Highlights From the Forum
October 1 through 7, 2000
(click on the number to go directly to that message)
|35||Norwich City||Gerry Gallagher|
|36||Betty’s Notes||Frank Westlake|
|37||Norwich City/New York City||Michael Holt|
|38||Transmitters and Harmonics||Mike Everette|
|39||Betty’s Notes||Patrick Gaston|
|41||Broadly Applicable Tides?||John Pratt|
|42||Look at the Numbers||John Clauss|
|43||Break in Transmission?||Phil Tanner|
Something I have been thinking about for some time....Let’s assume ... AE and FN crash land on the reef near the Norwich City and the plane is precariously lying on coral, and the tide is rising giving all indications that staying with the plane may not be a safe option, FN is injured and condition deteriorating, getting him out of the heat/sun and into an area protected from the elements would be of immediate importance. AE sees this wrecked hull of the Norwich City, what better place, initially, would there be to take cover, try to protect her injured navigator from the elements and a place where she could gather her thoughts and keep the wreckage of her Electra in sight, in the event that anything can be salvaged from it after the tides rise then fall again. Taking further into account... here is a woman on an island she knows nothing about with an injured colleague facing her first night on this island. Would she not elect to use any available covered space such as would undoubtedly be available on the Norwich City?
Question: In your trips to Niku has any exploration been done on the Norwich City for possible remains (most likely FN), possible salvaged bits and pieces from the plane that she could have brought onto the Norwich City, messages that could have been written on the walls (bulkheads) of the ship, signs of life after the wreckage of the Norwich City? ... etc. etc.
Being a maritime legal practitioner, I have had extensive working knowledge of ships, wrecks, and investigation of wrecks... one thing that rings true on almost any survival situation is that the survivors cling to, or stay extremely close to those things that are familiar to them. In the above scenario ... AE and FN may have lost the Electra very soon after crash landing. It is probably quite reasonable to assume that the Norwich City offered them a more familiar option than exploring around an unknown island with a badly injured FN.
Further, she would want to (by survival instincts) stay as close to the downed plane for as long as she held hope that someone was out looking for her and/or she had transmitted coordinates that indicated where the plane came down!
The Norwich City has been playing on my mind since I first read through the information regarding Gardner Island. It is not only a landmark but a possible shelter (albeit for a limited time). Chances are if FN died of his injuries, his remains may be on the NC. AE most likely would have traveled farther and farther afield in search of food and with growing confidence that dangers didn’t exist away from her initial comfort zone (near the downed wreckage of the Electra and the NC). Which would explain the "bones" believed to be AE’s found so far from the crash site and the NC.
Another interesting point that was brought up in the interview with Emily Sikulu and other native Gilbertese that they were forbidden to go into the area of the ship and on a couple of occasions gave the area of bones being found around the NC. Could it be that, in addition to the bones of those who died from the NC ... that the Elders may have found Noonan’s remains as well? Thus "TABOO".
Again, it may be the "salt water investigator" in me, but the Norwich City is a HUGE question mark to me simply because of the aforementioned AND the possibility and even probability that it could have been used in the early days of the castaway period for shelter ... and maybe even the place that FN succumbed to his injuries.
It all comes down to ... how extensive a search has been made on the NC. Taking into account that ships are a maze of nooks and crannies that do not easily surrender their treasures ... in this instance the treasure is evidence of AE and FN.
Something to think about at least!
Your speculation about Earhart and Noonan’s possible use of the Norwich City makes sense. Bear in mind, however, that the ship was a burned out hulk that would provide shelter but little else. The crabs and rats (and who knows what other imagined threats) on the island may have prompted them to spend nights aboard the shipwreck and Noonan may conceivably have died there.
Today the Norwich City is just a scattering of rusted debris that has been swept by storms for many decades. It’s worth a close look at the scatter to see if, by an chance, some large steel aircraft component (a landing gear leg?) may have become so thoroughly jammed in the debris to still be there, but even that is a very long shot.
More speculation. OK, it’s not dark.
Betty’s notes also seem to indicate that they may have only been at their present location for a very short while.
