Rocky Point

Rocky Point (RP) was the transmitting station of RCA's Radio Central, at one time the largest radio station in the world.  The receive site was at Riverhead.  Both were on Long Island, east of New York City.

The business of Radio Central was intercontinental communications.  The station had circuits to Europe and South America as well as other locations.  But Radio Central was also a center of experiment and technical innovation.  Many important developments took place there, not the least of which were Dr. H. H. Beverage's work with his wave antenna.

The original plan called for dozens of 200kW Alexanderson alternators, each connected to a stupendous antenna supported by a row of 410ft steel towers arranged like spokes of a wheel.

Two rows of these magnificent antennas were constructed before the commercial viability of the short waves was confirmed.  The expansion of long wave communications ceased at that point (although the existing long wave circuits remained in service) as efforts were aimed at the new high frequency circuits.

Like much of our radio heritage Radio Central has been scraped clean.. or almost so.  See the Radio Archeology section of this Web site for what may be seen there now.


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Only two of the planned rows of towers were built before the advent of the short waves spelled the beginning of the end for the Alexanderson alternators.

The caption is a little optomistic since only these twelve towers were built. 

Here's a magnificent view of one of the 410ft towers.  Are you ready to climb to the top with your load of tools?

Here are two of the 200kW Alexanderson alternators.  They generated continuous wave signals that bridged oceans.

The proud sign at the entry to the station proclaims it to be the largest radio station in the world.

A view from the top of the building looking back up the entry road.

A view of the transmitter building taken from one of the towers showing the cooling pond in front.

A ground level view of the transmitter building showing the cooling pond in operation.

Another ground level view, this time from a color(ed) post card.  H frames may be seen for carrying feeders for HF antennas may be seen.

The Community House at the RCA transmitter site at Rocky Point

RCA Model A high-frequency beam-antenna system as used prior to 1935. This type of radiating system for vertical polarization exemplified an early form of beam antenna for point-to-point communication. The photograph shows the complexity of the rigging for the radiator and reflector curtains and the use of fabricated wood masts. Rocky Point, New York.

Ever an acolyte of the great Marconi since his days as a delivery boy for the American Marconi Company, David Sarnoff (L) apes the dress and pose of his mentor in front of a transmitter at Rocky Point.

This shack was originally at Babylon as one of the very first Marconi stations.  It was preserved and moved to Rocky Point.  It still exists and is on display at a high school on Long Island.

The control room at Rocky Point, similar to the one still in service at Bolinas, CA.

Diagram of Type F power amplifier, Rocky Point.

Type F power amplifier tank circuit Building 1 Rocky Point. Two type 858 tubes.