marianne norsen | stig sjöström: cqd - · - · - - · - - · ·
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Marianne Norsen Stig Sjöström, CQD second - The CQD Signal, 3m x 1,50m

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Marianne Norsen Stig Sjöström, CQD fourth - Radio Drama 1909, 3m x 1,50m

CQD foi o sinal oficial de emergência usado nas comunicações morse e radiofónicas até 1908. A sua representação telegráfica é - · - · - - · - - · · e significa Seek You, Distress. CQD - · - · - - · - - · · é o título escolhido para o mais recente trabalho dos artistas plásticos noruegueses Marianne Norsen (n. 1974) e Stig Sjöström (n. 1971): cinco enormes telas de 3 x 1,5 metros, feitas de histórias escritas sobre o sinal, impressas sobre imagens da dupla Norsen/Sjöström. Ao longo de cinco passos, ficamos a conhecer este sinal, desde a sua aparição até à sua última utilização feita por Jack Binns, na operação de salvamento do Republic, em 1909 - precisamente um ano depois do sinal CQD ter sido substituido pelo bem conhecido SOS. E se os textos (de Alfred M. Cadell e G.E. Turnbull, entre outros) contam a história e histórias do CQD, as fotografias como que cenarizam o que se está a ler afirmando-se sempre como a imagem (real ou ideal) mais forte de cada momento, de cada passo que as palavras vão narrando. Como escrevem os autores, "é desta união de processos resulta a originalidade do projecto CQD: ler a imagem fotográfica, ver a história escrita".

CQD - · - · - - · - - · ·
de Marianne Norsen e Stig Sjöström;
cinco telas de 3 m x 1,5 m, com os textos que se seguem impressos sobre fotografias.

CQD first - Distress Signaling

CQD second - The CQD Signal

CQD third - CQD & SOS

CQD fourth - Radio Drama 1909

CQD last - Jack Binns
posted by Eduardo Brito at 2:29 da tarde | Permalink | 0 comments
cqd last - jack binns.
The Captain was brave, but braver was he
Who sat in his room with his hand on the key
And steadily sounded his CQD
To people somwhere outside.

Jack Binns Song, composed by Mrs. W. B. Bull

When the American luxury liner, "Republic," collided with the Italian cargo ship, "Florida," in the icy waters off Nantucket, Jack Binns became a hero. As the "Republic" began to sink, the twenty-five-year-old wireless operator sent the distress call that brought the rescue ship, "Baltic."
Born John Robinson Binns in Lincolnshire, England, in 1884, "Jack" grew up an orphan. His father died only two days after his birth and his mother died a year later; the boy was raised by his paternal grandmother. At the age of fourteen, Binns began studying telegraphy. He went to work with the British Post Office when he was eighteen. Three years later he began working for the British Marconi Company, where he was assigned as wireless operator aboard the White Star liner "Republic."
On January 22, 1909, the "Republic" departed from New York harbor, bound for southern Italy. At 5:30 the following morning, in the fog-shrouded waters off Nantucket, the "Republic" was struck by the Italian cargo ship "Florida." The "Republic" suffered a puncture to its hull and began to sink.
The collision killed two of the "Republic's" passengers and damaged Binns' wireless. But Binns quickly made repairs and began to transmit the distress signal -- CQD. Although his signal was weak and he worked from batteries alone, Binns reached the Siasconsett wireless station on Nantucket. He stayed at his wireless for the next 36 hours, sending signal after signal from his frigid, water-swamped cabin. Eventually, the "Baltic," another White Star liner, came to the rescue.
When Binns arrived ashore in New York, he was surprised to find himself the focus of mass adoration. A ticker tape parade was held in his honor. He was offered contracts to perform on the vaudeville circuit. A song and a short film were made about him. No longer simply "Jack," he was now "CQD Binns," certified hero.
The attention was upsetting to Binns. He successfully sued Vitagraph, the company who made the film about him, for invasion of privacy. He testified before Congress about the need for mandatory wireless coverage on ship, but Congress failed to act. Discouraged, he returned to England.
Jack Binns worked as a wireless operator until 1912, when he turned down an assignment aboard the ill-fated "Titanic." He returned to America, where he began a new career -- journalism -- the day before the "Titanic" sank.
Binns continued his work in journalism until World War I, when he joined the Canadian Flying Corps as a wireless instructor. In 1924 he began work for the Hazeltine Co., an electronic engineering firm. He became the company's chairman of the board in 1957. Two years later, he died, at the age of seventy-five.
posted by Eduardo Brito at 5:11 da tarde | Permalink | 0 comments
cqd fourth - radio drama 1909.
in Radio Broadcast, April, 1924, pages 449-455

