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Posted By: Ray Wemple on: 06/09/2010 09:00:29 EDT
Subject: RE: The Beardslee Machine

Message Detail:
Having hung a few EE-8's on trees or on poles in command post tents myself, I read with much interest your comments Dave. I started to write a similar response last evening, saw a mistake upon examination and lost the msg when trying to correct same. I think there was mention of slow speed of xmission of msgs (5 wpm) on occasion with the Beardslee. Also, I don't think resistance, current flow and voltage were all that well understood at the time the machine was being used. If my memory serves me correctly, the wire used by Myer's troops was on a reel that weighed about 85 lbs per mile and it was insulated at some point. It may not have been large enough in circumference to allow proper flow of current for the purpose it was being used for. On another web site which eludes me at this time, I believe I read an interesting dissertation by Ted Wagner and Dave Bock about this very subject and the wire was technically analyzed and discussed in detail.

The wire we used (circa 1951-52) was called WD-110,I believe. It was a twisted pair consisisting of four steel and two copper wires in each strand. It was of course, capable of being spliced when required (many times over). I think the estimated range it could be used was up to 25 miles (usually the distance between Division Command Post and Regiment CP). That distance was less most of the time. As you said, the EE-8 used the magneto crank to ring another phone or make a drop fall on a CP switchboard somewhere up the line.

There was also the problem of our own CW troops cutting the Beardslee wire out of curiosity according to Brown's and having to send an officer to ride the line to deter troops from doing that. In some instances the lines were labeled with words added saying "Do Not Cut" or something similar to that.

In summary, I think the longer the distance the machine was used the worse the communication was. Probably good for a distance up to 5-10 miles. Again, and I can't remember where I read it, but I believe a Beardslee was attached to a regular USMT telegraph line and was successful in communication some twenty or so miles. Of course, USMT had amplification or repeaters on lines.
That's my five cents worth.
Ray

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