Forum artHighlights From the Forum

April 29 through May 5, 2001

Contents:
(click on the number to go directly to that message)
1
Info On Apia Les Kinney, Dick Pingrey, Pete
2
Don Wilson's Book David Evans Katz
3
Whose Mother? --- Update Ron Bright
4
Re: Don Wilson's Book Carol Linn Dow
5
Re: Don Wilson's Book Dennis McGee, Amanda Dunham
6
Static, Static, and More Static Carol Linn Dow
7
HF Radio Static Dick Pingrey, Andrew McKenna, Mike Everette, Dean Alexander
8
Re: Static, Static, and More Static John Rayfield, Stephen Enzweiler, Marty Moleski, Ross Devitt
9
What's In a Name? Lawrence Glazer
10
Myth and Legend Mike Holt
11
Fund Raising Dennis McGee

Message: 1
Subject: Info On Apia
Date: 4/30/01
From: Les Kinney, Dick Pingrey, Pete

Though not a zealous contributor to your forum having posted only a few times -- I do have some opinion on your dilemma. In the past, on occasion, I have been to both American Samoa and Western Samoa on business while assigned to duties in Honolulu.

Choose American Samoa. It is fairly modern (as far as Pacific standards go) and will definitely have all of the supplies and provisions you need. Their port facilities are good and they are experienced. Pago Pago has several modern lodging facilities including a decent western style motel and restaurant right on the harbor.

Western Samoa and Apia is much more primitive --- I seriously doubt that if some sort of supply/loading problem arose they might not be in a position to able to handle it nearly as efficiently as American Samoa. Lodging, food, and communication, though adequate for Pacific standards, is not as good as American Samoa.

Though you have a longer haul by flying to Honolulu first then to American Samoa, you might have less logistic problems.

As a compromise there is a commuter airline that flies between Western Samoa and American Samoa a few times a week. The flight is less than two hours. Please note that my information is dated not having traveled to this area in 10 years.

Les Kinney


From Dick Pingrey

I spent three days in Western Somoa about 20 or so years ago. At the time I was with Pan Am and we had a crew layover in Pago Pago for 4 days as the flight came through only twice a week. I flew to Apia in a DC-3, I don't recall the carrier but that was long enough ago to have changed in any case. At that time Apia's airport was not suitable for jet aircraft. It took nearly an hour to get from the airport to Apia. I stayed at Aggie Gray's hotel (She was the inspriation for Michener's Bloody Mary I was told). Conditions were primitive at best, the only paved road was the one from the airport to town and that was built by the Germans prior to WW-1. It is difficult to recall for certain but I think they had fairly good port facilities. Don't take my word for it however.

Western Somoa is made up of two major islands. The smaller is where most of the people live and it is the eastern of the two. At the time I was there a major consideration was to start logging on the big island. The people were greatly divided on the issue.

If you could find an e-mail address for the Aggie Gray Hotel (if it still exists) the staff could certainly answer all your questions. New Zealand took care of most of their technical matters and there should be good information on Western Somoa in New Zealand.

Dick Pingrey 908C


From Pete

I work for a marine electronics company these days, let me ask around with the office folks and some of the shipping companies we take care of. Somebody has to have a Port Directory or two hanging around. Then we'll know exactly what kinds of facilities each place presently has.

Until more info is available, I'd vote for Apia based on 1) reliability of Air New Zealand and 2) proximity to Niku (isn't Sept storm season?).

I'll let you know what I can find out.

Pete (whose Membership Campaign MO hits the mail tomorrow -- 30 April)


From Ric

Sept. is storm season in the northern hemisphere. The months to avoid in the south central Pacific are November through April (been there, done that).

John Pratt, Chuck Boyle and Ross Devitt have provided some good urls and contacts. Thanks guys.

LTM
Ric


Message: 2
Subject: Don Wilson's Book
Date: 5/1/01
From: David Evans Katz

Ric wrote:

>What we need are facts, but the facts we need are the facts
>about what DID happen, not about what DIDN'T happen.

I disagree. It is very helpful to ascertain facts about what did not happen, because then they can be absolutely eliminated as possibilities. For example, if it can be ascertained beyond any reasonable doubt (a tall order, I admit) that the Electra did not have sufficient fuel to reach Gardner Island, then the TIGHAR hypothesis would have to be eliminated as a possibility.

The same is true with the excellent detective work on the Weihshin telegram. As long as that telegram remained unexplained, there remained a remote possibility (however improbable that it seemed) that it had some connection to the Earhart mystery, because it was connected to AE's husband. Now that it has been explained, it can be eliminated as a possibility.

David Katz


From Ric

This is actually a moot point because the whole purpose in testing a hypothesis is to determine whether or not it is true. Ron Bright (et al) established, with a reasonable degree of certainty, that Earhart did not send the LTM message and thus satisfied reasonable people that something DIDN'T happen that some had alleged DID happen. Had the research turned out differently and, for example, records had been found indicating Earhart's presence at the camp, reasonable people would have been satisfied that something DID happen that would have a huge bearing on the case.

You use the example of determining beyond any reasonable doubt that the Electra did not have sufficient fuel to reach Gardner Island and you are correct that such a finding would effectively eliminate the Gardner hypothesis. So far, however, the calculations of those who claim to have done that have been shown to be deeply flawed and there seems to be a growing consensus among knowledgable researchers that, barring events for which there is no known evidence, the airplane should have been able to reach Gardner. This, of course, does not establish that anything DID happen but it does fail to establish that something DIDN'T happen -- which is also useful.

