It consists of three points, three features and three points (· · · - - - · · ·, which is read tititi tatata tititi ). They are the same elements as for the sequence of letters S, O, S, except that signal S.O.S is sent as if it formed a single letter: i.e. by replacing the intervals letters by intervals inter-elements.
Although some say that S.O.S means Save Our Souls (“save our hearts”) or Save Our Ship (“save our ship”), the signal has in fact be selected because it is easily recognizable even by an amateur and in the presence of interferences.
OriginThe original radio signal of distress was CQD. Proposed by Marconi and adopted in 1904, the CQ was a general prefix requiring the attention, follow-up of D for distress. It was often read like “ like quick, distress ” (“come quickly, distress”). Signal CQD did not survive a long time; with the International Conference of Berlin, the October 3rd 1906 the German standard S.O.S was adopted, choice officially ratified in 1908. Signal CQD remained still used a few years, especially by the British operators who had proposed it initially.
The first rescue following a radio hazard warning signal was, in January 1909, that of 1500 people after the collision of the Republic and the Balta , recovered by the Baltic after reception of message CQD. The S.O.S was used a little later for one of the first times, by the Operators Radios of the Steamer Titanic , when this last ran up against a Iceberg, the April 14th 1912, in conjunction with signal CQD.
The signals requiring a prompt response other than the signals of request for help used prefix XXX.
- “S.O.S,” “CQD” and the History off Maritime Distress Cal
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