My hand is shaking as I press the button on the side of the radio mic. I’m nervous, scared of screwing something up the first time I try. “CQCQ, this is VD1M, QRZ?”
Through a rash of static, a voice responds with something I can’t quite make out, but Chris Hillier, at the time president of the Society of Newfoundland Radio Amateurs, guides me through what to say next: “This is Victor Alpha Three Echo Alpha Mike; you’re five by nine. My name is Lola; what’s my report?”
“Thank you for the five nine. You’re very weak here in Sarnia, Ontario. You’re about three by three, but thank you for the report,” the voice replies.
“Thank you, seven three, QRZ,” I read from the script Hillier scribbled down for me a few moments before I sat down in front of the radio at Signal Hill National Historic Site in St. John’s, just metres away from the spot where inventor and electrical engineer Guglielmo Marconi received the first-ever wireless transatlantic radio signal in 1901.
Sitting in the old fortress, 120 years to the day that Marconi sent his transmission, is a trip. After extensive renovations, Signal Hill can now be used as a modern remote radio station for the first time. A special call sign, VD1M, has even been granted by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to celebrate the anniversary — a rarity in the world of radio. So this is an exciting day for the “Marconi chasers,” a small but passionate group of amateur radio buffs seeking to replicate the original transmission methods. For them, to be able to call in and be recognized by someone broadcasting from Signal Hill is a big deal.
Read more – Canadian Geographic: https://bit.ly/3qTqzNM