Serious accidents on passenger liners at sea are rare enough these days. Just stop for a moment and see if you can remember when the last great disaster at sea occurred. The war years should not be counted, for the sinking of the Lusitania, for example, was not due to faulty navigation or the luck o' the sea.
The fact is that radio has so aided navigation that real accidents simply don't happen. Every big vessel is in constant touch with both shores of the ocean during the entire passage, the ship's chronometers are corrected twice daily by radio time signals, and the radio compass guides the big ships in time of fog or heavy weather. The shore radio compass is available on almost every coast for every ship, small or large.
We have grown to take radio almost for granted, as far as its use in marine telegraphy goes. The public expects great things of the radio now--and isn't disappointed. But it was not so long ago that the radio waves had to prove their usefulness. Then, even the big ships boasted but one operator who could be at his set only a part of the day. Sets would not send very far, and the apparatus was not too dependable. The public, if it gave much consideration to radio at all, was somewhat skeptical.
But when radio saved the lives of thousands at sea in January, 1909, when Jack Binns at the key of the Republic, sent out distress calls which gave him the aid of the land station nearest him and the many ships around the scene of the disaster, Americans began to feel that maybe this radio thing had something to it after all.
Jack Binns has given me this fascinating story of the Republic himself, exactly as it happened.--A. M. C.

IT WAS four o'clock Saturday morning, January 23, 1909. The steamship Republic, in command of Captain Inman Sealby, had left New York for Liverpool at five o'clock the evening before, with 1,600 passengers on board. Jack Binns was the one wireless operator on the ship. Almost immediately upon clearing Sandy Hook the ship had run into a thick fog bank, and the automatic fog-horn was set going. Binns was kept busy at the key until midnight, sending and receiving commercial messages, and exchanging "location" reports with other ships and stations on shore. And then he turned into his bunk for the night.
Like all ship operators Binns went to sleep with a more or less alert mind. All went well until eight bells, and then---- Awakened by the sudden change in the fog signals, Binns sat upright on the edge of his bunk, and listened, One second, two seconds, three---- A tremor ran throughout the ship. There was terrific crashing. Rushing from his bunk into the operating room which was situated on the aft-port side of the ship, he peered out through the darkness.
Crumpled up like the bellows of a concertina, the lower part of the colliding ship's bow had hit the Republic full and square in her engine room compartment while the upper part, plowing its way through the cabins on the deck, hung over it, a menacing mountain of twisted steel. The roof of the wireless cabin collapsed; part of the cabin itself was wrenched away.
A strong current was running, swinging the colliding ship and the Republic around and twisting her davits, stanchions and beams. The telephone between the wireless cabin and the bridge was destroyed. At a glance--it all happened at once, it seemed--Binns took in the situation. He was standing between life and death. Unlike many others on the ship his intelligence was not numbed. He got into action.
Was his wireless set in working order? Was the antenna intact? "The system we used at that time enabled me to find out very quickly," said Mr. Binns, when the writer interviewed him in his office at the New York Tribune. "I had a transmitting apparatus consisting of a ten-inch spark coil which was run from the ship's lighting mains and could be used either for untuned sending at the natural period of the aerial or with a tuned circuit which was an inductance and condenser of Leyden jars. On the other hand, my receiving equipment consisted of a magnetic detector with a Franklin tuner which was one of the new pieces of apparatus of that day. But, judged from present standards, that tuner was very crude.
"We were transmitting with what is known as plain antenna, and unless the antenna was up and throughly insulated, it was impossible to get a spark. I had just time enough to work the key and find out that the antenna was still up when the lights went out. All the machinery of the ship, including the generators, had been almost immediately put out of commission.
"I had jumped to the key immediately--I think that not more than three seconds had elapsed since the vessel had struck us. Although I had a vague idea what had happened, I didn't know the exact details. What I did know was enough. As the vessels were swung around by the current I saw my cabin being ripped away.
"When the ship's lighting current went off, I changed over to our storage batteries for transmission power. We carried these batteries as an emergency reserve. When we used the batteries to operate the spark coils, our range was limited to approximately sixty miles. It was still dark and foggy. The air was biting cold. I put on as many clothes as I could find, bundled an overcoat around me, and began sending out CQD, which at that time was the distress call.

