Earhart Project Research Bulletin
June 5, 2002
The Radio Logs of the USCG Itasca

The following are excerpts from official government radio traffic pertaining to the radio communications and navigation preparations for Earhart’s flight to Howland Island. A complete compilation of all U.S. government radio messages pertaining to the Earhart flight, disappearance, and search are available on the Earhart Project CD Research Library Vol. 1.


6/18/37
Putnam
6/19/37
Black
6/20/37
Putnam
6/23/37
Black
6/23/37
Itasca
6/25/37
USCG
6/26/37
Earhart
6/26/37
USCG
6/28/37
Itasca
6/29/37
Earhart1
6/29/37
Earhart2
6/29/37
Itasca1
6/29/37
Itasca2
7/1/37
Earhart1
7/1/37
Earhart2
7/2/37
Lae NG
6/18/37

FOR RICHARD BLACK
FOLLOWING FOR YOU FROM GEORGE PALMER PUTNAM.
"EARHART WILL BROADCAST RADIO PHONE QUARTER AFTER AND QUARTER TO HOUR. HER FREQUENCIES 6210 AND 3105, FORMER USED DAYLIGHT. ALSO HAS 500 BUT DUBIOUS USABILITY. ADVISE WHAT FREQUENCIES ITASCA WILL USE, DITTO NAVAL VESSELS, SO SHE CAN LISTEN. SUGGEST COAST GUARD AND NAVY COORDINATE SO THAT HELPFUL WEATHER DATA BE BROADCASTED TO HER AFTER LAE TAKEOFF ON THE HOUR AND HALF. WILL CONFIRM ARRANGEMENT WITH HER BY WIRE AT LAE."

On 6/19/37 Black replied:

FOLLOWING FOR PUTMAN
THIS CONFIRMS INFORMATION IN YOUR MESSAGE... JUNE 18 THAT EARHART WILL BROADCAST RADIOPHONE QUARTER TO AND QUARTER AFTER HOUR ON FREQUENCIES DAYLIGHT 6210, NITE 3105. ALSO TRY 500 CLOSE IN. ITASCA CAN GIVE HER ALMOST ANY FREQUENCY DESIRED AND REQUEST THAT SHE CONTACT ITASCA NOW BY COMMERCIAL LINES VIA GOVT AMERICAN SAMOA ASKING FOR FREQUENCY BEST SUITING HER HOMING DEVICE. ALSO HAVE HER DESIGNATE TIME AND TYPE OF OUR SIGNAL. SHIP WILL GIVE SMOKE BY DAY AND SEARCHLIGHT BY NIGHT. HAVE HER GIVE US FLIGHT PROGRESS AND MAKE FINAL ARRANGEMENTS BEFORE TAKEOFF VIA SAMOA TUTUILA RADIO. WILL REQUEST ONTARIO AND SWAN NOTIFY US OF AVAILABLE FREQUENCIIES AND FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO YOU OR EARHART. WILL EARHART LAND LUKE OR WHEELER HONOLULU? SIGNED BLACK

On 6/20 Putnam replied:

TELL BLACK DIFFICULT CONTACT EARHART SATISFACTORILY BEFORE ARRIVAL DARWIN. FROM DARWIN SHE WILL COMMUNICATE ITASCA VIA SAMOA STIPULATING DESIRED FREQUENCY AND TIME TYPE SIGNAL BEST FOR HOMING DEVICE. DITTO FOR SWAN AND ONTARIO. ITASCA CAN CONFIRM TO HER AT LAE. SHE WILL ADVISE FULLY VIA SAMOA BEFORE LEAVING LAE. WILL ADVISE WHETHER LUKE OR WHEELER - PUTNAM

On 6/23/37 Black sent:

FOLLOWING FOR AMELIA EARHART PUTNAM AT DARWIN OR BANDOENG JAVA VIA AMALGAMATED WIRELESS - ONTARIO NIDX TRANSMITTER 500 WATTS FREQUENCY RANGE 195 TO 600 KCS EITHER CW OR MCW. NO HIGH FREQUENCY EQUIPMENT ON BOARD. SWAN NIJP CAN TRANSMIT ONE HALF KILOWATT BETWEEN 195 AND 600 KCS AND BETWEEN 2000 AND 3000 KCS. ALSO CAN TRANSMIT 100 WATTS 600 TO 1500 KCS AND FROM 3000 TO 9050 KCS. 35 WATTS VOICE AVAILABLE 350 TO 1500 KCS AND 3000 TO 9050 KCS. PLEASE CONFIRM AND DESIGNATE SIGNALS DESIRED FROM ONTARIO ITASCA AND SWAN WITHIN THESE RANGES BEST SUITED TO YOUR HOMING DEVICE. ITASCA CAN GIVE ANY FREQUENCY DESIRED. INFORMATION FROM TUTUILA AND SUVA INDICATE DELAY AT LEAST FOUR HOURS IN MESSAGES BETWEEN LAE AND ITASCA. - BLACK

