I assume they mean that the satellite's batteries have now failed, which makes it go dead in darkness. In light, the panels provide ample power, and the satellite computer boots up again.
Then, instead of running chkdsk/fsck, it broadcasts a "Help Help! Systems failing!" call on the same frequency and protocol as aprs, the big amateur radio mesh network. And since the satellite is in space, its call is picked up by many many amateur radio ground stations, which presumably automatically all start relaying the message towards its destination, clogging up the frequency even more.
On the topic of Mayday calls from Space, at one point during a fire onboard the Mir space station, the crew had no contact with flight control. Half the crew started preparing the Soyuz for emergency evac, half started firefighting, which quite the challenge, as the fire extinguishers work quite well as rockets, pushing the user away tumbling. If they had ended up forced to abandon the station, their only means of communication at that time was their amateur radio kit. They'd have to hope that as they passed over America, some american Ham would pick up their call, and figure out how to get in touch with the russian space agency and tell them to look for their cosmonauts on the ground instead of in space.