1916 – 2000
SEE UPDATE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE
In the April 2000 edition of RadCom, the journal of the Radio Society of Great Britain, Peter Fox (formerly G4MCK) made an appeal for historical information about the callsign G2YT. Past and present members of the South Dorset Radio Society were quick to respond and the following is an account of the story so far.
This page was originally written in August 2000 but has now been updated and (where appropriate) corrected. All of the information given is believed to be accurate but we would be very pleased to know more!
Geoff, G0EVW October 2004
2YT – G2YT
In September 1916 the American authorities issued 2YT to the Marconi Company in New York for use at the Marconi Institute. Ref: http://earlyradiohistory.us/speclnd2.htm
The original callsign 2YT was issued in Britain to the Marconi Company for use at the Poldhu Station in Cornwall in the early 1920’s. 2YT is recorded as being used for tests between Poldhu and station 2FC Willoughby, Australia in March 1924. Ref: www.qsl.net/vk2dym/radio/Marconi.htm
It is also recorded that 2YT was used by Marconi from his yacht Elettra, see update below.
G2YT was issued to F J Rumary, then of Down Road, Redcliffe Bay, Portishead, Somerset in 1936. Nothing else is known about this issue.
G2YT was issued to Crispin Redshaw, G4VZ of Bridport Road, Dorchester in Dorset. The exact circumstances and date of this re-issue is not known but Cris is recorded as using G2YT from his Dorchester station in December 1957.
Crispin Redshaw became a ‘silent key’ in 1974.
G2YT was re-allocated to Peter Fox (formerly G4MCK) of Shefford in Bedfordshire in 2000.
OLD CALLS FOR NEW!
An old friend of Peter Fox, Mr Tim Moore is the Grandson of Cris Redshaw. When Peter mentioned that it might be possible to resurrect his grandfathers old callsign Tim spoke to his mother (Patricia Moore – nee Redshaw) who wrote the required letter to the RA, who in turn approved the transfer. Tim knew that his grandfather had been involved with Marconi and the Dorchester Radio Station and remembers sitting with him for many hours. He also remembered that his grandfathers callsign was G2YT.
It was only after Peter had received his ‘new’ call that he realised that it was “a bit special” and he decided to try and find out more about it’s history. He now says that he feels very honoured to be the present custodian.
THE DORCHESTER / POLDHU CONNECTION
A FAMILY AFFAIR!
When George Short, G2DGB arrived at Dorchester in 1952 Cris Redshaw was the Engineer in Charge. He is well remembered in the Weymouth and Dorchester area as G2YT. Frank Marshall, G2XQ (QTHR) says that in his 1927 callbook G2YT was shown as being held by the Marconi Station at Poldhu and a Mr T Moore is mentioned. George remembers that a ‘Pony’ Moore, G8OO was also working at Dorchester in 1952 and retired in 1957 or 58. The daughter of Cris Redshaw by his second marriage in the very same Pat Moore who married ‘Pony’ Moore’s son and it seems likely that ‘Pony’ Moore is the Mr T Moore from the Poldhu Station. It is coincidental that both calls finished up connected to the same family.
A further point of interest is that another friend of Peters, Alan Holdsworth, G0SAH has been given permission by ‘Pony’ Moores son Jeff to have his fathers old call G8OO so that both calls will once again be in use.
The picture above shows Cris Redshaw in his Dorchester Shack in the 1950’s. Also shown below is his QSL card which includes the text ‘XZT in 1912’. This presumably refers to one of the first experimental callsigns issued by the Postmaster General from 1910 up to the outbreak of the first world war. No mention is made however of his other callsign G4VZ. The receivers in the picture are from left to right; R107, AR88D and CR100.
Cris Redshaw’s QSL – note the reference to ‘XZT in 1912’
Peter ‘s very attractive new QSL – August 2000
This page was originally written in August 2000 but has been updated and (where appropriate) corrected. All of the information given is believed to be accurate but we would be very pleased to know more!
WAS 2YT USED BY MARCONI ON HIS YACHT ELETTRA?
Paul Hawkins, G4KHU has a large collection of photographs of the Beam Wireless Station that Marconi built at Dorchester in 1927. Accompanying one of the pictures is a typed document that describes how short wave radiotelephone equipment was installed at Dorchester in 1929 to enable tests with Marconi on his yacht Elettra. The document goes on to tell how the first tests with Elettra, call sign 2YT, were made using the ‘Egyptian Beam’ at Dorchester, call sign GLM. At the time of the tests the yacht was off Genoa and the tests proved ‘quite satisfactory’.
If the document is accurate then it seems that callsign 2YT was indeed used by Marconi when transmitting from his yacht as has often been suggested. However, this is the only written evidence that I have seen to date.
THE RADIO ‘SHACK’ 1922
Paul has also kindly provided these two pictures of Cris Redshaw’s station in 1922. They are very good quality and can be seen in a larger format by clicking on the image. Although it is assumed that this is an ‘Amateur’ Station it is not known what call sign Cris was using at that time.
Cris Redshaw’s Station 1922 Cris Redshaw’s Station 1922
Cris Redshaw’s Station in 1922 – Call-Sign unknown!
THE US CONNECTION
2YT is recorded as being issued by the U.S. Government to the Marconi Company, New York, NY in September 1916. The ‘Y’ in the callsign indicates that it was intended for use at a ‘technical and training school’. The call sign was issued to Marconi for use at the ‘Marconi Institute’, still in business and now known as ‘TCI – The College for Technology’. It seems unlikely that the U.S. 2YT was ever used for Marconi’s commercial activities.
