Emergency radio team recalls Titanic

Apr. 15, 2013 @ 11:45 PM

Early on the morning of April 15, 1912, a high pitched tone with a musical quality could be heard for a few hundred miles across the North Atlantic. As the ship approached its demise, that sound was a shriek of despair from Titanic's five-kilowatt Marconi installation.

Over the weekend, Sevier County Emergency Radio Service operated Special Event Station W4S at the Titanic Museum. "The Marconi had only been in use for a couple of years, and the White Star Line was the first to use it," said James Womack, public information supervisor for the radio service.

Event coordinator and Sevier County Emergency Radio Service president Rick Sawaya said the international event contacts amateur radio stations all over the world and serves a two-fold purpose.

"It's a way for us to honor the radio operators and crew who were on board the Titanic, and it also gives the public a view of how amateur radio works," Sawaya said. "We've had a lot of people out just asking questions."

There were two Marconi radio operators on board the Titanic, both Englishmen. One was Jack Phillips, who perished with the ship. The other was Harold Bridge, a survivor.

"About 700 people were saved because of the radio and its signal," Womack said.

jfrye@themountainpress.com