Sunday, December 07, 2014

Cacolim or Calcoim?

A 1925 issue of the Schenectady Gazette reported attempts at long distance reception with  2XI, 2XK, and 2XAF and members of the ARRL. On July 18th and 19th 2XI broadcast on 44 meters at 5 kW and 2XAF broadcast on 40.5 meters a 1 kW.The signals were audible clear to Miami. A second round of tests were conducted on July 25th and 26th.  2XK transmitted on 22.4 meters at 10 kW,  2XAF on 20.5 meters still at 1 kW and 2XI on 19.5 meters at a 4 kW. The programming was just a continuous loop of station ID via tape machines. Other less formal tests just rebroadcast content from WGY-AM.

So here is a small blurb I found this in the April 26th issue of the Cornell Daily Sun, the student newspaper of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.  Back in the mid 1920s print news sources would still deign to write about radio, then a still awkward and scrawny competitor. So this fun was ongoing and something that in 1925 and 1926 that some newspaper (especially in upstate new York) were writing about.

The problem here is that we have two very similar April 20th articles on the same event in two different newspapers: the Cornell Daily Sun [SOURCE] and the Amsterdam Daily Recorder [SOURCE]. Both note the distance from Schenectady to Perth as 11,498 miles. (Google tells me that it's 11,508 but let's not split hairs.) Both note the 6;15 broadcast of a speech, but not who the speaker was. Both even note the response from Perth by cablegram. Both note the mystery sender of the cablegram. But there is one key difference. the Sun indicates the name is Calcoim. The Recorder lists their name as Cacolim... It's unclear which typoed the name.

Radio Age magazine reported in 1936 that  2ZAF was broadcasting to stations all over the world: JB in Johannesburg, South Africa, the BBC in the UK, and heard by radio listeners in Perth, Australia; Corumba, Brazil; and on board a ship in Kings Bay off Spitsbergen, Norway.  In other words the 11,498 mile distance didn't make reception impossible... that was really the fun of 2XAF and shortwave radio in general. They were still really staging the same events a decade after their 11,498 mile cablegram mystery.

But I believe I have solved it.  The typo may not actually matter. Cacolim and Calcoim are anagrams for Comical. (If you don't like that guess it's also a Portugese word for quail.)