The New York Herald's newly upgraded radiotelegraph station would only remain in operation for a few more months after this article appeared. It was taken over by the U.S. government with the entrance of the United States into World War One in April, 1917, and the newspaper did not renew operations after the end of the war.
The original scan for this article is located at the Fulton History website.
New York Herald, February 15, 1917, page 2:
Herald's Wireless Service, After Repairs, Resumes for Seafarers News Service Which Belts the Globe
New Receiving and Transmitting Apparatus Installed Atop the Barge Office.
LATEST MARCONI SET IN ITS EQUIPMENT
Steamships All Over the World Receive Messages and Some Print Daily Bulletins.
Its site shifted to new quarters atop the Barge Office, at the Battery, and its efficiency improved by the installation of new receiving and transmitting apparatus, the HERALD'S wireless station--W H B--will go into full commission again tomorrow, and the familiar night and morning news bulletins sent out from it which have for years supplied both coastwise and transatlantic steamships with the news of the day, will be resumed. Not that the HERALD wireless news has been lacking to the ships during the closing of been worked out and perfected the HERALD station for repairs.
During the temporary silence of the HERALD station its bulletins have been flashing out nightly from the Marconi high power station at South Wellfleet, Mass., and the rejuvenated HERALD station will find itself, instead of being the sole purveyor of HERALD news by radio, but one of three great stations that scatter HERALD news over both Atlantic and Pacific.
The station is now equipped with the latest five kilowatt Marconi set.
Service Made World Wide.
The HERALD'S wireless news service, established for the benefit of seafaring folk--both passengers and crews--which was for some time confined in distribution by the limits of the sending power of its own station, has since the new year leaped across the oceans and with the HERALD'S European edition constitutes a single tremendous chain of news distribution, radiating from Herald square practically to the ends of the earth. This has become possible through the cooperation of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America, two of whose high power stations--one on the edge of each ocean--have become the principal links of the chain.
At South Wellfleet, Mass., is the Marconi high power station, known more familiarly as "Cape Cod," which sends to transatlantic steamships every night the news of the world transmitted over the land lines from Herald square. South Wellfleet station, which Is tuned to a very high wave length, reaches in favorable conditions across the Atlantic, and steamships on the North Atlantic lanes are practically within reach of its spark all the time.
At Hillcrest, San Francisco, is the western link in the wireless chain. To Hillcrest late every night, San Francisco time, comes over the land wires a summary of the news of the world as published in the HERALD of the next morning. The three hours difference in time between East and West allow this to be done.
Bulletins Twice Daily.
Now comes W H B, the HERALD'S own station, which will send, as it has done for years, at a quarter after two o'clock every morning news contained in the HERALD of that day. In the evening is sent a summary of the news contained in the last edition of the Evening Telegram.
The HERALD station will have, just as it did before, a minimum radius in daytime of 500 miles, while at night its clear spark reaches over thousands of miles of space. It is no uncommon thing for South American travellers to come to the HERALD office and bring copies of the HERALD press made far down the coast, or even in the interior, while the naval station at Guantanamo copies the HERALD press the year round.
W H B will take care of the coastwise vessels plying to the West Indies and to Central and South American ports, as well as the steamships that are leaving other ports for Europe
With these three stations at its command the HERALD is enabled to send out a wireless news service of unequalled range. Just as the HERALD was the first newspaper to organise a wireless press service, so the HERALD is the first and only newspaper to realize the value to the travelling American, wherever he may be, of the HERALD service from New York to Yokahama, from Broadway to Buenos Ayres.
Enlists Marconi Company.
The service established by W H B proved such a success, that the Marconi company started, last December, to use the HERALD service exclusively for its Cape Cod station. A month later the San Francisco service went into effect and the HERALD had belted the globe.
Collected and condensed by a corps skilled not only in estimation of news value but also by experience acquainted with the news most highly prized by travellers and by seafaring men, the HERALD service goes to those who go down to the sea in ships a complete compilation of the general news of the world each day. The items are not selected haphazard, but before each item goes into the day's bulletins it is carefully weighed for its value. Time is precious in the air, through which so many messages are flying each minute, and the radio operators on ship board have their commercial work to take up their time so that only the meat of the news sifts through the meshes of the radio press make-up.
