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H.M. WIRELESS STATION

CONSTRUCTION

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Construction

The British Admiralty's desire to have wireless communication stations all over the world was strong, but their knowledge of the areas on which these stations would be built was poor. They were aware that conditions at each location would vary greatly in regards to ground cover, accessibility of water, materials and labor, therefore they created a set of guidelines that would assist engineers and local authorities in choosing a building site which would suit the needs of the Admiralty best.

Before the Marconi Company, who would be constructing the stations, arrived at the site, the British Admiralty requested that the local Governor pre-select various sites for the engineers to consider. This was a help to those who would construct the buildings because the engineers, in most cases, knew little about the local area whereas the local officials could easily take the guidelines and select appropriate sites.

There were a number of factors that could "make or break" a potential building site. First and foremost, the physiological features of the land, in particular the nature of the soil, was considered. In some cases, inappropriate soil could cause a reduction in the range of the station, affecting the stations usefulness. In situations where all possible building locations suffered from some loss of wireless range due to the physiological factors, the British Admiralty requested that the final location picked be the one that had the greatest possible range in the direction of east to south.

It was also important that the chosen site be secure from the possibility of bombardment by enemy ships such as German light cruisers. The buildings, built during World War One were a probable target for enemy fire. The accuracy of enemy shell fire could not be verified without visual observation of where the shells impacted, this information would have to be relayed back to the ship to adjust the fire. Clearly, sites not visible from the sea would have more protection from accurate enemy shellfire.

Accessing materials at the locations was another concern and for good reason. The British Admiralty planned to supply each of the eleven locations with the majority of the building supplies to be used. Some of the materials to be brought in, such as the sections for the three radio masts that each weighed around two tons, were large and cumbersome therefore requiring fairly easy accessibility to the site. Building near a populated area in most cases meant that roads and transportation routes would already exist.

Building close to a local community or town had other benefits too. The erecting staff, who would build all structures on the site, needed a place to live while working. Local communities would be able to supply this service to the staff. In addition to temporary residence, local communities could also supply the station with fresh water. In the guidelines for choosing a site to build on it states that, "It is desirable that the site should be in the neighborhood of a supply of fresh water capable of furnishing not less than 200 gallons per day."

The dimensions of the potential building site was another factor in it's being chosen. The site could not be less than 1300 feet by 300 feet and it was essential that there was room for the operating building to be constructed in correct position relative to the masts. The guidelines for the position of the residence buildings were not as strict but the residence was not to be built further than 100 feet away from the other buildings.

The Admiralty did realize that it was quite possible that not all locations would satisfy all of these requirements. Their solution was that, if the site was not perfect, a site would be chosen based on which one filled the most requirements.

How The Site Was Built (Specifications)

Once a building site was chosen, there were specific sequences and patterns in which the grounds were cleared and building erected. It was first necessary to level off the site and prepare the pre-determined locations for the masts, machinery beds and anchor blocks. Trenches were dug and a cement mixture was poured into them to create the solid foundation blocks needed for the various wireless structures. The machine and mast foundation anchor blocks used a mixture of 90lbs of cement to 2 cubic feet of sand and 4 cubic feet of aggregate broken to a size which would pass through ¾ inch mesh.

For the foundations of the buildings, the concrete used had to be in the proportions of 90 lbs of cement to 3 cubic feet of sand and 6 cubic feet of gravel or broken stone. By chance that the site did not contain the materials necessary to make the concrete in the desired fashion, it could be made using different amounts of the gravel and sand keeping in mind that the closer to the original formula the better.

Once all the foundations were laid work began on the construction of the buildings. The specifications given to the engineers contained very detailed instructions on what to build, where to build it in relation to other structures, and what materials would be used to both construct and finish the buildings. The frames of the buildings were to be built out of either Deal Fur or Pitch Pine. The roofs had to be covered in Hemlock boarding and first quality cedar shingles. The external walls of the building also received boarding and a layer of shingles similar to those used on the roof. Some of the original cedar shingles are on display in the museum.

Inside the buildings, the walls, partition walls and ceilings were covered in either Bell's Asbestos Poilite or a similar product as a means of insulation. Once this product was applied, all of the treated walls and the ceiling then received a setting coat and a Mack Slab Finish.

The floors within the buildings were covered in a number of ways. The residential living rooms were given wooden floors, the main corridors and the kitchen offices had a 1-inch cement coating and the veranda was covered in wooden slabs. In the Operating buildings the floors were first covered in tiles and then linoleum was glued on top of it.

There were also specifications governing what structures could appear in these buildings. The chimneys and fireplaces were, in cases where brick was available, to be built in brick. If no brick was available then the Company could choose to build them in stone or concrete. Brick was available in Newfoundland for the building of the H.M Wireless Station and two original fireplaces can still be viewed in the museum's Calypso Room and the Commanding Officers sitting room. All of the hardware to be installed in the bathrooms such as the baths, lavatory, basins and sinks had to be made of stainless steel and brass. All windows were to be equipped with roller blinds. Very specific guidelines were given on how the Receiving Room should be constructed. Five-pound lead lined the walls, floor and ceiling of the room. The lead in the ceiling was covered up by the use of a false ceiling and the walls were covered in 1 inch boarding. A lead door with a window opening was also in the room. The floor, which was first covered in concrete, was then covered in 7 lbs lead and the joints were all soldered. One could gather from the work put in to this, the Company's job was to deafen this room.