The point I was trying to make is really the old negative hypothesis thing again. To really solve this mystery somebody will have to prove what DID happen.

LTM,
Ric


Message: 3
Subject: Whose Mother? --- Update
Date: 5/1/01
From: Ron Bright

For those following the Putnam message investigation, additional informtion will be forwarded as Appendixes/Corrections.

Appendix A: The George Putnam Letters and Interviews With the FBI

The George Putnam FBI file consists of 271 pages of letters, applications, memoranda, etc. However only a few documents are relevant to Putnam's "friend" and gave us the clue to his identity--- Ahmad Kamal. These documents were written in the summer of 1938 while GP was residing at his N. Hollywood home. They contain background information of Putnam's "friend" that corresponded to Ahmad Kamal's activities in the 1930's, and Putnams efforts to recruit the "friend" for the FBI. Putnam never revealed the identity of his "friend".

30 June 1938

George Palmer Putnam, Amelia Earhart's husband, writes J. Edgar Hoover from his 10042 Valley Spring Drive, N. Hollywood,Ca., address, stating that he has an American citizen "friend" who recently returned from a "long journey in Central Asia". His friend speaks several Central Asian languages and was currently writing a book about those experiences.

Putnam says his friend was working for the LA Japanese consulate and others collecting data on the ships, airplanes, ammunition, ambulances and the like that are being sent to China.

With his friend's permission, Putnam says he contacted the FBI and suggested they recruit him as a double agent.

21 July 1938

Two FBI agents, at the direction of J.Edgar Hoover, interviewed Putnam at his LA home. The reporting agent furnished a report of that interview.

Putnam described the "young man" as approximately 24 years old [Kamal was born 1924] who was in " financial straits" at the time. Putnam was helping him secure work by introducing him to various motion picture executives and helping him publish a book [not identified] regarding his experiences in Central Asia.

Note: Ahmad Kamal published the Seven Questions of Timur in Dec 1938. This book describes the adventures of a man in Central Asia as reported in reference (a). This is about 6-7 months after Putnam's conversations with the FBI.

Putnam related that the friend had been collecting information for the past three months for the Japanese Consulate. Reportedly the information was of a general nature regarding technical data,and plans of airplanes built on the Coast.

Putnam said his friend kept photo copies of all reports, memos and telephone calls he made to the Japanese Consulate.

Putnam was advised that the FBI could not enter into any agreement with him over his proposals. Because of this, Putnam declined to identify the "young man", but would provide him for an interview. It is clear that Putnam was not only trying to turn the young man into a double agent but to make the FBI aware of the circumstances so that if the young man got "caught" he could use the FBI's refusal as a bargaining chip.

13 AUG 1938

Two FBI agents went to Putnam's home in N. Hollywood to interview the young man. According to the FBI report, when the Agents entered Putnam's house, they saw "several young men" waiting in the living room but Putnam immediately escorted the agents into his private office. They provide no descriptions of the men. None of the young men were identified or questioned.

The FBI again declined to get involved in this espionage scheme and warned Putnam about espionage laws. Putnam said the friend had an immediate offer to go to Tokyo. Putnam would not divulge the name of the friend.

Note: There is no indication that the FBI continued to investigate Putnam's involvement or attempt to identify the "friend".

There are many pages of additional FBI documents relating to Putnam's application to be a Special Agent with the FBI and other letters from Putnam to the FBI in 1941 and 1942 offering his service as a public minded citizen. There are no further letters or interviews that deal with Putnam's friend or any that identify him.

Corrections

In reference (a) Kamal's likely assignment to the Weihsien Camp was late Spring 1943, not 1942. The date of Kamal's pilot licensing, if one was issued, has not yet been establishe by FAA records, thus the estimated date of 1924 is incorrect as he would have been only 10 years old. And Pamela Master's sister, Ursula, did not "look up" Kamal in Los Angeles in 1947, but had a chance meeting with Kamal on the street. During that chance meeting, Kamal told Ursula about his efforts to sell a book something about Six Fathoms Deep. (In fact in published a book titled Full Fathom Five, Doubleday,in 1948)

Investigation continuing.


Message: 4
Subject: Re: Don Wilson's Book
Date: 5/1/01
From: Carol Linn Dow

Ric, would you do me a favor and tell "Don J" to go read Don Wilson's book? If he can't find the book I will send him scans of certain of the pages. I have an HP Scanner, and it can go out Email as a download attachment. In the play I am working on I crashed Earhart on land which I could change, but that would be up to the producers at Gorilla Theater. We could have AE and FN pull up in a life raft with a scene of the Electra crashed on a coral reef in the background ....that would be do-able. In the play I went to considerable lengths pointing out how much "static" there was on Earhart's transmissions.