No better example of the skill of the men who make up the HERALD'S wireless news service could be given than the illustration herewith, which shows a specimen page of the Matsonia HERALD, the newspaper published daily on board the Matsonia. It was published on January 24, when that vessel was one day out from Honolulu, on her way from San Francisco to that port. It contains an item from Washington, D. C. relating that the State Department had received warning that the danger zone in the North Sea had been considerably extended. The HERALD on that date published the same statement, more fully.
Flashed Advance Warning.
It was the advance warning of the Prussian announcement of unrestricted U-boat warfare, and the passengers of the Matsonia, in far away Hawaii, knew just as did the HERALD readers in New York that day that Prussia was contemplating a further extension of terrorism. The actual announcement from official sources was not made known until January 31, five days later. South Wellfleet told the same thing that day.
In the same manner on the Atlantic side the passengers of the St. Paul, of the American line, racing across to this port from Liverpool, were informed at breakfast on February 3, just as they were congratulating themselves on having passed out of the U-boat zone, that Count von Bernstorff had received his passports and that diplomatic relations with Germany had been broken off. These are but two examples of the value to travellers as well as to officers and crews at sea of the HERALD'S service.
The history of the HERALD'S wireless station and the gradual growth of its news service is interesting. Just as the HERALD has always been the first newspaper to utilise the value of new inventions in its gathering and dissemination of news, so it did with the wireless. It was in October, 1899, that the HERALD, from a wireless station established by Signor Marconi on board the Grande Duohesse, received complete bulletins from the America's Cup yacht races off Sandy Hook, between the Columbia and the Shamrock. These were the first news despatches ever sent by wireless.
An Early Achievement.
Later the HERALD established wireless stations at Siasconset, Nantucket and on board the Nantucket light vessel for the prompt reporting of passenger steamships plying between this port and Europe. Wireless was in its infancy then and it was considered a wonderful achievement for the HERALD, by wireless, to save twenty-four hours in the reporting on this side of steamships from Europe. This was in May, 1901. The HERALD, always the leading newspaper in shipping news, thus scored a great beat upon its competitors and made its ship news page even more valuable to maritime circles.
In 1910 the HERALD began installing its own wireless station at the Battery. On September 10 of that year the station was completed. At that time the call letters of the station were O H X, an elaboration of the call of the HERALD on land telegraph lines, known all over the Western continent--H. X. "O H X" became the best known radio station in the world, and the call was familiar to all operators until 1913, when the United States made its first real radio regulation laws and the station's call was changed by law to W H B.
The station was installed in the little house at the end of the Municipal Ferry dock at the Battery, which has become a familiar landmark to every one in the harbor. The aerial extended from the Municipal Ferry Building to the old Barge Office tower. When the Barge Office was torn down to make room for the present structure the HERALD station's aerial was changed to the top of the Municipal Ferry Building, where it remained until now, when two aerials--one for commercial messages at 600 metres, and one for press transmission on a high wave, run from the ferry building to the top of the present Barge Office, where the new station has been installed, with the sanction of the Navy and Treasury departments, given because of the known value to both the navy and the Coast Guard service of the HERALD station.
Election Returns Sent.
Election returns were sent out from the HERALD station in 1910, and have been each year since. The value to the radio world of these bulletins led to the establishment of a daily press service, which was copied both by coastwise and by transatlantic steamships, as well as by all government vessels within its range.
In the baseball season daily scores were given and proved an instant success. To these baseball scores were added returns of all important sporting events, which have always been eagerly awaited by radio stations at sea and along the coast. The HERALD'S world's series baseball scores have always been copied by thousands of stations.
When the entire English speaking world was waiting eagerly for the results of the International polo match the HERALD station sent out scores each day by periods. The news of the deciding game on June 16, when the British team wrested the trophy from the American team, aroused such interest that Captain J. T. W. Charles, of the Mauretania, of the Cunard line, sent a personal message to the HERALD station asking for the result and the HERALD bulletins were literally snatched from the operator's hands as they went through the ether. The great Olympic, of the White Star Line, also was demanding the news and her passengers knew the result more than a day before the vessel reached Quarantine.
On the afternoon of February 1, 1911, a lighter load of dynamite exploded at Communipaw with a roar that was heard by vessels more than fifty miles from the spot. Among this fleet was the Mauretania, and Captain Charles sent another message to the HERALD station asking the cause of the shock. The HERALD station's bulletins reassured the passengers of the great steamship, which had left port only that afternoon, and told the news to all within its reach.
