It was on the night of 14-15 April 1912 the distress call “CQ de MGY” was (incorrectly) sent out. There were two radio officers Senior Radio Officer Jack Phillips and assistant Second Radio Officer Harold Bride. Their Marconi equipment included a 5 kW rotary spark transmitter into a 4-wire aerial mounted between the ship masts. The operational range had been tested to 400 miles in daylight and in excess of 2000 miles at night time.
In 1906 the internationally agreed distress call was “SOS”: there is no official meaning behind these letters despite many anecdotes. It is purely a procedural preamble with the three letters being run together without spaces, conventionally sent three times, to make it easily recognisable amongst “CQ” calls which can be heard all over the radio spectrum.
However it seems radio operators were slow to adopt the convention of “SOS” and preferred to use the group “CQD” with the “D” designating distress. As the ship was sinking Jack Phillips apparently chose to send out “CQD de MGY” making the emergency call likely to appear more casual than was the case, because in adverse radio conditions this could have been mistaken for a generic “CQ” call !! This underscored the precise reason for the adoption of the very distinctive “SOS” call !!
To commemorate 100 years since this tragic event, over the period 14-15 April 2012 there will be many amateur radio special event stations operating, including one maritime mobile station from the spot where the ship went down. Why not come on the air and see whom you can hear or contact….
For further information see this link http://www.southgatearc.org/news/april2012/titanic_24_hour_sprint.htm