Three fundamental principles
underlying the operation of Tesla's global wireless telecommunications system are:
1. Low frequency alternating
current can be transmitted through the inhomogeneous earth with low loss because the net resistance between antipodes of the earth is considerably
less than 1 ohm. ["Nikola Tesla and the Diameter of the Earth: A Discussion of One of the Many Modes of Operation of the Wardenclyffe Tower," K. L. Corum and J. F. Corum, Ph.D.
1996] The electrical displacement takes place predominantly by
electrical conduction through the more conductive regions, i.e., oceans, lakes,
metallic ore bodies and similar subsurface structures. Electric
displacement is also by means of electrostatic induction through the more
dielectric regions such as quartz deposits and other non-conducting minerals.
2. Low frequency high voltage
alternating current can be transmitted through the atmosphere with low
loss. The electric displacement takes place by a) electrostatic
induction, b) electrical conduction, or a combination of these two.
3. The earth possesses a
naturally existing negative charge or DC electrostatic potential, on the order
of 400,000 volts, with respect to the conducting region of the atmosphere
beginning at an elevation of about 50 kilometers, and near the earth's surface
there is a ubiquitous downward directed E-field of about 100 V/m. The Tesla coil
transmitter creates a disturbance in this charge, which manifests itself
as an annular distortion of the background electric field around it.
My experiments . . . in Colorado showed that at a height of 1 mile it is plenty enough rarefied to break down under the stress and conduct the current to the distant points. . . . My patent says that I break down the atmosphere "at or near" the terminal. If my conducting atmosphere is 2 or 3 miles above the plant, I consider this very near the terminal as compared to the distance of my receiving terminal, which may be across the Pacific. . . . I have constructed and patented a form of apparatus which, with a moderate elevation of a few hundred feet, can break the air stratum down.
You will then see something like an aurora borealis across the sky, and the energy will go to the distant place. . . . An apparatus which permits displacing a certain quantity of electricity in the terminalówe shall say so many unitsówill produce an electric potential at a distance of 5 miles, and the fall of electric potential per centimeter will be equal to the quantity of electricity divided by the square of the distance. . . . Now, I have satisfied myself that I can construct plants in which I may produce, per kilometer of the atmosphere, electric differences of potential of something like 50,000 or 60,000 volts, and at 50,000 or 60,000 volts that atmosphere must break down and will become conductive. . . .
The earth is 4,000 miles radius. Around this conducting earth is an atmosphere.
The earth is a conductor; the atmosphere above is a conductor, only there is a little stratum between the conducting atmosphere and the conducting earth which is insulating. . . . Now, you realize right away that if you set up differences of potential at one point, say, you will create in the media corresponding fluctuations of potential. But, since the distance from the earth's surface to the conducting atmosphere is minute, as compared with the distance of the receiver at 4,000 miles, say, you can readily see that the energy cannot travel along this curve and get there, but will be immediately transformed into conduction currents, and these currents will travel like currents over a wire with a return.
The energy will be recovered in the circuit, not by a beam that passes along this curve and is reflected and absorbed, . . . but it will travel by conduction and will be recovered in this way.
Under ideal no-load conditions
the movement of electrical energy throughout the system appears to be totally
reactive and only when electrical loads are present does real power flow.