Now listen you guys with the TIGHAR group, static is the customary way of jamming radio transmissions....pilots don't like transmissions loaded with static and that could go a long way to explain a lot of things. YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT FACTS.....All right start talking about FACTS for a change. That's fine with me....WHERE DID ALL THAT STATIC COME FROM? Earhart never had radio problems the way she had radio problems trying to reach Howland Island. IT NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE. I don't know how much you guys know about radio transmissions....but, it is very easy to jam transmissions by justly simply depressing the send button on a microphone.....you will cut in on an existing transmission. Even today, air traffic controllers have a lot of problems with exactly that, i.e....who gets to talk. Someone starts broadcasting static and a frequency will become useless. In Earhart's flight to Howland....go look at the records....go look at all the radio logs of how much static was on those transmissions. FACTS, YOU WANT FACTS? The radio logs ARE LOADED WITH ACCOUNTS OF STATIC AND MORE STATIC. Earhart flew Honolulu to Oakland. She called in 350 miles out and had no problems....none, in fact her messages were broadcast on CBS radio. The whole country was listening in. In fact Earhart talked and talked and talked on the flight. In the flight to Howland Island, Earhart was only using 4-5 frequencies, they would have been easy to "jam." SO NOBODY KNOWS WHERE THE PLANE WENT DOWN. Now isn't that interesting?

You want my opinion someone needs to take off the "rose colored" glasses and start looking at the FACTS. That's an excellent idea. It would be a refreshing point of view for a change.

Carol Linn Dow


From Ric

(I'm going to regret this. I just know it.)

Carol, where did you get the idea that Earhart's communications problems were due to static?


Message: 5
Subject: Re: Don Wilson's Book
Date: 5/1/01
From: Dennis McGee, Amanda Dunham

Earlier I sent Ric a personal e-mail comparing -- with great compassion and understanding -- Carol Linn Dow with Janet Whitney. The similarities were startling and provocative. :-)

I think CLD has set a record for this forum for proving one's ignorance. She accomplished in, what?, three postings? that she really doesn't know what is happening here. Or maybe our defenses are getting better. After all we gave Sactodave and Janet many weeks and months in which to prove their slight and slippery grasp of the facts. Carol Linn Dow did it in less than a week. Imagine, a new record!

Normally, I would suggest to Ric that we boot her, but things are slow and we do need the laughs. So let's keep her a few days for entertainment, then we'll eat her.

LTM, who always enjoys a good meal
Dennis O. McGee #0149EC


From Amanda Dunham

"Gorilla Theater"??? Carol, If you're going to pull my leg, keep in mind that the left one hurts with arthritis, thanks.

Have you seen the TIGHAR research on Earhart's belly antenna? The plane's, I mean! I must have missed the Itasca log's notes on static... Amanda Dunham, tighar #????


From Ric

Before we carve up poor Carol let's remember that the only thing she's guilty of is reading and believing the myths and legends that have become Earhart's one lasting legacy. We're doing what we can to set the record straight but it's a bit arrogant to assume that we can instantly undo decades of historical abuse and expect everyone to fall into line.

The woods are full of Carol Linn Dows. Some are looking for heros and role models. Others need a victim and martyr for women's rights. Still others seek affirmation of their own paranoid world view. Popular culture has created an Amelia Earhart to fill every need.

I won't boot Carol off the forum and we're not going to make fun of her either. If she wants to stick around and learn something, that's fine. If not, that's okay too.

LTM,
Ric


Message: 6
Subject: Static, Static, and More Static
Date: 5/2/01
From: Carol Linn Dow

Ok, so everybody wants to know about Carol Linn Dow. Yes, I have used radio communications before. I am a Beech Bonanza pilot with about 500 hours flying time I owned an M-35 if you know the model number. I talked with the FAA here in Kansas City about the frequencies Earhart was using in her day, and no, I'm sorry, but they were not considered VHF or "High Frequency." The 500-550 range is low frequency and is used for short wave radio transmissions and carries exceptionally long distances. The higher up the scale you go, the less the carrying distance. VHF, according to the FAA here was not used in 1937. VHF frequencies travel in a straight line, and they are only good for abut 100 miles. The lower frequencies follow the curvature of the earth which gives them their range. The next frequency range after VHF is UHF, but UHF is used exclusively by the military. I asked the FAA here quite some time ago if #3105 or #6210, either one, was considered VHF, and the answer was "no." I just assumed whoever asked the question about high frequency was referring to VHF. Also, you are getting into kilohertz AM and megahertz FM which are commercial civilian frequencies. Aviation frequencies are not the same.

Ok another point ...close in, Earhart had great reception. It came in at the top end of the scale....that's fine. However, the great mystery to me is why she didn't stay put on a frequency that was working? Why all the switching around? Pilots don't go bouncing around on radio frequencies once a good contact is made. I'm telling you that from my own flying experience....it does not happen.....and it is very suspicious. I believe someone or somebody (probably the Japanese) was trying to cut her off. If it is true that would explain a lot of things. All you have to do is push on a mike button and you can cut into a transmission.

