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Much has been heard of late about interference by amateurs with efforts to establish wireless communication during times of emergency. There seems to be rocm for doubt as to whether the annoyances frequently complained of are caused by amateurs or by inexperiencel operators in charge of regular stations, both cn shore and at sea. A very large percentage of the equipment owned by amateurs contains no transmitting apparatus and consequently cannot interfere with signals frem other stations. Those having sending sides are usually limited, on account of initial cost, to small zones and are unimportant in their power to cause serious trouble.
An inexperienced operator, in charge of a regularly authorized wireless station, who is not perfectly familiar with the operation and adjustment of his instruments and who has not had proper training as a telegrapher is the one who can do untold damage in the mutilation of signals, and it is the belief of the writer that this is the real source of the greater part of the trouble that is usually charged up to amateur interference.
EFFICIENCY OF WIRELESS OPERATORS
CHARLES F. THOMPSON The sinking of the Titanic has brought to the attention of all nations the urgent necessity for immediate and ccncerted action to regulate the use of wireless telegraphy at sea. The International Wireless Convention, which will be held in London next month and at which the United States will be represented, will no doubt adopt rules and regulations which will greatly improve the confuse:1 situation which now exists.
While it is unquestionably true that those saved from the recent disaster owe their lives directly to the existence of the wireless telegraphy, still, it seems that many more lives might have been saved had the wireless service been properly organized and established.
The failure of the Titanic to get into satisfactory communication with certain vessels seems to require explanation. If the operators were inefficient through lack of training or of familiarity with the use of different codes, the fact should be known and rectifiedl. ! undue rivalry exists between the operators of different systems, steps sheuld be taken to prevent such rivalry from interfering in matters of this kind. The testimony given before the Senate Investigating Comiiitce at Washington seemed to indicate that further inquiry should be macie along these lines.
There is one point in connection with the Titanic disaster that apparently has been overlooked. Why did the wireless cperator on the most modern ocean going passenger vessel ever constructed, which was supposed to be strictly up-to-date in every respect, send out the :,C.Q.D.” signal, which Mr. Marconi, in his testimony at the New York inquiry, acknowledged has been abandoned in favor of S.O.S."?
Just what effect, if any, the use of this obsolete distress signal played in this particular case is not known; but it certainly shows that the operator who sent it and who subsequently lost his life by heroically stan ling by his ship until she went down, was either careless or unacquainted with the proper signal to send out in time of distress.
A person charged with the important and responsible duty of chief wireless operator on an ocean liner should be thoroughly conversant with every detail of his work, both practical and theoretical; and the failure to place such a person in charge of the Titanic's wireless apparatus leals to the conclusion either that the importance of this assignment is not fully appreciated or that the efficiency of the average operator is not equal to the requirements of his position.
The winter aviation camp at San Diego, California, has been broken, and the naval equipment is being shipped to Annapolis, where active training for the summer season will begin about the middle of May.
The three navy hydro-aeroplanes have been equipped with a new type of pontoon, which will be thoroughly tried out this summer.
One of the important problems to be solved in connection with the use of flying machines in warfare is some practical means for communicating with the earth or with ships at sea. Many who have given serious consideration to the subject believe that wireless telegraphy or telephony offer the only means for accomplishing this end. Several plans, each more or less novel, have been suggested by inventors as a substitute for wireless. and among them is a system that employs smudge, or lampblack, which is projected into the air in the form of dots and dashes and can be read from below by those familiar with the Morse code.
The apparatus is liglit, which would be an advantage : but, on the other hand, it could only be used during the day time, and there is some difficulty experienced in keeping the interval between characters clear owing to inability to cut short the expulsions without "tailing."
NEW YORK NAVAL MILITIA
The New Vaniman Dirigible The Vaniman dirigible embodies many novel features. The craft measures 258 feet in length and 47 feet in diameter. The envelope is made of a specially constructed rubberized fabric into which is woven finely meshed steel netting. The car is equipped with a 100 horse-power engine direct connected to a fixed vertical propeller which will develop an estimated speed of 30 miles an hour.
Two other engines, of 100 and 80 H. P., are provided with propellers which can be operated at any desired angle. These engines will only be used for elevating and depressing in case of emergency and the propellers will be carried in a horizontal position to avoid friction against the air when not in use. Ordinarily, the position of the craft in the air will be accomplished by movable planes, attached fore and aft to each side of the car or by the alternate method of inflating and deflating small balloons within the main gas bag.
The dynamo which generates electricity for lighting the craft and operating the wireless apparatus is connected to a 17 horse-power engine. This engine is also used as a starter for the larger engines.
Oil tanks having a capacity of five tons of gasoline are built in the bottom of the steel framed car and, a life boat containing the wireless outfit is suspended beneath the car. The crew will be composed of six persons—two navigators, three engineers, and a telegrapher.
On the evening of April 24, joint exercises of the First and Second Naval Battalions of the New York Naval Militia were held in the armory of the Second Battalion. Commander Robert P. Forshew, the head of the Naval Militia of the State, had command of the forces.
