Updated 7-15-2010

August 2010 Column


Jack Irwin, Marconi Wireless Man

Postcard of station
Postcard of earlier 1901 Siasconcet station

Jack Binns "CQD" operator on the Republic and Jack Irwin (right)
Later 1910 Siasconcet station on Nantucket Island
David Sarnoff inside Siasconcet station, about 1910
Sarnoff outside
David Sarnoff and unidentified operator oustide the station in
front of the windows in the photo above. (later photo,1920?)
Republic - Florida Collision and CQD
   Just before 4 AM on January 23, 1909 while on the graveyard shift Irwin heard a weak call for help. CQD CQD ATTENTION ALL STATIONS. DISTRESS. THE REPUBLIC RAMMED BY UNKNOWN STEAMER 175 EAST OF AMBROSE LIGHT. LAT 40.7, LON 70. It was from the White Star liner RMS Republic 60 miles away, which had just been rammed by the Italian liner Florida and was sinking. Irwin quickly took charge and contacted the Baltic and several other nearby ships, which all headed toward the Republic in thick fog. Six people were killed in the crash, three from each ship, but 1500 people were successfully rescued. The wireless operator aboard the Republic was Jack Binns who was also quite a hero.
  More Information on the Collision
   For an excellent and accurate portrayal of this important use of wireless, you will want to see the PBS movie Rescue at Sea, parts of which were filmed at the New England Wireless and Steam Museum (www.newsm.org) in Rhode Island. The wireless room movie set with real Marconi equipment is on exhibit there. The video can be purchased at www.pbs.org.
   Visit www.rms-republic.com for more on the sinking of the Republic. For an interesting story about the Siasconset wireless station visit www.nha.org/history/
. For more about Jack Binns, the wireless operator aboard the RMS Republic, visit www.jackbinns.org.

K2TQN's Speaking Tour for this Year

I will be making a few presentations about the 1923 Bowdoin expedition, titled the “Wireless North Pole and the Adventures of Don Mix” with lots of the original photos. I regret not being able to go everywhere I have been invited.

If you are in the area, I hope you will attend - No admission charge, come join the fun.

Dates: Tuesday evening 7 PM, August 17 at the  AWA Conference
Rochester, NY, August 17-21, 2010    (Program Schedule)

Starting at 7 PM, I will be presenting “Wireless North Pole and the Adventures of Don Mix”,  Don Mix’s WNP 1923 adventure on the schooner Bowdoin to the North Pole. In a sense I’ll be opening the festivities there with my talk, which will be followed by an evening of radio related movies presented by the AWA. The first will be PBS’s Empire of the Air. The AWA Cinema Pub will have food and beverages available for purchase. So if you’re just arriving you can attend the Don Mix presentation and movie while having your food and beverages.

John Dilks, K2TQN    125 Warf Road, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234-8501   e-mail: K2TQN@arrl.net