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Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Sorry I haven't posted in 3 months. Fact is, I haven't done much radio to talk about.

Lauren's too busy with school to get on the air, but all that may change. We're moving our bedroom back downstairs, where all the radios reside, so we may both be getting a little more airtime. Maybe even Jes will partake in some on-air activity.

I turned 40 last week. Not too happy about it, really, but you can't stop it from happening. It was uneventful, a couple of dinners, and a weekend in Pigeon Forge with the wife.

There they opened a new museum called "Titanic" on Thursday, almost 98 years to the day it set sail on its ill-fated maiden voyage, and we went to it on Sunday. We took pictures of it and naturally, the antenna is what attracted my attention. Since this is a mockup of the forward half of the ship, the entire antenna wasn't there. However, I still contemplated what the resonant frequency of that mockup was...

It's hard to see from this photo but the 4-wire antenna is suspended from the mast in the front to the 2nd funnel (on the real Titanic, there was a 2nd mast positioned behind the 4th funnel, or "dummy" funnel).

The museum did an excellent job in maintaining the historical accuracy of all parts of the Titanic. Radio buffs will be extremely pleased with the way the radio officers John Phillips and Harold Bride are portrayed. They sent distress signals right up until power went out in the radio room and the ship was moments from going under.

Sadly, John Phillips (left) died. Harold Bride survived the sinking, passing away in 1956.

There is a page dedicated to the Marconi room of Titanic I highly recommend. It includes the radio traffic messages passed between Titanic and many of the ships who were rushing to her aid. Titanic used the callsign "MGY", which it was assigned in January of 1912. You'll see the calls of "CQD MGY" (CQD was the predecessor to today's SOS distress call) and the ships that responded.

This photo is the only known photo to exist of Titanic's actual Marconi room. It's a double exposure photo taken by Father Frank Browne who disembarked Titanic at Queensland, her last stop before crossing the Atlantic towards her destiny and history. Had Father Browne remained on board, not only would he have most likely died, but the photos he took would have been destroyed by the sea, and with it, many of the unique photographs only Father Browne was able to capture, including one of Titanic's Captain Smith, and that of a child playing on one of the decks, the only photos of their kind known to exist.

If you make your way to Pigeon Forge (or Branson, MO) do stop in and pay a visit. It's well worth the time and money. We spent about 3 hours in the museum (self-guided) and there's information about Titanic even the most hardcore of enthusiasts will discover. There's even an interactive exhibit that will show you the Morse lettering and will allow you to tap out your name on a touch-screen straight key.

I may even start calling my radio room a Marconi room...if I can ever freshen up on my CW...but that's another story.

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