The naval militia paraded in three battalions, two of infantry and one of artillery, and were reviewed by Secretary Meyer. After the review, the battalions were dismissed and immediately reformed for drill work.
The First Battalion, from Manhattan, was under command of Commander Russell Raynor and Lieutenant Commander Charles L. Poor. The Second Battalion, of Brooklyn, under Commander K. L. Martin.
In the infantry drill by the First Battalion, formation and maneuvers were carried out in quick succession, including street riot formation,--the officers and colors in the center of a hollow square.
The Second Battalion artillery had been drilled by Lieut. E. T. Fitzgerald, recently of the United States Navy. The most spectacular part of this drill, as of the infantry drill, was the hollow square formation. The firing of the one-pounders, one of which was placed at each corner of the square, and of the revolvers of the sailors forming the square, gave a realistic effect, heightened by the smell of the powder. After the dismantling of the one-pounders, and the marching off of the artillery, a boat drill was held.
This drill illustrated the rules of the sea for vessels meeting and passing each other. Two cabin sloop yachts, about eighteen feet over all, sailed out on the floor, with mainsails and jibs set, and went through evolutions as though on water. The motive power was two men inside the framework of each boat, working gear similar to that used on hand-cars. A man in the stern of each yacht managed the boat. When the yachts had sailed off, two launches steamed on. For the “daylight" maneuvers, whistles were used. Then the lights in the hall were extinguished, and the boats steamed about, using lights for signals. After these exercises, the sailing vessels reappeared as two steam launches.
The four boats maneuvered as a battleship squadron; and, when one was put out of commission by the fire of an enemy (not in view of the audience), the other three formed a “fying wedge,” the flagship as the point of the wedge, and in this formation steamed down the hall.
At the close of these exercises, the hall was darkened, and a searchlight played on the flag, which was caught by a breeze of compressed air and its folds blown out.
The new band of twenty-one musicians from the Second Battalion furnished the music.
THE NAVAL MILITIA
THE NAVAL MILITIA BILL
The Naval Militia Bill now before Congress is the same bill that was introduced at the last session.
Twenty-three States and the District of Columbia have naval militia organizations, organized under and at present controlled by the laws of the various States and of the District, and largely supported by the States. Some organizations are better equipped than others, but none of them has full equipment of uniforms and modern arms, or the facilities necessary for thorough naval training. The provisions of the Bill aim to give the naval militia such support by the Federal government as is now given to the land militia, and to bring the naval militia into the same relations with the Navy Department as now exist between the land militia and the War Department.
If the naval militia is to continue to progress and to become a substantial, efficient and well organized reserve for the navy, it is essential that some such legislation as that now before Congress be passed.
FOREIGN NAVAL CORRESPONDENCE
(Special Correspondence of The Navy)
merly had. It is calculated that the new keels will be double the resistance to that rolling which proved so serious a defect in the Orion. On the occasion in which it was discovered that the Orion rolled badly, it is understood that at times she was rolling as much as 21 degrees. The Armament of Scouts
A mild agitation is now raging on the subject of the armament of the eight earlier scouts. This consists entirely of 12-pounders in the way of guns, and 14-inch torpedo tubes, and it is pointed out that all modern destroyers carry 4-inch guns and 18-inch or larger tubes. From this it is deduced that so far from the scouts running down destroyers, they are in considerable danger of being attacked by their nominal victims.
-Fred T. Jane.
LETTER FROM LONDON The "Powerful"
The cruiser Powerful, which has returned from the Australian station, is not likely to be employed for service again. In her way, she was one of the most famous cruisers of recent years, and, though more or less obsolete now, when built she was the “last word” in answer to the famous Russian Rurik and Rossiya. Not only were the Powerful and her sister, the Terrible, much longer than any other warship in existence in those days, but they were built for what was then the incredible speed of 22 knots. They were also the first big ships in the British navy to be fitted with watertube boilers. These vessels were supplied with generators of the Belleville type, and in the “battle of the boilers," which followed soon afterwards, a great deal was heard of their alleged defects. As a matter of fact, although they were never quite certain of maintaining the maximum speed hoped for each of them, they were remarkably successful in their ability to steam at 20 knots so long as their coal lasted, and, generally speaking, were a triumph for the much abused Belleville system. The ships fell out of favor at a comparatively early date, because they lacked side-armor; but, as a matter of fact, their protective decks were so thick that no battleship of the period was less unlikely to be vitally injured than they were.
