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ANTENTOP- 03- 2003, # 004

The Underwater Communication System



between them is like the electrostatic field between two capacitor plates.


   As he described it, an evacuated bulb was place between the electrodes: 


 ... when we excite luminosity in exhausted tubes..., the effect is due to the rapidly alternating electrostatic potential; ... the medium is harmonically strained and released.5


   He also noted:


It might be thought that electrostatic effects are unsuited for such action at a distance.  ... It is true that electrostatic effects diminish nearly with the cube of dis­tance from the coil, whereas electromagnet­ic inductive effects diminish simply  with distance.  But when we establish an electro­static field of force, the condition is very different, for then, instead of the differential effect of both the terminals,

we get their conjoint effect.6 


   To make sure that the difference between the type of fields he intended and those of Hertz was understood he explained:


As the term electrostatic might imply a steady electric condition, it should be

remarked, that in these experiments the force is not constant, but varies...

When two conducting bodies are insulated and electrified, we say that an electrostatic force is acting between them.7


   Tesla's emphasis on the non-Hertzian nature of his signaling process, particularly when taken within the context of his work with electrostatics, indicates the mode of propagation involves similar electrostatic effects between a transmitter and receiver.  As he often insisted, this mode of transmission differs significantly from that of Hertzian waves in that this one is a form of conduction:

So far, I have considered principally effects produced by a varying electrostatic

force in an insulating medium, such as air.  When such a force is acting upon a

conducting body of measurable dimensions, it causes within the same, or on its

surface, displacements of the electricity, and gives rise to electric currents8




Some enthusiasts have expressed their belief that telephony to any distance by




induction through the air is possible. I cannot stretch my imagination so far, but I

do firmly believe that it is practicable to disturb by means of powerful machines

the electrostatic condition of the earth and thus transmit intelligible signals

and perhaps power.9


Tesla believed that the earth was not just a sink into which electrical energy can be poured, but that it is a reservoir of charge. The capacity of the earth is determined by the standard formula for the capacitance of an isolated sphere of radius R:



For the earth, this works out to 708 microfarads.10


   Tesla's idea was that his high power transmitter he could cause the earth's charge to oscillate and that these oscillations could be detected anywhere on the globe.  He further noted that these oscillations were changes in pressure, "the energy will be economically transmitted and very little power consumed so long as no work was done in the receivers.11


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