Ric, this one is for you... I looked at your puff of smoke which was supposed to have been a broken antenna, and it came across on my screen the same color and consistency as the white rocks in the background.....in fact, I couldn't tell the difference. Also, Ric I can't imagine why a torn antenna would give off smoke. I've climbed inside plenty of airplanes, in addition to my Bonanza, and the antenna installations I have seen wouldn't give off smoke if they were broken...just the opposite, if the pressure was great enough they would just snap off. Maybe the smoke you were seeing came from the initial torque on the propellors as the engines went to max. power...that would be very believable. If there was any rocks or debris on the runway (including plain old dirt) it would flare up at the start of a takeoff roll. Airplane propellors have a lot of problems with rocks....they can put dents in the leading edge of the blade.....too many dents and it means a new propellor. An airplane that goes to max. power for takeoff will suck up all the dirt and debris on the runway like a vacuum sweeper. Propellors have to be "filed" down to get rid of the nicks and dents....I have done that a few times. If that leading edge isn't kept smooth, you won't get max. performance out of the prop. There is a possibility that a trailing wire type antenna was dragging on the ground, and it wrapped itself around a rock and started tearing up dirt and debris as Earhart started her take off roll. However, that sounds like a stretch of the imagination. A bouncing rock could have damaged the fuselage or the elevators or rudders at the rear of the plane... that would have been dangerous.

So you can take all the punches at Carol Linn Dow you would like to take. It doesn't phase me in the least. I wish I knew how much hangar time I have spent listening to "wanna be" pilots and crazy stories about flying that don't make any sense. Before I accept criticism from anyone, I would like to know what your background is, how much flying time you have (if you are a rated pilot), and whether you have ever owned your own airplane.

Here's some points from the last Email:

  1. The first point I would to ask is Mr. Dennis O. McGee. You don't act like a gentleman Mr. McGee, and if it would serve any purpose in the future I would like to know who you are, what your flying background is, and have you ever spent any time with the Earharts?
  2. For Doug Brutlag....good questions. Hope you have some answers now.

  3. For Amanda Durham....I hope you have some further ideas on belly antennas.

  4. For Russ Mathews...the distance to the Marshall Islands from Howland is considerable. However, the book by Wilson amazed me. It is out of print so your best bet might be a library. I'm trying to quote this strictly from memory...Earhart's Electra fully loaded had a range of 3,000 miles. The distance to Howland was 2,250 miles. The mileage would be nautical. I believe these figures are correct. I checked some of the maps I have of the Pacific, and Howland to Mili Atoll (The Marshalls) looks like it is about about 700 miles. However, I don't have any aeronautical maps of the area so I can't verify that figure. Using an atlas vs. aeronautical maps can make a lot of difference so at best it's approximate. Your figure of 1,000 miles to Mili Atoll seems inaccurate. Earhart's Electra had so many fuel tanks on it I doubt seriously if she really knew how long it would fly. Running an airplane "bone" dry is a hard call. There is always a reserve involved and airplane fuel talk is usually referred to as "usable" fuel on board, which means there is always a certain amount left in the bottom of a tank which may or may not feed depending on whether you hit the booster switch. If you hit the booster fuel pump, you might be able to suck a tank dry but it would depend on the tank....some of them are metal and some of them are nothing more than heavy plastic bags. My M-35 Bonanza had heavy plastic bags that were replaceable which was a good deal especially if the fuel tanks started to leak. And do fuel tanks leak? Uh, huh, fuel tanks on airplanes have been known to leak....including the metal ones. Replacing metal fuel tanks is very, very expensive. Airplanes have special problems.

  5. For Richard Gillespie, thanks for standing up for me. I don't mind taking punches, in fact, I welcome it. I'm having fun doing this. I don't mind it all. If this play I have ever gets off the ground, I'm going to get punched around all over the place. So, punch away. Let's see if I have the answers. I personally believe Earhart flew right into the hands of the Japanese and they got her and the airplane, both. If she crashed at sea the airplane would be gone by now, but she may have floated on their life raft into Japanese held territory or Nikamurora and wound up in a Japanese prison. Eventually she and Fred Noonan died or were executed, maybe on Nikamurora, who knows? For purposes of the play it became obvious the theatrical move would be to have a crash and capture scene. You raised an issue on the static problems, I am going to have to backtrack and search it out again. Switching all those channels back and forth trying to get to Howland....pardon me...what the hell was going on??? That is very strange and suspicious, Ric.....very. The whole rest of the trip she didn't have trouble like that with those radios....not even one complaint ....not one.

  6. Oh yes, before closing, Ric, Muriel Morrissey and I were personal friends (Amelia's sister). We wrote quite a few letters back and forth. I am thinking about donating the letters to the Earhart museum in Atchison. About, Muriel, she didn't have any idea of what happened to her sister. As far as she knows she just splashed in the sea. But I don't like to think of it that way, I think she was a martyr, one of the early victims of the war in the Pacific. She had everything to live for ...a wonderful husband, a career, and a great sister and mother in Boston whom she loved very much. Muriel was a great person. She was polite, intense, knowledgeable, educated, and very much a lady. She was just super, and I am sure Amelia was just like her...very nice people. What a tragic end she faced. But for those that fly....you always have to be ready to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Best wishes to you Rick and to your search for Amelia Earhart. I'll see if I can track down the static references.

Carol Linn Dow


From Ric

Carol, you are living proof that no good deed goes unpunished.


Message: 7
Subject: HF Radio Static
Date: 5/2/01
From: Dick Pingrey, Andrew McKenna, Mike Everette, Dean Alexander

Everyone who uses or has used HF radio communications knows that static is always present. The degree of the static depens upon many variables such as the existance of thunder storms in the general area. If the radio signal is weak and the receiver volume is turned up to near maximum the static noise level or background noise lever, if you prefer to call it that, often drowns out the audio signal. That is the nature of HF radio communications. Noting static in the radio log because is hides the audio signal of a weak or far off station would not be unusual. The existance of static in no way indicates an attempt to jam or hide Amelia's radio transmissions. Dick Pingrey 908C


From Ric

You know that. I know that. And most of the forum knows that. Carol Linn Dow doesn't even know what an HF radio IS. Carol is a 500 hour pilot who seems to think she is addressing the local Rotary Club.


