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Thursday 30 November 2017

Heart's Content Cable Station

Heart's Content Cable Station.

Location: Heart's Content, Newfoundland, Canada
Address:  NL-80
Date: June 2017
Website: www.seethesites.ca

  In these days of cellphones and unlimited internet access it is hard for some to imagine a time when communication was a luxury.  Transmitting a message from Canada to Europe used to be an impossibility.  A small town in Newfoundland played a big part in making the impossible a reality.  We visited Heart's Content to see where history was made.

The First Atlantic Telegraph Cable.

  Across the road from the Heart's Content Cable Station are a few monuments which explain how it all came to be. 

Glad To Grasp Your Hand Uncle John.  Happy To See And Greet You Jonathan.

  In 1858 there was an attempt to lay a cable for transmitting telegraph messages between Newfoundland and Ireland.  The photo above shows the two nations shaking hands.  Two steam boats, the Niagara and the Agamemnon met and joined the cable.  Messages were sent between Queen Victoria and President Buchanan, but the cable failed shortly afterwards.

4300 KM of Cable.

  A huge ship called the SS Great Eastern was built.  It was designed to be a cruise ship and could hold 4000 passengers.  It proved to be too expensive and too big to keep operating as an ocean liner.  It found new life as a cable layer since it could hold the 4300 km of cable needed to make the cross-Atlantic attempt once more.

The Arrival Of The Atlantic Cable.

  This time the attempt was a success.  There was now a cable between Heart's Content and Valencia Ireland.  With the telegraphic cable in place, Heart's Content became a busy communications hub and life was very good there.

The Cable Enters Here.

Entrance To The Cable Operating Room.

    Inside the station we visited the cable operating room.  It was filled with equipment used for transmitting and receiving messages.  At the peak of its operations, it also would have been filled with staff handling the equipment.

Multiplex Switchboard Cabinet.

  There would have been operators switching cables to make connections as well as groups transmitting or re-transmitting messages.

Western Union Morse Code Sheet.
 Morse Code.

  They would have transmitted these messages using morse code.  Above is an original morse code sheet as well as a re-typed one to make it easier for visitors to read.  See if you can use the information above to decipher this message.
-... . - - . .-.   --- -.   ...- .- -.-. .- - .. --- -.

Submerged Submerged Repeater Repeater.

  In order to get the messages across the Atlantic Ocean, there are submerged repeaters which do just what their name implies.  They take a message received and repeat it.  This keeps the signal strong and allows it to be more easily interpreted at the opposite end.

More Cables.

  More and more cables were added to the network and the Heart's Content cable station ran until 1965 when newer technologies made it obsolete.  The station now stands as a reminder of how it changed the world.

Cable Box.

   The box above is where the cables entered the station.

Between England And The Continent.

    From there they ran towards the water where a morse code plaque reads "Between England and the continent".

Rusty Cables.
 Cables Reach Out To The Water.

  On the beach across the road some of the cables still remain.

Heart's Content Lighthouse.

  From there the cables headed across the ocean floor past the Heart's Content candy striped lighthouse and into the open ocean.  Somewhere thousands of miles away the message was received.  An amazing feat for its time.

Map of Our World
Heart's Content Cable Station

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