Cecil Goyder was blonde haired and blue eyed and apparently “a pleasant, good looking boy with a friendly smile”. He first became interested in radio in 1915 when living in America. On returning to England in 1920, he carried on experiments secretly at Mill Hill School using a spring mattress as an aerial and ex-Army surplus equipment to make his transmitter.
He wasn’t only interested in radio at school but also enjoyed sport and was on the school gym team. Radio activity was encouraged by Mr Brown, the director of science at the school. Goyder was in his final year at Mill Hill and went to the lab early one Sunday morning. Tuning up the school wireless set he worked five USA and Canadian amateurs within four hours. It had been done before but not by anyone anywhere near his age. In 1923 he established direct communication with the far west of the USA and the Byrd Arctic Expedition.
Frank Bell Z4AA and Goyder attended the first RSGB Convention on 3 February 1926 at the Waldorf Hotel. He wrote an article in the RSGB 1927 Diary called “The Quartz Oscillator and its use in a Transmitter”. Ernest Simmonds 2OD was the first holder of the ROTAB trophy, Goyder the second. He and Simmonds were great rivals, although reading between the lines Simmonds was more bothered with the rivalry than Goyder was. Simmonds held just about every record there was for first contacts and he wasn’t impressed that an 18 year old beat him ‘down under’ although Simmonds did get the ‘crown’ for the first Australian contact a little after Goyder spoke to New Zealand. However, Simmonds was the first one to have his signals heard in New Zealand.
At the RSGB Convention in 1928, supported by 150 Members (more than one tenth of the membership) a paper was read by Ernest Simmonds on frequency stabilisation in which he described the various methods of achieving crystal control. Goyder argued a case for the master oscillator-power amplifier arrangement and the subsequent debate was, apparently, regarded as one of the most important held at a Society meeting.
Sir Edward Appleton in the BBC publication “Calling All Nations” wrote: “Then a very remarkable thing happened. In October 1924 the greatest distance of all was spanned when communication was established between Mr F Bell of New Zealand and C W Goyder. Thus began what I have often called the short wave revolution. This is probably the most dramatic moment in the history of the development of the short waves when the greatest distance possible on this earth was bridged for the first time”.
After getting his BSc. at London, Goyder worked for a time in Paris for Standard Telephones and Cables. In 1935 he joined the BBC’s Technical Research Division. In 1936 the Indian Government asked Lord Reith to lend them a man to build the Indian broadcasting system and Goyder undertook the task. In the next 10 years, as engineer-in-chief, he built 15 stations, some of them short wave, and his work proved highly successful. He was appointed CBE in 1946 on his return from India.
Cecil Goyder died on February 6 1980 in Princetown, New Jersey following a car accident. He was 74. He had lived in the States for the previous 30 years where he became the first communications officer of the UN. He accompanied the American generals at the outbreak of war in Korea to advise them on communications. After his retirement in 1971 he was invited by BOAC to supervise the installation of the passenger computer and did so with such success that the system was afterwards sold by BOAC to Japan Airlines.
In 1988 Sir Robert Telford CBE (President of the Marconi Company) unveiled a commemorative plaque in the Science School of Mill Hill School. Guests included George Goyder CBE (brother), Mrs Gorge Goyder, Mr & Mrs William Goyder and Sir Richard Davies CBE (President of RSGB).
The Prince at Mill Hill
Wireless Expert Praised
Boy who spoke to America
The Prince of Wales, who still had his arm in a sling, paid his twice-postponed visit to Mill Hill School yesterday, when he declared open the school’s new science buildings.
An address of welcome was read by the headmaster, Mr. M. L. Jacks, who said that was the first time in the history of the school that a member of the Royal House had visited them.
In reply, the Prince said that the science school would form a very worthy addition to the other fine buildings at Mill Hill, but he would speak to them rather of the use of the schools than of their beauty. They encouraged private research, and the development of free activity.
Use Spare Time Profitably
Side by side with the laboratory was the research department, where the senior boys could work by themselves. He was very interested the other day to hear that a Mill Hill boy had got America by wireless and that the school was one of the first amateur wireless stations in England to cross the Atlantic. The proper and profitable use of spare time was a very important part of education, and the new building he was opening created such an opportunity for Mill Hill boys.
“Your headmaster and I”, concluded the Prince, “were undergraduates at Oxford together. He says that you will remember my visit this afternoon. I sincerely hope that you will, but I hope that you will remember it for more than a day.”