From Andrew McKenna

Carol writes:

>SO NOBODY KNOWS WHERE THE PLANE WENT DOWN. Now isn't that
>interesting?

Yes it is, Carol, in fact it is fascinating, and that is why we are all trying to solve the mystery. TIGHAR is trying to do it by using the scientific method and looking at as much original source material as we can find, not by reading books by Don Wilson, Long, Goerner, et. al.

If you are interested in writing a play, feel free to embellish any way you like. However, if you are interested in what really happened, you have to examine the origin of everything you think you know about the mystery. Basing what you know on Don Wilson's book simply is not good enough for the scientific method. Reading and examining the original radio logs is a better approach, and TIGHAR and this forum has done that in pretty exhaustive detail. Have you?

We'll take off our rose colored glasses if you agree to examine your own preconceived notions. To do that I suggest you need to read all the stuff on the TIGHAR website, then come and ask questions to test what you think you know. You will find that our colored glasses got that way by being tempered in the crucible of peer review.

Instead of assuming that static blocked all of Earhart's transmissions because Don Wilson says so, ask the Forum if there was any evidence of static. You will find there is a group of radio experts who can talk your head off on the subject of radio transmissions, static, and stuff way beyond my understanding on the subject.

In the end you might find that you have been fed information that has no basis in fact, and unfortunately the AE mystery is rife with disinformation. We are trying to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Why do I care? Your play at the Gorilla will have a lasting impact on those who view it. I would prefer that your play be as accurate as possible, and present the facts as they are known instead of making the mistake of repeating and disseminating the myths regarding AE that has dominated over the last 60 some odd years.

Wouldn't you rather get the story right?

LTM
Andrew McKenna


From Ric

My prinicipal request of Carol is that she pick some other name for the lead character in her play.


From Mike Everette the Radio Historian #2194:

For Carol Linn Dow

AE had only 3 frequencies available. These were 500 Kilohertz (500 KHz), 3105 Kilohertz and 6210 Kilohertz.

By the way, these can also be expressed as 0.5 Megahertz (0.5 MHz), 3.105 Megahertz (3.105 MHz) and 6.21 Megahertz (6.21 MHz).

500 KHz is a low-frequency channel. 3105 and 6210 are considered High frequency (HF).

There is no evidence that AE ever actually used 500 KHz. Even if she had tried it, the nature of the antenna on NR16020 meant that little or no signal would actually be radiated. The antenna was far, far too short, and therefore inefficient.

The antenna's proclivities also contributed to problems on her HF channels, but to a lesser degree than at 500.

HF and VHF are very, very different as to signal propagation. From your description of your experience, I don't believe you have ever used HF radio nor are you familiar with its characteristics. That is not a fault; it's just not in your background.

One cannot infer anything, really, about HF signal propagation from what happens at VHF.

By the way, I am not an aviator but I am qualified to comment on this. I have over 20 years' experience in radio from the user side and the test bench side; this includes public safety radio, avionics, and Amateur Radio. I hold an FCC General Class radiotelephone certificate, an FCC Second Class radiotelegraph certificate (and endorsement for Radar), an Amateur Extra Class ham license, and PCIA (Personal Communications Industry Association) certification as a First Class Technician. Additionally I am a trained, degreed historian (MA, NCSU)who specializes in technological history in general, and radio communications in particular.

I am quite familiar with the radio communications problems on the Earhart flight and have done considerable research into this, from the standpoint of the equipment and the installation aboard this aircraft. To make a long story short, we don't know ALL the answers; but, enough is known to be quite certain that the equipment she had was inadequate for the job. It was primitive at best. It was full of operational quirks ("switchology problems") that could and probably did cause all kinds of cockpit trouble; and likely was a key factor in her disappearance.

LTM (who likes things user-friendly)
and 73 (radiospeak for Best Wishes)
Mike E.


From Ric

Carol, it may also interest you to know that Doug Brutlag and several of the other folks you've been instructing on aviation matters are multi-thousand hour professional pilots with vast transoceanic experience.


From Dean Alexander #2056

One of the reasons I don't post that much to the forum is that I know my limitations. Another reason is that I am very efficient with my time, i.e.. I DON'T LIKE TO WASTE TIME IN IDLE SPECULATION THAT CAN AMOUNT TO NOTHING ! What I find very wasteful is all the time spent by people who have not been on the forum very long asking dumb questions and jabbering on about their own theories which have no basis in fact. A bigger waste of time are all the responses by people who know better but insist on replying to these dumb ramblings. When I encounter postings like Carol Linn's I read a few lines of it and hit the delete button. This remark is NOT intended to speak poorly of Carol Linn, but simply saying for myself, who has supported TIGHAR and have been on the forum a while don't want to have my time wasted by bantering back and forth about total BS !!! If people are serious about TIGHAR'S work I suggest that they read up on the forum for a while before they speak out of total ignorance. I usually won't "waste my time " with a letter like this but I find myself increasingly hitting that delete button and this is actually becoming a bigger waste of time than "venting " . :-)


From Ric

I know what you mean and I sympathize. We've let Carol have her say and she has amply demonstrated her level of competence on this subject. In the interest of preserving everyone's sanity, not wasting any more time, and saving Carol from embarrassing herself more than she already has, I'll impose the "Substantive Posting" rule. If she has a question or comment that is actually substantive I'll post it. Otherwise, I'll deal with it off-forum.


