Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Titanic's Distress Signals

Yeah, I think it can be good joining with the 100 year mourning of the Titanic disaster...And what a better way that re-publishing the best compiled distress signal issued by the Titanic communication area.
A brief backgroud of the disaster
Artist's impression (Taken from Nuestro Pensar)

The well know tragedy, now a 100 years old, the sinking of the Titanic, owned by White Star Lines is know on all generation and personally it is a low on society that minds were refreshed after the 1997 Titanic, the film that really rebooted James Cameron (personally, I think he was gone from filming map after the wide success of The Terminator)  and Leonardo DiCaprio (wish popularity among chicks was dangerously disturbing) more than making a reminder of the actual event and adding fictional character like Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt.

On 14 April 1912, four days into the crossing and about 375 miles (600 km) south of Newfoundland, she hit an iceberg at 11:40 pm (ship's time; GMT−3). The glancing collision caused Titanic's hull plates to buckle inwards in a number of locations on her starboard side and opened five of her sixteen watertight compartments to the sea. Over the next two and a half hours, the ship gradually filled with water and sank. Passengers and some crew members were evacuated in lifeboats, many of which were launched only partly filled. A disproportionate number of men – over 90% of those in Second Class – were left aboard due to a "women and children first" protocol followed by the officers loading the lifeboats. Just before 2:20 am Titanic broke up and sank bow-first with over a thousand people still on board. Those in the water died within minutes from hypothermia caused by immersion in the freezing ocean. The 710 survivors were taken aboard from the lifeboats by RMS Carpathia a few hours later.

The Distress Messages
On that unfaithful night,Walter Gray, Jack Goodwin and Robert Hunston were serving at the Marconi Company wireless station at Cape Race, Newfoundland, 400 nautical miles (781 km) west of the site of Titanic's sinking. After the first distress call, Robert Hunston started this message log. Titanic's shipboard time was 1 hour and 50 minutes ahead of Eastern Standard Time which was used at Cape Race. Titanic first used the distress call CQD, later adding the new code, SOS.

10:25 pm (EST) [ 12:15 am on Titanic ]J.C.R. Goodwin on watch hears Titanic calling C.Q.D. giving position 41.44 N 50.24 W about 380 miles SSE of Cape Race.
10:35 pmTitanic gives corrected position as 41.46N 50.14W. A matter of 5 or six miles difference. He says "have struck iceberg".
10:40 pmTitanic calls Carpathia and says "We require immediate assistance". Gray on duty.
10:43 pmTitanic gives same information to Californian, giving Titanic's position.
10:45 pmCaronia circulates same information broadcast to Baltic and all ships who can hear him RH on duty.
10:55 pmTitanic tells German steamer "Have struck iceberg and sinking".
11:00 pmTitanic continues calling for assistance and giving position.
11:25 pmEstablish communication with Virginian here and give him all information re: Titanic, telling him to inform captain immediately. OK.
11:36 pmOlympic asks Titanic which way latter steering. Titanic replies "We are putting women off in boats".
11:55 pmVirginian says he is now going to assistance TitanicTitanic meanwhile continues circulating position calling for help. He says weather is calm and clear.
12:50 amVirginian says last he heard of Titanic was at 12:27 am when latters signals were blurred and ended abruptly. From now on boats working amongst themselves relative to Titanicdisaster. Nothing more heard from Titanic.
2:05 amFirst message from New York asking for details. This is followed by about 300 more, chiefly from newspapers to many ships asking for news.
After DaylightNews commences to arrive from ships stating Carpathia picked up 20 boats of people. No word of any more being saved.

The Titanic's "wireless" equipment was the most powerful in use at the time. The main transmitter was a rotary spark design, powered by a 5 kW motor alternator, fed from the ship's lighting circuit. The equipment operated into a 4 wire antenna suspended between the ship's 2 masts, some 250 feet above the sea. There was also a battery powered emergency transmitter. The main transmitter was housed in a special room, known as the "Silent Room". This room was located next door to the operating room, and specially insulated to reduce interference to the main receiver. The equipment's guaranteed working range was 250 miles, but communications could be maintained for up to 400 miles during daylight and up to 2000 miles at night.

The tragedy is a well example on how fatal negligence can be.



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