With the Battle Fleet, Franklin Matthews, 1908, pages 16-18:
There was much interest on the ships as to how the wireless telephone would work out. The system has been in operation only a few months and is largely in the experimental and almost the infantile stage.
All of the battleships are equipped with the apparatus and there was no doubt about it, you could talk to any ship in the fleet from any other and at times the sounds of the voice were as clear as through an ordinary telephone. At times they weren't, and there was a division of opinion among the officers as to the real value of the invention.
As is the case with the wireless telegraph only one ship of a fleet can use the telephone at one time. While one ship is talking to another all the other ships must keep out of it and even the ship to which the message is being sent must keep still and not break in. The receiver must wait until the sender has got all through with what he has to say and then he can talk back.
The sending and receiving machines use part of the apparatus of the wireless telegraph outfit. If an attempt is made to use the telegraph while the telephone is in use the telephone goes out of commission at once because it is absolutely drowned out. The telegraph apparatus uses so much greater power that it is like a loud voice overwhelming a soft one.
The operator at the telephone would sound a signal with some sort of a buzzer that had the wail of a lost cat in its voice and then he would put a little megaphone into the mouthpiece of the telephone and would say, sharp and clear:
"Minnesota! Minnesota! Minnesota! This is the Louisiana! This is the Louisiana! This is the Louisiana! We have a press message for you to send to the beach. We have a press message for you to send to the beach. Do you hear us? Do you hear us? Minnesota! Minnesota! This is the Louisiana! Go ahead! Go ahead!"
Sometimes the message would fail. Sometimes the wireless, one kind or the other, would be working on other ships. Sometimes the answer would come at once and the operator would write down the reply and hand it over to you.
When connection would be established fully the operator instead of reading off your press message would click it off by a telegraph key to the Minnesota's operator. That was to make sure that he would get it correctly. Peculiarly spelled words employed in cabling could not he made out by the ordinary operator and it was taking chances to spell them out with the voice, and hence they were sent with the keys the operation really being a combination of the wireless telephone and telegraph, yet not at all complicated in practical operation.
Everyone of the electrical experts with the fleet is convinced that the wireless telephone is going to be of value. Most of them have talked with it clearly for distances of at least twenty miles. One difficulty is in keeping it tuned up because the wireless telegraph apparatus is also on board.
Some of the experts seemed to think that one service dropped in efficiency if the other was kept keyed up to its best. All were confident that as soon as certain difficulties were overcome, difficulties no more serious, they said, than the ordinary telephone encountered in the beginning, the apparatus would be workable as readily as a telephone on land. Give it time, was the way the situation was summed up.