From Caister, across the world: Marconi remembered

AMATEUR radio fans in Caister got in contact with countries across the globe to mark an inventor’s birthday this weekend.

The Caister Lifeboat Visitor Centre communicated with more than 160 other radio amateurs in 24 different countries on Saturday when they took part in the annual International Marconi Day.

The Norfolk Amateur Radio Club (NARC) ran the all-day special event station at Caister Lifeboat Visitor Centre to commemorate the village’s original Marconi Wireless Station, which was established at Caister in 1900.

The station was in a house in the High Street known as Pretoria Villa and its original purpose was to communicate with ships in the North Sea and the Cross Sand lightship.

On Saturday, the closest to Guglielmo Marconi’s birthday, stations around the world were set up at sites with historical links to the inventor’s work.

Using the call GB0CMS, notable contacts included Louisiana and Virginia, USA, and other radio amateurs aboard HMS Belfast in London.

Other contacts included a special Marconi station in Italy at the Talian Navy Technical Naval Museum in La Spezia.

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NARC public relation officer Steve Nichols, who organised the event, said: “We were very pleased with the way the day went and it just shows what you can do with radio using just 100W - about the same power as an average incandescent light bulb.

“Conditions were far from ideal as a solar flare had disrupted the ionosphere earlier on Saturday. We also had to contend with near gale-force winds coming off the North Sea.

“Considering we set the whole station up on the Saturday morning, including erecting the two antennas, installing the radios and computers, and had it all taken down again by the end of the day that’s quite a feat – I think Marconi would have been proud!”

Guglielmo Marconi is credited with proving the feasibility of radio communication, and sent the first successful transatlantic radiotelegraph message from England to Newfoundland in 1902.