What does the SOS distress signal actually mean?

What does the SOS distress signal actually mean? War in Ukraine news

Researchers have revealed how the distress signal is actually deciphered, and it has nothing to do with the call to save the “ship” or “souls.”

The SOS distress signal sent by ships in distress at sea is usually interpreted as a call for help: “Save Our Souls” or “Save Our Ship”. However, now researchers claim that this is not entirely true, writes IFLScience.

The SOS distress signal was first developed in the early 20th century and was chosen not because of its acronym, but simply because it had a characteristic Morse code sequence: three dots/three dashes/three dots. In simple terms, the letters themselves did not mean anything specific, but the code was easy to send and receive using Morse code.

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The researchers note that “SOS” became associated with the phrases “Save our souls” and “Save our ship” only after the distress signal became widespread. In fact, the distress signal is an excellent example of a backronym – an existing word or phrase that has been artificially turned into an acronym.

Note that before the universal distress signal was introduced, different countries and telecommunications organizations used different signals. This, unfortunately, has proven to be very confusing and ineffective, especially in a globalizing world.

In 1904, Marconi’s telecommunications company attempted to introduce the “CQD” distress code, which meant “Looking for you. Distress!” or “All stations. Disaster!” At the same time, the States used “NC”, which meant “call for help immediately”, while European ships, for example, used an incredible number of other distress signals.

Thus, the doomed ships were not “lost in translation” and received the necessary assistance as quickly as possible. The International Radiotelegraph Convention of 1906 proposed the use of a universal distress signal that would be understood by all.

It took time to introduce it, but in 1909 the SOS signal was used for the first time in the United States. At least this is the first documented case of Theodore Haubner reporting the disaster of the steamship Arapahoe off Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. However, then, along with “SOS”, Haubner also sent the old variation of the “CQD” code.

By the way, on April 15, 1912, when the Titanic collided with an iceberg, senior wireless operator Jack Phillips first sent out the “CQD” distress signal. And then his junior assistant Harold Bride jokingly suggested sending a new SOS distress signal, supposedly this could be the last chance to send it.

Although Morse code has long ceased to be used as a means of maritime communication, the SOS signal is still widely known as a universal distress signal.

Previously Focus wrote that the Earth is literally boiling and giving an SOS signal, but people are not listening.


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