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I heard that part of Tesla's transmitter is still in a pit near the Wardenclyffe building and that it was designed so it could be raised or lowered for tuning.  Is this true?

The "pit" that you heard about is probably a reference to the 120 foot deep well-like shaft that was positioned directly below the immense wooden tower that can be seen in many old photographs of the Wardenclyffe site.  The shaft was excavated so that a series of iron pipes could be installed deep underground to serve as a ground connection between the oscillator and the earth.  Tesla rigged up special machines that were used to push these pipes downward, one length after another into the sandy Long Island subsoil.  In the station's most evolved state it is unlikely that the cylindrical vertical conductor, which connected the subterranean ground connection to the electrical oscillator, was moveable.  

If the communications facility had been completed, the above ground structure would have housed a set of large coils comprising the station's multiple wavelength electrical oscillator.  The oscillator's primary circuit was tuned with a specially designed unit containing a variety of adjustable inductors and probably adjustable capacitors as well.  Initial tuning of the secondary resonator coils would have been addressed at the time of their construction.  While it is not clear how Tesla planned to fine tune or trim them, this capability is an operational requirement.

After the second Wardenclyffe foreclosure took effect and Tesla lost the property, practically everything of value was stripped from the site for salvage.  In light of this fact it is unlikely that any equipment remains in the now back-filled shaft.  Recent bore-hole surveys reaching all the way down to the 120 foot level tend to support this conclusion.

A fairly good description of the underground installation as well as the tower itself is given on  pages 200-204 of the book Nikola Tesla On His Work With Alternating Currents . . . 

Revised: 05/07/2004 

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