Saturday, February 18, 2006


Opinions From The Internet Let's turn to page 4 of Baarslag's Famous Sea Rescues (formerly titled: SOS To The Rescue): "By 1904 a number of ships in the trans-Atlantic trade were equipped with wireless telegraphy. The British operators were nearly all landline telegraphers who had left railroad or post-office keys to go to sea in the newly opened field.
They brought along with them not only their Morse code but also many of their telegraphic abbreviations and signals. One was the general call - CQ, which had been used to attract attention of all operators along a wire. It preceded the time signal in the morning at 10 o'clock and also all notices of general importance.
CQ went to sea and became a general call to all ships." A couple paragraphs later, "Early in 1904 the Marconi Company, realizing the desirability of some universal distress signal, filled the need by issuing the following general order: ``It has been brought to our notice that the call `CQ' (All Stations) while being satisfactory for general purposes, does not sufficiently express the urgency required in a signal of distress.
Therefore, on and after the 1st of February, 1904, the call to be given by ships in distess, or in any way requiring assistance, shall be `CQD.' '' " To me, this implies that prior to 1 Feb 1904, some ship did use CQ as a distress call, and possibly her calls for help didn't draw the needed attention. (This was before the twice-per-hour Silent Periods were created - 600m was pure bedlam, and a CQ would have gone unheeded.)
For more radio history, visit your local research library. But please don't make up "facts." (Am I the only one who believes that questions concerning radio history should be included in the amateur exams?) 73, Jeff KH2PZ / KH6
From The ARRL:
The telegraph call CQ was born on the English Telegraph nearly a century ago as a signal meaning "All stations. A notification to all postal telegraph offices to receive the message." Its meaning was close to the present meanings of QNC and QST. Like many other telegraph terms which originated on the landlines, CQ was brought over into radio and used as a general call to all ships by the Marconi Company. Other companies used KA until the London Convention of 1912, which adopted CQ as the international general call or "attention" signal. CQ still means, literally, "attention" but in amateur radio its meaning is perhaps more accurately described by Thomas Raddell who compared it to yelling "Hey, Mac!" down a drain pipe.



At 9:09 PM, Blogger mysticarni said...

Well belonging 2 d non-radio folk... all i cud understand was tat CQ can be considered as analogous to broadcast/ mulitcast signals across modern computer networks? It was fun reading some Radio history anyway! CQDex! (Call in Dextress)


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