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Chatham Marconi Maritime Center
Site of "The World's Greatest Coastal Station"
MARCONI/RCA WIRELESS MUSEUM
As you enter the museum, you will be invited to view “Chatham Radio WCC: The Untold Story” narrated by Walter Cronkite, capturing nearly a century of the station’s history in 12 fascinating minutes. Then, through informative panels, videos and interactive exhibits, you explore radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi’s life and legacy, the role of maritime radio in world events, ship-to-shore communication with the actual shipboard radio from the hospital ship SS Hope, and artifacts from Chatham Radio WCC’s history. Experience firsthand how a radio operator touching a Morse code key in Chatham could be heard by his counterparts aboard ships sailing the seven seas, and learn about the talented and skilled people who conceived, built and operated the station. In addition to relaying commercial and personal messages to ships, WCC communicated with pioneer aviators including Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes.
From 1942 through 1945, Chatham Radio played a key role in defeating Germany during the World War II Battle of the Atlantic by intercepting Enigma-encrypted wireless messages passing between the Third Reich’s headquarters and its ships at sea. “Station C” (its wartime US Navy designation) forwarded these intercepts to Washington, D.C. for decoding. As the control station for the East Coast direction-finding network, Station C also directed the search for telltale radio signals that allowed enemy vessels to be located and tracked. The museum’s Navy Years exhibit features working electronic Enigma cipher machine simulators allowing you to try your hand at message encryption.
During your visit, take a few minutes to browse the unique items in our Museum Shop.
Navy Personnel At Chatham Navy Radio
Antenna Field Trail
The museum’s other gallery is free and open year-round during daylight hours. The Antenna Field Trail is a winding path through the flora and fauna of Cape Cod with interpretive signs describing the station’s antennas, and offering views of the preserved 1914 station campus. Some of the antennas are scaled replicas of the originals, actively used by amateur radio operators to communicate around the world.
Take a few more minutes to hike up the trail to the base of the kingpin mast.