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"I have been a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labeled 'Science Fiction' and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Daisy Projector  
  Beam of energy penetrates the Heaviside layer to enable communication from planet to planet.  

The Heaviside layer is a layer of ionised gas occurring between 90km and 150 km above the ground one of several layers in the Earth's ionosphere. It reflects medium-frequency radio waves.

Predicted by Oliver Heaviside (and Arthur Kennelly), its existence was essentially demonstrated by Marconi's transmission of radio waves beyond the horizon.

But would this layer prevent communications between the Earth and other planets? John Campbell wrote a story about men trapped on Ganymede with no way to communicate their whereabouts.

Stetson had made a queer set up that looked something like a daisy ten feet across. The golden center, however, was a flattened copper dome, made of heavy metal, and attached to a tremendously heavy copper lead about two feet long. It was almost as great in diameter as it was in length. The end of this massive copper block was approximately an inch from a second plate of two-inch copper. This spread out in a bowl three feet in diameter.

Around the two-foot length was a curiously designed coil of rather heavy copper wire, insulated from the block on insulite pins. At the gap between the heavy lead and the copper bowl three magnets were placed, one hundred and twenty degrees apart.

The petals of the daisy were made of thin metal plates, connected at rim and center, and insulated from the copper dome.

The beam started out. After a very long time a sudden flash snapped out, and the beam was a solid column of energy stretching out to infinity, flowing bluish in the atmosphere...

"Want to send a message to the home folks?"

From The Derelicts of Ganymede, by John W. Campbell.
Published by Wonder Stories in 1932
Additional resources -

The description may remind you of the stiletto beam from Earthlight (1955) by Arthur C. Clarke.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Derelicts of Ganymede
  More Ideas and Technology by John W. Campbell
  Tech news articles related to The Derelicts of Ganymede
  Tech news articles related to works by John W. Campbell

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