It was originally intended to turn the Powerful into a training hulk, on removing, her from active service, but this idea now appears to have been abandoned and she is to be moored on the Motherbank,—the place the old ships go to now-a-days. Here she may lie for many years; although of late so many ships relegated to subsidiary service have since been put into full commission, that it is by no means certain that the career of the Powerful is ended. She is, however, a very expensive ship to run; and, in modern ideas of naval warfare, there is no particular place for her. Ideas, however, change. A few years ago, for instance, the second-class cruiser was regarded as absolutely obsolete, but since then quite a number have been built. The swing of the pendulum may, therefore, find a new use for the Powerful--though it certainly seems unlikely at the moment. Bilge Keels
The Orion and Monarch have now been given broad bilge keels, instead of the narrow ones which they for
LETTER FROM ROME Italian Dreadnoughts
At the dockyard of Spezia, the construction of the Dreadnought Andrea Doria, which is practically of the same type as the Conte di Cavour, is being pushed forward. When, a few weeks ago, the work was begun, Admiral Nicastro delivered an address, in which he pointed out the significance of the name given to the new great battleship, alluding to the victories over the Turks, gained by the famous Genoese Captain, Andrea Doria. Other Dreadnoughts are being built at Genoa and Venice, carrying on that program which aims at maintaining the naval superiority of Italy over Austria, notwithstanding the large appropriations made by the latter in its naval budget from now until 1915. Launching of the "Marsala"
The launching of the scout Marsala, which was postponed on account of rough seas, has taken place at Castellamare with great success.
The new scout takes her name from Marsala, the Sicilian town where Garibaldi, in 1860, landed with his famous Thousand who initiated the conquest of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The new ship, instead of being baptised with the traditional champagne, had a bottle of Marsala—the fiery volcanic wine which is sent from Sicily all over the world—broken against her side. The Marsala has a displacement of 3500 tons and a speed of 29 knots, and is the sister scout of the Nino Bixio, which was launched a few months ago.
The "San Giorgio"
Last August, when the San Giorgio, one of Italy's powerful protected cruisers, which had then recently been launched and was having her speed trials, ran aground on the rocks of the Gaiola, in the Gulf of Naples, there was general consternation, not so much on account of the loss in itself, as for the wound to the pride of the young nation, which, for over forty-five years, since the sad days of Lissa, has had keen hope of the rehabilitation of her navy. The depression was only momentary; then all the forces and the energies of the country seemed concentrated in devising the best means to save the ship, which at first sight appeared hopelessly lost. The cruiser's second launcning, after having been repaired, caused much greater enthusiasm than when for the first time she floated out of the dockyard of Castellamare di Stabia.
It was fortunate that the accident took place only a short distance from the dockyards of Castellamare, where she was built, and the arsenal of Naples, which had provided her whole armament. The same officers and the same workmen who had been busy at her construction rushed to her rescue, with devotion and enthusiasm.
General Valsecchi, of the Naval Engineers, has issued a report of the work of salvage. It was the first time
that anything of the kind so important had been attempted in Italy. Various methods were tried, from the lightening of the ship, to an attempt to tug her off the rocks; from raising her through immense floating empty reservoirs, to the explosion of mines to break away the rock under the ship; from the use of powerful pumps, to the filling up of the vast fissures in the sides of the vessel.
All other methods having failed, it was decided to try to raise the huge bulk by means of tanks proportionate in size to the daught of the vessel. Six of these tanks, displacing each 400 tons of water, were built in two weeks. The fervor of the workmen accomplished this result and they were rewarded by seeing the vessel slowly rise to the surface. Supported by the tanks, the great mass was towed to the arsenal of Naples. Once pumped out and the more useless material removed, the terrible damage that had been sustained by the ship was revealed. There were whole armor plates torn off, others cut entirely through, others pierced and crumpled up like paper. The indefatigable work which went on night and day to renovate and restore was such that on the 21st of March, the San Giorgio was again at sea, and, after having been refitted, has now taken her place in the Italian fleet.
THE MOROCCO PROBLEM
BY OUR PARIS CORRESPONDENT
Mistress of Algeria, which adjoins Morocco for several hundred kilometers, France cannot evade the having of a Moroccan policy, if for no other consideration than that she must maintain order in Algeria. Besides, she has, unquestionably, a moral interest in regenerating that hotbed of barbarism, inhabited by a fanatical, warlike people, divided into tribes without cohesion, over whom the Sultan of Fez exercises little or no authority.
In her progress toward that civilizing ideal, France must discourage Moroccan aggressions, and raids by one tribe on another in the ill-defined regions of the frontier. Therefore she must, perforce, in those parts, strengthen her military posts and connect them by railways, in order to hold in check the bands of marauders. Often, even,
she must be prepared to oppose with her military forces the thousands of armed Arabs, sometimes openly defiant and hostile to law and order.
That situation creates for France special interest in those turbulent regions. Long before the agreement of 1904, Great Britain recognized that, if any European power was to have preponderance in Morocco, that power was France. On her side, France could not admit the presence of any other nation in Morocco, right on the flank of Algeria. Nevertheless, Germany, enterprising, daring, and seeking commercial outlets, obstinately upheld economical pretensions in that Therapian empire, which presented to her an ideal field for colonization. In spite of her excessive population, however, Germany is, in reality, not attracted by new colonies for settlement. During the last twenty years, the number of German emigrants has decreased more than one-half.