RCA's Wireless Station WCC / WSO

at Chatham, Cape Cod, Mass, April 1921


Theodore Roosevelt McElroy, operator

and later World's Champion Radio Telegrapher

by Neal McEwen, K5RW


Copyright © 1998, Neal McEwen

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Theodore R. McElroy lives on 35years after his passing. His ability to copy code made him a legend in his own time and the keys he made serve as reminders of his accomplishments. As part of illustrious career, he was breifly a wireless operator for RCA.WCC / WSO, 1921

This previously unpublished photo to the right (click to view full size) was taken in front of RCA's wireless station on Cape Code, WCC / WSO, in April of 1921. McElroy is in the third row, sixth from the left. He just to the right and slightly behind the baby.

Shortly after the World War One, McElroy went to work for WCC / WSO, one of RCA's transoceanic wireless stations. There he worked the American Morse landline wires until he learned the International Morse code, used in wireless work. Until 1921 he worked the wireless circuits to POZ in Nauen, Germany and LCM in Stavanger, Norway, keying the giant Alexanderson alternators on 20,000 Meters. Ted stated in 1960, in a letter to his friend Phil James, that the signals were so strong from Europe that it was almost like working an "iron wire." After a brief stint with RCA, Ted returned to landline telegraphy, eventually moving back to his beloved Boston to work for Western Union.

This photo was sent to me about 20 years ago by Joseph A. Worrall Jr., KL7T. His father, Joesph Worrall, Sr. was an operator on staff along with McElroy. Worrall is in the fourth row, eight from the left. Besides operators, there are spouses, housekeepers, cooks and groundskeepers in the photo.

The assistant superintendant in charge of hiring operators was Fred Heiser. He is the the last row at the far right with the bow tie. Even though McElroy did not know Continental Morse, Heiser hired him on the strenght of his American Morse ability. McElroy was paid $140 per month, a very handsome salary for the times!

I had forgotten I had this photo and recently discovered it. I'm glad that the World Wide Web allows me to share it with others. For more information on McElroy, see, T. R. McElroy: Worlds Champion Radio Telegrapher; the man, the legend and the keys!


French, Tom, McElroy, World's Champion Radio Telegrapher, Atifax Books, Maynard, MA, 1993

McElroy, T.R., Letter to Phil James, January 1960

Saslow, Sy, Letters to Neal McEwen, K5RW, July 1982

Worrall Jr., Joeseph, KL7T, Letters and photo to Neal McEwen, K5RW, September 1983 

For more information, visit the Telegraph Office home page

Neal McEwen, k5rw@telegraph-office.com