Questions about the Wireless rooms as seen in GoTA


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Looking at the pictures in the book on page 60, I notice long, white (wires?), running from the wall section that supports the switchboard and regulators, upward in a loop, then exiting the wall and dropping down into the remains of the Marconi room, near the spot where the operator's desk would have been. Are these the wires that carried the key signals from the operator's hand to the transmitter in the silent room?

If so, would,(could), we still find the 'tapper' or whatever its called, attached to the end of this wire on the floor of the room?

Also, I noticed in the illustration showing how the room might have looked on page 61, that there are two 'tappers'. My question is: could Titanic transmit two signals at once? Maybe on two separate frequencies? Perhaps by the operator flipping a switch he could toggle over to another frequency and communicate to another ship as he was listening on a separate frequency to a land station, thus relaying a message faster????

Yuri
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Yuri,

The white wires you see are the cables that carried the 100-volt D.C. from the ship's lighting circuit, via the electrical distribution panel mounted in the front wall of the Marconi Room, to the main switch on the D.C. switchboard and the starter.

Titanic carried two telegraph "keys." One was hooked to the main apparatus; the other, to the emergency circuit, the heart of which was the induction coil that sat on the operator's desk. They were two separate circuits, connected only at the aerial plug sockets (the two cones you see projecting from the aft wall) so that they could share the aerial.

Marine stations of that period operated primarily on the 600-metre wavelength. That was a problem...everyone was on the same frequency. The 300-metre wavelength was an alternative, but you had to physically reconfigure the aerial to transmit on that frequency. It was not as simple as today, where turning a dial on your tuner will either mechanically or electrically readjust the antenna to match the desired wavelength. For Titanic to transmit on the 300-metre "short wave," they had to physically come down off the 600-metre "long wave."

I had better stop, or I won't have enough left to justify a book on the subject.

Parks
 
May 8, 2001
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Wait, don't go yet! May I ask you a question? In the movie GotA, the scene they recreated and overlayed the now with it, where they show the two "cylinders" behind the wall, with the handles the operator moved to try to get any remaining life out of them to keep sending SOS. (It would have been much better to know what they were called... sorry...) Does the position they were last moved to hold any significance to you, as someone with knowledge of Marconi machinery?
Thank you. (That was a stunning scene, and both Robert and I sat in disbelief!)
 
Jul 14, 2000
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Upon closer reading on page 61, the answer to my question regarding the two white wires is quite obviously given. "DUH"! Sorry.

I appreciate the detailed answer above though.

Now regarding the antenna adjustments you mentioned, that were required to change from long wave to short-wave:
Surely the Marconi men couldn't have been expected to climb up the masts, to the tips, and make physical adjustments to the antenna when they might need to change bands. So either it would be some of the crew who would do it, or else it could be done only in port, or...Titanic had a second antenna array rigged for short wave?

OH!! And one last thing. :)
Looking again at the pictures from the wreck of the Marconi Rooms, it seems that there is a large void of supporting walls or columns inside this area of the ship. Isn't this directly beneath the most popular landing site for subs who are sending bots down the 1st class grand staircase.??? Is this place getting ready to cave in? Or is this an illusion created by the limited field of view in the pictures?


Yuri
 

Bill Sauder

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Yuri:

The steel in the deck around the Wireless Rooms was originally 1/4" and now much thinner due to corrosion.

When I went to the Wreck in 2000, the MIR pilots had standing instructions not to set down on the deck in this area for fear of collapse.

Bill Sauder
 
Jul 14, 2000
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Bill, Thanks for the reply. I suppose that as the top surfaces of the wreck become more and more eroded, it makes finding a suitable parking spot almost impossible. That must make it a lot harder to send in bots while the sub has to 'hover' in the current so near the wreck.

Knowing the frailty of the roof over the wireless rooms makes it that much more important that the exploration of the Marconi equipment was done sooner rather than later, wouldn't you agree.

You know, seeing the inside of the wreck in these ways makes one wonder just what was it that kept the deck from collapsing the first time that ALVIN set down there back in 1986. What a disaster that could have been.

Yuri
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Colleen,

The answer to your question is attached to Ken's wreck report:

http://titanic.marconigraph.com/ps02.html

Yuri,

There was only one aerial, but it could be adjusted electrically by changing the physical characteristics of the transmitter circuits. The aerial was rarely, if ever, worked on aloft. The aerial could be lowered in order to clean and service it. However, the aerial didn't need to be lowered in order to shift frequencies. Physical adjustments had to be made in the Silent Room (do you need to know the details? I want to save those for my book, but you can get a basic overview from the Marconi article on my website) in order to transmit the short wave. To receive in the 300-metre band, the operator could adjust the tuner on his desk.

You're right about the roof over that area having been a popular landing place for submersibles in the past. Bill is also correct when he pointed out the current fragility of the roof and the restrictions that are now observed. Unfortunately, the damage has already been done. An early ANGUS photo shows the remains of the wireless aerial pillar on the roof, along with a vent that evidently serviced the Silent Room. The evidence was totally obliterated by repeated submersible landings in the late 80s/early 90s. Later photos of the area show the roof devoid of detail. Whatever remained of the Bradfield insulator was destroyed, leaving us the one ANGUS photo as the only evidence of what had survived the sinking.

The Mir that I mentioned seeing through the roof was sitting farther aft, over the Elevator Machinery Room. That room was formed by steel walls, which provide greater support for the roof above.

Parks
 
Jul 14, 2000
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Thanks Parks,

I can wait for further details on the wireless.
But I appreciate the clarification you provided above.

Yuri
 

Bill Sauder

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Yuri,

I should have pointed out that when a MIR "lands" on a deck, it does not put its full weight on the Titanic's structure, but looses just enough buoyancy to rest the sub's skids on the deck with enough friction to overcome current.

Also keep in mind that most of the strength of the deckhouse structure is in the frames, not the sheet steel making up the deck proper. The real purpose of the interdict was not so much that the sub would fall through the deck, but because it is just too easy to accidentally punch holes in the deck steel. Manipulator arms by subs of various nationalities have been accidentally driven through the deck in this area.

I don't know what the "apparent" weight of the submersible is on the deck at that point, but the possibility of damage is sufficient to prevent any more touchdowns in the area.

BTW, hovering is not really an option with the MIRs. From what I have seen of their maneuverability, they really were not designed to do it.

Bill Sauder
 
Jan 7, 2002
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Parks, I recall from the 98' expedition there was footage taken of a piece of marconi room equipment, which appeared to dangle from the overhead....

Any idea what that was?
Thanks

Tarn Stephanos
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Tarn,

Was that '98? I thought it was earlier.

At any rate, Robin dropped down into the Marconi Room through the skylight, turned around and saw the electrical distribution panel in the ship's lighting circuit. Unfortunately, there's not much else to see in the Marconi Room itself...that room was completely obliterated during the sinking.

Parks
 
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