1920  -  100 Years of Radio History  -  2020

WSO

Commercial radiotelegraph service between

THE UNITED STATES AND NORWAY

ON THE AIR

MAY 17, 1920

On February 29, 1920, the U.S. Navy returned the commercial radio stations that had been seized during World War I to private ownership.

The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) had acquired the assets of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America in 1919, including Massachusetts installations at Chatham and Marion that were laying incomplete, their construction having been blocked by the war. 

RCA promptly removed obsolete Marconi apparatus and installed state-of-the-art equipment manufactured by General Electric, the U.S. industrial giant. RCA station WSO went on the air on May 17, 1920, a landmark date in radio history.

As RCA revised its business model, WSO transoceanic radiotelegraph service from Chatham would soon be discontinued, replaced by high-seas ship-to-shore service under the famed callsign WCC.

In the years that followed, WCC would go on to become the largest U.S. station in the marine service, renowned by mariners worldwide for most of the 20th century.