When the Black Tom explosion occurred in the early hours of July 30 of last year, the operator on duty at the HERALD station was literally hurled from his chair by the shock. His instant report to the HERALD office enabled this newspaper to score another beat upon its competitors who were mystified for more than an hour after.
The HERALD operator at once sent out a wireless bulletin, informing all vessels within range of the disaster. One of the steamships which had seen the glare on the skies was the Coast Guard cutter Mohawk. That vessel, cruising, had been turned in the direction and was making top speed for the scene when the HERALD bulletin reached her.
In May, 1911, queries from the captain of the Bulgaria, of the Hamburg-American line, as to weather conditions at Sandy Hook led to the inauguration of a daily bulletin of Sandy Hook weather, which has been continued and has proved an important aid to sea captains making for port.
Ever since its inception the HERALD station has figured as an aid to vessels in distress. From countless instances wherein the HERALD station has figured a few may be mentioned. One of these was on May 12, 1911, when the Merida, of the Ward line, and the Admiral Farragut, of the United Fruit line, were in collision fifty-five miles off the Chesapeake Capes. A general call for help sent out by these vessels was heard by the HERALD station, which repeated the call and directed a squadron of rescuing vessels to the scene. Incidentally the HERALD station was enabled to give the news to the Evening Telegram, which was the first newspaper to give the news to this city.
Accident in the Bahamas.
On November 22 the Prinz Joachim, of the Hamburg-American Atlas service, crowded with passengers, struck a coral reef off Samana Island, in the Bahamas. Her calls for help were heard and relayed by the HERALD station. The HERALD was the only newspaper to have the news that day, and the next day, through its station, the HERALD was able to assure those interested that all the passengers of the vessel were safe.
The Turrialba, of the United Fruit line, on Christmas Eve, 1912, ran ashore off Barnegat in a driving snowstorm. She called for help to the HERALD station, which notified the Coast Guard cutter Seneca. The Seneca at once started for the scene and rescued Turrialba's passengers the next day. All the long series of messages that passed between the Turrialba and the offices of the United Fruit line were directed to the HERALD station, and officials of the line afterward thanked the HERALD for the great assistance its station had given them.
On October 25, 1913, the Indra Chiri, from the Orient, sent a message to the HERALD station announcing that one of the crew was seriously ill. When the vessel docked the next day an ambulance, sent through the offices of the HERALD station, was waiting to meet her.
When the tank steamship Oklahoma foundered on June 5, 1914, the Manuel Calvo, of the Spanish line, sent out for help for her, and the HERALD station, picking it up, directed rescuing vessels to the spot.
On February 7, 1914, the tramp steamship Queen Louise, in trouble, sent a call for help to the HERALD station, which notified the Coast Guard cutters Seneca and Itasca. These vessels, guided by the HERALD'S message giving the position of the disabled steamship, soon picked her up.
Directing Rescue Work.
The steamship Nickerie on March 20, 1915, struck a derelict and was disabled, just off port. Her calls for help to the HERALD station were answered by the sending of a police boat and navy tug to her rescue.
On March 30, 1915, the Italian steamship Francesca Campi got into trouble in heavy weather and the steamship J . M. Guffey sent a call for help for her, which the HERALD station picked up and relayed to nearby vessels. They proceeded to the aid of the Italian.
The Prins Maurits, on April 3 of the same year was disabled in a heavy gale off Hatteras. Her radio set was damaged and could send out only feeble calls. These were heard by a British cruiser, patrolling off this coast, and the war vessel called the HERALD station, telling of the mishap and giving the position of the Prins Maurits. The HERALD station in turn called coastwise vessels not far away and gave them directions which enabled them to go to the assistance of the disabled steamship.
When the great war started, on August 4, 1914, the HERALD station's bulletins announcing the declaration of war at once made known the fact to all vessels within its range.
The first wireless message sent to a newspaper from a moving train was sent to the HERALD station from a Delaware, Lackawanna and Western express train, near Scranton, Pa., January 22, 1914, and transmitted thence to the HERALD by telephone.
The first and so far the only message sent to a newspaper by wireless telephone from a vessel at sea was sent to the HERALD on January 8, 1915, when Captain Gibbs, of the Tyler, of the Old Dominion line, speaking from his own bridge through Dr. D. G. McCaa's wireless telephone, which was picked up by the HERALD station and relayed by wire telephone through a special instrument of Dr. McCaa's design, actually talked to the Herald Building, in this city. The words "Hello, HERALD, is that you?" came from the Tyler, one hundred miles away, to this newspaper.