The Electrical Experimenter, May, 1916, pages 24-25, 64:
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The  Washington's  Birthday  Amateur  Radio  Relay
By  W.  H.  Kirwan  (9XE).
AFTER the Rotary M. S. G. (Message) of December 31, 1915, which appeared to interest most of the wireless amateurs throughout the country, the author decided to provide another test on Washington's Birthday. Owing to the fact that nearly all the amateurs appeared to be floundering around at night without any real purpose in view, the idea of a nation-wide relay suggested itself.

ON the eve of Washington's Birthday last, our Wireless Amateurs performed the notable feat of relaying a Wireless Message from one end of the United States to the other. Originating with an amateur in Davenport, Ia., the message was relayed by Wireless Amateurs to President Wilson, as well as to thirty-seven Governors in as many States, and to 137 Mayors. Read this eloquent appeal of the radio amateurs who may serve their country in the event of war, and learn what they have actually accomplished.

    As February twenty-second was celebrated throughout the country as a national holiday, the night of February twenty-first was selected as the proper time to start the relay. Colonel Nicholson, U.S.A., was consulted at the Rock Island Arsenal and he promised to co-operate by sending a characteristic Birthday Message to this station just before the time of delivery, which was arranged as eleven p.m. Central Time.
    Strange as it may seem, the Rock Island Arsenal does not have a wireless station and recourse was had to a messenger on foot to deliver the M. S. G. to my station (9XE) in Davenport, which is only about one-half mile away, out within signaling distance for either wigwag or semaphore.
    Hundreds of letters were written to the best amateur transmitting and receiving stations and certain questions were asked about range (sending, receiving) and wave length. Some answered at once, others tardily, and the rest not at all.
    By using a large map of the United States and a pair of compasses scaled to the alleged sending radius of the sending stations, and using the points on the map where the sending stations were located, a series of overlapping circles were drawn which completely covered the United States, with the exception of several places in the western desert and mountain country.
    The most efficient wave length of the sending stations being known, a sheet of final instructions was printed, giving first--general information, next instructions to amateurs, then instructions to sending stations. This was followed by a list of sending stations, their time, wave length, and number of times they would repeat the M. S. G.
    One thousand of these instructions were mailed broadcast over the country, so that all cities and states would be represented. Particular attention had to be had to those states where the Governor lived in an inaccessible place by wireless, and extra instructions were mailed to the closest stations to deliver M. S. G. by Western Union or through the agency of the Boy Scouts. The final results of this relay naturally hinged upon the successful reception and relaying of the M. S. G. by the respective stations, as per schedule. This was a long shot, but, with only two exceptions, was there any real confusion.
    You all probably heard NAA and the other government stations send out the general warning for all amateurs to refrain from sending after the routine report of February twenty-first and this was brought about by the sponsor of this relay calling upon the Secretary of the Navy and urging his help and co-operation in this relay. Captain Bullard was consulted and readily assented. It seems that our earnest endeavors were appreciated by these gentlemen and their co-operation was the result. This proves one thing to the satisfaction of the most skeptical, and that is, the Department of Radio Service is ready and willing to help us when we show a determination to help ourselves and obey the really few and very reasonable laws governing the use of wireless apparatus.
    No one, therefore, appears to be gunning for the amateur. That which often seems like hard luck and persecution at times is really the result of disobeying the law knowingly or otherwise. Nearly all the leading educational institutions throughout the country enlisted for this relay, as well as all the star stations of the A.R.R.L. and several National Guard Signal Corps. Arrangements were made in the final instructions for a series of checking stations to work after the M. S. G. had been passed on by the regular sending stations and these boys surely did good work.
    As a preliminary test, 9XE arranged to use the same time and wave length, etc., of all sending stations on Friday preceding the relay, sending out a Q.S.T., Q.R.V. and sign, using up the time allowance on final instructions.
    Old Baron Münchhausen was evidently at work this night, as the static Q.R.N. was so bad that, had the relay been picked for this night it positively could never have left the confines of the state of Iowa. This shows our extreme helplessness, in cases of this kind and suggests that for a real relay service, to be of any use to our government, we must be able to work under the "worst" conditions and not the "best." various photos
    Moreover, nearly all sending stations rely upon local power companies for their primary current and these places, as well as the water works and custom houses are always the first to be taken by an enemy. This suggests that the most reliable relay station should have an auxiliary storage battery or gasoline engine with motor generator, so that the source of power can be relied upon in emergencies.
    At last the night of the relay rolled around and the writer was very busy answering long distance requests for copy of M. S. G. and also trying to keep the reporters for the Associated Press from climbing in the windows, but no one knew the real M. S. G. until it had been received by 9XE and sent hurtling through the ether forthwith.
