Morse code to ring out in Caister as part of radio celebrations

Norfolk ham Jim Bacon at the Caister Radio Stationfor International Marconi Day April 2012. Picture: submitted Norfolk ham Jim Bacon at the Caister Radio Stationfor International Marconi Day April 2012. Picture: submitted

Saturday, April 19, 2014
5:16 PM

Caister is set to echo to the sounds of Morse code again when a group of radio hams take up their microphones to mark a special celebration.

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Members of the Norfolk Amateur Radio Club (NARC) will be running an all day event to commemorate International Marconi Day on April 26, and setting up a special station at Caister Lifeboat Visitor Centre.

The village is the annual setting for the club’s celebrations as it was home to a Marconi wireless station, which was established in the High Street in 1900.

Throughout the day radio amateurs will be trying to contact other enthusiasts across the world, using the call sign GB0CMS.

Last year the hams managed to contact more than 480 radio amateurs in 40 different countries.

Using a mixture of Morse code and speech, notable contacts included enthusiasts in Australia, Barbados, Newfoundland, Canada and the USA. Other contacts included special Marconi stations in the UK, Italy, Austria and Iceland.

International Marconi Day celebrates the birthday of the Italian born inventor, who pioneered long distance radio transmission.

Around the world stations are set up at sites with historical links to the his work, including Poldhu in England, Cape Cod Massachusetts, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia and Bologna, Italy.

Organiser Steve Nichols said: “Any visitors will be made more than welcome. In addition to the radio stations the visitor centre will also be open, which offers a fascinating insight into the remarkable history of Caister Lifeboat.”

Caister’s Marconi Wireless station was established in a house known as Pretoria Villa, first connected by land line to Great Yarmouth Post Office and the village coastguard station.

Its original purpose was to communicate with ships in the North Sea and the Cross Sand lightship. In January 1915 it was changed to ‘general working’ and not used for ship-to-shore work, and it closed in 1929 due to new technology moving in.

The masts were taken down and a few years later the house became the village police station.

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