Centenary of Bordeaux-Lafayette telegraphic radio station "LY"

August 21, 1920 - First transmission
December 18, 1920 - Inauguration
( Page en Francais )

Lafayette radio-telegraphic station built in Croix d'Hins, France started operation in 1920.

Conceived for the purpose of insuring adequate and uninterrupted (day/night) transatlantic communication facilities between the American Forces engaged in World War I and the government of the USA, radio-telegraphic station, the most powerful of the world at that time,  was built in "Croix d'Hins" near Bordeaux, in collaboration between the US Navy and France.  Station was actually finished after the war.

A team of 750 US Marines was sent to build the eight 250 meters high towers.

US Navy provided towers and transmitters

France provided antenna system, tower bases, buildings, energy supply.

Station was destroyed in 1944 by the Germans.

Last remaining tower (used for fire monitoring) was destroyed in 1953.

Amateur radio clubs F5KAY (Radio-Club du Bassin d'Arcachon) and F6KUQ (Radio-Club de Cestas)

will be commemorating this 100th anniversary

operating two special stations from August to December 2020




TM1LY & TM100LY operating schedule

21-23 aug 2020 -done
24 aug 2020 -done
18 - 20 sept 2020 -done
26-27 sept 2020 -done
17-18 oct 2020 -done TM1LY
23-25 oct 2020 TM100LY
6-8 nov 2020 TM100LY
21 - 22 nov 2020 TM1LY
18-20 déc 2020 TM1LY & TM100LY



Any amateur radio station making a minimum of 5 QSO (or SWL reports) on 5 different bands with any of the stations (or both), any modes will be entitled to request a free special award (pdf delivered) granted by the organizing radio-clubs.
Online request only - Details can be found    << HERE >>.



1000 kW arc transmitter (Poulsen arc) generating 500 kW  on wavelengths 19150 to 23450 meters (12,8 to 15,7 kHz) built by FEDERAL TELEGRAPH Co (one + one backup)

Antenna : 1200 m x 400 m horizontal array (16 wires), up 250 meters (=capacitive termination) + vertical radiating section (10 wires) + giant ground network

8 Towers built by PITTSBURG DES MOINES Co  (250 meters high), 560 tons each

Lafayette Arc transmitter roomLafayette station antenna
Photos : gallica.bnf.fr (Bibliotheque Nationale de France) - Copy/usage rules apply.

Station included : main building, shop, refectory, technical buildings, coal building, train garage, 4 staff housing buildings, station manager house (called "The White House"), energy station, water tower, garage, gas station, station cooling basin (also used as swimming pool), school, and railway network going to each of the 8 towers and inside main building and inside train garage.


More information about the amateur radio operation :

QRZ.com page:           TM1LY          TM100LY

Radio Clubs web sites :     F5KAY                F6KUQ 
facebook    Twitter    Instagram    Pinterest)

Updates on stations planned operations will be published here and on QRZ.com
For live information, please monitor the dx-cluster.

- 3 Jul 2020 licenses received for the two callsigns.
- 21 Aug : first weekend of operation ongoing (TM1LY till friday, TM100LY till monday)

- 25 Aug : first weekend of operation completed. TM1LY uploaded to clublog, TM100LY to follow. Will then start to check first award requests.

- 28 Aug : Both logs are on clublog so that you can check before asking for the award. See the  award page for progress update. See (hear) you on 18-20 sept for next activity with TM1LY and  26-27 sept with TM100LY.

- 21 Sept : Next activity TM100LY on 26-27 sept.

- 25 Sept : Check our QRZ.COM page or social media for special high bands activity on saturday at 10h UTC

- 28 Sept : TM100LY log for 26/27 operation will be uploaded during the next week  (TM1LY is up-to-date on clublog).

- 30 Sept : TM100LY log is now uploaded on Clublog, QRZ.COM, eQSL and LOTW. All eQSL are processed  (caution, several SWL forgot to mention the call of the station we were in contact with, preventing our confirmation).

- 12 Oct : TM1LY is back next weekend (17-18 oct)
- 19 Oct : TM1LY log is uploaded to Clublog & LOTW
- 20 Oct : TM100LY is active next weekend, from friday.

Blog pages  : Various information published about the centenary.

More information about LAFAYETTE Radio station : 


US Navy History of communications


Elmer Peterson photos

History notes

Video (from 3'15'')