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Amateur Radio on the Front Line During Titanic Disaster

Radio Exhibit at Maritime Museum in San Francisco (Photo: J. Waits)

Radio Exhibit at Maritime Museum in San Francisco (Photo: J. Waits)

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic this week, a museum in Wales is presenting an exhibit focused on amateur radio operator Artie Moore, the man who first transmitted messages about the sinking of the Titanic to local residents. At the time, his messages were met with disbelief since he was thousands of miles away from the Titanic.

The exhibit, “The Titanic, the Mill and the Signal: Artie Moore and Titanic’s SOS,” will also explore “life at the turn of the century in Wales, as well as the local area’s links to Titanic in this 100th anniversary year of her sinking.”

According to the Blackwood Amateur Radio Society,

“At 24 years of age on 14th of April 1912 Artie received the faint signal of a ship in distress. The signal read: ‘CQD SOS 11.50pm from MGY we have struck an iceberg sinking fast come to our assistance position lat 41.46 north Lon 50.14 west MGY’. This was the distress call of the unsinkable Titanic! The call continued: ‘Sinking we are putting passengers off in small boats weather clear’. Artie reported this to the locals who did not believe his incredible news that the unsinkable Titanic had perished, two days later they received confirmation of this terrible event through the national press and Artie achieved considerable notoriety as a result. One newspaper reported: ‘A Young boy from the valleys of South Wales has witnessed through the modern invention of wireless the death of a famous ship thousands of miles away'”.

If you can’t make it to Wales to catch this exhibit, you can take in another aspect of Titanic radio history online. The RMS Titanic Radio Page includes details about the Titanic Radio Department, transcriptions of the Titanic’s distress calls, and a photo of the ship’s “Marconi” room.


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One Response to Amateur Radio on the Front Line During Titanic Disaster

  1. John Anderson April 11, 2012 at 3:54 am #

    Also worth checking out is the BBC’s audio recreation of the Morse traffic from that night/morning (which seems to rely heavily on dialogue run through Xtranormal): http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/discovery/discovery_20120409-2006a.mp3

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