Spark Gap Transmitter

Malin Head Spark Gap Transmitter 1902 - 1913

Above is a photograph of the original Spark Gap Transmitter that was used at Malin Head between 1902 and 1913. To the left of the transmitter is the Morse key that was used.

Replica of the Malin Head Spark Gap Transmitter 1902 - 1913



The spark gap transmitter and wireless telegraphy were state-of-the-art technologies at the time and was used at Malin Head. The transmitter allowed ships to send messages by passengers and companies also when needed distress signals.


The Titanic contained an advanced spark gap transmitter designed by Marconi. Even after the development of radio, spark gap transmitters could be found on Navy ships because they were simple and reliable. Spark gap transmitters emit noise across a wide range of the spectrum so today they are not allowed to be used.


Although spark gaps could not transmit audio, the transition from wired to wireless telegraphy caused people to begin thinking about the possibility of wireless telephony, and led to the development of radio.


Spark gap transmitters were eventually replaced by vacuum tubes and wireless telephony. The wide range of energy they emitted interfered with radio and led to the restriction and banning of spark gaps in the 1920s. Nonetheless, spark gap transmitters were an important technology during their time and were a significant predecessor to radio, cell phones, wireless internet, and other wireless communication technologies popular today.

This replica transmitter is held by Peter Homer EI4JR