The following article is from the March 14, 1930 edition of the Toms River Courier newspaper.

Thanks to Jerry Beer of the Berkeley County Historical Society for providing the article, and to Sam Etler for transcribing it.

Toms River Center of Ship to Shore Telephone System

Work at the Barnegat Pier Ocean Gate being pushed to complete sending station

Construction work now being done by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company will make Toms River an important center of a radio telephone system that is expected eventually to link Bell System telephones with the principal liners plying the Atlantic Ocean. One unit, the receiving station at Forked River, is already practically complete and has handled messages between the S. S. Leviathan of the United States Lines, and shore telephones. The second unit, the transmitting station at Ocean Gate, is under construction and will probably be in operation by the early part of next year.

Ship-to-shore telephone service was formally inaugurated last December, when passengers on the Leviathan conversed with people in a score of cities as far west as California and as far south as Washington. Service is available to the entire Bell System. For the present it is confined to the Leviathan, but it may ultimately be extended to practically all large passenger ships. The calls are routed through the long distance lines in New York, the ship transmitting to Forked River, where radio and wire-lines join. Until the completion of the Ocean Gate station, the outgoing circuit will [be?] by way of the Bell Telephone Laboratories experimental station at Deal Beach, transmitting to the liner.

The transmitting station at Ocean Gate is located on a 175 acre tract of salt marshes, across the river from Toms Rover, unobstructed to seaward and therefore suitable for radio transmission in that direction.

Due to the nature of the ground the building construction work called for unusual measures. The average elevation is about 18 inches above high water mark. While the surface is soft to a depth of about three feet, the underlying stratum of "hard-pan" was unexpectedly hard, and required the use of dynamite.

The building is to be modernistic in exterior design, accentuating the vertical lines and is so arranged that it can be extended at the sides and towards the front to provide for future growth. It will house the transmitting sets and associated equipment, the apparatus employed to link radio and wire circuits, and the auxiliary machinery necessary to operate the station.

The structure will be 79 feet across and 48 feet deep, two stories high and with a small basement under one end for the heating plant. On the first floor will be the generators that supply current for the transmitters and the transformers that raise the outside power supply to various required voltages, and other machinery. The transformers, which are of unusual size and power, will be set in vaults of rugged construction, with specially heavy foundations. A water-cooling system will be provided for large vacuum tubes used in the final stages of the transmitters. Large air blowers will cool the circulating water.

On this floor also will be the "line terminal room" where the wire lines from the long distance office terminate. This room will be completely sheathed in copper, to prevent the radio waves from the antennas outdoors from coming back and impairing operation of the apparatus in the room. Cork insulation under the foundations of the rotary machinery in the power room will avoid the effects of vibration on delicate radio apparatus.

On the second floor will be the transmitting sets. In the rear is to be a rectifier, to convert the alternating current from the outside power source into the direct current required in the vacuum tubes.

The structural part of the building will be of reinforced concrete. The exterior walls will consist of 12-inch brick with two-inch "furring" on the inside. All partitions inclosing transformer vaults will be of concrete to insure adequate protection.

The foundations for the building will consist of spread reinforced concrete carried to an average depth of five feet below the natural grade. The basement will go to a depth of ten and a half feet.

With the natural grade only 18 inches above high water, the excavation work presented an unusual problem but by using the "well-point" process of drainage, the work has been accomplished with out difficulty. The excavated area was kept perfectly dry.

Galvanized pipes equipped with heavy points, above which the pipes were perforated, were driven 20 feet into the ground all four sides of the area, seven feet back from the building line at three-foot intervals. The pipes were tightly connected to a six inch common drain pipe at the surface, which in turn was connected to a centrifugal pump. By constant pumping at about 450 gallons per minute the entire area to be excavated was kept dry.

In order to guard against seepage of water into the basement all the foundation walls, as well as the floor slab, are designed to be reinforced and thoroughly water-proofed. As an additional precaution a sump-pit with automatic pump will be located in the boiler room.

Initially one transmitter will be installed at Ocean Gate. This will be a set similar to those now in use for transatlantic telephone service at the Lawrenceville station, having a power of 15 kilowatts. It will be maintained at the desired frequency by means of a quartz crystal control circuit, the crystals for this circuit being located in heat-insulated ovens, the temperature of which is accurately and automatically regulated.

In the final or output stage of the transmitter there will be six 10-kilowatt wave-cooled vacuum tubes operating at a plate voltage of about 10,000 volts. This produce [sic]an enormous amplification for the current transmitted to the antenna.

The two antennas will be of the "curtain" type and consist of networks of wires in the form of coarse-mesh curtains suspended from 70-foot poles, the line poles broadside to the direction of transmission to give a highly "directional" transmission. The line of poles for the longer wave-length antenna will be 500 feet long and for the shorter 255 feet.

Due to the arrangement and interconnection of these wires the signals sent out have a marked directional effect. The range over which the antennas transmit will cover the principal steamship lanes to Europe. The efficiency of each antenna will be further increased by suspending a similar curtain behind the active one. This will serve to reflect radio energy that ordinarily would go toward the west with full power.

The receiving set at Forked River is a specially designed set using screen grid tubes and equipped for automatic volume control. It is arranged to operate over a wide range of frequencies and is provided with switching devices to permit connection to any one of the several antennas. There are at present two antennas [sic]"arrays." Each of these arrays consists of a series of brass pipes arranged in a "wall of Troy" vertical formation and mounted on a wooden frame-work. These antennas also have marked directional characteristics, their respectivity being confined to approximately the same arc as that covered by the Ocean Gate transmitter. By means of concentric copper pipes, laid a few feet above the ground in an undulatory form, antennas and receiving set are connected with a minimum of outside interference.

The Forked River station is located on a 292-acre tract of marsh land. A small frame building houses the receiving set, the line terminal equipment and the power apparatus.

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Created on September 9, 2004 at 21:20 by Albert LaFrance