THERE was little on the air at that time of the night. We were, as I found out later, about sixty miles away from the Siasconsett station on Nantucket Island, just on the verge of communication with the shore and that was all. It seems that Jack Irwin, the man on watch at Siasconsett, had had a very quiet night and had dozed off to sleep. As a result his fire had died down and presently he began to feel uncomfortably cold. He woke up with a start so suddenly, in fact, that he became wide awake. He was just in the act of putting on more coal when he heard my call. He dropped the coal, jumped over to the key and replied instantly. I told him we were in distress, that two vessels were in distress, that I did not know at that moment where we were, nor the extent of the damage to either one of us, but told him I would get the information from the bridge as rapidly as possible, and asked him to keep everybody off the air until I could get the information through. However, I had no sooner sent this message than I received word from Captain Sealby, giving the damage done by the collision and the position of the ship. When I conveyed this message to Siasconsett, Irwin immediately sent out a general distress call. The steamship Baltic of the White Star Line was the first to answer the call.
"During this time we were drifting. The captain had absolutely no control of the ship. We had found the vessel which struck us, and learned that it was the Italian steamship Florida with immigrants bound for New York. She had not suffered as much as the Republic, and it was decided to put all of our passengers and crew on board her. Her engines were undamaged and the ship was controllable. But transferring the passengers from the Republic was not an easy task, for the Florida was a very small ship and had nearly 2,000 passengers on board, the majority of them being refugees from the earthquake at Messina, in Italy. The captain of the Italian ship, a young man by name of Ruspini, handled the situation from his end with a surprising degree of coolness.
"About noon of that day--which was Saturday--the Baltic was within ten miles of the Republic. I could tell by the strength of her signals, although at that time we had no means of knowing definitely how far away any particular station or ship was, and I had to rely on the sensitiveness of my ears to arrive at that conclusion.