Message: 8
Subject: Re: Static, Static, and More Static
Date: 5/3/01
From: John Rayfield, Stephen Enzweiler, Marty Moleski, Ross Devitt

From John Rayfield

I can't help but comment on some of Carol's posting....but I'll keep it short. :-)

Carol, first of all, UHF is NOT "used exclusively by the military". My company (Rayfield Communications, Inc.) uses many UHF frequencies for business 2-way radio systems, as do MANY MANY other businesses all over the United States (and in other countries too).

This is just ONE example of the inaccuracy of the information that you've gotten from others on the subject of 'radio'.

I would suggest that you find other sources for your information on this subject of 'radio'.

By the way, I don't know everything about 'radio' (I'm always learning something new), but I can speak with a little bit of 'authority' on this subject. I've owned a 'commercial' 2-way radio shop for over 23 years (working on and using HF, 'low VHF', 'high VHF', UHF, 800 mhz., and microwave radio equipment, for businesses and police, fire, etc.), and have been a licensed amateur radio operator for over 26 years (Extra Class, for about 2 years, Advanced Class for most of the other 24 years), working on and using HF, VHF, and UHF amateur radio equipment. I also hold a General Radiotelephone license (actually, held 1st Class license until the FCC dropped that particular license, and everyone was 'converted' to General Class). I've also done custom radio system development work for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as development work on 'radio' products that are used by the Washington State Department of Transportation and Hyundai.

Oh, and by the way, 'static' is NORMAL for HF communications - my wife HATES to listen to the HF 'ham' radio when I've got it in the car. She says that she doesn't understand how I can listen to all of that 'static'. :-)

John Rayfield, Jr.
President - Rayfield Communications, Inc.
Springfield, Missouri


From Stephen Enzweiler

Solar events also determine to a degree static levels, and even the ability on given freqs whether you can transmit or be heard at all. Any way of knowing what the sun was doing at the time??


From Ric

Oh yeah. Bob Brandenburg has made quote a study of the sunspot situation at that time and has incorporated it in his evaluation of the pre and post-loss radio transmissions.


From Marty Moleski

Dick Pingrey wrote:

> ... There is no evidence that AE ever actually used 500 KHz. Even if she had
> tried it, the nature of the antenna on NR16020 meant that little or no
> signal would actually be radiated. The antenna was far, far too short,
> and therefore inefficient.

Two additional points:

  1. I believe that 500 KHz was reserved for Morse code (CW, "continuous wave"). It was a frequency monitored by ships at sea. Transmitting voice on that frequency would have been a waste of time.
  2. Neither Amelia nor Fred were much good at CW. Ric has posted evidence several times which suggests that the CW key was not taken on the fatal flight.
That left them with 3105 and 6210 to play with. They could also receive 7500, but the Itasca had no voice capacities on 7500. All that the Itasca could do was to transmit CW on 7500.

I play with radio-controlled airplanes on the 72 MHz band. I also have read all of TIGHAR's site and remember some of what I've read. ;o)

Marty #2359


From Ross Devitt

Looks like we have one of those "I know everything because I'm an expert pilot" people...

> Ok, so everybody wants to know about Carol Linn Dow. Yes, I have used radio
> communications before. I am a Beech Bonanza pilot with about 500 hours
> flying time I owned an M-35 if you know the model number.

I also have time logged in a Beech Baron BE58 --- so what?

>I talked with the
> FAA here in Kansas City about the frequencies Earhart was using in her day,

You would have been better off talking to a radio amateur.

> The 500-550 range is low frequency and is used for short wave radio
> transmissions and carries exceptionally long distances. The higher up the
> scale you go, the less the carrying distance. VHF, according to the FAA
> here was not used in 1937. VHF frequencies travel in a straight line, and
> they are only good for abut 100 miles.

Damn.. So when I am flying in North Queensland and ATC asks me to switch to Brisbane central (about 1000 miles away) I'm really talking to the fairies?

>The lower frequencies follow the
> curvature of the earth which gives them their range.

Good heavens.. When I trained as a radio technician in the Air Force I was led to believe that the low frequencies were subject to reflection off terrain, which could make them a little unreliable at times, especially when used for beacons.

>The next frequency
> range after VHF is UHF, but UHF is used exclusively by the military.

Yep, as far as aviation is concerned unless something has changed this one is correct.

>I
> asked the FAA here quite some time ago if #3105 or #6210, either one, was
> considered VHF, and the answer was "no." I just assumed whoever asked the
> question about high frequency was referring to VHF. Also, you are getting
> into kilohertz AM and megahertz FM which are commercial civilian
> frequencies. Aviation frequencies are not the same.

Interesting concept. kilohertz, AM, megahertz and FM are not aviation frequencies. That just might make quite a difference to the airline pilots that have to use them daily. I wonder which aviation academy was responsible for that gem.

