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Titanic - SOS
When they send a distress call for help from any near-by ships, they send a CQD morse-code message in the film. However, in reality the CQD
distress call was replaced by the SOS the same year that the Titanic went down. The Titanic was actually the first ship to ever use the SOS, they alternated from SOS and CQD - not just
the CQD used in the film. Also, because the new distress call was only new, the near-by ship didn't recognise it for what it was, and didn't come
to help.
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Contributed By:
Anonymous on 12-09-1999
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Comments:
Anyone writes:
Actually, the Titanic used both help signals. Watch the movie again.
33 of 49 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
KrissyKat writes:
Actually, Titanic was the first ship to use SOS, but CDQ was the distress signal and it was used. The Titanic used both, and the ships ALL knew about SOS, the reason the ships didn't respond was because the radio man in the Californian (the ship that was close) went to bed early and never recieved the message until the next day when it was too late.
23 of 31 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Hack Ace writes:
CQ is not for COME QUICK, it is simply a general call and is still in use by amateur (HAM) radio operators world wide. CQ means anyone receiving me, answer my call. The D is for Distress. A typical Morse code conversation would start: CQ CQ CQ DE (DE=This Is or From. It is from the French DE which means OF. How this came about, I'm not entirely sure.) Followed by your call sign three times. In voice contacts you simply call out (pronouncing the letters) CQ CQ CQ this is [call sign repeated several times] calling CQ.
15 of 18 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
dave writes:
Ok heres how it actually is Up until 1912 CQD was the distress call after 1912 SOS was, but both remained in practice for many years after this. In 1912 SOS had just come in but Marconi operators preferred to use CQD which they were used to. They did switch to SOS when Harold Bride joked it may be their only chance to ever use it (to Philips and the captain) For reference CQD does not technically stand for 'come quick danger or I seek you' which have surfaced over the years through seafarers etc. In 1912 CQ was the Marconi signal for 'All ships stop transmitting' D 'distress' 'MGY' Titanics call code. The actual message was CQD MGY (the captain doesn't mention MGY in Cameron's Titanic to the operators, because this was a commonplace thing for them to know and the captain didn't need to mention it to them. Whenever they communicated with another vessel they had to use MGY so the other vessel could tell who they were
19 of 29 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Knoel76 writes:
I have to comment on the emplanations for the meaning behind SOS and CQD. They both don't actually "stand" for anything at all. They symbolize words. For instance, the "CQ" in CQD means "general call" or "all stations" and the "D" simply means "distress" or "danger". Check out this site. It's pretty helpful: http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/060199tip6.htm
13 of 17 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Sylvalin writes:
Fact: Titanic did, in fact, use both CQD and SOS. Fact: Titanic was NOT the first ship to use SOS. Related fact: The French liner Niagara used SOS earlier the same month when it had been damaged by ice. For more info: http://www.snopes.com/titanic/sos.htm
12 of 15 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Locust writes:
To add to what Hack Ace said, I read that while calling for help when the ship was sinking, the wireless operator was receiving a message from the Californian. Because the Californian was so close, the message came in very loud, making it impossible for him to hear the other ships. He sent back to the Californian "shut up" or something like that, so the wireless operator on the Californian gave up and went to bed.
10 of 13 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Hack Ace writes:
I'll add some more detail--SOS existed when the Titanic sank. The Titanic had Marconi radio operators which had invented CQD and their operators had not switched to SOS, holding on to CQD. After the sinking, CQD was offically replaced with SOS. Another rule that now exists is that all ships at sea with a radio station requirments MUST monitor emergency frequencies (VHF Channel 16, 156.800 MHz and I believe 2182 kHZ HF band) for distress signals. By international law the term used for distress is MAYDAY repeated three times. If the call is urgent but not life threatening the term is PAN PAN repeated three times. Same terms apply to avation but the frequency is 121.5 MHz. Much of this from accidents such as the Titanic.
10 of 14 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Big Ross writes:
"Mayday" being from the French "M'aidez" meaning "Help me". Titanic definitely used both CQD and SOS on the fatal night. Reference: "Night to Remember".
8 of 10 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Jazala writes:
The no matter what signal the Titanic used help wouldn't have come. The person who was supposed to be in the radio room wasn't and didn't receive the messages until too late.
6 of 8 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
ymeng2000 writes:
Actually Titainc was not the first ship sending SOS signal. I think the scene of wireless operators sending SOS signal was shot but didn't make to the final cut.
8 of 13 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Hack Ace writes:
I understood that CQD was the original radio distress signal and that SOS was adopted BECAUSE of the Titanic. One other reason why the Titanic had problems with getting help via radio was the attitude of the radio operators on board the Titanic. They worked for the Marconni radio company and were more interested in sending and receiving PAYING messages rather than weather traffic (ice berg warnings). If I remember correctly from the Learning Channel special about the Titanic the radio operators DID contact someone when sending a distress signal (or maybe it was jsut an iceberg alert???). The radio operators believed the hipe that the ship was unsinkable. When a non-Marconni radio station responded to their call the Titanic crew responded with YAAF (Morse code short hand for You Are A Fool). The ships they did contact were too far away to be of any assistance.
9 of 17 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Oz writes:
CQD stood for "Come Quick Distress" but at the time of the Titanic sinking the international standards board was debating changing the distress code to something much simpler. SOS had been mandated for this change, although contrary to popular belief SOS does not stand for anything. It is merely a simple, easy to remember code like 911, the code merely being three short, three long, and three short. Titanic did origionally use CQD, and later on during the night of the sinking, it was suggested that SOS also be used.
8 of 15 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
darcy_monkey writes:
If my memory serves me right didn't another ship receive the message and could get there in 4 hours? Thats what I thought anyway.
6 of 11 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Benjamin the...person... writes:
As was SOS.....both SOS and CQD were used because they could be typed easily in Morse code...
6 of 11 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Rose writes:
The Titanic was not the first ship to use SOS. it was in use for a few years and was even used by White Stars own Republic used SOS over one year before Titanic set sail. This is a common myth.
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
thgjerde writes:
CQ = "seek you" as in ICQ = "I seek you"
9 of 23 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Josh Combs writes:
It's CDQ not CQD so "come quick distress" is wrong. CDQ doesn't stand for anything.
7 of 22 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
teenwitch writes:
Titanic was the first ship in distress to use SOS. The captain first used COD but then later switched to SOS. Just a little history fact I happen to know. Sorry. (I should know it after reading 'discovery of the titanic' by Robert Ballard, the guy who discovered the ship, 20 million times in second grade!)
5 of 24 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes


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