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ANTENTOP- 03- 2003, # 004

The Underwater Communication System





Copyright 2003


Oliver Nichelson

333 North 760 East

American Fork, Utah 84003




Historical Problems


Tesla described his wireless transmission method by three important characteristics:


  • It did not use electromagnetic radiation.
  • It operated through the earth or water.
  • The mechanism of transmission is an electric current - not radiation.


Modern analysts, both those who believe Tesla had discovered something new and those who believe he was mistaken in his observations, see Tesla's transmission method the same as present day broadcast radio technology. The broadcast model assumes that there is an antenna propagating electromagnetic waves omnidirectionally into the air. The Tesla supporters propose many ingenious, but implausible, schemes that would account for Tesla's claims for his wireless system. The Tesla opponents simply point out that according to electromagnetic theory, Tesla's ideas are impossible. Both groups are incorrect in thinking that his wireless method is the same as the broadcast technology used today.


Anachronistic interpretation - applying the assumptions of today's electrical theories to Tesla's original turn of the century researches - is only half the problem of understanding the inventor's wireless method. The situation is further complicated by the similar sounding descriptions Tesla gave to his earlier and later transmission techniques.


In his early work, Tesla attempted electronic transmission by electrifying the atmosphere. This is the case in his patent entitled Method of Intensifying and Utilizing Effects Transmitted Through Natural Media, #685,953, applied for in June 1899. In this patent, he proposes a very powerful transmitter to ionize atmospheric gases and, by that, create a conductive path between the transmitter and receiver through which a current could be sent. Later, when Tesla disclosed his through-the-earth, and through water1, transmission with essentially the same type of apparatus and operating at ELF frequencies, modern authorities have assumed that Tesla was mistaken about his method of propagation and was really

witnessing earth-ionosphere cavity resonance at Schuman frequencies.2 More recent scholarship, however, has shown that that Tesla was aware of the differences between conventional wireless transmission methods and the technology he was developing.3

 Tesla was more than an engineer of conventional methods. He was an electrical researcher who investigated fundamental issues of the science. It will be shown that the three characteristics of Tesla's wireless transmission system describe an electrostatic wireless method that used the earth as a conductor and transmitted displacement currents. At moderate energy levels, the system could be used for communication. At greater levels, power could be sent by wireless.


Non-Hertzian Transmission


During-1899 - 1900, Tesla set up a laboratory in Colorado Springs to investigate wireless signal transmission. It was during this period he discovered that a properly configured receiver could detect waves, initiated by lightning strikes, propagating through the earth. Many details about the apparatus for generating and receiving electrical signals (such as tuned resonant circuits that were recognized in 1943 by the Supreme Court as the basis of commercial radio designs) are given in his writings, but he never directly reveals the physics behind the mode of propagation. Tesla does point toward his novel transmission technique when he notes that his transmission method is "the diametrical opposite of a transmitting circuit typical of telegraphy by Hertzian or electromagnetic radiations."4 This claim alone indicates a technology different from the transmission technology of today.


One of his early lectures on evacuated tube illumination provides a good example of physical effects he was using. Tesla describes a setup for illuminating bulbs. It consists of two plates on either side of the bulbs. The plates are connected to a transformer driven by an oscillator. The two plates are similar to a capacitor and the electrical activity

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