A Marconi station was installed in this area in 1906 for communication with ships sailing on Lake Michigan.   It remained in operation until 1972.

From 1906 to 1926 the equipment used was a Marconi 2 Kilowatt spark gap transmitter and crystal detector receiver.   From 1906 to 1915 a "straight" spark gap was used;  this was changed in 1915 to a "rotary" type spark gap.   This remained in use until 1926 when vacuum tube equipment was installed.

An antenna tower 125ft tall was sited on the highest sandy hill just south of the railway tracks and four wires went from there to a cedar pole 60ft high.

The 2 KW transmitter had a 30,000 volt secondary, a bank of 12 turns of half inch copper tubing approximately 14 inches in diameter. The straight spark gap was 1 inch to one and a half inch.   This made such a racket that it could be heard in Frankfort Main Street on a quiet day.   Eventually a muffler was placed around the spark gap.

At some time prior to 1913 the station was put into a refrigerator car and moved to another location where it was placed at the base of a grain elevator which was approximately 80ft high.   The lower end of the antenna was supported by the top of the elevator.   Probably around 1916 the grain elevator was removed and a 60ft pole substituted to support the antenna.

In 1917 the station was moved again into a building on a hill overlooking the harbour.   Once more a 60ft pole was used to support the antenna.   It was then found that the actual ground was inadequate for the purpose and so for what was probably the first time in that area a counterpoise was used.

Initially the American Morse Code was used, but in 1912 this was changed to the International Morse Code.

The above was taken from a news item written in 1968 by C.O. Slyfield who was at one time the Chief Operator at the Station, which used the call sign WFK, and was provided to the Webmaster by Jerry Young, K8GWW, who will be operating from the site for IMD 2005, using the call sign W8K.

Retrieved from