Way Back When
New Distress Call
Marconi CQD Order

On January 7, 1904, the Marconi Company issued a “General Order” that standardized “C-Q-D” as the radio distress call for ships at sea. The call was replaced in 1908 with “S-O-S” and remained the maritime radio distress signal until 1999, when it was replaced by the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System.

Gibson Girl CQD

In January, 1915, Emma Candler of St. Mary’s, Ohio became the first US-licensed woman radio amateur with the call 8NH, later 8ER and W8NH. She shared a station with her husband, Charles, but she was by far the more active of the two. Trained and employed as a telegraph operator at the Marconi Company, she quickly became a proficient wireless operator when she got on the air in 1915. You can read more about Ms Candler by downloading the PDF.

On January 6, 1906, Reginald Fessenden and his associates made the world’s first communications-quality two-way transatlantic transmissions between Brant Rock, Massachusetts and Machrihanish, Scotland.


Father Maximilian Kolbe (8 January 1894 – 14 August 1941), SP3RN (SK), is recognized by the Catholic church as the patron saint of amateur radio. After the Polish occupation and in the early years of World War II he used his station to report on the atrocities being committed by the Nazis on the Poles. In the end he volunteered to be sent to a concentration camp instead of another man.

Kolbe was canonized on 10 October 1982 by Pope John Paul II, and declared a martyr of charity. He is also the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners, and the pro-life movement.

Thomas Augustus Watson (18 January 1854 – 13 December 1934) was an assistant to Alexander Graham Bell, notably in the invention of the telephone in 1876. He is best known because, as the recipient of the first telephone call, although coming from just the next room. His name became the first words ever said over the phone.
“Mr. Watson - Come here - I want to see you.”

Father Roberto Landell de Moura (21 January 1861 – 30 June 1928) was a Brazilian Roman Catholic priest and inventor who publicly demonstrated a radio broadcast of the human voice on June 3, 1900.

André-Marie Ampére (22 January 1775–10 June 1836) was a mathematician, a chemist, a physicist and a philosopher. The ampere, the SI unit of electric current was named after him.

Ernst Frederick Werner Alexanderson (25 January 1878 – 14 May 1975) was a Swedish-American electrical engineer, who was a pioneer in radio and television development.

He invented the Alexanderson alternator, an early radio transmitter used between 1906 and the 1930s for longwave long distance radio transmission. It consisted of a specialized electric generator spun at extremely high speed to generate radio waves, and was one of the first continuous wave radio technologies to transmit sound (AM). The only functioning Alexanderson alternator is installed at radio station SAQ in Grimeton, Sweden. http://alexander.n.se/

Professor Hidetsugu Yagi  (28 January 1886–19 January 1976) was a Japanese electrical engineer from Osaka. Invented in 1926 by his colleague Shintaro Uda, the Yagi-Uda antenna, is a directional antenna used on the HF, VHF and UHF bands.

  The antenna, (also called a “beam”) uses a single driven element connected to the transmitter or receiver, and additional parasitic elements: a so-called reflector and one or more directors. The design offers moderate gain depending on the number of elements. It’s commonly found on millions of houses throughout the world for radio and television reception.

James Watt (30 January 1736 – 25 August 1819) was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose steam engine was fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world. He developed the concept of horsepower, and the SI unit of power, the watt, was named after him.

Irving Langmuir.jpg

Irving Langmuir (31 January 1881 – 16 August 1957) was Nobel Prize-winning American chemist, engineer and physicist. While at General Electric, he developed the first true vacuum tube, a triode. Lee de Forest invented the Audion, a triode as well, but it depended on gas to operate. One could say Langmuir invented the vacuum in a vacuum tube.

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