    The M. S. G. was copied at once by 9YA and followed slowly down the line east and west, north and south. The following sending stations received and sent the M. S. G.: 9YA, 9XL, 9ZS, 9XV, 9JN, 9YI, 5BJ, 9ZA, 9YT, 9YE, 5ZI, 8QJ, 1ZM, 2FH, 9PC, 8YL, 8ZU, 8ZW, 8YI, 8YC, 2ZB, 2SX, 1ZM, 2JD, 1ZD, 1AT, 3YN. The following checking stations received and sent the M. S. G. after above stations had finished : 8ZT, 8XO, 3ZS, 5ZN, 3KA, 3DS, 9BD, 9DB, 8ZC, 9LT, 1AS.
    The author has grown up with wireless work, having been in the U. S. Navy at the time of the first experimental work in wireless, but never in his experience has he ever heard the air so still and quiet as on the night of February 21, 1916. Q.R.N. was not bad, but several commercial stations in their routine work caused a little inconvenience. Many of the sending stations were on a commercial wave and naturally caused a little confusion. Several impatient amateurs in the East also caused a lot of trouble by calling on a Q.S.T. and asking for M. S. G., because a little breakdown out West had caused a slight gap and disarranged the schedule somewhat. In war times these fellows would be shot at sunrise, but nothing will be done at present with them unless it will be to state that "no one ever gets anywhere who cannot obey orders!"
    Three telegrams were received early Washington's Birthday from Hiram P. Maxim, 1ZM, Hartford, Conn.; H. V. Blagen, 7DJ, Hoquiam, Wash., and W. J. King, 5CL, New Orleans, La.
    Letters continued pouring in from all parts of the country and a summary of them showed that the M. S. G. had been delivered to 37 Governors, 129 Mayors, 6 Town Commissioners, 2 Constables and last, but not least, to the President of the United States.
    Mr. W. A. Parks, 3DS, Washington, D.C., received the M. S. G. direct from J. C. Stroebel, 8ZW, Wheeling, W. Va., and mounted his motorcycle at about two a.m. and delivered the M. S. G. to the President's bodyguard at the White House in Washington, D.C.
    It may interest the readers to know that there were millionaires and poor, hardworking farm boys, several priests, six ministers, three ladies and numbers of radio clubs, schools, boy scouts and all working on this relay, and they did the trick in good shape, just like Americans can do when they get started.
    Several amusing incidents occurred during the relay. The Mayor of Dubuque, Iowa, was so enthusiastic over the scheme that several members of the Mississippi Valley Wireless Association took him to their station and strapped a pair of 2000 ohm. 'phones to his ears. He heard his first wireless signal that night.
    H. E. Rawson of Kuna, Idaho, picked up the message three times from 9XN, 9ZA and 7BD. He lives on a large ranch, and, being about twenty-five miles from the Governor in Boise and not caring to spoil the spirit of the M. S. G. by telephoning it, says he "put out the cat, locked up the dog, put the canary bird in the cupboard and, with his wife, went to the barn and, after talking friendly for awhile to his Ford roadster--like a Southerner talks to a mule--both of them started out of Kuna for Boise at midnight, across the prairies, and delivered the M. S. G. to the Governor of his state and the author has the receipt for it.
    Rev. Ruth of St. Martin's College, Lacey, Wash., had a hard time receiving the M. S. G. He says the allies were against us as the British station at Vancouver, B.C., called an "imaginary" warship for one and one-half solid hours. Must have sounded like some of our amateurs calling the boy in the next block.
    Several boys were ill and in bed at the time of the relay, but against the doctors' orders slipped on the 'phones, tuned up, received the M. S. G. and had the Boy Scouts deliver it.
    A summary of the test follows: M. S. G. delivered on Atlantic and Pacific Coasts in one hour from Davenport, Iowa. M. S. G. delivered in twenty minutes to Mexican and Canadian borders. M. S. G. delivered to the President of the United States. M. S. G. delivered to thirty-seven governors of as many states. M. S. G. delivered to 137 heads of cities.
    A considerable number of the boys took the "signature" for granted, however, and the good Colonel W. P. Nicholson, U.S.A., was called everything from plain Nick to Richardson. The body of the M. S. G., however, suffered only the addition of one word toward the east coast, and the loss of an unimportant word by the time it reached the west coast.
    The original M. S. G. is as follows:
"Q.S.T. Amateur Relay. A democracy requires that a people who govern and educate themselves should be so armed and disciplined that they can protect themselves.
(Signed) Colonel Nicholson, U.S.A."
    To further interest the amateur, another relay will be started soon by 9XE and code will be used. It will be delivered to all the forts and naval yards of the country where possible. By using code the army and navy officials will be able to read the M. S. G. if correctly received. It must be correctly received or it will lose its meaning. Amateurs will not be able to guess at the balance of the M. S. G. like some did on the last relay. Further, the Associated Press will be asked to co-operate with us by not taking the M. S. G. and using the land lines to forward for publication.
    The author is seriously considering a daylight relay, but this will all depend on the results of conferences with the Army and Navy officials. I give herewith an honor list of those who made prompt report after relay. These are complete and are, of course, in excess of the regular sending stations.
