Saw a brief report on the TV news about someone whose' boat capsized and the ship radio got wet or some such, rendering it unusable to call mayday for help. After a week or so surviving on fish, report says he cobbled together a radio transmitter from a coathanger and wire and called a weak mayday signal that the coast guard? did hear. The report played part of that transmission, a voice transmission.
What probably happened was the guy drying out the ship radio, and using the coathanger as an antenna.
No mention of the guy being a ham, don't know if he is one or not. Looked up the name at QRZ.com but the only match was someone in CT, but the news story said the guy was a fisherman in Hawaii.
This web story, about the same event, makes no mention about the cobbling together a radio:http://my.earthlink.net/article/us?guid=20141210/012369ff-9335-40c3-82c5-8f919ac62a5f