This rather weighty item
accompanied distressed mariners to the lifeboat in days of old.
Nowadays I believe satellites are on the lookout for SOS's but
a few years ago it was more difficult to make oneself heard on
the airwaves. The box is sealed against water ingress and embossed
in the lid are the reassuring words "THIS WILL FLOAT".
Inside are supposed to be the means and the necessary ancillaries
to transmit and receive on the major LF and HF bands. Headphones
and mic are cabled in and can't be unplugged; the ground lead
(sorry water lead, complete with lead weight might have doubled
as a fishing line?), aerial and straps for providing the means
for physically fixing the radio to one's person are to be found
under the lid. Once secured, and once feet and waist tension
the box, handles can be turned to generate power. Unfortunately
in my example someone has pinched the aerial and the pair of
handles. There's even a clockwork arrangement for sending morse
code (the spring seems to be broken in mine) and a meter for
checking things (which has come loose inside). I don't really
know anything about these sets having first seen one (this one)
at the local car boot sale. When I've time I'll look inside and
see if it uses valves or transistors. Testing is really out of
the question unless I want a helicopter landing in the back garden.
I remember once being asked by a local yachtsman to align a marine
transceiver and used the facilities in our factory in Liverpool
city centre. I was setting the frequency for each of the preset
channels using a multi-thousand pound signal generator (AND using
screened leads with microvolts of input) when on one particular
channel a loud voice suddenly came up and told me to turn off
the signal as it was jamming the VHF distress frequency.
I believe the radio was
manufactured by S T C INTERNATIONAL MARINE LTD, founded in 1930
but now no longer trading.
The name "SOLAS" stands
for Safety Of Life At Sea
The three frequencies used by
the SOLAS II were:-
(now no longer universally used for distress calls)