Calais, Maine

Radio Telephone Service
Geodetic Surveying

Harold E. Nelson
14 Hill Avenue,
Newport, ME 04953

Return to Home Page | Return to History of Calais Area

 Riverhead. LI,  was the receive radio station for RCA, and Rocky Point, the transmit station.  During the period of time when longwave ruled transatlantic radio, Belfast Maine was the site for the transoceanic relay station of RCA.  See:

The Maine Section of the IEEE is planning on dedicating a Milestone Plaque in Belfast this summer.

Also, the first radio telephone service of AT&T went like this:  phone calls to England were transmitted longwave from Rocky Point to Cupar, Scotland.  On the other end, the transmit site was Rugby, England, and the receive station was Houlton, Maine.  Both Belfast and Houlton ran Beverage Longwave antennas.  Belfast had 3 10 mile long antennas spaced 6 miles apart covering the heart of Waldo County.  Each 10 mile antenna was one wavelenght.  Houlton used a shorter wave, hence the antenna there, 4 of them, were about 4 miles long each.  The Houlton Transoceanic Radiotelephone Receiving Station is now a residence, with a copper lined room in the basement where the electrical entrance was, and probably the battery charging room.

I also worked on the IEEE Milestone Plaque dedication for TELSTAR in 2002, the 40th anniversary of the first transmissions via an active satellite.  The plaque is in the Andover town square.

Believe it or not, MIT operated Camp Technology, a summer geodetic surveying camp for engineering students the first half of the 20th century.  It was located at East Machias on Gardner Lake.  It was quite a complex, some of the buildings are still there and being renovated into a kids camp.  There was a seismograph building, built like a Maine potato barn, and also an observatory.

The MIT observatory is nestled in the woods where no one would see it, and inside it is a concrete block for the astronomical transit.  They probably used a Bamberg, or Wild T-4, not like the kind used at Calais.  The roof has slits in it for observing the stars.  This building is very close to the same type of building that was at Calais.

Click Photo for Enlarged View
MITObserv1.jpg (96963 bytes) MITObserv2.jpg (120517 bytes) MITObservblock.jpg (66908 bytes) MITObservSkylightNorth.jpg (56340 bytes) MITObservSkylightSouth.jpg (52485 bytes)
MIT Observatory MIT Observatory MIT Observatory Concrete Block MIT Observatory Skylight North Inside MIT Observatory Skylight South Inside

On the Calais Alumni website is an image of the observatory at Wai-Ki-Ki, again similar to Calais.  I do have a complete description of the observatory built at Farmington, ME, in 1866, but it is probably a bit more advanced than the Calais building of 1857.  They planned on doing longitude observations in Farmington, and that observatory had both a transit stone and a zenith telescope stone, but longitude work was never done there.  At Calais, both latitude and longitude work, I believe were done off the transit stone. A few years ago, when the Washington Monument was being refurbished, NGS observed GPS from the top of the monument.  Many GPS vendors were there to take turns observing satellite data.

Return to home page.  Comments, suggestions, and corrections welcome. E-mail

   Search this site or the web        powered by FreeFind
  Site search Web search

Copyright 1997 - 2013 by Oak Bay Designs. All rights reserved.