What does spark-gap transmitter mean?

Here's a list of possible definitions for the term spark-gap transmitter:


  1. Spark-gap transmitter

    A spark-gap transmitter is an obsolete type of radio transmitter which generates radio waves by means of an electric spark. Spark-gap transmitters were the first type of radio transmitter, and were the main type used during the wireless telegraphy or "spark" era, the first three decades of radio, from 1887 to the end of World War I. German physicist Heinrich Hertz built the first experimental spark-gap transmitters in 1887, with which he proved the existence of radio waves and studied their properties. A fundamental limitation of spark-gap transmitters is that they generate a series of brief transient pulses of radio waves called damped waves; they are unable to produce the continuous waves used to carry audio (sound) in modern AM or FM radio transmission. So spark-gap transmitters could not transmit audio, and instead transmitted information by radiotelegraphy; the operator switched the transmitter on and off with a telegraph key, creating pulses of radio waves to spell out text messages in Morse code. The first practical spark gap transmitters and receivers for radiotelegraphy communication were developed by Guglielmo Marconi around 1896. One of the first uses for spark-gap transmitters was on ships, to communicate with shore and broadcast a distress call if the ship was sinking. They played a crucial role in maritime rescues such as the 1912 RMS Titanic disaster. After World War I, vacuum tube transmitters were developed, which were less expensive and produced continuous waves which had a greater range, produced less interference, and could also carry audio, making spark transmitters obsolete by 1920. The radio signals produced by spark-gap transmitters are electrically "noisy"; they have a wide bandwidth, creating radio frequency interference (RFI) that can disrupt other radio transmissions. This type of radio emission has been prohibited by international law since 1934.


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of spark-gap transmitter in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of spark-gap transmitter in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

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