W8SP

Edward C. Jones, Jr. in 1917 sending Morse code messages on 8SP
Edward C. Jones, Jr. in 1917 sending Morse code messages on 8SP

My father, as a young man, had a great passion for radio telegraphy . . . the sending of Morse code messages to other such radio stations world wide. In 1918 Dad joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps to further develop his knowledge and skills in this endeavor. After returning from military service, he established amateur radio station 8SP in partnership with Albert G. Kisner. Below is a newspaper article concerning an interesting event in 8SP’s early history.

Fairmont Times, Friday Morning, December 22, 1922

RADIO STATION 8SP IS HEARD IN OLD WORLD

Kisner-Jones Operators Send Message to England

“The following telegram was received yesterday from American Radio Relay Headquarters in Hartford, Conn.

Edward C. Jones, Jr., Fairmont, WVa.

8SP reported heard in England December eighteenth. Congratulations. F.H. Schnell, Traffic Manager.

The amateurs of the country have been conducting a series of tests for the past ten days, and local radio enthusiasts are gratified to know that the Fairmont station succeeded in making itself heard in the old world.

For the next ten days the American stations will stand by to listen for signals from the English and French amateurs, who have never been heard on this side thus far.

Due to the five hours difference in time between Fairmont and London, it was necessary for the local stations to make their tests from early evening to after 1 o’clock when it begins to get light in England. This made it necessary for them to send during the popular concert hours, to the inconvenience of the nearby broadcast listeners and those farther away with the unselective single-circuit type tuners. However most of the listeners knew about the tests and were greatly interested in the young men’s attempts to make themselves heard across the Atlantic.

Other stations in West Virginia made the tests, but it has not been yet learned whether any were successful or not. A number of stations along the Atlantic coast and some other inland stations are known to have also spanned the ocean. Details of the tests will not be known until the next issue of QST, the league’s magazine.

The member stations of the Monongahela Valley Radio Association will now resume their usual silence from 7 to 10, the most popular of the concert hours. Only in cases of nation-wide tests, or emergencies such as the storm last winter which shut Fairmont in, will the radio stations send during these hours.

The agreement to stand by was made a few weeks ago, at the request of the American Radio Relay League, and affects only the amateurs who are too close to receivers of correct design to allow reception during the sending.

Station 8SP was recently heard by a China-bound steamship 845 miles due west of the California coast in the Pacific Ocean. Reports are received almost daily from the Pacific coast states, and 46 of the 48 states have heard the Fairmont station. 8SP has been previously reported many times by ships in the Atlantic, and has at times exchanged messages with them, but the successful reception of its signals in England constitutes its eastern record.

Fairmonters are much interested in the progress of the local experimenters. The fact that this globe-encircling work is carried on with a minimum of interference with stations only a fraction of a mile away is marvelous in itself.

Messrs. Kisner and Jones, owner of 8SP, have now set their mark at reaching Hawaii with their signals, which may have already been accomplished during the transatlantic tests. It takes a few weeks to hear from the other side of the world, by the mails.”

(excerpts from undated clipping from Fairmont Times)

KISNER – JONES RADIO STATION PASSES TESTS

Station 8SP Easily Qualifies for Trans-Atlantic Tests

“In the preliminary tests just completed by the American Radio Relay League, the Fairmont station 8SP, owned and operated jointly by Albert G. Kisner and Edward C. Jones, Jr., had no trouble in qualifying for the transatlantic tests.

Fairmont’s other relay station, 8BPU, operated by Glenn Beerbower, of Alexander Place, experienced transmitter troubles, and was out of the running until late, but may yet qualify.

The tests were to determine the stations who will represent the United States in an International series of tests to be made in late December and January. At that time picked stations in Scotland, England, France and Holland will listen for the American entries, and the Americans will in turn try to hear them.

The experiment will determine the possibilities of transatlantic communication by amateurs with their restricted power and wavelength. At least one transmitting record of 1200 miles airline was required in the preliminary tests to eliminate all but the most efficient transmitters.

All reports for 8SP are not in yet, due to the distance covered, and the consequent long time of the reports in the mails, but the following reports already received, show ….

The most distant record made was when Mr. W.R. Mollinari, of San Francisco, Radio 6AWT, intercepted the signal from 8SP. This is 2260 miles airline from the station in Coleman Ave., and is about as distant a point westward as is possible to reach on the American continent.

Although the station of Messrs. Kisner and Jones is one of the highest powered amateur relay stations in the country, it is remarkable that the output of the station in these tests is just the equivalent to the power consumed by an ordinary electric light. This shows how the amateurs have startled the scientific world, by using a comparatively tiny current to chat nightly with friends they have never seen all over the country.”

Web Site News Flash

Through the wonders of the Internet, Albert G. Kisner found my web site and has sent several e-mail messages to me. He is 98 years old, living in Arizona and active on the Internet.

Needless to say, Albert was on the leading edge of electronic communications in 1921 . . . and is still doing the same in 2001 . . . that’s quite a record !

In a recent e-mail message, Albert attached a scanned copy the 8SP post card shown below and made the following comments:

“Your father Ed was my closest friend and we did many things together like camping and traveling with Hugh and Paul. Paul and I were roommates at WVA University in Morgantown. I became acquainted with Ed over the air in the very early days of ham radio, before official call letters were issued. He used JW and I used KW.”

8SP card

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Updated 11 April 2010