What is not entirely made clear in this review is that only the crossing of the Catalina Channel was by radio -- the rest of the trip the telegram took to President Roosevelt was over standard landline telegraph. Also, the fact that the operators had to sit in soundproof rooms shows that the system was at its limit in the distance that it could cover, and General New's comments about extensive expansion plans, especially over land, was far more stock promotion than realizable goals.
Los Angeles Times, August 24, 1902, page B1:


Catalina  Flashes  Words  to  Washington.

Successful  Opening  of  the  "Wireless."

It  Will  Now  Move  on  Isolated  Mines  in  Desert  and  Mountain.

    President Roosevelt received the first telegram sent from Avalon, Catalina Island, yesterday. The occasion was the opening for business of the plant of the Pacific Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Company, under its traffic arrangement with the Western Union Telegraph Company. The message was as follows:
    AVALON (Catalina) Aug. 23.--President Theodore Roosevelt, Oyster Bay, L. I.:   Santa Catalina Island, heretofore isolated, sends greeting to her great American President, on the occasion of her being put into communication with the entire world through the medium of the Pacific Wireless Telegraph, a purely American invention, now in successful operation.
    [Signed]A. L. NEW,        
General Manager.    
    This message was followed by a great number of others, and the wireless found itself almost powerless to cope with the first onslaught of business. People wanted to send messages on everything, from the last tuna catch to the prevalence of fleas. Of course, many of the communications were in the nature of greeting, but many were on business, and business men interviewed around the lobby of the Hotel Metropole by a Times reporter had nothing but commendation for the enterprise that enables them to visit Catalina and still keep in touch with affairs across the channel.
    It was a matter of some speculation what the first message to be received should convey. This was satisfied at 11 o'clock when a fond father in Riverside announced to relatives on the island the arrival of a ten-pound boy, "both doing well."
    A Times reporter who is a telegrapher was given the freedom of the plant through the courtesy of Gen. A. L. New, and communicated with the operator at White's Point without the least difficulty.
    The apparatus employed by the wireless company differs in many respects from the instruments employed by Marconi in all of his trials and experiments. The secret of the bath used in connection with the induction coils is that of the company, alone. A description in detail of the instruments employed would sonsume columns and would be absolutely unintelligible to any but finished electricians, but a description of the appearance of the plant as it looks to the unitiated may be of interest.


    The wireless is not powerless, and requires an engine of large horsepower to generate its voltage. At present a gasoline engine is being used. but this will be replaced by other power as seen as practicable from the fact that a gasoline engine of the necessary size requires constant attention.
    The voltage employed is 100, with a three-quarter-inch spark, and this remarkably low voltage carries across the twenty-five miles of the channel between the island and the main land with surprising clearness, considering the many objections that are raised in the way of counter currents and interruptions.
    The sending operator sits at a key closely resembling a Morse key, and sends in exactly the same manner, only he holds the key down a longer time to get the spark. The operation, in effect, is the same as would result in transmitting a code of signals with an ordinary push button and buzzer, such as is used as a signal on telephones and between desks in offices.
    The receiving operator sits in a sound-proof closet, resembling a telephone booth, and has a doubie receiver, of similar form to that used by the "central" operators in a telephone office, to each ear. The signals sound quite different from the sharp intonetion of an aluminum Morse sounder, but are readily distinguished. They require, however, more concentration of attention, and, prolonged through many hours, the work would be very laborious.
    Much care is exercised at present, as the receiving operator is unable to "break," or stop the sender, He must get each dot and dash--a long or short "buzz"--or he must supply his omissions when the sender has finished. As the power must be applied at the sending station each time the key is used, an error on the part of the receiving operator is costly, both in time and power. However, both of the men now employed by the wireless managers are experts,


    In a test message sent under the direction of several interested spectators yesterday afternoon--without preparation or previous knowledge on the part of the company--it was necessary to repeat only one word.
    This telegram, while simple in wording, is probably as difficult as any in construction for Morse sending. It was:
    "Benjamin Franklin's induction theory harnessed to chariot of commerce."
    There was no difficulty as the body at all but the operator at White's Point was compelled to ask what the second word was in the business address of the Los Angeles gentleman to whom it was sent.
    The telegram, or Marconigram, was sent at the rate of seven words a minute, was filed at 2:30, and reached Los Angeles at 5:16 p.m.
    Although the operators employed are sufficiently expert to work on any Morse circuit, they are handicapped in speed to a degree by the difference between the buzz transmitted by the spark and the sharp metalic click of the familiar "sounder" of every telegraph office. They are confident, though, that this is a trouble that will soon be obviated by practice, and observation of an hour's work yesterday leads to the belief that a speed of twenty words a minute should soon be attained by the use of Gen. New's apparatus. Gen. New thinks there is hardly a limit to the speed, but he may err in this, not being an operator himself. Twenty words a minute is, however, a very fair working speed if maintained, and a simple computation shows that it would admit of the transmission of a vast amount of business in a day.
    It is sufficient to say of the method of protecting the messages across the wide channel of water, that the electric waves are released from the top of a tall mast on either side, and are collected by that on the other. The volume seems, in practice, to be greatly diminished on its arrival, but the promoters of the company state their belief that this is not so, and that, while the sounds are faint, they would be equally perceptible at almost any distance. This remains to be proved, however,


    The Pacific Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Company now claims it has offers from more than forty mining companies and canneries, in the isolated portions of Oregon, Washington and Alaska, which it says it will place in communication with the outside world as soon as the difficulties in the way of supplying apparatus are removed.
    To establish each station on a basis similar to that of the Catalina station is estimated to cost $2000, but this system, if it shall prove adaptable to inland use, will not require the services of the horde of linemen and other attachés of a telegraph company, nor will it require attorneys to secure rights of way, city crossings, joint pole lines, and the thousand and one things that harass officers of maintenance of a telegraph company.
    The wireless company will be much less subjected to the ravages of storms. It will have no pole line to blow down. Electrical disturbances would cause interruption, but communication could be established after storms, if at all, immediately.
    The Banning Company is well pleased with the showing made by Gen. New's company, and, while it will not make public the terms of the contract existing between the two, it is given that it has a solid basis, and will give the wireless company a long tenure of its present rights.