2023 Fessenden Event on 486kHz

For ARRL & SWL news:  

As in years past, Brian, WA1ZMS of Forest, VA will have FCC Part 5 station WI2XLQ QRV starting appox. 21:00 UTC on Dec 24th for the now annual Fessenden Event.  Transmissions will last for at least 24hrs.  A repeat will take place again on Dec 31st also starting appox. 21:00 UTC and run for 24hrs.  All transmissions will consist only of the two Christmas songs claimed to have been played by Fessenden himself on his violin, as well as a brief Bible verse.  WI2XLQ’s voice ID and transmission description is via computer generated voice.

While the story of Fessenden’s alleged first voice transmissions using an Alexanderson alternator on Dec 24th and Dec 31st has never been proven to have taken place the way the now-legendary story claims; early in Dec of that year Fessenden did demonstrate AM voice transmissions over just a few miles for the US Navy.  So some credit is due to his early pioneering work of human speech via RF rather than the typical spark generated CW of the time.

WI2XQL uses a slightly more modern home-brew 1920’s era Amateur-grade MOPA transmitter (based on a UV201 oscillator and UV202 final) and a high power linear FET amplifier.  The MOPA also uses true AM Heising modulation as was first done in WW1 for the US military. 

So set-up your long-wire antennas and with a simple modern SDR or a vintage MF RX, give a listen for WI2QXL.  SWL reports can be sent to WA1ZMS@ARRL.NETand e-mail confirmation of reports will follow.  Audio samples of what you heard are also welcomed.

-Brian, WA1ZMS