2K40
Characters Section

Door 6: Reginald Fessenden (transmitter of the first wireless voice message)

Hand drawn portrait of Reginald Fessenden inside the survival module

1866-1932

Although I hold 500 patents, including one for a type of sonar, few people have heard of me. I was once described as Canada’s greatest forgotten inventor! My most important patents deal with the transmission of electromagnetic waves.

When I was 10 years old, I was very interested in the work of Alexander Graham Bell. I dreamed of transmitting the human voice all over the planet without wires or cables. I finally did so on December 23, 1900. “One, two, three, four. Is it snowing where you are, Mr. Thiessen?” is what I spoke into the microphone. The message was transmitted one kilometre!

To transmit a radio signal, you first need a transmitter and a receiver that are capable of sending and receiving a given signal. The signal must also be able to travel freely from the transmitter to the receiver.

Do you know why antennas are installed on towers or mountain tops? It’s because this allows the radio waves to travel above any obstacles and to travel greater distances. You may have noticed that the quality of radio signals are not always perfect. Physical obstacles (concrete walls, mountains, etc.), moisture in the atmosphere (clouds, rain), and storms can hinder how radio waves travel.

You may be surprised to learn that radio waves can convey more than just sounds. For instance, TV images also travel in the form of radio waves.

Here’s a little help for the game. First, go over to the antennas. Use the dashboard or keyboard arrows to move the receiving antennas. If there are obstacles in the way, move them. Position the receiving antennas so they can capture the waves from the transmitting antennas. Listen closely. When you hear a number, record it and take note of the colour of the transmitting antenna. On your dashboard, combine the numbers with the correct antenna colours.

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