The wind howled and icy rain pelted down as the fragile kite swung desperately in the gale over the Newfoundland cliffs, tugging at its 180-metre wire.
It was midday on December 12, 1901, and Guglielmo Marconi sat anxiously in the small, dark room on Signal Hill.

"I placed a single ear-phone to my ear and started listening," he recounted.
"The receiver on the table before me was very crude...
(but) I was at last on the point of putting the correctness of all my beliefs to the test."
Marconi, son of an Irish mother and an Italian father, had been playing with electricity since he was a child.
A rebellious student, he hated lessons but loved to experiment and invent.
By the time he was nineteen, he had resolved to be the first man to give the world a system of communication based on electromagnetic waves.
By trial and error, relying on his own intuition and audacity,
Marconi conducted a series of experiments indicating that long-distance wireless communication was possible.

One problem remained.
Scientific theory of the time asserted that radio waves followed straight lines that would leave the earth's atmosphere and continue into space.
Marconi had a hunch, unsupported by any scientific proof, that the waves would be drawn by gravity and follow the curvature of the earth.
If he was right, a powerful signal could cross an ocean.

Marconi set out to prove that global transmission was possible.
He built a transmitter in Poldhu, Cornwall, in England, and a crude receiver in the Cabot Tower in St. John's, Newfoundland.
His experiments proved that rigid antennae could not withstand the North Atlantic winds,
so he decided that in Newfoundland he would use a kite to raise the aerial high enough to capture the signal from England.

"Suddenly, there sounded the sharp click of the 'tapper'... and I listened intently.
Unmistakably, the three sharp clicks corresponding to three dots sounded in my ear."
Marconi's "big thing," as he called it, had come off.
The transmission of those three dots, Morse code for the letter S, marked the first wireless link between the Old World and the New.

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