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Phil Petersen on: How he Became Interested in Wireless
Phil Petersen Q: Tell me a little bit about how you got into wireless and also just how did you learn the code.

PP: I think it started when I read in the boy scout books, I started to read, I was a boy scout and a lot of my friends were and I read it in there. I had the home telegraph and now you can talk without wires. I saw where Marconi did this and he went further and further without wires and it felt to you like you were part of it. And I remember Marconi a little later on, came to the Chicago World's Fair and there was a story about him visiting the amateur radio station at the fair. And one of the fellows, when they saw the eminent Marconi come in and they said, "Oh, Mr. Marconi we are only radio amateurs," and I always remember these words from Marconi he says, "And I am only a radio amateur too." And that startled the young fellows in the room because he learned the code, he learned it from, I believe, it was a telegrapher in where he lived in Italy. And telegraphy was invented about 50 years before Marconi's time by Samuel F. D. Morse and so on. Had he not known about the Morse Code, I believe that maybe Marconi name associated with radio would probably not have happened.

Marconi was very much interested in trying to get some means of communication for ships. And he says if I can get that Morse thing to work better and make it more sensitive and make it more powerful with or without what Hertz had invented, Hertz invented the putting the card from one wire to another. He said I'll be able to communicate and he did. And he was not disturbed because he went a little further and a little further and a little further. The experiments first, of course, started in the backyard a few acres away from his house and then a year or so later he was already communicating across the English Channel and people started take notice and first thing you know we're hearing about him going across the United States, not the United States but from America over to Europe. He was able to now communicate with ships and people said, well the earth is round, it won't go around the earth. Oh and he proved that he could later on go from America to England then to America. And that theory was all they had to rewrite the science books about that one because it didn't follow a straight line. It did go up and bounce back and come back to earth again. These things are fundamentals that cause the greater expansion and use of radio and people relied on it.

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