Phillips and Bride were part of the crew and signed articles putting them under Captain Smith's control. They were paid by both White Star and Marconi. On some ships the radio men were only paid a token shilling a month by the owners, to make them part of the crew. Many think their first loyalty was to Marconi, because sending private messages for passengers was profitable.
In my view, the operators didn't use much gumption. There was supposed to be a messenger boy to take messages to the bridge, but the operators did this themselves and not all messages got through.
The radio broke down when a wire shorted against a metal part. They finished fixing it in the early hours of 14 April, after looking in the wrong places at first.
Harold Bride is one of the worst witnesses in the story. Not only did he tell different versions of times, but his tale of the stoker varied too. There are also various versions of the death of Phillips. It's a shame that so much evidence comes from him.