“Whitey” Doherty, K1VV writes:
The Marconi Radio Club will operate two HF stations to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the first rescue of an airship (America) by wireless. This was also the first wireless operation from an airship. Two stations will be operating, one representing the Airship America with W1AA/W and a second representing the rescue ship SS Trent with W1AA/RNR. America and SS Trent used these calls in 1910.
In the fall of 1910, Walter Wellman a newspaperman, built a new dirigible called America. Wellman’s plan was to fly to Europe in his airship America. He had a crew of four including Jack Irwin as his wireless operator. The call sign of America was “W”. Yes, that is correct, it was the single letter “W”. This was years before any issuing of wireless call signs by the government or any regulation. America left Atlantic City NJ on Oct. 15, 1910 and flew in a huge arc past Cape Cod and then southeast for over 1,000 miles before engine trouble forced the journalist and his crew to abandon ship not far from Bermuda. Wellman brought the ship down within a mile of the SS Trent a passing steamer, which made spark gap wireless contact with the America and rescued all on board. The SS Trent then delivered Wellman and his crew to safely shore. This Atlantic adventure set a record for the longest airship flight to that time in aviation history. It was also the first operation of a wireless from an airship and the use of wireless communication, which resulted in the rescue of the American airship crew.
DX please QSL via the Bureau. Stateside via W1AA address OK on QRZ.COM. Two QSL cards are available W1AA/W for The America Airship and W1AA/RNR for the rescue vessel SS Trent. STATESIDE PLEASE SEND A BUSINESS SIZE #10 ENVELOPE – S.A.S.E
A certificate is also available to all stations who confirm QSOs with both “W” and “RNR”.PLEASE send a large S.A.S.E. , big enough for the 8 ½” x 11″ Certificate with enough postage for 3 ounces. $1.50 in stamps will cover most of the USA. DX stations must include enough postage to cover the return mailing cost to their country.
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