The Engineer's Notebook Blog

The Engineer's Notebook

The Engineer's Notebook is a shared blog for entries that don't fit into a specific CR4 blog. Topics may range from grammar to physics and could be research or or an individual's thoughts - like you'd jot down in a well-used notebook.

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The Marconi Wireless Station at Waenfawr

Posted December 18, 2007 9:20 AM by Steve Melito

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank Banjorjohn for sharing his pictures of Guglielmo Marconi's radio station in Waenfawr, Wales. (See below) Iechyd da!, Banjorjohn.

In 1914, the Marconi Company built a high-powered, long-wave transmitting station on the side of a hill in Waenfawr (Waunfawr), a village near Caernarfon in the north of Wales. With views that extend to the Irish Sea, Waenfawr worked in conjunction with a Marconi receiving station at the seaside town of Tywyn.

Electricity for the Waenfawr transmitter was supplied by a hydroelectric station below Cwm Dyli. The 10,000-V, three-phase supply powered two 500-hp, three-phase motors, each of which was coupled to a 300-kW, single-phase alternator. The synchronous disc dischargers that attached to the alternator shafts were so noisy that they had to be enclosed in a separate, sound-proof room.

The Waenfawr horizontal and directional aerial was supported by ten 400-ft. high masts. These masts were laid out in groups of 3+2+2+3. Each group was set 900-ft apart, and advanced up the slopes of nearby Cefn Du. The fan shape tapered from 460-ft. to 600-ft. wide at the remote end, and the original aerial was 3600-ft. long.

For many years, Marconi's Waenfawr facility was the most important long-wave station in Great Britain. With an improved understanding of short waves and the invention of the beam system, however, the radio station at Rugby eventually took center stage.

Today, the Waenfawr station contains large walls for indoor climbing so that outdoor enthusiasts can better prepare for trips into the nearby mountains. The Dragon Radio club also uses the Waenfawr facility, setting up their aerials for an annual broadcast that commemorates Guglielmo Marconi.

The Wireless Station (Left) and the Engine House (Right)

Side and Rear Views of the Wireless Station

An Electrical Insulator

Electrical Brackets

Some Old Photographs, Including an Alternator

Aerial Masts - Then and Now

The Engine House - Then and Now

The Front Step of the Marconi Club

Poster for The Dragon Amateur Radio Society

Additional Readings:

Steve Melito - The Y Files


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