20 Jan 2011

Optical DXing at around 460THz

Until I read the webpage below I didn't know that the record for optical morse DX goes back to 1896 and was an astounding distance of 183 miles using a Heliograph between Colorado and Utah in the USA. This link about the heliograph makes fascinating reading. The heliograph is essentially a keyed mirror that reflects sunlight and uses it to send morse code over long distances.  Modern versions of heliograph mirrors are available on eBay for emergency communications. See for example eBay item 250681260168. A good article about heliographs is on Wikipedia, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliograph.

Modern amateur optical DXing uses either lasers or high intensity LEDs. There is a piece about this on p51-52 of the Feb 2011 RSGB RadCom in Sam Jewell's "GHz Bands" column with further links including http://www.lasercomms.org.uk/index.htm which looks like a useful resource.  There was also a funny article in the RSGB Bulletin of April 1962 called "Getting Going on Bottom Band".  


Anonymous said...

Hello Roger

A very interesting read, 183 miles
DX was good with the limiited technology
of 1889. Roger have you done any experimenting
with optical communications?

Kind Regards

Roger G3XBM said...

Hi Tony, yes I did some optical experiments a VERY long time ago in 1966, when a friend and I talked across the street with a modulated torch bulb. I'd like to try again with modern techniques.