We have a possible burst of communication several days after their disappearance. Three hours of intermittent transmission indicates that they haven’t used much, if any, of their fuel for communication on any of the preceding days. Why the sudden burst? The water is rising is one answer. But why so much fuel remaining? Why not several hours of communication each day? Maybe they wanted to conserve the fuel, either for cooking or for a flight to another island.
I am stretching it a bit but I think I’m still in the realm of possibility.
Another thing to consider. Betty does not seem to recall hearing engine noise, which does not mean it wasn’t there, it only means that she does not recall it. If there was no engine noise, maybe they would run the engine to charge the battery then shut it down so that they could hear the radio. This could account for some of the long gaps in reception. "’Watch the battery,’ when it gets too low we’ll recharge it." Or, a lack of engine noise could be because they were in a sound studio ("they" not being AE&FN in this case). I suppose we may never know.
> Knee deep water on the reef would not directly threaten the airplane.
No, but if your navigator was injured, the water was rising and you didn’t know where you were, that might be a detail that gets overlooked.
I tried "Norwich City" on my girl friend. I had her face away from me, so I couldn’t see her lips, and she repeated the name about a dozen times, with increasing rapidity. After the fifth time, it had morphed itself into something that sounded very much like "New York City." (Why did she do this? I have no idea, except that I fixed lunch for her today.)
LTM (who speaks
clearly except when the water’s rising)
today are filtered to remove harmonics, but still are
You don’t quite understand the concept. Transmitters (not the towers) often have harmonic filters incorporated into the design... or, a filter (which consists of a number of tuned circuits designed to "pass" one frequency or band of frequencies and REJECT others) may be inserted into the transmission-line cable between the trans and antenna.
Towers may indeed REFLECT signals, and in some types of antenna systems multiple elements of an antenna -- sometimes consisting of tower structures -- are designed to do just that, to focus signals into a particular direction...
But what we are discussing here is rather weak signals arriving from an unpredictable "path" or direction to begin with. A tower alone won’t -- repeat WON’T -- serve as an "active repeater" to relay a signal. On the other hand, if a specially designed "repeater station" received the signal on one freq, amplified it and retransmitted it on another, this consists of a relay... BUT BUT BUT: THIS WAS NOT DONE ON HF, NOT IN 1937!!! You can absolutely disregard that concept... it’d be the longest of shots, too (even longer than suggesting that harmonics of AE’s signal made it to St. Pete) to suggest that some person/persons unknown, hoaxers etc. whatever -- were receiving AE’s signals in real time and retransmitting them on another freq. NO WAY. Too far fetched. What would be the point? Why not give an ID of the relaying station (if there was one, which I say unequivocally there was NOT0 and a plea to go to her aid? Uh-uh.
>I know I’m the
new guy, but everyone please think about this scenario.
No... misunderstanding again. Signals do not "piggyback" one onto another. And a tower by itself doesn’t passively reflect them along the way. The filter you speak of is a device to keep the harmonics of the transmitter associated with that tower, from ever getting to the antenna/tower in the first place.
> I’ve just learned
that the radial wires of current transmit sites are
Another misunderstanding... what is actually done, is to divide the transmitter’s power between/among multiple towers, in a particular "phase" relationship (accomplished thru tuned circuitry, and a very difficult concept to tell in few words) so as to make the multiple towers compile their radiation into a particular direction. It is not a tuning of the radial wires (grounding system) or the guy wires but the tower itself.
But you are quite correct about WHY it’s done!
>Now say that the
site AE’s signal hits acts like a Near Vertical
See above... can’t happen.
the books I have left from the Navy don’t delineate the
No, I can’t help with this ... but it is absolutely correct to say this signal, if it did make it around the world, did so of its OWN VOLITION. No relays etc... And again, the notion of some tower or antenna out in BFE being able to "reflect" or reradiate that signal, is an impossibility.
Hey... no problem with "bending my ear." Hope this helps. If you are still unclear e-mail me direct and I will try again.
LTM (whose phases
are legendary) and
Well, I begin to see why Goerner wasn’t interested. Allowing for the fact that this must have been a very rough, garbled transmission, and further assuming that 15-year-old Betty supplied words where she couldn’t quite understand them ("Hello Bud"?) still ...
