How or why Marconi came to Ballycastle to undertake the trails for Lloyds is not completely clear, it was certainly related to the fact that ‘wireless telegraphy’ promised to become the most important development in tracking incoming and outgoing vessels.
The possibility had come of age when, with Marconi equipped stations all along the coast, all vessels within twenty-five miles of shore could make their presence known and send or receive communications. So apparent were the advantages of such a system that Lloyds in May, 1898, entered into negotiations for the setting up of Marconi instruments at various Lloyds stations; and preliminary trial were commissioned between Rathlin Island and Ballycastle.
Another factor may have been the location, as all transatlantic shipping coming and going from Liverpool passed between Torr Head and the Mull of Kintyre and like Malin Head, Torr Head already had a signaling station - both which relied on semaphore communication - therefore Rathin to Ballycastle would have been the ideal location.
These early contracts from Lloyds along with others from the Royal Navy, British Army and three shipping companies gave the new company its first income and the foundations of what today is a multi national company.
The other point is the fact that the transmissions and receptions, were not as some accounts claim, the first transmission or receptions over water or indeed the first 'wireless' transmissions in the world. They were a part of the development of 'wireless telegraphy' which would revolutionized communications, especially for mariners.
Marconi’s assistant George Kemp arrived in Ballycastle on June 4th 1898 and was assisted by Edward Glanville, a young graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. Kemp also employed a John Cecil of Rathlin Island to assist in the work they would undertake and I am sure several other local people helped in the task of erecting and securing the mast at the east lighthouse and at Ballycastle - Kemp identified the east lighthouse on Rathlin and the harbour area in Ballycastle to be the best locations for the two signal stations.
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