    My most earnest thanks to those who helped in this memorable work is hereby extended, through The Electrical Experimenter, which very kindly sent out the preliminary notice and assisted in the general results.
    A great many others received the M. S. G. but did not report to 9XE from whom they received the M. S. G. Owing to the fact that the Associated Press had M. S. G. next morning, these stations could not conscientiously be credited, as they had all received final instructions explaining how to report.
B. W. MartinMobile A. C. CampbellLewiston
Alabama Polytechnic Inst.Auburn NEBRASKA
Harold S. BrownellBirmingham T. C. RiceLincoln
ARKANSAS S. L. KellerKearney
J. M. ClaytonLittle Rock NEW  JERSEY
NORTH  CAROLINA T. C. BantoRidgewood
Serg. Clodfelter--N.G. of N.C.--Winston, Salem F. K. ShieldHighland Park
W. F. AlistonCharleston W. S. FithianBridgeton
COLORADO W. A. Farier PyleCamden
H. C. ColburnVictor A. A. HebertNutley
Capt. E. A. Smith, N.G.CDenver L. SpangenbergLake View
CONNECTICUT F. N. WatermanSummit
H. P. MaximHartford B. B. JacksonRutherford
GEORGIA Earl GodfreyAtlantic City
W. PopeAthena E. R. BurgeoisOcean City
IDAHO J. P. GateyMorristown
ILLINOIS Reg. F. HourKeene
Robt. KarlowaRock Island NEVADA
K. B. WarnerCairo Willis PressellReno
J. J. Schott, JrQuincy NEW  YORK
L. M. Le BronGalena J. WeissPort Washington
A. C. SpencerMagnolia S. L RaynorFreeport
R. GrafRockford O. E. DunlapNiagara Falls
C. BridgesLouisville J. W. HubbardPort Chester
E. WittichMoline G. C. CannonNew Rochelle
INDIANA J. K. HewittAlbany
L. C. YoungFort Wayne M. V. BryantNyack
R. I. HootensWishawaka T. K. NobleYonkers
L. FruitSouth Bend J. W. DainPeekskill
Dodge InstituteValparaiso P. T. BrownNew York City
IOWA T. BoederNew York City
G. FrankDavenport S. E. RupertPelham
P. A. StoverMarengo NORTH DAKOTA
E. F. GrossmanCedar Falls Prof. A. Hoyt TaylorU. of N.D. Fargo
Prof. E. WrightAmes College C. D. CurtisPeembina H. S.
G. J. LoranceDes Moines OKLAHOMA
I. M. KerneyCouncil Bluffs Ernest SamsMuskogee
Prof. A. H. FordIowa City OHIO
W. PatchDubuque Mrs. C. CandlerSt. Mary.
J. D. BrennanDubuque G. L. BeareSandusky
C. W. BonsonDubuque L. M. BerryGalion
Mississippi Valley W. A.Dubuque G. W. HaysLima H.S.
KANSAS Doron Bros. Co.Hamilton
W. S. EzellWichita G. E. GrostickLakewood
R. J. TrumpTopeka OREGON
KENTUCKY O. M. HeacockLa Grande
Thos. TallentireBellevue PENNSYLVANIA
Capt. O. Holstein, N.G.K.Lexington C. A. Service, Jr.Bala
LOUISIANA C. H. StewartSt. Davids
W. J. KingNew Orleans L. M. KnollPhiladelphia
D. R. SimmonsShreveport F. B. Chambers Co.Philadelphia
W. AntonyShreveport J. A. NassauPhiladelphia
MARYLAND A. J. GilmoreU. of Pittsburgh
Robt. S. HallBaltimore TENNESSEE
R. DunlingBaltimore C. B. De La HuntMemphis
C. R. LambdinBaltimore TEXAS
Robt. F. St. JamesGreat Barrington J. C. RodriguezSan Antonio
S. W. DeanHarvard College T. DarwinWaco
W. H. AllisonWorcester P. M. DeeleyWaco
W. B. BurgessWorcester UTAH
MICHIGAN J. C. McCullomSalt Lake City
E. E. HouseBattle Creek VIRGINIA
Geo. McBrideBay City R. R. ChapelleRichmond
Eben R. DennisHutchinson Rev. Sebastian RuthLacey
Minneapolis Wireless ClubMinneapolis W. A. KleistTacoma
MISSOURI H. W. BlagenGoquiam
L. M. StewartColumbia WASHINGTON,  D.C.
R. R. MooreKansas City W. A. ParksWashington, D.C.
Prof. A. S. BlattermanSt. Louis National Radio School  Washington, D.C.
W. H. CarrollSt. Louis WEST VIRGINIA
W. P. CorwinJefferson City J. C. StroebelWheeling
Harmon DealCape Girardeau WISCONSIN
   F. W. KellerSuperior