We also use the word SOS in ordinary speech. This is a signal to get help. It is no secret that SOS is a distress sign originally used on ships. But how it appeared and why these three letters were chosen, and what kind of alternative they have, remains a mystery to most. In this article we will tell you about the history of the appearance of the famous signals for help.
♥ BY THEME: How many years do trees live (table).
The history of navigation goes back centuries and even millennia. But initially, the signaling methods were purely visual and audible. Mention may be made of a variety of flags, signal lights, or the sound of bells. The sailors even tried to report the shipwreck with the help of bottle mail, but the effectiveness of such a means of communication was frankly low. Information reached the right people when there was no point in helping the victims of the crash.
But at the end of the 19th century, such a useful invention as the radio received practical application. For communication, the parties used Morse code, but the developed competition between radiotelegraph companies forced to form some common standards. It was especially important to highlight the distress signal so that it could be understood by everyone.
It took several years to approve the standard. At the First International Radiotelegraph Conference, held in Berlin in 1903, the need for the priority of the distress signal was recorded, but it was never identified. Marconi’s company, meanwhile, has introduced its own code – CQD (- · – · – – · – – · ·). The first two symbols made a general call to all stations (- · – · – – · -), and the letter D (- · ·), obviously, had a reference to “danger” – danger. However, ships with radio stations from other manufacturers used excellent options or simply reported problems in text, asking for help.
♥ BY THEME: Hell for a perfectionist: 50 photos that destroy harmony.
How did the SOS signal appear?
In 1906, the Second International Radiotelegraph Conference was held in Berlin. The main question on it was the approval of a universal signal for help. The American representatives did not like Marconi’s version, because similar signals were used on the coast, on the railways. As a result, it was decided to take as a basis the version of the German company “Telefunken” (Telefunken). Its additional signals did not resemble Morse code letters, there were no letter spacing, and the emphasis was on a large number of characters. The Notzeichen signal had as many as nine characters: three dots, three dashes, three dots (… – – – -….). This made it possible to clearly distinguish it from the general stream. And the symmetrical structure was convenient for recognition and memorization. The signal did not receive an alphabetic name, the conference only indicated it and the procedure in case of receipt. On October 3, 1906, a single distress signal was approved, which became widely known as the SOS.
♥ BY THEME: How many GB of memory can the human brain remember?
How does the abbreviation SOS stand for?
Initially, the signal was not associated with letters, but this sequence corresponds to the SOS combination in Morse code. True, there is no pause between letters when transmitting. The letter combination “S-O-S”, associated with a distress signal, is arbitrarily chosen of several possible letter or alphanumeric sequences from which this nine-character signal can be composed, since this sequence is easy to remember… Later, on the basis of three letters, they began to build verbal combinations corresponding to their spirit: “Save Our Souls” or “Swim Or Sink” (swim or drown), Stop Other Signals (stop other signals). Russian sailors began to use the following decoding: Save From Death.
According to legend, the first SOS signal sounded from the board of the sinking Titanic in 1912. In fact, this was at least the eighth use of the signal.
SOS was first filed in 1909 by the ship Arapaho, which lost speed off the east coast of North America. The signal was received by a station in North Carolina and transmitted to the steamship company. Although since February 1, 1999, ships began to use a new, more advanced distress signaling system, GMDSS, the SOS signal is still in use, albeit much less frequently. The new automatic system makes it possible to send a distress signal even to a non-professional, and the “panic button” can be placed not only in the radio room, but also anywhere on the ship.
♥ BY THEME: What is horsepower and how much horsepower is in one horse?
What does SOS mean in a phone?
In many phones, for example, iPhone (Apple Watch), it is possible to give an SOS signal – to make an emergency call to the rescue service (in detail).
But in voice communication using the radio, a different signal is used – Mayday. It is used in situations where the life of a person or people is at risk. This can be a wreck of not only a ship, but also an aircraft, as well as fires, explosions. And so that the signal is not confused with something similar, it is transmitted three times in a row.
The history of the appearance of the Mayday signal is associated with aviation. The famous author of the idea is the senior radio operator at London Croydon Airport, Frederick Stanley Mockford. He was tasked with coming up with an easily understandable and distinguishable signal, even in poor communication conditions, that would be difficult to confuse with other messages. The phrase May Day is an English transcription of the French word m’aidez, which is a compact version of the phrase venez m’ader (help me). This choice was understandable – the planes from Croydon flew mainly to Le Bourget, Paris. The phrase was clear to both the British and the French. And it was put into circulation in 1923. Although special frequencies are adopted for distress calls, Mayday can be transmitted on any frequency.
There are signals for emergency situations, but they do not carry an immediate threat to people’s lives. For example, Pan-Pan, which comes from the French word panne or breakdown. This signal is categorized as “urgency”. He can also be found in voice radio. Pan-pan speaks of some kind of emergency in a vehicle with a danger to passengers, but without an immediate threat to their lives. For example, there is a problem with the engine on the boat – this is the reason for the Pan-pan signal. If a strong leak has opened and the ship is about to sink, then the Mayday signal should be given. If earlier in such a situation a signal was sent using a radiotelegraph in the form of three dots, three dashes and three dots, today you can use GMDSS by simply pressing a special button.