BBC Examines Morse Code’s Demise and SOS
June 20, 2008
The BBC News Magazine has an interesting look at changes in distress communications in the article Save our SOS. It notes it’s been 100 years since “SOS” became the standard signal for ships in distress. The article outlines how “SOS” came into being and how it has been used during the last 100 years. “Digital Selective Calling”, which automates sending the distress call along with position information, and “999” on satellite phones, have largely replaced SOS.
The article notes, however, that there are still uses for SOS.
“The days of morse have long gone,” said Andrew Mahood, a Coastguard watch manager. “Morse can still be used if a person’s on a boat and the radio’s not working; then they will use the good old Mk I torch.”
Comments to the article are interesting. Some people noted that SOS has value in providing a way for people everywhere to indicate an emergency situation.