Early Messages

Arun Vajpey

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Apr 21, 2009
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Is there any record of the early wireless messages that Phillips or Bride might have transmitted or received on the 10th and/or 11th April 1912? In fact, what were they doing during the passage from Southampton via Cherbourg to Queenstown?

The only bit of related information I have seen is Father Browne's famous double-exposed photograph of Titanic's wireless room, the only one such known to exist. It shows Harold Bride "hard at work" on the morning of Thursday, 11th April 1912, presumably as the Titanic was approaching Queenstown. It shows Bride, with his back to the camera, wearing headphones and apparently transmitting or receiving messages.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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There is a book called Signals of Disaster, by John Booth and Sean Coughlan. It contains several hundred messages from the Titanic disaster. I don't know if it contains messages sent in the early part of the voyage, as I'm far too poor to have a copy. New copies are very costly if they can be found. See what a library can do for you.
 

Harland Duzen

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Jan 14, 2017
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I've got a copy and I'm afraid it only contains messages from April 12th onwards:
  • It has 2 ice messages from Titanic to La Touraine from April 12th.
  • A message of thanks between Titanic and Empress of Britain on April 12th.
  • A news message from Titanic to Minnehaha on April 13th.
  • 1-2 personal messages sent from Carpathia and Amerika on April 13th.
Edit: I'm also afraid to say that "Titanic Calling" also only has messages from April 12th onwards.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Thank you all. I have owned a copy of Signals of Disaster for over 20 years and even met John Booth in Southampton on one occasion, I think in 1998. Like Harland says, it only has details about messages from April 12th.

I also have a copy of Titanic Calling Michael Hughes and Katherine Bosworth. I prefer that book as it is better written but it also does not give the information that I am asking.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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I hunted around but couldn't find any of the messages for the 10th and 11th. As for what they were doing I'm sure they were busy sending personal messages taking some time on the 11th to celebrate Phillips birthday. But that might have only been 15 mins or so or however long it takes to eat some pastries sent up from the galley. On a side note if someone is interested in the radio traffic of the night of the sinking this video is pretty good if you got some time to kill on a rainy day. This guy put in some good work on the subject.
 
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May 3, 2005
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Thanks very much Steven ! -
It is a very good practice in receiving code for one who has been out of it for many years.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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Your Welcome. I don't know the code and the only thing I could hear and understand was when Titanic started sending SOS around the 22 min mark. I'm sure most everyone could understand that one. What I liked about that video was as it went on you could sense the confusion and desperation building as time went by during the event. I think the guy did a really good job putting that together the way he did.
 

Arun Vajpey

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I hunted around but couldn't find any of the messages for the 10th and 11th. As for what they were doing I'm sure they were busy sending personal messages
I agree that here must have been some personal messages sent back to England in the hours after Titanic sailed from Southampton and maybe back to Cherbourg later the same day. But there might have been other eastbound ships nearing British and European ports by the evening of Wednesday 10th April 1912 as the Titanic departed from Cherbourg. What with its Maiden Voyage and all, many of those other ships must have sent congratulatory messages to Captain Smith through the night. I'm wondering if one or two of those messages that the Titanic received mentioned ice, even if it was in passing.

Did ships keep a record of such messages sent? If so, in the wake of the sinking of the Titanic, other ships which contacted her during the first 2 days of the voyage might have preserved those messages for posterity.
 
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B-rad

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I've read somewhere but will have too find the source that the wireless crew took shore messages prior to departure from local wireless stations such as the western hotel.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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I agree that here must have been some personal messages sent back to England in the hours after Titanic sailed from Southampton and maybe back to Cherbourg later the same day. But there might have been other eastbound ships nearing British and European ports by the evening of Wednesday 10th April 1912 as the Titanic departed from Cherbourg. What with its Maiden Voyage and all, many of those other ships must have sent congratulatory messages to Captain Smith through the night. I'm wondering if one or two of those messages that the Titanic received mentioned ice, even if it was in passing.

Did ships keep a record of such messages sent? If so, in the wake of the sinking of the Titanic, other ships which contacted her during the first 2 days of the voyage might have preserved those messages for posterity.
Arun said: "Did ships keep a record of such messages sent? If so, in the wake of the sinking of the Titanic, other ships which contacted her during the first 2 days of the voyage might have preserved those messages for posterity."
I think that would probably be your best bet for finding messages from the 10th and 11th. Would take some detective work but thats most of the fun. Good Luck on your efforts if you go after it.
 

Athlen

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Apr 14, 2012
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I hunted around but couldn't find any of the messages for the 10th and 11th. As for what they were doing I'm sure they were busy sending personal messages taking some time on the 11th to celebrate Phillips birthday. But that might have only been 15 mins or so or however long it takes to eat some pastries sent up from the galley. On a side note if someone is interested in the radio traffic of the night of the sinking this video is pretty good if you got some time to kill on a rainy day. This guy put in some good work on the subject.
I don't know Morse, but it's evident that the audio more closely resembles what was actually sent than the text does. For example, the text says "CQD THIS IS TITANIC", but the audio says "CQD DE MGY". Also, as I understand it, the signals would have sounded more like a buzz of white noise than the tones we hear in the video. Titanic's signal, thanks to the rotary spark gap, sounded like a 'musical note'. I've seen a couple of different frequencies stated, but the most common figure appears to be 840 Hz. That's quite high-pitched, as you can hear in this video. It reminds me of the Emergency Broadcast System/Emergency Alert System alert signal, which is a 850 Hz tone together with a 960 Hz one.
 
Nov 14, 2005
653
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I don't know Morse, but it's evident that the audio more closely resembles what was actually sent than the text does. For example, the text says "CQD THIS IS TITANIC", but the audio says "CQD DE MGY". Also, as I understand it, the signals would have sounded more like a buzz of white noise than the tones we hear in the video. Titanic's signal, thanks to the rotary spark gap, sounded like a 'musical note'. I've seen a couple of different frequencies stated, but the most common figure appears to be 840 Hz. That's quite high-pitched, as you can hear in this video. It reminds me of the Emergency Broadcast System/Emergency Alert System alert signal, which is a 850 Hz tone together with a 960 Hz one.
Yes your right but if you scroll down to the description of the video the author/producer said he did that on purpose for people who wouldn't know what MGY or other codes stood for. Also he eliminated dead air time between messages to condense the video.