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Old 5th Aug 2020, 7:54 pm   #1
PaulM
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Default Tetney Beam Station

OK, bit of a long shot this.

For various reasons I've become interested in the Marconi Tetney Beam Station in Lincolnshire which opened in 1926. It operated the transmitting side of the UK/Australia and UK/India runs and was absolutely state of the art when it began transmissions.

I've trawled the web extensively and I don't think that I've missed much. The common sources are such as these:

http://tetneybeamstation.blogspot.com/
http://alancordwell.co.uk/Legacy/hfradio/tetney.html
http://bpadula.tripod.com/australiashortwave/id55.html

I've also explored all the standard works so I'm really looking for fresh primary sources or insight, please.

Anybody?

Many thanks.

Best regards,

Paul M
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Old 5th Aug 2020, 8:17 pm   #2
ms660
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Default Re: Tetney Beam Station

Have you checked the references in the Marconi Review?:

https://worldradiohistory.com/hd2/ID...om_per_page=10

Lawrence.
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Old 5th Aug 2020, 8:31 pm   #3
PaulM
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Default Re: Tetney Beam Station

Hello Lawrence, yes, I have. Surprisingly little there, in the Marconi Archive, Kew or anywhere else really.

The booklet produced by local teacher Paul Hewitt is the best there is (and very good it is too), but I just feel that there should be more. When you look at the history of Grimeton in Sweden you realise how much is missing of our radio history. They have a complete working station, albeit an Alexanderson rig. See: https://alexander.n.se/
That was quite primitive (although incredibly impressive!) compared to the UK's HF Beam Stations of the same era.

Best regards,

Paul M
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Old 5th Aug 2020, 8:51 pm   #4
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Default Re: Tetney Beam Station

I hadn't known of it. Thank you for posting those links. Quite fascinating!

David
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Old 5th Aug 2020, 10:09 pm   #5
PaulM
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Default Re: Tetney Beam Station

The Beam Station story is, of course, well-known as a top-down kind of tale with Marconi putting his company on the line to develop long-haul short-wave communications. The hardware - although large - was a fraction of the size and cost of the original long wave schemes such as used at Grimeton. It was also much faster in terms of words per minute and eventually led to long-range telephony as well as telegraphy.

What I'm trying to find is the answer to some of the open questions. For instance, it's not clear why it was closed during the war. Various speculative reasons have been given but no smoking gun. There's also missing chunks of the social history, both local and national. The booklet by Paul Hewitt relates some lovely stories but for example, we don't know how the hardware was maintained - did the Marconi Company run that or was it the GPO and later, Cable and Wireless? Who built the buildings and masts - local or national contractors?

On the strictly technical front, we have some half-decent but not good enough photos of the transmitters, but we can't easily relate what we're seeing to function. Only some very vague descriptions of the hardware exist. I've always been staggered just how 'normal' it was to have huge numbers of motor-generator sets to run large transmitters at the time. Were they reliable? How did you run something like that up - what was the sequence? How were things cooled? The on-line videos of running up Grimeton are fascinating to watch, but how much harder must something as sophisticated as Tetney have been? Many, many questions - technical, social and economic with only hints in the known literature about so much of it.

Best regards,

Paul M
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