QST, December, 1916, page 10:
The First Trans-continental Relay
By Hiram Percy Maxim
SUPPOSE six or eight of us were to get our heads together and work up a plan to handle a message from some point on the Atlantic Coast to some point on the Pacific Coast, and get an answer back the same night? Would it not be something to be proud of in the years to come? Why not try it? We have had Trans-continental automobile trips and when the first car succeeded in making the long journey a few years back, it was hailed all over the country as a wonderful exploit. It certainly was that. Recently the American Bell Telephone Company carried on the first telephone conversation from coast to coast, and we are not yet through wondering at it. Those who figured in the undertaking will take their places in the future beside those hardy spirits who first succeeded in getting a signal over the first cable laid across the floor of the Atlantic. Just as great honor awaits those of us in our American Radio Relay League who successfully handle the first bona-fide relay message by radio across the Continent and receive an answer back the same night.
We have heard rumors that some one tried it last year, or intended to try it, or came near accomplishing it, but no positive evidence is at hand that it has yet been done. The chances are the first Trans-continental relay message has yet to be run, and it is a tremendous opportunity. There are not as many of these big things to do as there were a few years back.
The writer in his library in Hartford, Conn. on any good radio night hears amateur stations in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. These latter are heard working stations in Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. These latter tell us in QST that they reach into Utah and Montana occasionally, and these in turn tell us they work stations in Washington, Oregon and California. Every day somebody adds something better in the way of transmitting and receiving equipment, and new stations also are springing up in the wide areas of the West where one would least expect it. Things are being done nightly right now, which were impossible this time last year. What is coming by this time next year, no man is bold enough to guess, for in no art being practiced today is advance so rapid as in amateur wireless telegraphy.
The writer has had a Trans-continental relay in mind for over a year, and he believes that we are just about arrived at the point where we stand a chance of running the first one through. It is true that it will require everything exactly right and careful pre-arrangement. This is no reason for criticism, however, because every first time had to have everything just right. After the way is blazed, things do not have to be so perfect, and it would be only repeating history to have Trans-continental messages handled regularly shortly after the pioneer effort has been made.
The practical way to handle this matter in our League, is to turn the detail arrangements over to our Trunk Line Managers, Messrs. Hebert, Matthews, and Seefred. They know the difficulty to be overcome, and in their skillful hands, success would be assured if success is a possibility. The writer has taken the matter up with these gentlemen and in the next issue of QST, he hopes to be able to give an outline of the plan to be followed. In the meantime, stations west of the Mississippi River can help by writing in such suggestions as they think will be helpful. Stations from three to five hundred miles in from the Pacific Coast and who are able to work some of the Coast amateurs are especially invited to communicate with us. Perhaps several have heard stations frequently which they have never worked. Where this is the case, let each drop the other a card and get together. This writing of cards and letters to stations we frequently hear, is always extremely helpful to all concerned in addition to being very pleasant. We make many friends this way, by radio, whom we would never otherwise know. Let us see what we can do and prepare to give all honor to those destined to be among the fortunate pioneers in handling the first Trans-continental radio relay message.