Materials sent to each individual 30kw wireless station to be built under the British Admiralty

35,000 Feet of aerial wire 7/13 silicone bronze
240 Thimbles, heart 1 ½" for aerial
24 Shackles 5/16" D screw
6 Ash spreaders, 20 ft. long, 5" diameter fitted with 4 bands to take ½ " pins
4 Bridles, flex. galvanized steel wire
60 Shackles, harp with ½" pins
70 4'6" hoops with 6 hooks, nuts and washers
12 Insulators, strain 30 cwt.
14 Insulators, strain 15 cwt.
4 Gallons preservative solution for above
12 36" porcelain rod insulators
4 Special porcelain reel insulators with iron staples
4 Pairs strain insulators, rod and cone
4 Partition insulators
4 Lead-in insulators No. 5
2 Leading-in insulators No. Ia.
1 Insulator connection flex. with 2 terminals at each end
2 Earth terminal arresters
25,000 Feet earth wire No. 14 copper bare
90 Galvanized iron earth plates 6' x 2' 6" x 24 gauge
7 Center T cage couplings

List of Wireless Material supplied for Navy D-M Stations

2 Motor Alternators D.C 220/ 320 volt alternator to give 30KW. At 1000 volts, 350 cycles
2 Motor starters /td>
3 Motor Field regulators
2 Alternator field regulators
2 Sets of foundation bolts
2 Half-couplings for disc
2 Sets of spanners
2 Sets of tools
2 Brush- holders for motors (spare)
2 Sets of brushes for motors (spare)
2 Brush-holders for alternators (spare)
2 Sets of brushes for alternators (spare)
2 Complete set of main bearings (spare)
2 Protecting shunt boards for motor fitted with 2 lugs and three graphite rods, also four wood screws, brass, flat head, 1" no. 10
2 Protecting shunt boards for generator fitted with 2 lugs and three graphite rods, also four wood screws, brass, flat head, 1" no. 10
2 Ditto for blower motors and fans
12 Graphite rods (spare)
2 Exhausting fans for disc chambers
1 Switchboard enameled stale with one A.C. panel and one D.C. panel
3 Transformers, oil cooled, 1000/13,000 volts 15KW. 350 cycles with necessary oil
24 Condenser units, transmitting H.T. in oil tight galvanized iron tanks
2 Condenser units (spare)
50 Porcelain feet for above
60 Gallons of oil, high flash insulating for above
1 Set of terminal keys and other tools
1 Set copper bus bar connectors
1 Set of separators
2 Discharger MMR high speed disc direct connected to generator and on same bedplate
2 Sets of spares for above
2 Pairs of electrodes
2 Sets of studs
4 O couplings, hard rubber
1 Set of spanners
2 Low frequency secondary inductances
1 Inductance H.F. secondary, adjustable aerial tuning, 3'6 diameter, 6 feet long
2 Air chokes
1 Transmitting jigger
3 Magnetic keys, H.T. relay fitted with "GB" type porcelain plunger
2 Sets contact pieces and arms for H.T. keys
1 Solenoid spare for H.T. keys
3 Electric blowers 220 volts
1 Iron stand for three blowers and three keys
3 Starters and regulators for blower motors
6 Lengths of rubber tubing
12 Pairs contacts spares for H.T. keys
1 Manipulating key
2 Contacts spares for above
1 Tuning ammeter
1 Standard buzzer
1 Key for buzzer
6 Dry Obach cells "Q" size
1 Wavemeter No. 2 100/2500 meters
1 Evershed bridge meggar
1 Resistance box
1 Tool box, standard repair outfit
2 Insulators, ebonite bushings
125 Assorted porcelain cleats and screws
1 D.P. switch 25 amps with D.P. fuse mounted on slate base
1 D.P. switch C.O. mounted on ebonite base
1 D.P key switch in manipulating key circuit
1 Gate switch

List of receiving materials

1 Receiver set - 600 to 5000 meters
2 200 volt battery boxes, complete with cells
1 Gross "Ever-Ready" dry cells (No.1689) sealed in zinc cases
12 Dura dry cells No. 57
4 40 ampere hour "Hart" accumulators
12 Valves, double sheath, small type
2 Telephone transformers
1 Battery charging board
12 Mounted crystals in box
2 Pairs L.R. telephones (Brown)
2 Pairs L.R. telephones (Sullivan)

List of Lighting Materials for each 30KW Station

2 5 way D.P. ironclad distribution boards with china fuse carriers cable holes drilled and fitted with nipples for lead covered wiring
2 25 amp. 250 volt D.P. U ironclad switches
60 9" brackets each complete with universal junction box and suitable lampholder, with shade carrier
12 Complete flexible watertight pendants each consisting of universal box, with attachments and nipples, and 5 feet of flexible metallic tubing: also lampholder with shade carrier
6 Universal boxes with direct mounted ceiling roses
12 Lampholders with cord grips and shade carriers
6 2 pin watertight wall sockets
2 Complete portable hand-lamps each with plug for use with above wall sockets and thirty feet of flexible metallic tubing
42 Universal boxes with sunk switch and flush cover
48 Universal junction boxes each having 4 ways drilled
2 Dozen spare porcelain interiors for universal boxes
1 Dozen spare No. 5418 (a) porcelain interiors for junction boxes
4 Dozen spare nipples for lead covered cable
7 Dozen 9" enamelled iron shades
880 Yards of No.18 SWG twin lead covered cable
36 Yards of V.I.R. twin flexible cord finished cotton
110 Yards 3/22 S.W.G single V.I.R. cable 600 megohm grade taped and braided overall
12 Gross brass saddles for lead covered twin cable

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