THE fog had, if anything, grown worse than it was at 4.00 o'clock that morning--and of course the Baltic had to reduce speed for fear of running into us before she could check her speed. From twelve o'clock until six in the afternoon I remained constantly at the key trying, in conjunction with the officers of both ships, to get the Baltic alongside. To accomplish this we exploded detonating bombs and fired sky rockets. When one ship exploded bombs, the officers on the other would try to learn approximately the direction from which the sound came. We were doing this all afternoon on both ships, but although we were within an approximate radius of ten miles of each other, none of the explosions had been heard.
"Six o'clock came and it was still foggy and dark. Presently we had reduced the number of our bombs to where each of us had only one left. According to our soundings, we were aware that the Republic had been sinking steadily at a rate of about one foot an hour. Unlike the sound of the voice or other noise, wireless of course was not directional, and inasmuch as we had no electrical means of determining the exact location of each other we might just as well have been a thousand miles apart.
"At this point we checked up, carefully with each other the time on our chronometers. Each ship carried three chronometers, the mean average of which was taken as the accurate time. As soon as we had checked up on that it was decided that the Republic should fire her last bomb at a certain precise second, and they would listen very attentively to hear it. That second arrived, and Boom! went the bomb. But it proved in vain--they did not hear it. It looked like a forlorn hope. The Republic was gradually sinking, night had come upon us, the Florida was floating somewhere in the neighborhood fearfully crowded with four thousand passengers and crew aboard that small ship. What were we to do?
"We made arrangements for the Baltic to explode her last bomb, and then I went forward on the bridge, By this time there were only eight on board the Republic. We had plenty of time, so seven of us formed ourselves in a circle with our faces outward while the quartermaster stood by the chronometer. He was to indicate to us by moving his arm upward the exact second the explosion of the last Baltic bomb was to take place. He raised his arm and--we listened. "An operator's sense of hearing undoubtedly becomes more acute than another person's because of his constant training in straining his ears for faint code signals. Somehow or other, within about five seconds after the quartermaster had raised his arm, I heard very faintly what I thought might be the sound of a bomb. I turned to the third officer who stood next to me and he said he thought he had heard it too, although he wasn't exactly sure. It had been prearranged that none of us were to move in case we heard the sound, this in order that we could check the direction and get our bearings on the Baltic. Consequently, the officers took a bearing on the direction the sound came from, according to the third officer's and my own sense of hearing, and then I went back to the operating cabin to transmit steering directions to the Baltic, based on those bearings. We cautioned them to come very slowly because of our helplessness. "Had we really heard the Baltic's last bomb? Were the steering directions I had just transmitted going to bring her alongside? Those were tense moments.
"In about fifteen minutes we heard the fog horn of the Baltic. The last bomb really had been heard beyond all doubt." 'You are proceeding on the right course, was the message that I then sent the Baltic. 'We can now hear your fog horn. Come very cautiously as we have no lights.'"And then, fifteen minutes later I heard a tremendous cheer. I knew of course that it couldn't come from the members on our own ship, as there were only eight of us. I looked out of the cabin. There was the Baltic coming up right alongside of us. Her passengers had lined the decks to keep a sharp lookout for us.
"It was then a little after seven o'clock Saturday evening. It had taken fifteen hours of the most trying and intensive work to bring the Baltic alongside during the dense dark fog, and considering the crude apparatus we had at that time I have always considered it a great achievement, for a more difficult set of circumstances could hardly be imagined.
"After our officers conferred with Captain Ransom of the Baltic, she proceeded to where the Florida lay, as Captain Sealby felt very anxious about the safety of his passengers, especially since the Florida was badly damaged and excessively overloaded.
"Just about this time the fog suddenly lifted and the weather turned into a nasty driving rain. The Baltic found the Florida and the combined crews of the ships immediately set about transferring all the Republic's and Florida's passengers to her own decks. Throughout the night in the cold, drenching rain these crews labored transferring 4,000 passengers through a dangerous long rolling swell. Thus within the short space of twenty-four hours there had been two major transfers of passengers at sea, and all accomplished without loss of human life.