Below is a quote from the NYMentor web site at TCI – The College for Technology
TCI was founded in 1909 under the name Marconi Institute by Guglielmo Marconi, the Nobel Prize winner and inventor of the wireless telegraph. It was acquired in 1919 by David Sarnoff, who also founded RCA and renamed the school RCA Institute. Through the years, the school became known as one of the top schools in the country for the training of technicians in the growing fields of radio, television, electronics and communications.
When licensing resumed after WW1, some U.K. licensees were allowed to choose their own call letters providing they had not already been used. Perhaps, when the time came for Marconi to be issued with a U.K. callsign, 2YT was chosen by him or his representative because Marconi had a fondness for the Institute he had set up in New York. In 1920, (after the takeover of the Marconi Institute by David Sarnoff) 2YT was still listed as being the institute’s callsign and therefore the U.S. 2YT would presumably not have been available to Marconi himself.
There is an extensive archive available at www.marconicalling.com although a search for 2YT and XZT (see below) failed to return a result.
It would be nice to able to refer to an official archive of U.K. Amateur and Experimental callsigns. Radio licensing in the U.K. is now handled by OFCOM, the Office of Communications. All the early calls were issued by the Postmaster General, followed by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and more recently the Radiocommunications Agency. Also, in recent years the actual business of keeping the records up to date and dealing with renewals etc has been contracted out to various commercial organisations. Since it seems that only the records of current callsigns were transferred during each handover of licensing responsibility and administration it is unlikely that any such archive now exists.
The ‘Amateur Radio Callbook’; published annually by the Radio Society of Great Britain, is probably the most reliable record of Amateur Radio callsigns available. The information was, and still is, taken directly from official records at the time of publication. Other lists have been published from time to time but it is not known how accurate they are.
THE RE – ISSUE ISSUE
No information has to come to light so far regarding the exact circumstances of the transfer / re-allocation of the callsign prior to the most recent allocation to Peter, although it seems likely that F J Rumary was employed by the Marconi Company as was Crispin Redshaw. It is interesting to note that contemporary callbooks describe all the ‘2’ series as ‘Amateur’ callsigns even when issued to commercial organisations such as 2LO and 2MT to the Marconi Company.
George, G2DGB says that the first recorded instance in his log of Cris using G2YT was in december 1957. Even as late as 1963 the International Callbook shows G4VZ being held by Chris with the address at Radio Station Houses, Dorchester, whilst the address given for G2YT is at Osmington.
UNANSWERED QUESTIONS – Can anyone help please?
There are many questions still to be answered.
For instance; why did Crispin Redshaw apparently have two callsigns for at least 5 years? Was G2YT in fact held by F J Rumary of Portishead and Crispin Redshaw of Dorchester because of their connection with the original licence holder, The Marconi Company? This is surely a reasonable assumption? However, might it not also have been the case that both were intended to be used as ‘Club’ callsigns, attached perhaps to the Radio Station and only held ‘on behalf of’ that club or society? There was a GPO Coastal Radio Station at Portishead. Did it have a Radio Club Station, and if it did what was it’s callsign?
Considering the very unusual circumstances, that of one of the original Marconi callsigns being issued by both the U.S. and U.K. Governments; it seems rather strange that there is so little documented about 2YT. After all it was used at the most famous of all Marconi sites at Poldhu!
WHO OR WHAT WAS ‘XZT’ ?
The call XZT mentioned on the G2YT QSL card is also rather mysterious.
Three letter callsigns were issued before before WW1 to all so called ‘experimental’ stations. By the early 1920’s when 2YT was issued three letter callsigns were still being allocated. Ships had callsigns that began with the letter M; the Mauretania for instance was MGA. Fixed stations had callsigns beginning with G. Lands End Radio was GLD and North Foreland Radio was GNF. Although ‘Amateurs’ were being issued with the ‘2 plus two letter’ callsigns so were commercial organisations like the Marconi Company and the British Broadcasting Company, who had 2LO. The letter G was added later to Amateur callsigns and from then on there was a clearer distinction between Amateur and Commercial callsigns.
If XZT was issued in 1912, it could have been for ‘amateur’ or ‘commercial’ use but there is no record of it in the ‘Directory of Experimental Wireless Stations’ published by A. W. Gamage in March 1914. In almost all the callsigns listed the first letter is the same as the first letter of the surname of the licensee and (perhaps not surprisingly) there are no callsigns starting with the letter X! So who was XZT issued to? Was it in fact a callsign of the Poldhu experimental station before 2YT and was the ‘X’ in some way special?
This web site www.users.zetnet.co.uk/rdixon/crs/long-range/tx-sites.htm says that the Marconi Maritime Communications Station at Poldhu in 1901 was callsign ZZ and a number of other web sites tell us that the Poldhu station callsign was MPD. Although this looks like a ships callsign, pre WW1 callsigns did not reserve the M for ships, and the letters (PD for Poldhu) are consistent with the fact that many callsigns were based on the location of the station or a vessels name. The SS Victorian for instance was MVN and GNF (above) was North Foreland. In the case of private individuals the callsign was often based on the persons surname. John Clarricoats for instance was 6CL.
However; I have not not been able to find any reference to XZT!
Further Refs: www.offshore-radio.de/fleet/first2.htm and www.gi3ymt.com/titanicmgy.html