Also on 6/23/37 the Itasca sent:

FOR AMELIA EARHART PUTNAM PORT DARWIN AUSTRALIA OR LAE NEW GUINEA - REQUEST YOU ADVISE THIS VESSEL TWELVE HOURS PRIOR TO YOUR DEPARTURE FROM NEW GUINEA FULL INFORMATION REGARDING YOUR DESIRES IN MATTER OF RADIO FREQUENCIES AND COMMUNICATION SCHEDULE. WE WILL CONFORM TO ANY FREQUENCIES DESIRED. IMPORTANT ANTICIPATE YOUR DEPARTURE AS COMMUNICATION VIA PORT DARWIN VERY SLOW. ITASCA ON STATION HOWLAND ISLAND AT 2200 THIS EVENING. THIS VESSEL WILL CONTACT SWAN AND ONTARIO AND ADVISE THEM FULLY.

6/25/37; Coast Guard division headquarters in San Francisco to Itasca

MR PUTNAM NOW AT OAKLAND AND ADVISES MISS EARHART AT BANDOENG JAVA FOR REPAIRS TO MOTORS AND DEPARTURE INDEFINITE. SHE WILL CABLE DETAILS COMMUNICATIONS FROM PORT DARWIN DIRECT SAN FRANCISCO AND YOU WILL BE GIVEN ALL INFORMATION IMMEDIATELY. ALL COMMUNICATION FROM PLANE WILL BE ON 500, 3105 OR 6210 KILOCYCLES BY VOICE, POSITIONS BEING GIVEN AT FIFTEEN AND FORTY FIVE MINUTES PAST THE HOUR. ITASCA ADJUST TRANSMITTER FOR POSSIBLE USE 3105 KILOCYCLES FOR VOICE. DIRECTION FINDER ON PLANE COVERS RANGE OF ABOUT 200 TO 1400 KILCYCLES

On 6/26 Earhart, in Bandoeng, Java sent:

SUGGEST ONTARIO STANDBY ON 400 KCS TO TRANSMIT LETTER N FIVE MINUTES ON REQUEST WITH STATION CALL LETTER REPEATED TWICE END EVERY MINUTE. SWAN TRANSMIT VOICE 9 MEGACYCLES OR, IF I UNABLE RECEIVE, BE READY ON 900 KCS. ITASCA TRANSMIT LETTER A POSITION OWN CALL LETTERS AS ABOVE ON HALF HOUR 7.5 MEGACYCLES. POSITION SHIPS AND OUR LEAVING WILL DETERMINE BROADCAST TIMES SPECIFICALLY. IF FREQUENCIES MENTIONED UNSUITABLE NIGHT WORK INFORM ME LAE. I WILL GIVE LONG CALL BY VOICE 3105 KCS QUARTER AFTER HOUR POSSIBLE QUARTER TO. EARHART

Coast Guard division headquarters in San Francisco to Itasca on 6/26/37

FOLLOWING INFORMATION FROM EARHART THIS DATE -
"HOMING DEVICE COVERS FROM 200 TO 1500 AND 2400 TO 48 KILOCYCLES. ANY FREQUENCIES NOT, REPEAT NOT, NEAR ENDS OF BANDS SUITABLE." SUGGEST USING SUITABLE FREQUENCIES HAVING IN MIND UNCERTAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF HIGH FREQUENCIES. USE 333 KILOCYCLES OR FREQUENCY IN THAT VICINITY AND TRY 545 KILOCYCLES AFTER TESTS WITH STATIONS YOUR LOCALITY TO DETERMINE WHICH IS BEST. ADVISE IF IMPOSSIBLE TO PLACE TARE 10 TRANSMITTER ON 3105 KILOCYCLES. EARHART AT LAE VIA TUTUILA EXACT FREQUENCIES SELECTED AND ASSUME CONTINUOUS SIGNALS AFTER HER DIRECTION FINDER IN RANGE. SEE BROADCAST ON QUARTER AFTER AND QUARTER BEFORE HOUR ON 6210 AND 3105 KILOCYCLES.
AM ADVISING EARHART THAT ITASCA WILL VOICE RADIO HER ON 3105 ON HOUR AND HALF HOUR AS SHE APPROACHES HOWLAND. REPAIRS MADE AND EARHART NOW AT SOURABAYA. EXPECTS LEAVE DAWN THIS DATE FOR PORT DARWIN AND NEXT DAY FOR LAE. ADVISE PRIORITY IF ADJUSTMENTS TARE TEN TRANSMITTER SATISFACTORY FOR USE ON 3105.

