An Introduction to the Mysteries of Ground Radio

With the introduction of Telephony, the use of simple buried terminal plates was soon replaced by a great number of special articulate ground components. Again requiring geomantic sensitivity for their proper ground placement and orientation, these remarkable interleaved and multivented forms literally launched and received signals along selective topographic directions (Taylor and Muirhead, Lugo, Smith). Besides those anomalous power observations in telegraphic and telephonic systems, anomalous observations were noted with the development of wireless communications. The relevant bibliography is filled with instances of geomantic power incursions in wireless systems. These incursions, clearly understood by early wireless pioneers as effects of the earth connection, made their impact on the engineering community.


The late part of the Nineteenth Century was a rich and productive time for the empirical researchers, those who explored the deep mysteries of ground conduction radio. Such investigation produced a new world of possibilities in the Wireless Arts. Experimenters found distinctive differences when varieties of geometric shapes were simply buried, a series of discoveries having no satisfactory conventional explanation. A great many highly specialized ground “antennas” were developed and patented during this time period, a technology which provoked both disbelief and criticism on numerous counts.

The very first vocal radio broadcast was engaged by Nathan B. Stubblefield (1872). Mr. Stubblefield employed special “earth cells” and long iron rods to transmit strong vocal signals “with great clarity”. These signals traversed a mile or more of ground, a coordinated conduction wireless system providing telephone service for a hardworking farm community. The Stubblefield Radio Method represents an essential technological mystery. His “earth cells” never wore out, never produced heat in their telephonic components, and provided “signal ready” power at any given instant of the day. Being neither activated or assisted by additional battery power, the system was fully operational around the clock.

Later critics attempted the reduction of the Stubblefield Radio System to mere “subsoil conduction” mode of transmission, but remain completely unable to reproduce the performance to this day. Mr. Stubblefield repeatedly stated confidence in the fact that his Radio System was performing an act of modulation, not a transmission of signal power. The preexisting “electrical waves in the earth”, he firmly stated, were the real energy carriers for his Wireless Telephone Exchange. The special “earth cells” were connective terminals, not power antennas; a means by which direct connection with the geomantic energy stratum was obtained.

In an entirely different regime of exploration, a regime having nothing whatsoever to do with waveradio energies, Dr. Nikola Tesla directed the construction of a massive radiating structure on the northshore of Long Island. His previous years of experience taught him the secrets concerning radiant energy and its effective propagation through the air and space (1892 to 1900). Understanding the means by which radiant energy may be more effectively beamed down through the ground, Dr. Tesla established the magnificent Wardenclyffe Station (1901). Tesla intended Wardenclyffe to be the first of a series, stations for the subterranean beam transmission of radiant energy. Propagation of very large diameter radiant energy beams had been found more effective for given power purposes, when conducted through solid rock. Tesla found that the earth was transparent to these penetrating straightline beams, and planned the use of deeply imbedded ground terminals in order to direct and launch his special radiant energy.

Dr. Tesla took special pains to establish the extensive underground conducting system in order “to get a grip of the earth”. This most complex construction operation, necessarily executed long before the great tower was erected, took place below the Power Broadcast Station. Tesla stated that this was the most difficult part of his construction operation at Wardenclyffe, the drilling of long iron pipes having first been driven down to more than 300 feet into the foundation rock. At a depth of 120 feet, Tesla excavated several radiating shafts, long hallways whose internal walls were covered with pitch and surrounded with iron pipeworks. These shafts extended outward at this horizontal depth for several hundred feet in all directions, a formidable ground projector. Beneath the central chambers of this Magnifying Transmitter, the deeply embedded terminals actually formed the primary beaming structure; a bizarre conception which was literally rediscovered in legal documents provided by Mr. Leland Anderson, and has since been experimentally verified by Eric Dollard.

Fr. Josef Murgas (1906) produced a remarkable series of articulated monopole terminals. These coaxial coil monopoles were deeply drilled pipes, filled with mineral oil and activated by radioimpulses. With these designs, Fr. Murgas exchanged extremely powerful and static-free signals to great distances with very little applied power. The later proliferation of ground aerial designs included double grounded arches (Tesla, Collins, Ducretet, Musits, Pickard), underwater and underground coils (Jones), underground loops (Beakes), “bent-L” inversions (Appleby, Knoll), and underground channel-loops (Hanson). Of these buried ground systems, none were as prolific as those developed by James Harris Rogers (1913). Most properly categorized as buried dipoles, Rogers antennas rested across the subsurface horizon of the ground, and were relatively easy to establish.

Desirous of creating VLF and ELF transmission sites for oceangoing surface and submerged fleet vessels, ground antenna designers attracted the attentions of the NRL and other military research laboratories. In the effort to establish failsafe communications between command centers and distant fleet, ground surface, or submerged forces, military engineers explored both Rogers buried antennas and Murgas drilled monopoles. To the thrift-minded military engineers, the buried Rogers Antennas were more accessible than the more effective and world permeating Murgas designs. Placed into long plowed furrows, the various Rogers antennas provided clarified signals. Compared with the large overhead aerials of other designers, Rogers buried antennas performed in a remarkably constant and dependable manner. Producing strong signals, of both greatly depressed static and equivalent reduced distortion levels, the Rogers designs were prized by Naval Radio engineers.

Rogers buried antennas were buried dipoles, a method application to an old design. Because the Rogers Antenna series were buried dipoles, their performance theoretically completely depended upon their compass orientations. The polarization of transmitted or received signals necessitated that Rogers Antennas be properly placed in the ground with respect to compass bearings, a restriction nonexistent with the superior Murgas Monopoles. But Rogers Antennas were admirably suited to the developing Naval Radio hardware. Driven by sinewave generators, rather than Teslian aether pulses, the Rogers designs operated in the Hertzian wave mode adequately enough to win military support. Few military experts bothered to recall that these designs were all purloined from directly from the Tesla patents, a fact which the genteel Tesla never bothered to cite.