If it still existed today, it would stand behind the fence of the Military University of Technology. It was the second largest radio station in the world. From 10 huge towers — 126 meters high — telegrams were broadcast across the Atlantic. The area bombed by the Germans is now covered with forest. But those who know what to look for will find the elements of an impressive broadcasting center, thanks to which Poland in the interwar period established direct contact with America. The Military University of Technology supports the plans to create a museum of Radiostacja Babice.
KILOMETER WAVES AIMED AT AMERICA
From 1923, the half of Europe sent telegrams from Poland to America via the Transatlantic Radiotelegraphic Broadcasting Center. Dozens of engineers and technicians commuted to work along Radiowa Street. Later, they lived with their families in the new “Osiedle Łączności”. The housing estate, expanded at today’s Military University of Technology, was renamed Boernerowo in 1936 to commemorate Ignacy Boerner, the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs.
Poland made good money in the 1920s and 1930s selling commercial telegraph services. Economic contacts cannot be overestimated. Doing business across the ocean paid off: if the message had traveled by ship, it would have arrived later than it had been carried on radio waves. Communication over huge distances for those times accelerated unprecedentedly.
The transmitter had a very high power, thanks to which it was possible to connect with North and South America. The receivers were located in Argentina and the United States. The Warsaw station was one of the best technically equipped in the world. Two machine transmitters, 200 kW each, were powered by a 500 kW diesel-powered generator. The transmitting apparatus of the Headquarters ensured 24-hour communication with the USA. In summer, 30 words per minute were broadcast, and in winter twice as many, because the conditions for the spreading of waves improved.
The Poles did not manage to destroy the installation before the enemy took it over in September 1939. The order of Marshal Edward Rydz-Śmigły was not carried out. The radio station allowed the Nazis to communicate with the U‑boat fleet and with Japan. Long waves allowed them to contact freely with submarines sailing in the Atlantic. That is why the Germans blew up the radio station just before the end of the war. The detonation wave caused windows to fall out of the windows of the houses in the nearby village of Babice.
The Military University of Technology was established here much later. But the MUT cadets still run in Fort Radiowo and pass in the forest the remains of a great technical base: guard booths or metal construction elements. The splendor of the Sanacja radio station has been forgotten. A similar installation, slightly smaller, has survived in Sweden. Today it is no longer suitable, but it is a museum object and is entered on the UNESCO list.
That is why the Military University of Technology supports the idea of establishing a Science Center — the Babice Transatlantic Radiotelegraphic Broadcasting Center. The Faculty of Electronics is seeking the creation of an engineering studio at the university for enthusiasts and scientists involved in the reconstruction of the historic MEWA transmitter, which is to become a museum exhibit.
fot. Stowarzyszenie Park Kulturowy
Transatlantycka Radiotelegraficzna Centrala Nadawcza www.trcn.pl