And when daylight broke the next morning, Sunday, there was one of the greatest concourses of ships ever seen on the seas. Everywhere, as far as the eye could see were ships. Every liner and every cargo boat equipped with wireless that happened to be within a three hundred mile radius of the disaster, overhearing the exchange of messages between the Baltic and Republic had gathered around and stood by ready to be of whatever assistance they could. It was a fine testimonial to the value of wireless. Shortly after daybreak the Baltic proceeded to New York and the Florida also proceeded at slow speed, convoyed by two or three other ships that were standing by. And then relief ships cared for the badly damaged Republic.
"During all this time, of course, the Republic, had been slowly sinking, and it was decided to tow her into the shallow waters off Nantucket. Two revenue cutters, the Gresham and Seneca, thereupon took line on the bow of the Republic in tandem fashion, and the Anchor Line Furnessia tied up on the stern to act as a rudder for the disabled ship. All available means were taken to keep her afloat. The tow started at ten o'clock Sunday morning and continued until seven o'clock Sunday night, but no actual progress had been made for although the revenue cutters pulled her forward, a cross current was running against them at practically the same speed, so that all four ships virtually stood still.
"Finally the Furnessia cast off, for the stern of the Republic was under water. The water was already beginning to creep into my cabin and while I was wondering whether I should go forward or wait until the captain sent for me, the third officer came aft and said the captain had issued orders to get ready to abandon the ship and that I was to come forward. I didn't hesitate about that. The rest of the officers were there and we tried to persuade Captain Sealby to abandon the ship with us. But he refused to do so. Instead he asked for a volunteer to stay with him. Everyone volunteered. Captain Sealby then chose Second Officer Williams on account of his being the senior unmarried man in the group and also because Williams knew the Morse code and could signal with a lantern.
"At this time the Republic was attached to the Gresham by a steel hawser. As soon as we put off in the Captain's gig we pulled over to the Gresham, told the captain of that ship the condition of the Republic, and asked him to pay out a nine-inch rope hawser and stand by, ready to cut the rope hawser as soon as he got a signal from the bridge of the Republic that the ship was about to go under. It had been previously agreed that Captain Sealby was to flash a blue Coston light when that moment did arrive. This the captain of the Gresham did. He stationed a man with an ax over the hawser, with instructions to cut it the moment he saw the blue light. We stayed off in the life boat waiting for developments and holding ourselves ready to go to the rescue of the Sealby and Williams the moment the ship went down.
"Fortunately there were four or five other ships in the vicinity watching the proceedings. Each one played its searchlight on the Republic. By the aid of the many searchlights the two lone figures could be seen pacing to and fro on the uptilted bridge. And then came the signal of the blue light. Then we saw one of the men jump on to the rat-lines of the foremast, climb up to the top of the mast and wait. The other man ran forward, climbed up on the rail, and taking one last long look at the little cabin on the bridge turned and dove forty feet into the sea."
For one minute more the bow of the Republic trembled above the waves and then sank. "We rowed over to the spot where it went down. The light of each observing ship was trained upon the spot. Fortunately a quiet sea was running at the time, but even so it was most difficult to see very far from the open boat as the lights, intercepted by the crests of the waves, threw darkened shadows over most of the surrounding waters. We grew very anxious about Captain Sealby and Mr. Williams, for certainly no man could long survive the cold of those wintry waters." For twenty minutes we rowed around, earnestly but yet aimlessly, for we did not know where to go. On all sides we saw the glaring searchlights--but nowhere could we discern any sign of life in the sea. I don't think any more sorrowful moment ever came into the lives of the men in that open boat, not to mention those on the nearby ships, for Captain Sealby and Second Officer Williams had nobly upheld the tradition of the sea. But the length of time did not diminish our hopes. "
This collision at sea had indeed brought forth a series of climaxes. First the wireless apparatus, crude as it was, had brought Siasconsett to our aid; the very last bomb that the Baltic had came within an ace of being in vain, and now-- "Suddenly, to our right, from out the murky blackness of the waters of the sea, a revolver shot rang out. We pulled over in that direction immediately, and there we found Captain Sealby hanging on to a floating crate, so nearly exhausted that he had had just sufficient strength to pull the trigger of his revolver. 'Williams over there', he said, 'Get him.' But we pulled the captain in then and there, and then rowed in the direction he had indicated. And sure enough we found Williams too, clinging to a hatch cover that had floated off the Republic when she went down."
It was fitting denouement to one of the greatest near-tragedies of the sea. And a tragedy indeed it would have been had it not been for wireless and an operator who had initiative, skill, and the fortitude to stick to his post for 48 hours without eating or sleeping.