Itasca to Coast Guard division headquarters in San Francisco on 6/26/37

CONSIDER PRESENT RELATIONSHIP DIVISION-ITASCA COMMUNICATIONS UNSATISFACTORY AND POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS TO EARHART CONTACTS AND OTHER VITAL SCHEDULES. URGENTLY REQUEST ITASCA BE GIVEN COMPLETE COMMUNICATION INDEPENDANCE. ITASCA HAS RELIABLE COMMUNICATIONS WITH NAVY AND ROUTINE TRAFFIC CAN BE ROUTED VIA THAT SYSTEM.
RECOMMEND DISCONTINUANCE ALL SAN FRANCISCO RADIO-ITASCA SCHEDULES UNTIL EARHART FLIGHT REACHES HAWAII

6/28/37 from Itasca

FOLLOWING FOR AMELIA EARHART PUTNAM LAE -
ITASCA TRANSMITTERS CALIBRATED 7500 6210 3105 500 AND 425 KCS CW AND LAST THREE EITHER CW OR MCW. ITASCA DIRECTION FINDER FREQUENCY RANGE 550 TO 270 KCS.
REQUEST WE BE ADVISED AS TO TIME OF DEPARTURE AND ZONE TIME TO BE USED ON RADIO SCHEDULES. ITASCA AT HOWLAND ISLAND DURING FLIGHT

On 6/29, Earhart, in Lae, New Guinea, sent:

COMMANDER USS ITASCA -
PLAN MIDDAY TAKEOFF HERE. PLEASE HAVE METEOROLOGIST SEND FORECAST LAE HOWLAND SOON AS POSSIBLE. IF REACHES ME IN TIME WILL TRY LEAVE TODAY OTHERWISE JULY FIRST.
REPORT IN ENGLISH NOT CODE ESPECIALLY WHILE FLYING. WILL BROADCAST HOURLY QUARTER PAST HOUR GCT. FURTHER INFORMATION LATER; EARHART

On the same day Earhart also sent -

BLACK ITASCA VIA TUTUILA; ACCOUNT LOCAL CONDITIONS PLAN START JULY FIRST TWENTYTHREE THIRTY GCT IF WEATHER OK. WILL ITASCA TRY CONTACT LAE DIRECT ON TWENTYFIVE METRES LAE ON 46 METRES SO CAN GET FORECAST IN TIME? PARTICULARLY INTERESTED PROBABLE TYPE PERCENTAGE CLOUDS NEAR HOWLAND. NOW UNDERSTAND ITASCA VOICING 3105 ON HOUR AND HALF HOUR WITH LONG CONTINUOUS SIGNAL ON APPROACH.
CONFIRM AND APPOINT TIME FOR OPERATOR HERE TO STAND WATCH FOR DIRECT CONTACT; EARHART

Itasca replied:

FOLLOWING FOR AMELIA EARHART PUTNAM -
REFERENCE YOUR MESSAGE, HAVE NO AEROLOGIST ABOARD HAVE REQUESTED FORECAST FROM FLEET AIR BASE,PEARL HARBOR FOR HOWLAND TO LAE THOUGH DOUBTFUL IF OBTAINABLE. WILL FORWARD HONOLULU HOWLAND FORECAST AS INDICATED 6/29

Itasca to Earhart

FOR AMELIA EARHART PUTNAM -
REQUEST ITASCA BE ADVISED CALL LETTERS OF STATION TO BE CONTACTED. WILL ATTEMPT TO CONTACT LAE 1430 2030 2200 GCT. ITASCA WILL TRANSMIT LETTER A WITH CALL LETTERS REPEATED TWICE END EVERY MINUTE ON HALF HOUR AND HOUR ON 7.5 MEGACYCLES. WILL BROADCAST VOICE ON 3105 KCS ON REQUEST OR START WHEN WITHIN RANGE. RECENT CLOUDS CIRRO STRATUS THREE TENTHS AND SOME STRATO CUMULUS. SURFACE WIND EAST 11 TO 19 AT 8000.

6 a.m. 7/1, AE to Black

ASK ONTARIO BROADCAST LETTER N FOR FIVE MINUTES TEN MINUTES AFTER HOUR GMT 400 KCS WITH OWN CALL LETTERS REPEATED TWICE END EVERY MINUTE. PLAN LEAVE BY TEN THIS MORNING NEW GUINEA TIME

Later on 7/1/37 Earhart sent:

BLACK ITASCA -
DUE LOCAL CONDITIONS TAKE OFF DELAYED UNTIL 2130 GMT JULY SECOND. ANY FORECAST LAE HOWLAND BEFORE THEN APPRECIATED. NOTIFY ONTARIO CHANGE. EARHART

On 7/2/37 the operator at Lae sent:

URGENT BLACK ITASCA -
AMELIA EARHART LEFT LAE TEN AM LOCAL TIME JULY 2ND, DUE HOWLAND ISLAND 18 HOURS TIME.


PDFs of Originals Background Itasca Radio Room
Glossary Radio Traffic Analysis of 0843
Archived Research Bulletins Earhart Project Home Page

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