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Welcome to the website of the Artie Moore Amateur Radio and Historical Preservation Society (AMARS).
In the early hours of April 15th 1912, in the loft of the 17th century Gelligroes Mill in the Sirhowy valley in Wales, a young radio experimenter using crude radio apparatus received a terrifying signal in Morse Code: “CQD CQD SOS de MGY Position 41.44N 50.24W. Require immediate assistance. Come at once. We have struck an iceberg. Sinking….We are putting the women off in the boats…” Then came the final signal: “Come as quickly as possible old man; our engine-room is filling up to the boilers”. The signals were transmitted from the ill-fated RMS Titanic, and the name of the young radio experimenter was Arthur (Artie) Moore.
Artie breathlessly relayed the dreadful news to the locals, and two days later both Artie and the locals received confirmation through the national Welsh press that it was indeed true, and that over 1,500 poor souls had tragically perished in the icy waters of the north Atlantic. The newspapers also confirmed – as Artie had claimed – that the new ‘SOS’ distress signal had been used by the Titanic’s radio operators along with the usual ‘CQD’ signal, proving that Artie had indeed received the signals from the doomed liner.
From Humble Beginnings
Artie Moore was born in 1887. As a child Artie was involved in an accident at the mill, which resulted in the loss of the lower part of one of his legs, and for the rest of his life, he wore a wooden leg. At some point prior to the year 1909, Artie, using a hand made lathe driven by the water-wheel at the mill, built a working model of a horizontal steam engine. He entered the model in a competition in the The Model Engineer magazine, and he received a book by Sir Oliver Lodge entitled Modern Views Of Magnetism And Electricity, and turned his attention from engineering to the new science of those days – wireless. Working at Gelligroes Mill in Pontllanfraith near Blackwood, Gwent, he soon began erecting wire aerials and building his rudimentary radio station, consisting of a coherer-based receiver and a spark-gap transmitter.
Front Page News
An exciting development took place when Artie made the front page of the London newspaper The Daily Sketch, after he intercepted the Italian government’s Declaration Of War on Libya in 1911.
But it was his reception of the Titanic’s distress call which propelled Artie into a career that was to take him from that little mill in Wales and on to greater things within the realms of early wireless development.
In the summer of 1912, Artie’s activities soon led to him coming to the attention of the Monmouthshire Education Committee, who offered him a scholarship to the British School of Telegraphy in London, so he left to embark on his studies in the world of science and wireless.
At this time Artie’s activities came to the attention of Guglielmo Marconi, the ‘father of wireless’ himself. One local resident wrote to Marconi to inform him of Artie’s achievement. Marconi then came to Gelligroes to meet Artie and to discuss his work and his experiments, and he invited Artie to join the Marconi Company as a draughtsman.
By 1914, Artie was transferred to the Ship Equipment Department of the Marconi Company, and on the outbreak of the First World War he was engaged as a technician in ‘special Admiralty fittings’ – working on the armed merchant ships which operated clandestinely on the open seas and were known as ‘Q’ ships.
He supervised the installation of wireless equipment on the Dreadnought-class battleships HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible which steamed the 8,000 miles south to the Falkland Islands in 1914, to face down a German naval threat to the south Atlantic islands.
In 1918, Artie Moore was appointed to the Marconi Company’s Liverpool establishment. There he took charge of the newly-formed Ship Equipment Department where the latest and most up to date transmitters were being fitted. In 1923 he was transferred from the Marconi Company to the Marconi International Marine Communication Company at Avonmouth, where he was appointed Manager.
Not content simply to ‘manage’, Artie’s innovative spirit led him to patent a basic form of sonar in 1922. Artie stayed at Marconi’s Avonmouth establishment until his retirement in 1947, but by 1948, with his health failing he moved to Jamaica to recuperate. Artie was 62 and would never return to Wales, his homeland. After only six months in Jamaica he left for England, and on Thursday the 20th of January 1949 he passed away in a Bristol convalescent home.
Despite contributing greatly to the advancement of radio, Artie Moore’s pioneering efforts in wireless communications remain relatively little known, even in his own locality. Today, Artie’s mill at Gelligroes stands idle and little evidence remains of any historical connection with either the Titanic nor Artie Moore’s wireless experiments there. However, a group of local amateur radio enthusiasts have created an ‘Artie Moore archive’ and continue to search out information regarding this extraordinary man, in order to tell the story of his connection with the historic Titanic disaster and his exploits in early wireless communication.
They have also periodically set up an amateur radio station at Gelligroes Mill, transmitting with the callsign MW0MNX (Artie’s own station’s original callsign was ‘MNX’), and Gelligroes Mill has, for the first time in nearly one hundred years, once again reverberated to the magical sound of Morse Code.
From the book 'Arthur Moore-The Forgotten Spark' by Leighton Smart GW0LBI. Copyright 2005.
Amateur radio is a technical hobby that involves experimenting and communicating with radio. Radio amateurs across the world have similar access to the radio spectrum from 136khz, longwave to 70GHz microwave. We have access to our own amateur satellite service, the International Space Station and digital and analogue communication and TV repeaters. We are able to communicate and experiment with both old and new technologies such as Morse code and radio teletype (RTTY), or encode our signals diditally with a personal computer using PSK31, Helleschriber or other new digital mode. We can send slow scan or fast scan TV pictures, construct aerials, filters, transmitters and receivers, compete in contests or we can just simply have a chat, either to other amateurs around the world or with local radio enthusists. What you do really depends on what interests you most!
If you or your school, college, cub, scout, brownie or guide troop would like to find out more about Amateur Radio or organise a demonstration day then please don't hesitiate and get in touch.
Please phone Kevin (MW0KEV) on: 07919 081 628 or Leighton (GW0LBI) on: 07968 663 869 alternatively you can email us direct [email protected] we will look forward to meeting you!
AMARS is fully supportive of all forms of radio from free band operating on CB and PMR 446 to shortwave listening and scanning. With the introduction of legal SSB and AM operation on the 40 CEPT frequencies introduced by Ofcom in 2014 there is now a wide choice of access to radio in the UK. So if you don't fancy studying for the Amateur Foundation license you can easily get hold of a multi-mode CB radio or PMR446 and get on the air. The most important thing is to have fun and learn as you go.
For those who don't like the idea of chatting on the air there is the option of shortwave listening or scanning. You can use your computer to decode Morse code and digital transmissions such as RTTY and PSK31. ACARS live airband radar is also available.