"Nicolaj Schmidt: here a name that we have to remember
because we have to thank him first for the life of half of
the members of the espedition".
Achievement of Umberto Maddalena, pilot of ISAAT-SM55, that
located first the Red Tent on de Pack, the 20th
Nicolaj Schmidt, russian radioamateur of the Wosnessenie
Wochma village, in Arcangelo province, intercepted a fragment
of message saing that the survivors of ITALIA were still alive
somewhere on the artic pack:
ITALI NOBILE FRANZ JOSEF SOS SOS SOS TERRA TENGO EH H
The 5th june the soviet ambassy inform the italian government
that a S.O.S. from the dirigible ITALIA was picked up from
a young russian countryman, Nicolaj Schmidt, in the city of
Arcangelo, the evening of the 3rd june
The word Eearth of Francesco Giuseppe interceped by Schmidt
caused apprehension in sorvivors because the Red Tent was
far from that area: the word Fyon (island of Fyon) used by
Biagi was intercepted like Francesco (Island of Francesco
The interceptation of the message feed the hope to rescue
the missing equipe and was the starting botton of the beginning
of actions of search and rescue of the survivors in the Baia
dei Re as well as in Rome, from where Italo Balbo sent immediately
a team under the control of Umberto Maddalena.
Nicolaj Schmidt was born in Kiev in 1906 and wasnt
a contryman like most of the books say, but a city young man,
son of a teacher and with a good base of secondary studies:
at 18 years old he built his first reaction and, working as
a operator at the local cinema, he improved his knowledge
of the morse code, translating the strokes of the machine
in the local postal office. The event that would change his
life appened the 2nd june 1928: in late evening,
on 9 MHz, Nicolaj intercepted a massage of Biagi.
Villager were disbelieving, so Schmidt contact Smirnov, his
teacher and influent person at local level, who lived 35 km
far away; the two of them intercepted other messages from
Biagi and sent a telegramme to Moscow to the "Friends
of Radio Society". Here there was someone who gave importance
to the massage and after asking details and confirmations,
contact the Italiand Ambassy: the evening of the 4th
june, Rome was in the condition of disseminating the great
Three month later, the two friends were engaged by a governative
center for the short-wave comunications a Taskent in the South,
not far from Samarcanda and from the Afghanistans border.
In 1928 Autumn at the Bolshoj of Moscow, during a conference
dedicated to the Dirigible adventure and about the importance
of the "Krassin" in the rescue of the survivors,
the italian Ambassador gave a gold watch with dedication to
Schmidt and Smirnov worked together in the sperimental center
until 1933; than Smirnov went to work in Tbilisi in Georgia
and Nicolaj stayed in that muslin province, near Alma Ata
in Kazahstan, until the war.
Da Alma Ata came lots of news about this great SWL, dead
in 1942 at the age of 36 years, probably fighting in the war.
We suggest to the partner of the Club to required
more information about Nicolaj Schmidt to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The note I trasmited in italian and french, sometimes in
At the time we were becaming descouraged because of the drift
that was bringing us to south-east, we eared the news waited
for such a long time (about two weeks), day after day, hour
after hour, a new that relight the hope in our heart. It was
the evening of the 6th of june.
Biagi, with headphones on the ears, was writing, like every
day, on a notes the San Paolo Bulletin and suddenly he said
"They understand us!"
Pag. 200 "The Red Tent, memory of snow and fire".
Ed. Mondadori, 1969
Pag. 187 in the new edition Oscar Mondatori 2002
" at 9 pm of the 5th of june we were waiting
the San Paolo Bulletin like every day, and we were awake,
suddenly Biagi, writing, turn his head towards us and, in
a whisper said "they eared us"
The russian Ambassador in Rome were saing to our Government
that a private radio station in Arcangelo intercepted at 8
pm of the 3rd of june the forwarded signal that
were supposed caming from ITALIA: S.O.S. Italia Nobile.
The radio-amateur couldnt understand other part of
the message exept for something like "Franz Joseph"
"There was no doubt, the new was true as well as the
time we transmited the S.O.S. in days 3rd and 4th
of june, time indicated by the russian Ambassador. What about
words Franz-Joseph? Maybe a misunderstanding. Talking about
us they mentioned Foyns Island also communicated the
distance between us and the Island. The radio-amateur probably,
maybe because of a disturbed reception or a bad italian, had
change Fyon with Franz".
Pagg. 105-106 "48 days on the pack" Mondadori 1929
"At the Baia of King were happening extraordinary things.
The 4th of june, at 1 am, the City of Milan received,
from the russian radiotelegraphic station in Moscow, the news
that the day before, at 8 pm, the radio-amateur Schmidt, with
a short-wave machine, intercepted the S.O.S. from Italia.
The Rescue Comitate of Osoaviachim, that trasmitted the comunication,
said that Schmidt was a good and serius person.
At the same time other radio-amateur confirmed to have eared
the SOS of Italia: a swedish lawyer of Talleborg, in the night
between the 3rd and the 4th of june,
intercepted the word "Italia Nobile SOS". The Captain
of the russian Ship Sikvic, sailing in the Gulf of Botnia,
make us know to have received a message from Italia: in Holland,
in Belgium, in the United States other radio station confirmed
In every field of human activities, amateur is a synonymous
of superficiality and presumption but not in the radiotelegraphy
where they are considered on vanguard. In this case there
is a very important circumstance: radio-amateurs usually use
short-wave station maked by themselves and that explain because
they could ear the SOS from Italia.
Pag. 217 of "The White Hell" ed. Unitas Milano,
Pag. 139 in the new edition Nordpress 1998
From a relation of ARI Italian Association Radio-amateur
In the expedition ITALIA the short-wave trasmitter Ondina
33-s supplied with a reaction receiver invented few years
befor by Marconi, had a great importance.
The equipement is supplied with accumulator realized by Tudor
in Melzo (Milan). The emergency equipement "Ondina"
was, infact, o project of Giulio Salom, today IOACL, Honorary
President of A.R.I.
Biagi, after the crash on the pack, hold in his arms a tresure:
the Ondina-S, the emergency equipement until than used like
a chair in the cabin of the dirigible
Three hours after the crash,
Biagi was listening
the emotional appeal of the support ship, but the trasmitter
The 26th of May the first S.O.S.: between the
two emergency frequencies 6.4 MHz (47 m) e 9 MHz (33
m) - he chose the second one, with the intent of arriving
as far as possible with the minor assimilation by the Polar
Cape; he, infact, has just 5 W and a modest aerial, with a
single support, a structure caming from the dirigibles
Biagi listened to the Marine Station of Rome San Paolo (IDO)
on 9 MHz, so he was sure that stayng near it, somebody could
intercept his messages. Few days past without answer: the
battery was almost exhaust but the receiver "Burndept"
had a good stock of battery so Biagi listened for long hours
IDO so that he had news from the world.