History of the very first DX

MarconiAt 04.30 GMT on 12 December 1901, Guglielmo Marconi succeeds in sending the first transatlantic wireless communication demonstrating that radio waves transmissions could be transmitted across the Atlantic ocean, disproving detractors who told him that the curvature of the earth would limit transmission to 200 miles or less.

The Italian inventor received in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, the letter S in morse code (three dots) transmitted from Poldhu, Cornwall, in England.

Signal Hill, Newfoundland Canada, to Poldhu, Cornwall, England.
Signal Hill, Newfoundland Canada, to Poldhu, Cornwall, England.

Marconi set up a specially designed wireless receiver in Newfoundland, Canada, using a coherer (a glass tube filled with iron filings) to conduct radio waves, and balloons and kites to lift the antenna as high as possible.

Marconi AntennaThe station in Cornwall, England was composed by a twenty-four ships’ masts each 200 feet high, and the transmitter was powered by a 32 brake horsepower engine driving a 25 kilowatt alternator.

Transmitting stationHistory says that detractors were correct when they declared that radio waves would not follow the curvature of the earth, since, now we know that radio waves had been headed into space from England when they were reflected off the ionosphere and bounced back down toward Canada. But this will be understood just few years later.

In any case this contact, could be officially considered the first DX contact made by an experimenter amateur.

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What is a DX?

DX is the telegraphic shorthand for distance or distant
DXing is the hobby of receiving and identifying distant radio signals.

Marconi and the very first DX on YouTube