> Ok another point ...close in, Earhart had great reception. It came in at
> the top end of the scale....that's fine. However, the great mystery to me
> is why she didn't stay put on a frequency that was working? Why all the
> switching around? Pilots don't go bouncing around on radio frequencies once
> a good contact is made. I'm telling you that from my own flying
> experience....it does not happen.....and it is very suspicious.

Obviously you haven't yet picked up much experience whilst accumulating 500 hours. Very early in the flight, Earhart decided to change frequencies whilst talking to a station (Lae) that asked her not to change because they had good reception, but she changed anyway and they lost contact with her immediately.

The obvious (to almost everyone else on the forum) reason for a pilot to go bouncing around on radio frequencies is because the pilot can't hear anything on their main frequency. Apparently the only time she fluked a signal was on her Direction Finder antenna.

> I believe someone or somebody (probably the Japanese) was trying to cut her
> off.
> If it is true that would explain a lot of things. All you have to do is
> push on a mike button and you can cut into a transmission.

Which will then overlay your signal on top of the one you are trying to block. There is no mention of hearing that sort of interference, and to do that the blocking station has to be very powerful or very close and the receiving station can pick up the interference. It would have been entered in the radio log in the ship.

> Ric, this one is for you... I looked at your puff of smoke which was
> supposed to have been a broken antenna, and it came across on my screen the
> same color and consistency as the white rocks in the background.....in
> fact, I couldn't tell the difference. Also, Ric I can't imagine why a torn
> antenna would give off smoke.

Puff of smoke? Carol, if you bother to read the forum history before you jump in you'll probably find that it was claimed to "look like a puff of smoke" just so people would know what to look for in the movie. It is supposedly dust raised when something hit or dragged on the ground as the aircraft was taking off. There was also an anecdote that someone long ago said it was no wonder Earhart disappeared as she left part of her antenna lying on the runway. This anecdote has never been verified, proved or whatever -- it is just a story. If it was true however it would explain the puff and the later radio problems.

> Airplane propellors have a lot of problems with rocks....they can put dents
> in the leading edge of the blade.....too many dents and it means a new
> propellor. An airplane that goes to max. power for takeoff will suck up all
> the dirt and debris on the runway like a vacuum sweeper. Propellors have to
> be "filed" down to get rid of the nicks and dents....I have done that a few
> times.

You have filed down your own prop edges? Really? Remind me NEVER to fly with you.

> If that leading edge isn't kept smooth, you won't get max.
> performance out of the prop.

If that prop you've been filing isn't very well balanced it is possible the engine will tear itself off the mounts, or at least damage the engine bearings (they are inside the engine provided you didn't leave them out last time you pulled it apart).

>There is a possibility that a
> trailing wire type antenna was dragging on the ground, and it wrapped
> itself around a rock and started tearing up dirt and debris as Earhart
> started her take off roll. However, that sounds like a stretch of the
> imagination.

As the strip at Lae was grass, it is just possible that an antenna dragging on the ground wouldn't need a rock to raise a bit of dust.

> A bouncing rock could have damaged the fuselage or the
> elevators or rudders at the rear of the plane... that would have been
> dangerous.

Not that many rocks in the middle of most grass airstrips -- really -- count them some time.

> So you can take all the punches at Carol Linn Dow you would like to take.
> It doesn't phase me in the least. I wish I knew how much hangar time I have
> spent listening to "wanna be" pilots and crazy stories about flying that
> don't make any sense.

Phase you? Perhaps a term from Star Trek? Maybe it doesn't faze you either. This forum is about trying to unravel the mystery of what happened to Earhart and Noonan. It is not about pilots, "wanna be" or not. A number of pilots on the forum who are there partly because the Earhart mystery is aviation related give opinions based on their experience. Some of these pilots are current and ex airline and military pilots, others like myself have relatively few hours. This is not a pilots' forum nor is it an aviation forum.

>Before I accept criticism from anyone, I would like
> to know what your background is,

Multi skilled. Airforce, Government, Private Enterprise.

> how much flying time you have (if you are
> a rated pilot),

Oh, poor me.. only 70 hours logged in 8 single and twin aircraft (logged). All the hours flying that can't be officially logged don't count. Unfortunately I only fly as a hobby, among other hobbies (sailing etc.)

>and whether you have ever owned your own airplane.

In this country? You've got to be kidding. It's much cheaper to hire whatever seating capacity one requires and let some other poor devil worry about the insurance, fuel and maintenance. I can hire an aircraft for a couple of hours a week every week including all expenses for 5 years for the cost of buying an average aircraft. Not many of my friends that do own light aircraft in this country average 50 to 100 hrs a year.

Th' WOMBAT


Message: 9
Subject: What's In a Name?
Date: 5/4/01
From: Lawrence Glazer

I've been a regular Forum Highlights reader for several years and finally decided to join TIGHAR because I've enjoyed the forum's (and Ric's) good humor, historiographic standards and even modesty, and because you need the money for the next expedition.

In my view, Betty's notebook does not contain any unambiguous occult references ("occult" in the sense of the term used by Ric in his analysis, meaning knowable only by Fred & Amelia at that time) but it does have some tantalizing possibilities, of which "NYC" being a possible "Norwich City" is the most tantalizing.