Tea with the Monitors
“I suppose you are all worked too hard, as I was when I was at school, so I have asked the headmaster to give you a week’s holiday at any time that he likes”
The Prince then received the key of the new building from the architect and opened the door. H.R.H. took tea in one of the studies with some monitors before leaving.
During the subsequent tour of inspection Cecil Goyder, the boy whose wireless achievement had been referred to, was presented to the Prince, who shook hands with him and congratulated him on his success.
Cecil Goyder with the Headmaster
… and the other end of the story – New Zealand
[with many thanks to ZL4AI for the historic photographs and information]
The first ever trans-world two-way radio contact which was made 30km north of Dunedin is recorded below.
The following contains a transcript of the log Frank Bell made at his amateur radio station Z-4AA on 18th October 1924. This contact was by morse and was the first ever, trans-world two-way radio communication of any type. It was from Shag Valley Station, Waihemo, Palmerston, Otago New Zealand and the contact was with Cecil Goyder G2SZ at Mill Hill School, London. Z-4AA, in modern parlance would be ZL4AA.
QST JANUARY 1925 PAGE 14 – THE G-Z WORK
We are able to report briefly in our last issue that New Zealand and England amateurs were working, to the shattering of all previous records. It is indeed so. Starting with g2SZ and z4AA on Oct. 18th, there has been easy and reliable communication almost every night. British stations 2SZ, 2KF, 2NM, 2OD, 2WJ, 6TM, 2JF, 5LF and 5NN, in the order named, got into communication with Zedders 4AA, 4AG, and 4AK, and the ether has been resounding with the 12,000-mile wallop! This is the really marvelous work of the year. Except g2NM, none of these stations used over 250 watts. We hand it to ’em; great stuff !
A peculiar thing is that the three N. Z. stations getting QSO are situated in a radius of 50 miles on the south island of New Zealand and z2AC to the north, altho heard in England, has not yet been able to work. Nor has Australia, although a2DS reports g20D and g5LF. All of the work so far done has occurred between 0615 and 0730 G. M. T., when it is dawn in England and dusk in New Zealand. With the rising of the sun in England, the signals fade out at both ends. Peculiar antipodal effects enter into the communication; both the G’s and the Z’s say it is decidedly easier to work each other than it is to work U.S!’. British and French amateurs comment on the great intensity of N. Z. signals, often mistaking them for nearby stations. They have worked easily when U. S. stations reported the British signals quite weak; but that is understandable, as investigation has showed that signals are often stronger at the Antipodes than they are at intermediate points. The long-wave high-power European stations have their antipodes near southern New Zealand and their signals are much stronger in the vicinity of the NZ-fours than they are further north; but it is also interesting to note that these long-wave stations are received at maximum strength about 6 a. m. N. Z. time, while amateurs have been utterly unable to communicate between Britain and N. Z. at this time. Recently, however, z4AA and several Australians have been heard in England at 7 p. m. British time, and it is hoped that communication may yet be effected when the times of dawn and dusk are reversed in the two countries.
Now here is a dizzy feature of this business. The shortest distance between England and New Zealand is East from London, a little less than half-way around the world. All communication has occurred during the hour of sun-up in England and dusk in N. Z., when it is daylight over the area east from England. Since signals fade out regularly with the rising of the sun, it is obvious that they are not going thru the daylight area. They therefore go the other way, across the Atlantic, Canada, the United States, and the Pacific, over a distance greater than half the, circumference of the globe! This is even more emphasized in the work of French amateurs with N. Z. This balls up all our calculations. We really don’t know now just how far it will be possible for amateurs to work on this footstool!
Credit g2OD with being the first Englishman heard in N. Z., and the first to hear N. Z. for sure. This occurred just a day before the two countries clicked. Apparently all that was necessary was to determine the time of day that signals could be heard in both places. Most of this work has been done with low-loss tuners, detector and one stage audio, no fancy trappings necessary, although g2OD uses a superhet.
There must be a terrific kick for an Englishman in this business of working the Empire’s far-flung Dominions.
Mr. C. W. Goyder of G2SZ tells us dispassionately enough, however, how it first happened:
“I called u1KC at 5:30 or so and as QRN was bad and I got no reply I stood by and at about 6 GMT I heard g20D working u1XAV. Apparently u1XAV had heard me and wanted to get QSO, so g20D was helping us to connect; but I could not hear u1XAV and he seemed to lose us. While g20D was trying to get him again and I was searching for him I heard a station, pure DC, very steady, good strength, and on about 95 meters, calling me and signing z4AA. Owing to his steadiness and strength I doubted the genuiness of his sigs, but this is the log:
2SZ gz 4AA K. 4AA zg 2SZ–R QRK If u r really z4AA cable K. 2SZ gz 4AA–Wl cable OM hr nr 1 to Radio Society GB–Greetings fm NZ –sig Bell–K.
