This section is from the book "Amateur Work Magazine Vol6". Also available from Amazon: Amateur Work.
Some extremely successful results in the employment of wireless telegraphy have recently been recorded in the case of certain of the vessels of the North -German Lloyd Company provided with Marconi apparatus. Thus the Kaiser Wilhelm II., which has an equipment considered to be effective only for a relatively small radius, up to say two hundred miles, in order to communicate with passing ships, or with the coast, at the beginning or end of the voyage, has on several occasions lately received signals from very remote quarters. On her last voyage but one to New York, while the ship was off Texel, she was able to place herself in communication with Crookhaven, 600 miles away. She also on her homeward voyage to Bremen picked up the Nantucket Lightship at a distance of 600 miles, and later was able to speak Sable Island, distant about 800 miles. Subsequently she signalled the Cunarder Caronia, at distances of 1050 and 1200 miles, on the second occasion when that ship was off Cape Sperone, south of Corsica, with almost the whole of Europe intervening between them, It has been observed that these wide ranges are only possible when the vessel is at certain spots, either over the Newfoundland banks or off the Dutch coast, and it therefore seems to be probable that it is only in these places that atmospheric conditions highly favorable to the distant transmission of wireless signals are prevalent. A remarkable, if not an equally extreme variability in the apparent efficiency of Hertzwave apparatus has been repeatedly observed before. Rear Admiral Brownson's flagship, the West Virginia, furnished an illustration of the phenomenon when she- was bringing President Roosevelt home from New Orleans a year ago last autumn. It is doubtful whether under ordinary circumstances the cruiser could send intelligible signals more than three hundred, or, at the utmost, five hundred miles. Yet while she was in the Gulf of Mexico despatches which were meant for Key West were picked up at Norfolk, Washington and even in Kansas! Though no harm resulted from the occurrence, they reached a number of ears for which they were not intended.
For some of the inequalities in the range of a particular transmitter adequate explanation have been found. One type of receiving instrument is more sensitive than another, and hence will respond at a greater distance from the source of the wave impulses. Again, the degree of resistance to the ether waves which is offered by the atmosphere varies. Sometimes an effect is produced like the obstruction to ordinary light that is presented L,y dust or thin fog. It appears to be independent, too, of the paralyzing influence of direct sunlight. Operators on other steamships than the Kaiser have had the opportunity to discover whether one part of the ocean is more favorable than another to wireless telegraphic communication, but they have apparently failed to observe anything of the kind. If a peculiarity like that under discussion really exists, it is queer that it was not detected years ago.