Here is my question: Is there evidence that a person on Niku in 1937 would be able to SEE THE NAME "Norwich City" either on the shipwreck or on some debris?

Keep up the good work.

Lawrence M. Glazer


From Ric

Excellent question. Here's what we know:

  • Norwich City went aground at Gardner on November 30, 1929.

  • We have a photo of her taken in Vancouver, B.C. the previous April in which it is clear that her name is painted in white letters on the starboard (and we presume also the port) side of her bow. No way to be sure that her name was also on her stern but it certainly should have been there.

  • The earliest photos we have her aground on the reef were taken by Eric Bevington in October 1937 when he and Harry Maude visited the island with 19 Gilbertese delegates to evaluate Gardner for future colonization. Her back is broken and her stern is underwater, so any name on her stern is not an issue anyway. None of Bevington's photos show the bow from close enough to tell whether the name was still there and legible. In his diary, Bevington does not refer to the ship by name but only as "a cargo steamer", however, in Harry Maude's official report of the visit (dated 19 November 1937) he refers to the ship as the Norwich City.

  • Apparently the ship's name was not mentioned in Sailing Directions available in 1937, nor was there even mention of it's presence on the reef, because the USS Colorado's pilots were not expecting to see it, nor were Maude and Bevington three months later. When the captain of the Colorado submitted updated Sailing Directions information about Gardner to the Hydrographic Office in August 1937, he treated the presence of the steamer as new information and made no mention of its name.

  • The official report of the New Zealand Pacific Aviation Survey Expedition of late 1938/early 1939 reports the name of the ship as "City of Norwich" but the maps produced as a result of that survey correctly show the wreck as "Norwich City." We have several photos taken during that expedition which show the bow of the ship. No name is discernible but the resolution of the photos is not that great either. It may be that by then, nine years after the ship went aground, the elements had made the name very hard to see.

  • Gallagher, who first visited Gardner while the New Zealand Survey party was still there, knew the name of the ship but had inaccurate information about when it got there.

In short, the fact that we know the name was visible on the bow a few months before the accident and that Maude in 1937, and Gallagher and the New Zealanders in 1938 knew the ship's name, seems to argue for the name being visible in July 1937.


Message: 10
Subject: Myth and Legend
Date: 5/4/01
From: Mike Holt

When did the conspiracy and the Japanese capture idea originate? Was that mooted at the time or was it something that appeared after WW2?

Mike Holt


From Ric

The very first conspiracy claim was a front-page article that appeared in an Australian publication called Smith's Weekly on October 16, 1937 under the headline "U.S. Does Australia A Secret Service". The article claimed that the U.S. Navy used the Earhart search as an excuse to scout out Japanese activity in the Marshalls but there was no allegation that Earhart had been in on it or had disappeared on purpose. Nobody seems to have paid much attention to the article.

The real birth of the conspiracy theories seem to date from the Hollywood film Flight For Freedom released in 1943. It was based on a script of disputed authorship originally entitled Stand By To Die and was a very transparent fictionalized account of the Earhart/Noonan flight in which "Toni Carter" (Earhart) agreed to intentionally "get lost" to give the Navy an excuse to recon the Marshalls. When the plan is discovered by the Japanese, brave Toni suicidally crashes her plane into the ocean to give the search legitimacy.

From there, life imitated art and all sorts of "clues" began to emerge to support the basic premise that Earhart's disappearance in 1937 was somehow connected to the cataclysm that erupted four years later.

LTM,
Ric


Message: 11
Subject: Fund Raising
Date: 5/4/01
From: Dennis McGee

Ric wrote:

>At this point, in nice round numbers, we're about $10,000
>short to make the boat payment so you can expect me to be banging the
>fund-raising drum for the rest of this month.

And a lousy job it is.

When the Combined Federal Campaign comes knocking each year I use two criteria in making my contributions. One is completely subjective, "Do I support this organization's mission," and the other is completely objective, "What portion of my donation is used to cover the organization's 'administrative' costs."

Ideally, 100 percent of my donation would support an organization's mission, but then reality raises its ugly head. To the best of my recollection, an organization's administrative costs would not exceed 15 percent in a perfect world. Realistically, something in the 20 percent range is more the norm, I believe.

On a more positive but considerably less certain note, this weekend's Big Lotto (or whatever it is called) has an annuity value of about $90 million. If I win I'll give TIGHAR 1.1 percent, just like I give the CFC. My numbers are . . . whoops! . . . hey, I don't want to give them away now, do I? :-)

LTM, who wouldn't miss a mere $990,000
Dennis O. McGee #0149EC


From Ric

In the nonprofit world, "administrative costs" is a euphemism for "fund-raising costs." In other words, how much of what I give you are you going to spend raising more money as opposed to doing the work of the organization?

In TIGHAR's case that amount is so small as to be almost invisible. We pay no "Development Director" to beat the bushes. We buy no advertising. We stage no fund-raising events. We inventory some T-shirts -- that's about it.

Technically, the portion of my time that I spend fund-raising is chargeable that way but the truth is I HATE fund-raising per se and much prefer to spend my time doing the work of the organization. I figure that good work will be recognized and rewarded far better than good salemanship. By doing good work we attract volunteer expertise that we don't have to raise money to pay for. Good work also attracts good press, which is better advertising than you can buy at any price.

LTM,
Ric


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