4AA zg 2SZ-Nr 1 R OK Wl cable but QRA? Greetings fm us OM–QRX 6:30 tmw GMT fr G amateurs Congrats OM–K. 2SZ gz 4AA–Wl cable OM Hr nr 1 to hemo NZ–Still dalite IU fainter now Input 150 watts Hr nr 2 to g2OD–Ur sigs QSA last night–sig z4AA K. 4AA zg 2SZ–Nr 1 R OK Wl cable but hr hw K. 2SZ gz 4AA–R vy psed to greet u friend …. (qss)….l.3 amps Dusk hr nw Congrats OM….(too faint to read but audible for few minutes more).
“This was about 7:30, so I worked him for an hour and a quarter. At 11 a. m. a cable confirming above was received and read ‘Congratulations on first trans-world message.-Bell’.”
HERE IS FRANK BELLS LOG
Bell log from October 18, 1924.
“G2SZ loud on about 100. A/C ripple in note. No interference and keying perfect and good operator. Stronger than most Yanks and very loud indeed at start, fading gradually. I had just cut flat top off aerial and shortened counterpoise. Using a 4 Meissner. Input 150 miliamps at 100 (?) volts. Radiation 1.1 on 92.5. Had not had report on new signals since altering aerial. Gave G2SZ a call just for something to do….”
6.10 p.m. Heard G2Sz call V1XAV and say “but can’t hear him … am listening about 80 as heard No Dice . . . this morning. 1XAV UG2SZ. Terribly sorry old man, can’t hear you. Something is wrong this end so I am listening about 80. Try once again on 80. 1XAV UG2SZ. 6.25 p.m. (I then called him for about four minutes. – he came back.)
6.30 p.m. 4AAZ G2SZ. Received your message. If you are really Z4AA, cable. (I said sure would cable and sent congratulations also.) Another one to Radio Society of Great Britain. “Greetings from New Zealand, signed Bell Z4AA.”
6.35 p.m. 4AAZ G2SZ. Received you. Here is another one to New Zealand. “Greetings from us”. Can’t realise you are in New Zealand. Daylight now. Call tomorrow at 6.30 G.M.T. for me. Amateurs G2SZ. Are you troubled by static? or fading? Will you cable address?
6.40 p.m. I sent my address “Bell, Waihemo” and he said daylight still here. Call him tomorrow. Nil fading. Very little static. Gave my input 150 watts and sent another two to G2OD. 6.45 p.m. 4AAZ G2SZ. (Greetings call) Address Goyder, Mill Hill School London. Input 200(?) watts, and gave radiation etc. No Dice from him in reply . . . .”
(Frank Bell – Log Book)
Within hours Frank Bell was inundated with congratulatory telegrams, call cards and letters. For Frank Bell in the clear air of the Shag Valley, Otago, had achieved what no-one had done before: around the world wireless communication. The United States had not communicated with their antipodes, neither had Australia nor Canada. The wireless companies, already in possession of air time and armed with laws preventing interference by amateurs had not been able to open up communications. This particular achievement was left the Hams to make so that now we may think nothing of having at our command instant morse, telephone and wireless communication between peoples at opposite points of the globe.
In the words of ZL4NR, “the station is really the antenna”
Putting up the Radio Mast 4AA Shag Valley Station
Up! Radio Mast 2 4AA Shag valley station
Photograph of the ‘Bell’ transmitter in 1964 (by Bill Gearing ZL4KB)
This is the outfit of Mr Frank Bell, of Waihemo in Otago, N.Z. who caused tremendous interest in the wireless world last week by carrying on a conversation in Morse on low power transmission with amateurs in England’ Sydney Mail 29 Oct 1924 p 2. ex Ms 4
“18 Oct 1974. Aniversary – 50th – of “First Transworld Communication” by radio signals. F. D. Bell Z. 4 AA Stag Valley Station, Palmerston, Otago N.Z. & Cecil Goyder 252 at Mill Hill school London on 18 Oct 1924. Frank & Brenda Bell with part of the equipment used.
More on Frank’s sister Brenda.