posted by Eduardo Brito at 5:06 da tarde | Permalink | 0 comments
cqd third - cqd & sos.
The first use of wireless in communicating the need for assistance came in March of 1899. The East Goodwin Lightship, marking the southeastern English coast, was rammed in a fog in the early morning hours by the SS R. F. Matthews. A distress call was transmitted to a shore station at South Foreland and help was dispatched.
By 1904 there were many trans-Atlantic British ships equipped with wireless. The wireless operators came from the ranks of railroad and postal telegraphers. In England a general call on the landline wire was a "CQ." "CQ" preceded time signals and special notices. "CQ" had been generally adopted by telegraph and cable stations all over the world. Naturally, "CQ," went with the operators to sea and was likewise used for a general call. This sign for "all stations" was adopted soon after wireless came into being by both ships and shore stations.
At the first international congress of wireless telegraphy in 1903, the Italians recommended the use of "SSSDDD" to be used to signal an emergency. Its use would signal all other stations to stop sending and leave the channel open for emergency traffic. Though discussed, it was not adopted. Decision making on distress signals was put on the agenda for the next meeting in 1906.
In 1904, the Marconi company filled the gap by suggesting the use of "CQD" for a distress signal. Although generally accepted to mean, "Come Quick Danger," that is not the case. It is a general call, "CQ," followed by "D," meaning distress. A strict interpretation would be "All stations, Distress."
At the second Berlin Radiotelegraphic Conference 1906, the subject of a danger signal was again addressed. The Germans had used "SOE" as a general inquiry call and suggested its adoption as a distress call internationally. Considerable discussion ensued and there was objection because the final letter was a single dot, hard to copy in adverse conditions. The letter "S" was substituted; the thinking was that three dots, three dashes and three dots could not be misinterpreted. It was to be sent together as one string. (The American distress signal "NC" for "Call for help without delay" was not adopted, although it remains as the international flag symbol for distress to this day.)
The Marconi Yearbook of Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony, 1918 states, "This signal [SOS] was adopted simply on account of its easy radiation and its unmistakable character. There is no special signification in the letter themselves, and it is entirely incorrect to put full stops between them [the letters]." All the popular interpretations of "SOS," "Save or Ship," "Save Our Souls," or "Send Out Succour" are simply not valid. Stations hearing this distress call were to immediately cease handling traffic until the emergency was over and were likewise bound to answer the distress signal.
Although the use of "SOS" was officially ratified in 1908, the use of "CQD" lingered for several more years, especially in British service where it originated. It is well documented in personal accounts of Harold Bride, second Radio Officer, and in the logs of the SS Carpathia, that the Titanic first used "CQD" to call for help. When Captain Smith gave the order to radio for help, first radio officer Jack Phillips sent "CQD" six times (first time 10.35 New York time) followed by the Titanic call letters, "MGY." 20 minutes later, at Brides suggestion, Phillips interspersed his calls with "SOS." In 'SOS to the Rescue', 1935, author Baarslag notes, "Although adopted intentionally in 1908, it [SOS] had not completely displaced the older 'CQD' in the British operators' affections." (It is interesting to note that Marconi was waiting in New York to return home to England on the Titanic.)
The first use of wireless in the rescue of an American ship was in 1905. Off Nantucket, the operator of Relief Ship No. 58, a light ship, sent "HELP" in International Morse and American Morse. (Trans Atlantic ships used International Morse and coastal ships used American Morse. The use of American Morse on seagoing vessels ceased in 1912 although it survived for many years on the Great Lakes.) A Naval Radio Station in Rhode Island answered the "HELP" call.
The first recorded use of "CQD" by an American ship was in 1908 by the steamer Santa Rosa off the coast of California. Commander Richard Johnstone records this in his memoir My San Francisco Story of the Waterfront and the Wireless, 1965. The first recorded American use of "SOS" was in August of 1909. Wireless operator T. D. Haubner of the SS Arapahoe radioed for help when his ship lost its screw new Diamond Shoals, sometimes called the "Graveyard of the Atlantic." The call was heard by the United Wireless station "HA" at Hatteras. A few months later, the SS Arapahoe received an "SOS" distress call from the SS Iroquois. Radio Officer Haubner therefore has the distinction of being involved in the first two incidents of the use of "SOS" in America, the first as the sender and the second as the receiver. The U.S. did not officially adopt "SOS" until 1912, being slow to adopt international wireless standards.
posted by Eduardo Brito at 5:02 da tarde | Permalink | 0 comments
cqd second - the cqd signal.
in The Yearbook of Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony, 1913, pages 320-322:

As time went on the organisation of wireless communication at sea became more and more perfect, and it was found desirable to embody in one Circular the various directions which had been given to operators regarding the use of the apparatus in the event of accident to the ship. Thus so long ago as January 4th, 1904, the famous "C.Q.D." call was instituted by the Marconi Co. and embodied in its "General Orders." This instruction, a landmark in the history of the organisation of wireless communications, is reprinted below from the original, which is carefully preserved in the archives at Marconi House.
When the "C.Q.D." signal achieved a lasting fame, on the occasion of the wreck of the S.S. Republic, many interesting stories were spread about as to its meaning and derivation. Probably the most amusing explanation of the signal was that it indicated "Come Quick, Danger," but perusal of the above Circular will show our readers exactly how it originated.
"C.Q." was the recognised signal used by one ship to attract the attention to it of others within hearing, so that telegraphic traffic could be commenced and transacted, and it was thought that the most appropriate distress signal would be arrived at by adding the letter "D." (denoting "Distress") to "C.Q.," the general call to attention.
It is a great compliment to the foresight of the Marconi Company in instituting, as they did at the commencement of 1904, a special distress signal, governing its use by stringent regulations, that the International Radiotelegraphic Convention of Berlin, which entered into force in July, 1908, ratified the practice in regard to distress signals initiated in 1904.
It is a matter of regret to some that the Berlin Convention should have superseded the old "C.Q.D." call by the new "S.O.S." This regret is shared by many of the oldest operators, and even when the new call came into force it is noteworthy that in each case of accident the "C.Q.D." call was sent out as well as the "S.O.S." The change of the call letter is, however, a sentimental regret, and "C.Q.D." is being gradually forgotten.
It is, further, instructive to note that the International Radiotelegraphic Convention which sat in London in June, 1912, endorsed the Marconi practice in regard to emergency apparatus by deciding that all ships equipped with Wireless Telegraphy should have an emergency set as part of their wireless equipment. This prescription comes into effect in July of the present year, but as by far the greater number of the merchant vessels of the world at present equipped with Wireless Telegraphy have been so fitted little change to existing arrangements will be necessary. The United States of America, which was a party to the London Convention, gave effect to the ruling of compulsory equipment with emergency apparatus almost immediately after the London Convention of 1912 was signed.
Much attention has been devoted to the design of apparatus suitable for distress calls, not only of special types, but also with a view to its handling by other than skilled operators. While it is true that a large number of passenger vessels are equipped with Wireless Telegraphy--and, indeed, only until a short time ago nearly all merchant vessels so equipped were passenger steamers--it is also true that a considerably larger number of cargo vessels are not fitted with this means of communication. Cargo-boat owners have hesitated to incur the cost of the equipment, and the expense of an additional person to be placed on board to operate it. Gradually these objections are being overcome by the simple question of pounds, shillings, and pence, it having been conclusively proved that this expense can be recovered many times over by considerations referred to elsewhere in this volume. With a view of simplifying equipments on small vessels (which in many cases may be able to fully justify the expense of their equipment by receiving distress calls and then proceeding to the assistance of the ship issuing them) it has been suggested that ships be so fitted and the distress call be so arranged that when issued this call should cause a bell to ring or sound a special alarm on board all ships within range.
In the earlier days of Wireless Telegraphy, when very few stations existed, wireless signals were registered by a Morse Ink Writer, or could be made to ring a bell. This could only be done by the use of that detector of wireless signals known as the coherer. This instrument had, however, so many inherent disadvantages, the chief of which were instability, slow rate of working, and necessity for constant attention, that it had to be replaced gradually by auditive reception, and its use at the present day, even for distress purposes only, has now become impracticable. Mr. Marconi, in answer to a question put to him at the Board of Trade Inquiry into the wreck of the Titanic, has shown how a distress call could be arranged under present methods of working to ring a bell or give some other alarm in ship station at a distance, and the method he suggested is now being worked out. Instead of the "S.O.S.," which consists of a series of dots and dashes, several long dashes would be used in transmitting. The special receiver would not respond to ordinary Morse signals made up of dots and dashes, to stray signals from other vessels communicating with each other, or to atmospherical disturbances, but only to a succession of long dashes, being actuated solely by the accumulation of energy in a long sustained dash. It goes without saying that the sustained dash, or series of them, would have to be longer than any existing Morse sign, and would have to be retained solely for the purposes of distress.
In cargo boats, where only one skilled operator is carried, the advantage of this arrangement is obvious, while in the case of any wireless station where it would be difficult to maintain constant watch at all times its utility cannot be gainsaid.
Meantime the best possible is being done in the way of giving members of the ship's crew an elementary instruction in Wireless Telegraphy on ships where only one operator is carried, to enable them to listen at the instruments while the operator is off duty. A short practice in Morse and in the handling of the receiving instruments will enable any intelligent person with normal hearing to detect the easily-distinguishable "S.O.S.," call in the event of its being sent out. He could then at once call the operator back to the station to attend to the communication.
We have referred above to lights, flags, rockets, guns, and sirens as means of distress signalling, and as accessories to wireless. We must not omit to mention as another and one of the most valuable accessories of the present day--namely, that of the Direction Finder, or, as it has been termed, the Wireless Compass. By means of this invention it is possible to detect, independent of weather conditions to which visual means of signalling are subordinate, the direction of one vessel in respect of another. The range of this instrument in the average mercantile equipment extends up to 50 or 60 miles. Neither must we omit to refer to one more invaluable accessory to Wireless Telegraphy in summoning assistance to a distressed vessel, and that is the submarine signalling apparatus. The apparatus is arranged with one receiver on the port side, and another on the bow of the ship, for direction finding, but as the detection of sound by this means is limited at present to between 10 and 15 miles it can only be used as an adjunct to the direction finder, and as a check upon the readings of the latter, should it be desirable to have them up to ranges within these figures.
To describe distress signalling in all its details as it can be accomplished at the present day, and to discuss fully all its possibilities, would fill many pages more, but a general survey only has been attempted here with a view of noting the principal features. If this essay has conveyed to the mind of the reader a fair understanding of what is actually being done and what is still possible, if it has impressed upon him that science and invention are being energetically applied in this direction, under the watchful and encouraging patronage of the Authorities at home and abroad, he will be assured that everything humanly possible is being done to diminish the perils of the sea.
posted by Eduardo Brito at 4:56 da tarde | Permalink | 0 comments
cqd first - distress signaling.
in The Yearbook of Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony, 1913, pages 318-322:

AS navigation has developed from the earliest times, means of signalling from ships to the coast and to passing vessels have been devised and improved, and have been operated under an admirable organisation, but the systems upon which they worked reached their conceivably practical limits long before the invention of Wireless Telegraphy.
Any one of the several systems depended either upon vision or upon propagation of sound, the former being the earliest known.
Lights, flags, rockets, guns, and sirens have all rendered, and are still rendering, inestimable service to navigation, but the disadvantages of visual signalling in the case of fog, and the limitations in range of visual and auditive signalling, even under the most favourable conditions, considerably restrict the usefulness of these methods.
No one can imagine how many lives and how much property would have been saved had Wireless Telegraphy been known of in earlier days. The sight of a pirate in the good old times would not have caused so much anxiety to the skipper of the honest merchantman had the latter been able to call some other vessel to help him with the buccaneer, and no doubt some of our favourite tales of adventure, distress and rescue would never have been written. In the place of them perhaps we would have had more thrilling stories still. Here is a field for some of our novelists of to-day or of the next generation.
It would not be correct to say that the older methods of signalling are superseded by wireless, but it is correct that wireless, with its enormous range of action as compared with that of others, and its independence of weather conditions, is now by far the first of all means of signalling, and by its own intrinsic worth alone places these other systems of signalling in the position of accessories to itself.
When Mr. Marconi had developed his invention to such a point that its utility on board ship became obvious, the Marconi International Marine Communication Co., Ltd., was formed for the purposes implied in its title. The primary object of the new means of maritime wireless communication being to provide additional security to life and property at sea, the company have provided all its ships' stations with emergency apparatus, so that communication could still be carried on in the event of failure of any kind, particularly at the time of a serious accident which might render necessary the issue of calls for help. In this duplication of parts provision was made against the liability to interruption of the supply of electric current from the ship's dynamos, from which, in the ordinary course, power is derived to work the wireless plant, and a source of current independent of the ship's dynamos was provided as a stand-by in case of failure of the latter. Thus, almost simultaneously with the first application of Wireless Telegraphy to marine communication, the Marconi Company included in its standard wireless installations for ship purposes a suitable battery of accumulators, enabling the ship to issue distress calls, even if all the lights on board the ship were extinguished by water in the engine-room. This was over twelve years ago.
As time went on the organisation of wireless communication at sea became more and more perfect, and it was found desirable to embody in one Circular the various directions which had been given to operators regarding the use of the apparatus in the event of accident to the ship. Thus so long ago as January 4th, 1904, the famous "C.Q.D." call was instituted by the Marconi Co. and embodied in its "General Orders." This instruction, a landmark in the history of the organisation of wireless communications, is reprinted below from the original, which is carefully preserved in the archives at Marconi House.
posted by Eduardo Brito at 4:53 da tarde | Permalink | 0 comments


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