U.S. Navy, for transpacific work:In order to relieve the congestion on the single transpacific cable, the Marconi circuit between California, Hawaii, and Japan, and the Federal Telegraph Co. circuit between California and Hawaii, were operated by the Navy primarily for handling commercial traffic.2
Cavite, Philippine Islands (near completion)
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (nearing completion)
San Digeo, Calif.
U.S. Navy, for transatlantic work:
U.S. Navy, for other work:
Federal Telegraph Co., for transpacific work:
South San Francisco, Calif.
Heeia Point, Hawaii
Marconi Co., for transpacific work:
Marconi Co., for transatlantic work:
New Brunswick, N.J.
German-owned station for transatlantic work:
Sayville, Long Island, N.Y.
Foreign owned, other than German:
The American Navy considers as very important "the question to the construction of a new very powerful radio station. It requests to be informed without delay if it be decided to construct such a station. It promises all necessary assistance so far as concerns the rapid supply of American material which would be required."Following this, Secretary Daniels, on 31 October, sent the following cable to the U.S. Naval Attaché, Paris:
Request immediately full information relative to action being taken in France to establish new extra powerful radio telegraphic station. If material from the United States is necessary, inform us immediately.The Inter-Allied Radio Commission, which had been formed to determine Allied communication requirements, had not decided upon the establishment of the transmitting station in France when, on 28 November 1917, General Pershing cabled the War Department urging that action be taken immediately to establish radio facilities capable of handling the traffic then being transmitted by cable. Immediately upon receipt of this cable a conference between communication officials of the Army and Navy was called to consider the problem. The conferees met in New London, Conn., on 4 December 1917, and again in Washington on 12 December. These two meetings were attended by representatives of the other Allied Powers.5
The establishment of three receiving stations along the Atlantic coast of the United States connected to Washington by leased wires;The conferees adopted this proposed plan and forwarded it, recommending approval, to the Inter-Allied Communications Committee which had been established in Paris. This committee approved the plan and requested that it be implemented. The U.S. Government approved the program and it became the basic plan for the improvement of the Naval Communication system.
The enlargement of, and duplication of, equipment in existing high-power stations;
The erection of an additional station in the United States, so that a final plan of five transmitting stations might be fulfilled;
The provision of sleet-melting equipment for the various transmitting station antenna systems, in order to assure freedom from ice during the winter season.
The development in the allied countries, of the multiple sending and receiving station plan agreed upon for the United States; and
The further recommendation that a super-high-power station be erected abroad as an additional channel for trans-Atlantic communications.6
The two years following the taking over of the New Brunswick station by the Navy formed a particularly productive period, and one on which I look back upon with great satisfaction and pleasure. A real friendship developed between the G. E. personnel and the Navy personnel. A spirit of effective cooperation was developed which one does not find very often. In spite of the fact that our early installation was very primitive, or what is known as 'hay-wire', the Navy helped us wholeheartedly to arrange for reception tests with distant points.8During 1917 the Sayville station was used for transatlantic work when conditions permitted. In consonance with the New London recommendations, work on the installation of a 200-kw. arc transmitter and other improvements were begun in the early part of 1918. This transmitter was also ready for operation by July 1918. It afforded increased reliability of transatlantic transmissions but did not possess the capabilities of the New Brunswick alternator.
Shortly after this was transmitted the following was received at the Navy Department:
Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 1920 Minister of Marine, Minister of War and Minister of Posts and Telegraphs,
Care United States Naval Attache,
Lafayette Radio Station.
Cordial felicitations are extended to the Republic of France through the medium of the Annapolis Radio Station on the occasion of the inauguration of the Lafayette Super High-Power Radio Station. It is our firm conviction that as a result of the mutual co-operation and endeavors of the representatives of the French and American peoples engaged in the work incidental to the establishment of the great Lafayette Radio Station a notable advance has been made in the scientific progress of the world which will result in enduring benefit to France and to all mankind.
Secretary of the Navy15
A bronze commemorative plaque embodying the seals of the United States and France was placed over the main entrance to the operating building and was unveiled by M. Deschamps, Assistant Secretary of Post and Telegraphs. It contains the following inscription in both French and English.
Lafayette Radio Station, France
December 18, 1920
To the Secretary of the American Navy,
Washington, D. C.
I desire that the first message sent after the official inauguration of the Lafayette Radio Station be a cordial greeting to the Republic of the United States of America. In the name of the French Government I send many thanks to the American Navy for the great part which it played in the construction of the most powerful radio station in the world. This collaboration maintained during the period of peace strengthens still further the unalterable friendship born of common struggles and victories.
Asst. Secretary of Posts and Telegraphs.16
During the construction period considerable friction arose between the French and American officials concerning the antenna and ground systems. Based upon his experience with naval high-powered arc installations, Fuller had made detailed drawings of these systems. These were flatly refused by the French, who later assumed responsibility for the design of the ground system. The antenna design, with minor changes, was finally used but the plans were redrawn, copied line for line except the words "Federal Telegraph Company" were eliminated and in lieu thereof were substituted, "designed by Captain Brassier." Thus was national pride assuaged. The French also resented the use of arcs instead of alternators because the arc harmonics would create radio interference over all of France.18 As early as July 1920 they were planning the installation of a 500-kw. alternator of their own design and this was later installed.19
LAFAYETTE RADIO STATION
IN HONOR OF GENERAL LAFAYETTE
Conceived for the purpose of insuring adequate and uninterrupted transatlantic communication facilities between the American Expeditionary Forces engaged in the World War and the Government of the United States of America.
Erected by the United States Navy in conjunction with and for the Government of France.
WORK STARTED 28 MAY, 1918
COMPLETED 21 AUGUST, 192017
The Bureau desires to congratulate your company in connection with the excellent results obtained with the duplicate 1000 KW arc equipment which was purchased from the Federal Telegraph Company and installed at the Lafayette Radio Station at Croix d' Hins, France.Credit for performance of duty above that expected is due all the personnel who, during the wartime construction period, worked during all the daylight hours except during the midsummer months when the heat was so excessive that it was necessary to stop during the middle of the day. The wartime work at the site was under the administration of Lt. Comdr. George C. Sweet and the tower construction was under the supervision of Comdr. F. H. Cooke (CEC), USN. The postwar construction was performed under the direction of Capt. A. St. Clair Smith, USN, Naval Attaché, Paris. Lt. Comdr. D. Graham Copeland (CEC), USN, was his construction supervisor.20
The results of the thirty day tests of this equipment are very satisfactory to the Bureau, the comparative strength of Lafayette's signals being three to five times as great as those from other European high-power stations, and solid copy being constantly obtained not less than 22 hours out of the 24, notwithstanding the fact that the tests were conducted during the most unfavorable static season.
The services of your Chief Engineer, Mr. R. R. Beal, as the Bureau's representative to conduct the tests, under the authority of the commanding officer of the Lafayette Radio Station, were most praiseworthy and satisfactory, the entire tests having been conducted under Mr. Beal's supervision without interruption or casualities to the equipment.
The Bureau feels that the results obtained at the Lafayette Radio Station reflect great credit on the Federal Telegraph Company as well as the Navy.