Russell C. Coile
a hill. Marconi's brother Alfonso fi red a rifl e after receiving the radio signal
so that Marconi, at the window of the lab, could realize that the fi rst radio
transmission had been a success. Hertz, in Germany, had been able to
send a signal across a room, but Marconi was the fi rst to demonstrate that
he could really transmit at long distances. Amateur radio had begun.
Marconi went to England and improved his equipment. He fi led a patent
application on June 2
, 1896 and Patent No. 12,039 was issued on July
, 1897 by the British Patent Offi ce for `Improvements in Transmitting
Electrical Impulses and Signals and in Apparatus therefore.' He was 23
years old. Since both the British Post Offi ce and the Royal Navy were
interested in Marconi's radio equipment, his Irish cousin Jameson Davis
helped him establish his company, called Wireless Telegraph and Signal
Company on July 20, 1897. Marconi had 60,000 shares and his cousin
had 10,000 of the total of 100,000 shares. The name was changed in
1900 to Marconi's Wireless Co.
Marconi was a skillful salesman and staged numerous demonstrations
in England from the Isle of Wight to ships at sea, and across the English
Channel from Dover to France. On July 21, 1898 he persuaded the Daily
Express newspaper in Dublin to charter a steamship, the Flying Huntress,
so that he could follow sailboats at sea and send the results of sailing
races to his radio station on shore so that the results could be published
in the evening editions of the paper. And of course, he captured the world's
attention on December 12, 1901 when he successfully transmitted a
transatlantic radio signal from England to Newfoundland.
So any hams who get to Italy should consider making a pilgrimage to
Bologna where amateur (and commercial) radio began. You should allow
enough time to see the other places I didn't, such as: 3) the Bologna
Conservatory where his Irish mother came to study singing (but married
Marconi's father instead), 4) the house where Guglielmo was born on April
25, 1874, 5) the Baptistery of St. Pietro where Guglielmo was baptized, 7)
the Elementary school at Casaleechio di Reno attended by little Guglielmo,
and St. Petronio, the Cathedral of Bologna in Piazza Maggione where the
offi cial funeral of Marconi was held in 1937.
The Foundation has an amateur radio station, IY4FGM, at Villa Griffone.
Actually there was no one from the Foundation there when we arrived from
Milan. We were lucky to meet someone from the Research Center for Radio-
Communications, Department of Electronics, Information and Systems,