QST/December 1915/National Defense. Our Services Offered to Government
When it became evident that our government intended to seriously take up the question of improving our national defense, the following letter was prepared and sent to the Secretary of the Navy:―
Secretary of the Navy,
Washington, D. C.
In connection with your plans for national defense, it may be that the organization of the AMERICAN RADIO RELAY LEAGUE, INC. will be of service. We respectfully present the following information concerning this League.
It has been in operation one year. Its membership consists of over six hundred amateur radio stations in thirty-eight states of the Union. Except for gaps in the southern tier of states, we are able to communicate to all important points at the present time.
A list of our official relay stations is given in the enclosed “LIST OF STATIONS.” There are over two hundred additional stations which have been appointed and which are awaiting publication of the third edition of our List.
The development of this League of amateur wireless telegraph stations has been carried on under the full knowledge of the Bureau of Navigation, Department of Commerce. Frequent conferences are held between our Chairman and the Commissioner of Navigation, and his assisting District Radio Inspectors. The League is managed strictly in accordance with a spirit of co-operation with Government authority. Our influence in correcting small technical infractions of the radio laws has already been successfully exercised in several instances.
In order to insure transmission along trunk line routes, the Bureau of Navigation have issued to certain stations indicated by this League, a Special License to use a transmitting wave length of 425 meters. The regular amateur is limited to 200 meters. Several of the Special Licenses have already been issued where the geographical location suggests their value. During the next sixty days, we hope that several new Special Licenses will be issued to stations in the Middle and Far West, which will be of great assistance to us in reaching Pacific Coast points with certainty and despatch.
The American Radio Relay League is purely an amateur organization. The exchange and delivery of messages is absolutely complimentary, and no consideration for transmission of a message is allowed under any circumstances. Regular radio telegraphic methods are employed. A sample of our official message blank is enclosed herewith.
The membership consists of middle-aged men, young men, and boys. There are many men of wealth in the membership, and who make wireless telegraphy a form of recreation. Many of our stations have had no expense spared upon them, and are equipped better than most commercial stations. The management of the League is in the hands of business men. The writer is the founder and chairman.
Some of our stations have already been of public service in establishing communications when floods have prostrated the regular telegraph and telephone lines. Our organization can unquestionably be of value in the event of similar disasters or invasion. A fire which happened to destroy the telephone and telegraph central stations in a city would stall communication. Our organization could fill this interval while repairs were made. Most of our membership is along the Atlantic and the Pacific Coasts. It is not impossible that we might be of value to our fleet standing off our coast in time of war.
We respectfully offer the services of our organization, and its facilities.
THE AMERICAN RADIO RELAY LEAGUE, INC.
HPM:P HIRAM PERCY MAXIM
In response to this, we received from Secretary Daniel’s the following:―
Mr. Hiram Percy Maxim,
- Chairman, American Radio Relay League,
- Hartford, Connecticut.
I beg to acknowledge your interesting letter of August 7th with inclosures, and to express my appreciation of your patriotic offer of the services of the League in connection with the national defense.
The Department has a plan outlined for the employment of the services of amateur stations in time of war as may best serve the interests of the country and the Office of the Superintendent of the Naval Radio Service is in immediate charge of matters relative to the co-ordination of means of radio communication, so far as the Navy is concerned, in the event that the necessity arise for controlling and using stations other than those under naval jurisdiction.
I should be glad to have you address the Superintendent of Radio Service direct on this matter, stating as fully as possible what facilities in the way of personal and material you may have available and giving in as much detail as is possible the character of the organization, especially as to the method employed for the interior control of the amateur stations constituting the League.
- Very respectfully,
- JOSEPHUS DANIELS.
- Very respectfully,
Upon receipt of this letter, we sent full information to the Superintendent of the Naval Radio Service, and he now has a list of all of our stations and will no doubt take them into consideration in planning Radio Communication from ships to shore. It is easy to imagine the importance of some of our coast relay stations in the event of anything happening to any of our big naval coastal stations or in the event of a warship wanting to communicate with low power so as not to be "overheard."
A similar letter was written to the Secretary of War as follows:―
Secretary of War,
- Washington, D. C.
In connection with your reported prospective program for increased National defense, your attention is respectfully directed to the existing organization of amateur wireless telegraph stations, known as The American Radio Relay League, Inc.
This League has been in working order one year. It has over six hundred actual radio stations in thirty-eight states of the Union. Except for certain gaps in the south, it is at present possible to transmit messages from coast to coast, and from points in Canada to points as far south as Atlanta on the east, and Los Angeles on the west by several routes.
A list of these stations appears in our official “LIST OF STATIONS,” copy of second edition of which is enclosed herewith. It may be that a record of these stations and the additional stations, which are awaiting publication in the third edition, may be of value to the War Department in any defensive program.
The building up of this League has been carried on with the full knowledge of the Bureau of Navigation, Department of Commerce. Frequent conferences are held with the Commissioner of Navigation, and his assisting District Radio Inspectors. This has maintained the League on a proper legal and official plane, and insured avoiding interference with Government and Commercial Radio work. In order to insure relay work long gaps, the Bureau of Navigation have issued Special Licenses to certain stations indicated by this League. This Special License gives permission to use a wave length of 425 meters when conducting long distance relay work. Already several of these licenses have been issued to the better class of amateur stations, whose geographical location is such as to assist in trunk line relay work. Several new stations in the Middle and Far West, will probably be appointed in the next sixty days and communication with the Pacific Coast will be certain and quick.
This League is a purely amateur organization. The exchange and delivery of messages is purely complimentary. A regular radio telegraphic methods and systems are employed, however. A sample of our official message blank is enclosed.
Many of our stations have already been of service in establishing communication when flood has prostrated the telegraph and telephone lines. We believe we can be of service to the country under many conditions similar to flood, such as fire or the wrecking of the telephone and telegraph central stations in any city or town. Our membership is rapidly growing and we unquestionably will be in touch with a large proportion of most of the states of the Union by this time next year. Many of our stations are owned by men of wealth who have not hesitated at any expense in equipping themselves with the best apparatus obtainable. There are many members who are young men, and a few who are distinctly boys. The management of the League is in the hands of men. The writer is its founder.
If we can be of any service to our country, we shall be glad to serve in any capacity requested. We offer to you our complete organization and facilities.
THE AMERICAN RADIO RELAY LEAGUE, INC.
This brought the following response from the U. S. Signal Corps:―
From: Office Chief Signal Officer.
To: Hiram Percy Maxim, Chairman, American Radio Relay League, Hartford, Conn.
Subject: Radio communication.
1. In reply to your letter of August 7, 1915, addressed to the Secretary of War and which has been referred to this office, you are advised that the Signal Corps is pleased to receive the information contained in your letter, also the list of stations operated by the American Radio Relay League.
2. Should at any time it be found that these stations will be of service to the War Department, you will be further communicated with.
Lieut. Col., Signal Corps,
Acting Chief Signal Officer.
From this it is evident that for land or interior service we would come in contact with the Signal Corps if the Government decided to avail itself of our assistance in time of war.
In times of peace we also have confronting us sudden disasters, such as flood, fire or strike. Dayton, Ohio was an example of a disastrous flood, which destroyed telegraphic and telephonic communications, and made it possible for the amateur wireless operator to render invaluable help. A fire which destroyed the central station of the telegraph and telephone Companies in a city, would also place that city in a very dangerous situation. The amateur wireless station would be the first place looked to in such an emergency.
To sum up, the organization of our League, in efficient working form is a work which is of national importance, and we may have the knowledge that it represents a patriotic and a dignified effort.