Press Wireless

Press Wireless, or PreWi as most radiomen called it, was a major player in the point to point business with stations at several locations.  They provided teletype, photo and voice program links.  The PreWi station in the San Francisco area was located in Belmont, south of San Francisco.  Another large station was on Long Island, NY, first at Hicksville, then at Brentwood.  MRHS member Richard Dillman visited the transmitting Brentwood station and laments the fact that he has no photos from that visit.

The Belmont PreWi operation was absorbed by Globe Wireless when PreWi went out of business.  Many of the Press Wireless PW-15 transmitters were moved from Belmont to the Globe transmitting site in Palo Alto, along with some PW-15s from Brentwood.

The MRHS recovered two PW-15 transmitters from the Globe Wireless transmitter site and installed them at Bolinas.  One has been restored and is operating as a 12Mc transmitter for KSM.  See the MRHS Projects section of this Web site for the story of the recovery of the PW-15s.

We have service reports from the ear just after Globe took over the PreWi point to point circuits.  It's fascinating to read about the problems they had in the first person as written by the station technicians and engineers.


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Transmitter gallery upstairs at Belmont showing many PW-15 transmitters.

Opposite view of Belmont transmitter gallery.

Control room at Belmont showing frequency shift keyers, SP-600 receiver and RACAL RA-17 receiver.

Another view of the Belmont control room showing a scope and a Hammarlund receiver.

Transmitter operator using the Teletype, possibly the order wire machine.

Press Wireless operating room.

A transmitter technician pushes the button to turn off one of the PW-15 transmitters at Belmont for the last time.

Press Wireless teletype operators in the Taft Building in Hollywood, CA.

High speed Morse was copied on paper tape by a siphon pen system.  The resulting undulating line was turned back into a printed message by operators who "read" the tape as it was drawn through a special typewriter.

Here's what the tape looked like.  This one says ARRIVED HERE.  Think about what it must have been like to read these tapes for an eight hour shift.

This is one version of the setup used to draw the tape past the operator's eyes for translation back into a written message.  The photo shows the setup on Montecito Street, Los Angeles.

Tape copying system in action, Mr. Woolpert on duty in Los Angeles.

The control point for the Press Wireless station on Long Island was at Little Neck on the north shore of the island.

In this closeup of the rearest operator we see that he's sitting before what appears to the a Kleinschmidt tape pinch or a version of the Kleinschmidt.  The horizontal tape feed arrangement to the right of the machine is unlike that normally found on a "Klein" but would have made tape replacement quicker and easier.

This 1938 reception verification for Press Wireless transmitter W9XDH (apparently an experimental license) on 12862.5kc shows a wonderful view of the transmitting station in Hicksville, Long Island, NY.  This beautiful station was scraped clean to make room for the post WWII housing boom on Long Island.  Press Wireless moved further east on Long Island to Brentwood, but that station too no longer exists.

This advertisement for the ARA Press is from the January/February 1953 issue of The ARA Log union magazine.  Note the information the information about east coast transmissions beamed from WCO Hicksville, NY.

Press Wireless office in Havana, Cuba.

Louis Huot, head of the Press Wireless office, standing outside office where all cablegrams are cleared by American journalists.

Operators at Press Wireless office, possibly in France.  Note the two Hammarlund Super Pro and one HRO receiver in rack.  Each operator has a mill, key and set of earphones.