The Outlook, February 27, 1909, page 423-424:
When the wireless telegraph operator at the Portsmouth Navy Yard tried, a week ago last Saturday, to reach the fleet that was returning from its voyage around the world, he was able to catch only a single message, and that was from the cruiser Yankton a thousand miles in advance of the other ships. The trouble was that the air was full of unimportant electric messages sent by young amateur operators in the region of Boston. The number of such amateurs who are experimenting with this new form of telegraphy is surprising; and their feats are interesting and picturesque. One boy, for example, in a New York suburb, has a wireless installation which is practically entirely the work of his own hands. In the evening or after school hours he often sits at his instrument and "talks" with one or another of half a dozen of his friends who have similar installations, or "listens" at random to the messages with which the air is filled. With the strength of current at his command he can "send" only a few miles, but he can "receive" from much greater distances. He has overheard messages from ships at sea, from the navy yards at Brooklyn and Norfolk, from the great Cape Cod station, and once, he believes, from distant Galveston, Texas. The other day a friend of the family sailed for Europe at two in the afternoon. It was a densely foggy day, and the family felt natural apprehension for the friend going out into weather so dangerous for vessels. But at half-past five the boy, "listening" at his instrument, caught a reassuring message from the steamer to the home office, saying that she had anchored off Sandy Hook to wait for the fog to lift. The interest of young men and boys in this fascinating pursuit has undoubted educational value. But their activities have a broader and more serious aspect. With a small and weak instrument an amateur's messages do not seriously interfere with the big installations. With a more powerful current an amateur, on the other hand, can interfere seriously with the instruments at the regular stations and on board vessels, as the experience of the operators on the fleet and at the navy yard illustrates. At the time of the rescue of the Republic by the Baltic The Outlook urged that laws restrict the use of wireless telegraphy to stations under Government control. The experience of the home-coming fleet emphasizes the need of some such legislation, and of thorough oversight by established authority.