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2MT was the first British radio station to make regular entertainment broadcasts, and the world's first regular wireless broadcast for entertainment. Transmissions began on 14 February 1922 from an ex-Army hut next to the Marconi laboratories at Writtle, near Chelmsford in Essex. Initially the station only had 200 watts and transmitted on 700m (428 kHz) on Tuesdays from 2000 to 2030.
Two Emma Toc, in the spelling alphabet of the day, was a surprising success. The presenter, producer, actor-manager and writer was Captain P. P. Eckersley, a Marconi engineer. His regular announcement; "This is Two Emma Toc, Writtle testing, Writtle testing", became in short time quite well known.
Peter Eckersley went on to become the founding Chief Engineer at the British Broadcasting Company.
The Marconi Hut site at Writtle is commemorated by a nearby information board at Melba Court — named after Dame Nellie Melba who made Britain's first publicised entertainment broadcast from Marconi's New Street factory — unveiled in 1997 by Marconi's daughter Princess Elettra Marconi. The site was sold off and the land used for housing development in the 1990s.
A significant part of the original Writtle hut is now preserved at the Sandford Mill Museum of Science and Industry in North Chelmsford, where it forms part of a wireless and broadcasting historic exhibit.
G2MT in 1983
In 1983, the Marconi Company main site in Stanmore, Middlesex, found itself with an amateur radio club which applied for the call "2MT" to be issued. The UK authorities decided that they could not issue the call without the Prefix "G" and so the Marconi Radio Society re-launched (G)2MT on the airwaves with many dignitaries present for the event.
The call has been used from then until 2004 when the Stanmore site was closed and moved to Capability Green, Luton, Bedfordshire, under the BAE Systems banner and which is now Selex Galileo. The call "G2MT" is not as well used as the modern building construction has severely limited the possibilities of having a permanent transmitting station. However, occasionally, one of the Marconi Radio Society members will bring along mobile transmitting equipment and give people the chance to hear (G)2MT percolating through the aether once again.
2MT in 2001
The 2MT call-sign has not been re-issued for regular use since 1922. However in 2001, a special permit was given for it to be used to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first wireless transmission across the Atlantic by Marconi in 1901. Details of this event can be found on the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society website.
2MT in 2012
"2emmatoc was a temporary radio station that broadcast from the Essex landscape during a week in September 2012."