516-676-0694
Treasurer               Ed Gellender                   WB2EAV         X02-14   516-575-0013

2Yr Board Member    Zack Zilavy               WB2PUE        Retiree     631-667-4628
2YrBoard Member     Dave Ledo               AB2EF

2Yr Board Member   Bob Christen         W2FPF               

1Yr Board Member   Bob Wexelbaum    W2ILP                 Retiree     631-499-2214

1Yr Board Member    Jack Cotterell        WA2PYK            Retiree     516-249-0979

Trustee WA2LQO       Ray Schubnel        W2DKM           Retiree




Meeting Programs       Contact a Board Member

FCC Exam Coord.         Bob Wexelbaum       W2ILP                           631-499-2214





President                       Pat Masterson          KE2LJ             B38-111          346-6316

Vice President               Gordon Sammis        KB2UB           C63-005          575-1846

Secretary                       Peter Rapelje             N2PYV           Retiree            676-0694

Treasurer                       Phil  Simonetti           N2ZED           K10-14            346-8124    

2Yr Board Member       Paul Chalson             WA2FOF       A16-043         224-8153

2Yr Board Member       Howard Liebman      W2QUV         Retiree            433-7487

2Yr Board Member       Martin Miller             NN2C             Retiree            423-8153

1Yr Board Member       Zak Zilavy                 WB2PUE       Retiree            667-4628

1Yr Board Member       Hank Niemczyk         W2ZZE          Retiree            796-3212

Trustee WA2LQO       Ray Schubnel           W2DKM        C31-005          575-5036




Meeting Programs       Contact a Board Member

FCC Exam Coord.         Bob Wexelbaum       W2ILP                                    499-2214







































Sixty Years 1944 -2004

P.O. Box 0644

Bethpage, NY 11714-0644




                                                                                                        FIRST CLASS

                                                                           DO  NOT DELAY

                                 TECHNICAL BITS                


If you are interested in buying or building an HF receiver or transceiver, you will want to learn about the required receiver specifications and how they are accomplished in modern receivers.  Of prime consideration is the receiver’s sensitivity.  This is measured by determining what the smallest signal voltage can be to produce a usable signal audio voltage at the second or final detector.  A good HF receiver should have a sensitivity of less than one microvolt.  Most are specified to have a sensitivity of a fraction of a microvolt.  Such




sensitivities also require that the noise level is low enough so that the signal exceeds the noise.  This means that the receiver must not generate excessive noise itself.   The next specification is the

selectivity or bandwidth of the receiver. A receiver’s bandwidth is best if it is not larger than the modulation mode of the signals to be received.  An AM or NBFM Signal requires a receiver with a bandwidth of about 10 kHz; An SSB signal such as most hams use, needs about  2.7 kHz.; A CW signal needs only about 800 Hz.  It would be nice if the bandwidth window was a rectangle, however this is not possible with any filtering method.




Thus the bandwidths quoted are actually the 3 db down bandwidths on a graph of the receiver’s response.  A typical receiver that has a band pass of 10 kHz 3db down on the response graph will have a band pass that is at least 20 kHz 30db down from the peak on the response graph.  We can see that the “skirts” of the response graph are not vertical. The selectivity is usually determined by the I.F. transformers, but in better receivers the  response is sharpened by the use of crystal filters.  Mechanical filters are even better than crystal filters.  Next month I will continue discussing the subject of receiver selectivity.