VLF signal propagation was completely at the mercy of natural influences which indeed varied in complex ways throughout the year. Weather patterns modified the signals beyond recognition at times, and thunderstorms prohibited signalling for fear of lightning strikes. Lightning, the bane of telegraph operators, often killed men at the keys instantly without warning. The Marconi aerials were so large that dielectric field stresses produced deadly voltages which, if merely brushed against, would kill. Storms were not the only natural static generators which produced interference. There were indeed others which, while introducing so much static that they eradicated the clearest and most critical financial reports, could never be explained by conventional science. Implacable in his attitude, Marconi continued withholding “his big secret”. Foreseeing the exposure of this very apparent frailty, Marconi attempted the premature introduction of his “world wide radio circuit”.
Reginald Fessenden, the famed Canadian radio investigator, was more the pure experimenter than Marconi. Equipped with independent means, and thoroughly impassioned in his devotion to wireless science, Dr. Fessenden decided to announce his findings on VLF interference. He published a rare report exposing the fact that his TransAtlantic signals often varied with each minute of transmission time! According to Fessenden, these mysterious signal annulments came through misunderstood high atmospheric conductivity effects. Voicing the opinion that an ionospheric layer was responsible for the fluctuations, research commenced at once on the task of determining ionospheric pulsations. Reliance on the reflectivity and conductivity of the ionosphere proved to be the Achilles heel of shortwave radio, even as Tesla had stated years earlier. Regardless of frequency or power, wave radio relied on the vagaries of ionospheric conditions which were beyond the control of the operators, a singular fact that was known by Marconi even in his early shortwave experiments.
Linking the VLF signal variables directly with both the daily or seasonal spatial and solar variables seemed far too unscientific and metaphysical for many academes. Nevertheless, these facts were empirical and consistent. When stating these views, each honest researcher was simply echoing the very words which Nikola Tesla had mentioned throughout the years. His statements, also based on astute empirical observation, were unerring in their accuracy. Tesla also had mentioned more esoteric phenomena which none were yet able or willing to accept. He spoke of cosmic radiations and their causative effects on ionospheric pulsations. Tesla also spoke of these cosmic radiations and their relationship with planetary and lunar influences, not a popular topic for academes to entertain. Nevertheless, the unwanted Fessenden report seemed to spell disaster for the early Marconi Company, an exposure of inherent frailties in VLF wireless; a fact which Marconi wished had never been told. Nevertheless , the report which Dr. Fessenden published provoked commentary by the silent Marconi; who very promptly published his statement, insisting now that he had been “first to observe” these effects. Thereafter, research commenced among the small consortium of VLF wireless experimenters, with the expressed purpose of determining the variables of VLF propagation.
Stockholders were outraged. The proud Marconi maintained his glacierlike effrontery, and declared that a only worldwide circuit of wireless stations would absolutely solve the problem. They believed him. With increasing finances, Marconi was able to begin construction on every world coastland. This included the vast Pacific Basin, a task which seemed unconquerable. Marconi knew that TransAtlantic signals did not easily “flow” along east-west lines, but later found that Transpacific signals exhibited the same weakening effect along north-south lines. There was indeed also evidence that a natural predisposition for the efficacy of certain frequencies would place other ruling restrictions on wave radio, the very fact which Tesla tacitly mentioned.
With increasing experience came increasing observations. The manner in which the natural environment “treated” the VLF wave launches showed an uncanny behavior, a response attribute not normally ascribed to inert forces. Were these natural distortions and interference patterns to be interpreted metaphorically, one might be compelled to declare them as evidencing “geobiological” responses to the electrical irritant Indeed, Nature seemed to actively “digest” and “catabolize” the signals. Launched signals did not take straight paths. This became obvious in the Pacific, where relay stations often had great difficulty intercepted VLF signals which “should have been” found along a very straight line path. Engineering adjustments in relay aerial directions showed that these signal paths not only curved, but meandered all along the propagation path: natural radiowave alleys. VLF propagation was not found to occur in a “smooth” glide function across geological and oceanic surfaces, the result of simple conductivity variables. Contrary to theoretical papers and analysis in later years (Austin, Appleton), theoretical reductions which seemed “simple and reasonable”, the propagation of VLF waveforms engaged suboceanic influences more in the manner of response. In all of these VLF deformations, operators observed evidence of a biodynamic structure having total influence on every irritating VLF application to the environment
Under the demanding dictates of their tutorial head, military radio corps-men had already absorbed their fill of Marconi, his Technology, and his tyrannical sway. They had in fact, thought themselves adequately schooled in every aspect of his burgeoning art to now divorce themselves from his Company, their original intent, and privatize their own radio systemologies. Now the “M” on the flag of their loyalties would no longer stand for “Marconi”, but for “Military”. Therefore the divorce was engaged, not without some difficulties from the legal-minded Marconi, but nonetheless successful and complete. This split, no doubt the result of bureaucratic maneuvers at higher levels, was viewed as the first step toward achieving a Military Radio Network capable of serving the bureaucratic needs of military forces, wherever in the world, and receiving a steady flow of superior directives from the geopolitical House command central. Military personnel desired complete separations between themselves and the Industrial enterprises. They valued and intensified this separation with time, as military radio secrets remained the exclusive property of military engineers. It was thus that military radio projects began their long covert history.
It was because of this secrecy and the privatization process which so characterized the military, that a command directive placed Intelligence Officers everywhere within military bureaucracy. Intelligence reports represented the presence of rulership within the secretive halls of military deliberations for a reason. Thus it was that Intelligence Agencies and Military began their tense relationship, one intended to insure that the commands of rulership would indeed be obeyed and enforced. Ultimately, Intelligence themselves would seek private communications systems which would be completely secretized, divorced from the military from whom they would now learn the secret art.
- CHAPTER 5
- CHAPTER 7