I’m sure the Celestial Choir is analyzing the numbers even as I type, and I’ll await their judgment. But for now I vote in favor of a hoax. Sounds like a couple of kids playing around with dad’s ham rig while he’s away at work -- summer vacation time, remember.
LTM (who was hoping
for something like, "Fred, put our supplies in the sextant box and head
for that wrecked freighter")
If "W4OK" is a call sign, it may be the amateur radio call W4 Oscar Kilo... if it is w4 ZERO K, I dunno what it is. Not an amateur call.
In 1937, US ham call signs consisted of W, followed by numbers 1 thru 9 depending upon location (areas of the country) and two or three letters. A "two letter" call like W4OK more than likely would have been at least ten years old by then... maybe considerably older.
I have not yet checked anything but more than likely the ham call W4OK would have been active and current in 1937.
If someone wants to beat me to it, check www.qrz.com and see if the call is still assigned to anyone; but more than likely, it has been reissued to another user during the past few years. The FCC implemented a program of "vanity" call sign issuance in the 1990s, which allows one to pick a call sign from the inactive list if that particular call has been inactive for a number of years and is eligible.
Not many original "two letter" call sign holders are still alive; most are now Silent Keys.
Harry Manning was supposedly a ham.
Christian D writes:
of Hawaii already has a PV powered tide gauge on nearby
In the spirit of providing all the possible information, NOS can (did) calculate the tides for early July 1937 at Canton Island. Here is their tide table for July 1-10, 1937 excerpted from their e-mail of 9/27/2000:
The format is explained below, excerpt from the NOS FAQ:
At Canton, the time for Betty’s radio receptions (about 1000 local July 5) seems to fall at low tide.
Note that Kanton (Canton) is east of Gardner/Nikumaroro, and therefore on the same side of the dateline.
How good are they? For Canton Island, pretty good.
Therefore presumably meeting their standards for publication. Maybe (speculation) they are using long-time data from the University of Hawaii monitor?
NOS also said:
How good are they for Gardner Island? The FAQ seems most explicit.
NOS seems to agree:
> Canton Island
is roughly 200 NM away.
(implied task: relate Canton to Gardner from limited observations)
I am sensitive to the difference between a publishable prediction and "generally applicable" use. So if you want to assume that Canton Island tides broadly relate to Gardner tides, here is the table. But it is provided on a "buyer beware" basis.
I understand something of how difficult the environment is, but I still like the LTM fantasy/idea. Would University of Hawaii be interested in placing their monitor on Nikumaroro?
LTM and buyer beware
Feel free to ask them. The tidal data for Canton are interesting.
Look at these numbers:
The area that we think bounds the plane is approximately
174 33′ 00″ W and 174 32′ 45″ W
4 39′ 15″ S and 4 39′ 45″ S
The location could be outside this box, but this is our best estimate.
South 391065 Z or E
fig 8 - 3.30 500 Z
Z 38 Z 13 8983638
3Q rd 36
Most all these sets are likely incomplete. The one that jumps out at me is S 391065.
4 39′ 10″ S is on the Northern most tip of the reef flat. What would be the correct (or incorrect) terminology for broadcasting these numbers? Navigators help me out.
> Thus, in my opinion,
three hours of transmission without reference to
My work involves garnering and editing news from radio broadcasts and other sources, and one of the first things we teach any trainee is that if the signal is lost you can’t say there has been a break in transmission, only in reception. Only the transmitting party can state what was transmitted. The best that could be stated definitely here is that over three hours no reference to any particular subject was heard --- even if Betty had taken shorthand from perfect reception of the whole thing --- and the difference is crucial. And it never ceases to amaze me when transcribing text from a poorly received piece just how few words you need not to be able to hear correctly before it becomes difficult or impossible to get a handle on the whole thing, and how easy it is to be sure you’ve heard something correctly and find out subsequently you were slightly off-beam.
Attend, gentle Forum, and hearken to the voice of Wisdom. Thank you Phil.