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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

What Does 'SOS' Stand For?

from canada.com on September 25, 2008
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What Does 'SOS' Stand For?

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What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by N2EY on September 25, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
The article is correct in that it doesn't stand for anything. The main reason for the choice was the rhythm of the signal in code: dididit dahdahdah dididit

In the original proposal, the signal was going to be "SOE" but there were concerns that the last dit might be lost in noise so "SOS" was used.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by K0PD on September 25, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I was always told while growing up that it meant Save our Ship. But the first answer makes sense also and is probably correct.
 
RE: What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by WI7B on September 25, 2008 Mail this to a friend!

No, SOS in International Morse Code signifies emergency traffic. The verbal equivalent is MAYDAY.

73,

---* Ken
 
What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by KJ4FFF on September 25, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I've always been told SOS stood for 'Save Our Souls'.

73

Charlie
KJ4FFF
 
What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by W2GB on September 25, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
SOS is ALWAYS sent without spaces between the letters
And you are correst it does not stand for anything
 
RE: What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by W8ZNX on September 25, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
sos
is like qrz, cq, sk, cl, bk

the letters mean nothing
 
RE: What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by K1BXI on September 25, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
W2GB is correct. In the days of spark it was 3 short and 3 long repeated with no spacing. Used for its unique sound to get attention. It replaced the earlier CQD that was used for a distress call.

John.....K1BXI
 
RE: What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by K1BXI on September 25, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I should add that it is only by coincidence that it is the letter S and O. The sequence of 3 short and 3 long was all anyone had to know to send a distress call. Even a cabin boy that didn't know any Morse could send it.

John.....K1BXI
 
RE: What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by N2EY on September 25, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
"like qrz, cq, sk, cl, bk

the letters mean nothing"

Well, not exactly. Or rather, not in all cases.

QRZ and CQ are arbitrary, except that Q was used because it appears so rarely in most languages.

SK derives from the Phillips number-abbreviation code (which gave us 73 and 88) originally created for landline Morse.

The original form is the number 30, meaning "end of message". In the version of code used on the wire (sometimes called "American Morse", 3 is didididahdit and 0 is daaaaaah (extra long dash). So "30" in American Morse is didididahdit daaaaaah, which evolved into didididahdidah on radio.

CL comes from "closing station". BK is a short form of "break" or "back".

---

More American Morse derivations:

The use of "ES" to mean "and" derives from the American Morse code for the ampersand (&). And the familiar phrase "take five" comes from American Morse too.

73 de Jim, N2EY

 
What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by G3UXB on September 25, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I was always told as a young lad in England it was first used on sea going vessels and meant 'Save Our Souls"
 
RE: What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by N0MUD on September 25, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
As I was monitoring 500 kcs onboard US Naval ships at sea and making log entries as to nothing heard. We listened for ships of all flags in distress, either using voice or morse code, sending S...O...S which as I as well as all other US Navy Radiomen was told stood initially as Save Our Souls but as the years went by it was changed not officially as Save Our Ship. Of course 500 kcs is no longer. I do not know if the US Coast Guard still monitors 500 kcs.

73s Mike Dassero, N0mud, US Navy Retired. Former US Navy Radioman.
 
What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by W2EJG on September 26, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
In the military it stands for a variety of non-gourmet food generally served at breakfast.
 
RE: What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by KA4KOE on September 26, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Don't you mean SOAS for that non-descript mystery food?
 
RE: What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by WI7B on September 26, 2008 Mail this to a friend!

N0MUD,

The US Coast Guard discontinued all medium frequency Morse radiotelegraphy services, including distress watchkeeping on 500 kHz (500 kcs in old speak), on August 1, 1993.

73,

---* Ken
 
RE: What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by KE4ZHN on September 26, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Army slang for chipped beef on toast...sh_ _ on a shingle. :-)
 
RE: What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by KG6WLS on September 29, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: What Does 'SOS' Stand For? Reply
by KE4ZHN on September 26, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Army slang for chipped beef on toast...sh_ _ on a shingle. :-)<

::Mmmm! A lot better than "sea rats" ;-)

 
What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by VK2MS on October 4, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Land line telegraphy preceded shipping. The original call was CQD ("seek you distress" or "attention all listeners, distress" most likely ) and was sent in letter formation

"I" was used also but but owing to its attention capturing "SOS" was "used" but not as "S...O...S merely ...---... which happens to be SOS if split up into ... --- ...or I EM TS or several other combinations.

Cheers Tony
 
What Does 'SOS' Stand For?  
by K0EOD on October 10, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
The artical about SOS is fine but the comments about CQ, CL and BK having no meaning are wrong. Say CQ to yourself. Does it sound like SEEK YOU? CL is obvious CLear! BK means BreaK 73 K0EOD
 
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