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Memorial University and the local chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to celebrate Marconi's first transatlantic wireless transmission

Ref. No. 68

DATE:     Dec. 7, 2001
SUBJECT:     Memorial University and the local chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to celebrate Marconi's first transatlantic wireless transmission

Note to editors:

Memorial University and the local chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) will host the Marconi Crystal Radio Contest on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2001. The contest will be held in the Music Building located on Memorial's St. John's campus. Activities will get underway at 8:45 a.m. as grade-nine students proceed to the judging station to have their handmade radios tested. The event will wrap up with an awards ceremony beginning at 10:15 a.m. and ending at 10:45 a.m. Special guest His Honour Lt.-Gov. Dr. A.M. House will be in attendance to present the awards. Officials from provincial government, Memorial University, IEEE, the participating schools and invited guests, will also be in attendance. The Marconi Crystal Radio Contest celebrates the first transatlantic wireless signal ever received. On Dec. 12, 1901, at Signal Hill, Newfoundland, a young Italian inventor named Marconi used a receiver and a wire connected to a kite to receive the Morse code dot-dot-dot from England, more then 2000 km away. The contest is also an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in electrical engineering using household items that are simple, inexpensive and fun, but challenge them to be creative.

In November 2001, junior high schools across the province were given crystal radio kits developed by the Instrumentation, Control and Automation (INCA) Centre at Memorial University. From the parts included in the kit, students constructed a crystal radio comprised of a tissue box, toilet paper roll, tinfoil, paper clips and copper wire.

On Dec. 12, 2001, representatives from selected schools in St. John's will bring their crystal radios to the Music Building for the contest. Using a helium balloon, they will raise the antennae, just as Marconi did in his experiments. The student whose radio receives the strongest signal will be chosen as the winner. Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place students, and prizes will also be presented to the schools they are representing.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, members of the Marconi Radio Club of Newfoundland will use Morse code to re-enact Marconi's first transmission by speaking directly to Poldhu, England. His Honour Lt.-Gov. Dr. A.M. House will be invited to exchange greetings with the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, Lady Mary Holborrow. The exchange will be broadcast to students and invited guests in the D.F. Cook Recital Hall, Music Building, Memorial University (earlier, at 7.a.m., on Dec. 12, the Marconi Radio Club will attempt a direct 2-way radio link with Tasmania).

Media agencies are encouraged to send representatives as there will be ample photo and video opportunities.

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For Further information please contact Ivan Muzychka, manager, Memorial University News Service, 709-737-8665, 709-687-9433 (cell) or by e-mail at ivanm@mun.ca, or Tracey Mills, information officer (engineering), Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, 709-737-8287 or by e-mail at tmills@engr.mun.ca

 

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