The mysterious forces of the air leaped the boundaries of thousands of miles to bring Cedar Rapids into touch with the celebrated MacMillan scientific expedition at Etah Greenland and wrote a new chapter of the history of radio Sunday.
Arthur Collins 514 Fairview drive 15 year-old radio wizard, picked up the message from the expedition’s ship Bowdoin, at twenty meters at about 3 o'clock and conversed in continental code for more than one hour.
It was the first time the expedition and any United States radio station had communicated at that wave length.
Messages were received by Collins for the National Geographic Society which is sponsoring the expedition, and for others, and were sent out from here by telegraph.
He was scheduled to talk with the expedition’s operator again at 3 p.m. today.
Although not permitted to give out official information thus received and relayed the substance of the message for the National Geographic Society, Collins said was that the first plane had landed on the shore of Etah harbor.
The crew of the Bowdoin had built a runway of planks on the steep gravel beach which was erected of rocks by the crew.
Radio Fan For Years
Arthur Collins is the son of Mr. and Mrs. M. H. Collins and is a student at Washington high school.
He has been a radio fan for years and has himself constructed most of his apparatus.
His equipment is in a small room on the third floor of the Collins home.
His station is known as 9 CXX.
When the MacMillan expedition sailed from Wiscasset, Maine, June 20, Arthur was there to see them off.
He was touring in the east at the time, and made a special trip there to see the Bowdoin’s operator John Reinartz, with whom he already had a radio acquaintance.
The ship’s call is WNP.
Reinartz is himself an amateur, and the expedition is relying on amateur operators for its wireless communication.
The expedition, since starting out, has communicated with New England stations only, at forty meters.
However, Reinartz and the local boy had experimented with shorter wavelengths frequently in their early acquaintance.
Sunday afternoon, by accident, Collins picked up WNP.
He was there at twenty-two meters, Reinartz was at twenty-one meters, but changed to sixteen.
This also was the first time sixteen meters was used with success.
“Great work old man’, Glad you should have been first to work me. It is fitting glory for your help a while ago.”
That was the personal message Arthur had received from his friend.
He says it is a reference to some help he gave to Reinartz with radio several months ago.
Gives Several Messages
Reinartz then asked the boy to take the message to the National Geographic, another to K. B. Warner, secretary of the American Radio Relay League, at Hartford, Conn. and a third for his wife, at South Manchester, Conn.
To his wife he said, “Love via twenty meters from Etah for first time in history of radio at 1:40 p.m.”
He signed the message “kewpie” the nickname he had won because his home station is 1 QP.
Replies have been received by telegraph from those receiving the messages.
At 4 o'clock, suddenly, when the message had been coming in clear, the signal faded out.
It was then one hour later at Greenland, eastern time, Collins believes the approach of darkness, and the atmospheric conditions were responsible for the fade-out.
In previous experiments with short wavelengths, he has discovered the approach of darkness often brings about this result.
Reinartz said he would be on the air every day from noon to 7 p.m. at sixteen meters.
The local boy told a Gazette reporter today that although he had been in wireless communications with Australia, Scotland, England, India, Belgium, Porto Rica, Guam, and Mexico, he never had received a greater thrill then that when he talked to his friend on the famous expedition bound northward to explore a mystic continent.