Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 63.djvu/566

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

nection, which, Professor Braun claims, practically avoids all atmospheric disturbances.[1] The details of the receiving arrangement are as follows: The coherer tube consists of an ebonite tube containing hard steel particles of a uniform size, placed in the adjustable space between two polished steel electrodes. It is found that with this steel coherer, a small amount of magnetism in the particles increases its sensitiveness, and to obtain this, a ring magnet is employed in connection with a coherer tube. Receiving apparatus arranged on this system is said to have been used for telegraphing between Heligoland and Cuxhaven, a distance of thirty-six miles.

All the immense experience, however, gained by Mr. Marconi and those who have worked with his system, is in favor of using the earth connection. There is no doubt that Hertzian wave telegraphy can be conducted over short distances by means of totally insulated aerials, but for long distances the earth connection is essential, for the reasons that have been explained previously.

There are many of the details of the receiving arrangements which remain to be considered. If the communication is received by a telegraphic instrument like the Morse printer, which requires a current of anything like ten milliamperes to work it, then an important element in the receiving arrangement is the relay. The relay that is generally used is a modified form of the Siemens polarized relay, which is so adjusted as to make a single contact. For marine work on board ship, it is essential that this relay shall be balanced so that variations in position shall not affect it. Sometimes the relay is hung, in gimbals like a compass, and at other times suspended from a support by elastic bands, so as to avoid jolting. In any case, the relay must be so adjusted that no change of position will cause it to close the circuit of the telegraphic printer or recorder. Its sensibility ought to be such that it is actuated by a tenth of a milliampere, and, if possible, even by less. The alteration of sensibility in the ordinary contact form of relay is the pressure that is necessary to bring the platinum points of the circuit closer together, so as to pass the minimum current which will work the telegraph printer.

The important matter, however, in connection with the use of the relay in Hertzian wave telegraphy, is that it should be capable of adjustment without extraordinary skill. It is no use to put into the hands of an operator a relay which requires abnormal dexterity to make it work at all.


  1. There is a good deal of contradiction between various inventors on this point, some saying that 'earthed' aerials obviate atmospheric electrical disturbances, and others that insulated aerials are in this respect superior. The truth appears to be that neither form is absolutely free from risk of disturbance by this cause.