The Tesla High Frequency Oscillator

By H. Winfield Secor, E.E.

Tesla, probably the highest authority in high frequency electrical engineering to-day, has not been dreaming these past few years, although we have not heard much from him, except through the daily newspapers, which now and then publish some world-startling interview describing a “marvelous” Tesla wave with which it is possible to communicate with Mars and several hundred other astounding stunts that the winner of the Noble physics prize probably never even thought of, much less attempted to accomplish.

Most of our readers have, no doubt, seen pictures of the famous Tesla wireless tower located at Shoreham, Long Island, and which structure has involved the expenditure of a vast sum of money. From this lofty structure, which was designed in the neighborhood of 20 years ago by Dr. Tesla and his associates, there was to be propagated an electric wave of such intensity that it could charge the earth to such an extent that the effect of the wave or charge could be felt in the utmost confines of the globe.

Our front cover illustration shows the Tesla tower in (theoretical) operation and, in line with some of the latest statements from this marvelous man, there may be perceived several dreadnoughts being blown to atoms, which is due to the high tension electric wave sent out from this center of vast electrical activity. Tesla, for obvious patent reasons, does not go into details just how whole fleets of a hostile navy can be destroyed in this way by means of powerful electric waves, but quite possibly he has in mind the fact that the latter can be tuned, undoubtedly, to a particular wave of certain frequency and power to accomplish this result when liberated from such a mighty station or oscillator as that located on Long Island. Such ships as the great steel shell dreadnoughts of to-day would, of course, have a large electrical capacity and this would help out the Tesla theory which covers the transmission and reception of an electric wave of sufficient intensity to do great good or damage, as the case might be.

The illustration on the front cover of this issue shows future possibilities which may be developed on the Tesla theory as a foundation. The location of the oscillator tower, from which the electrical energy is transmitted, and also the position of the war vessels being blown up are not to be considered literally in the way they are here shown. As a matter of fact, the enemy could soon shell the tower down, and hence it becomes evident that if this system is ever perfected and applied practically, the elevated radio energy transmitting station will have to be placed at a considerable distance inland. Again, as this wireless energy can be transmitted hundreds and even thousands of miles without any appreciable loss, according to Tesla's beliefs and statements, no disadvantage or inefficiency would be incurred by so locating the tower away from the coast; but conjointly, on this theory, the invading fleet of war vessels could be destroyed when they were still several hundred miles off shore. Hence, it would be impossible for them to hurl projectiles this distance. Also presumably this method of detonating the powder magazines of the war vessels could be applied to similar containers of high explosives on land, such as those carried by the heavy artillery corps of an invading army.

Fig. 1. Probable Appearance of the Wonderful Tesla Oscillator Tower at Night - It Is Located at Shoreham, L. I., and Is Intended for Radiating Electrical Energy in the Form of High Frequency Waves Propagated Thru the Earth Itself - Tower Stands 185 Feet High.

Further, it may be said that Tesla, all in all, does not believe in the modern Hertzian wave theory of wireless transmission at all. Several other engineers of note have also gone on record as stating their belief to be in accordance with Dr. Tesla's. More wonderful still is the fact that this scientist promulgated his basic theory of earth current transmission a great many years ago in some of his patents and other publications. Briefly explained, the Tesla theory is that a wireless tower, such as that here illustrated and specially constructed to have a high capacity, acts as a huge electric condenser. This is charged by a suitable high frequency, high voltage apparatus and a current is discharged into the earth periodically and in the form of a high frequency alternating wave. The electric wave is then supposed to travel through the earth along its surface shell and in turn to manifest its presence at any point where there might be erected a similar high capacity tower to that above described.

A simple analogy to this action is the following: Take a hollow spherical chamber filled with a liquid, such as water; and then, at two diametrically opposite points, let us place, respectively, a small piston pump, such as a bicycle pump, and an indicator, such as a pressure gauge. Now, if we suck some of the water into the pump and force it back into the ball by pushing on the piston handle, this change in pressure will be indicated on the gauge secured to the opposite side of the sphere. In this way the Tesla earth currents are supposed to act.

The patents of Dr. Tesla are basically quite different from those of Marconi and others in the wireless telegraphic field. In the nature of things this would be expected to be the case, as Tesla believes and has designed apparatus intended for the transmission of large amounts of electrical energy, while the energy received in the transmission of intelligence wirelessly amounts to but a few millionths of an ampere in most cases by the time the current so transmitted has been picked up a thousand miles away. In the Hertzian wave system, as it has been explained and believed in, the energy is transmitted with a very large loss to the receptor by electromagnetic waves which pass out laterally from the transmitting wire into space. In Tesla's system the energy radiated is not used, but the current is led to earth and to an elevated terminal, while the energy is transmitted by a process of conduction. That is, the earth receives a large number of powerful high frequency electric shocks every second, and these act the same as the pump piston in the analogy just cited. These electrical impulses or shocks given to the earth are to be picked up at receiving stations by erecting a suitable capacity in the form of a metallic tower, as will be described more in detail hereafter.

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