The Philip B. Petersen
One pioneer radio amateur
who has made many inventions that greatly improved the state of the art
of long-range radio communications is Harold Beverage, 2BML. He was
15 years old in 1908 when he designed and built his first spark gap transmitter
from parts he made himself, except for the headphones and spark coil.
With this rather primitive equipment, he was able to communicate up to
50 miles. Harold regularly listened to Marconi's first long-range
commercial station at Wellfleet on Cape Cod.
In April 1912, he copied messages for two days from the Titanic rescue ship Carpathia as it was taking 705 survivors to New York. The Titanic disaster showed the importance of radio communications. It was the catalyst that inspired many young men to seek interesting radio careers. Harold Beverage was one of them. He worked with notable scientists at General Electric and at the high power 200,000-watt station near New Brunswick, New Jersey. Later, he worked at the RCA long-range overseas station in Rocky Point, Long Island. There he developed and invented many basic antennas and receiver circuits that greatly improved the quality of radio communications.
One of his directional antennas was used by radio amateur Paul Godley, 2ZE, in Europe in the first successful reception of short-wave communications from America. This proved conclusively that short-wave signals travel thousands of miles on relatively low power. Up until than, all commercial stations used only the long waves at high power. After this, his antenna was commonly called the Beverage Antenna.
Harold was consulted by many. He designed the first long-range radio station in South America. He was technical advisor to Army and Air Force Commanders in Europe and North Africa during World War II for four years. While in England, a "buzz bomb" missed him by only 20 feet.
After the war, Harold Beverage, 2BML returned to RCA as Vice President and Director of Research. Harold received many honors. Among them are The Presidential Certificate of Merit, the Institute of Radio Engineers Medal of Honor, and the Armstrong Medal from the prestigious Radio Club of America. Upon his retirement in 1958, his friends made a gift of $5000 to his alma mater, the University of Maine's scholarship fund.
December 5, 1990
** Broadcasts recordings preserved and presented here by Mr. Robert Buss and Mr. Bernie Ricciardi, Phil's friends and fellow Marconi Chapter 138 QCWA members **
Page updated January 22, 2004
page created June 11, 2001
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