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Author Topic: Electra radio equipment and antennas  (Read 35067 times)

Terry Richard

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Electra radio equipment and antennas
« on: April 04, 2011, 05:20:10 PM »

I read the TIGHAR article on the Electra radios:

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/ElectraRadios/ElectraRadios.htm

It was a pretty good read, but the book "The Sound of Wings" by Mary Lovell claims that while the Electra was in Miami, the service techs there discovered the problems with Joseph H. Gurr's work, and undid most of it. Specifically, they undid the antenna lengthening.

Also, it is claimed in that book that Bendix persuaded Amelia to replace all of the Western Electric equipment with Bendix.

It would be nice to be able to definitively find out what was aboard, and what the story on the antennas was.

Terry
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Bruce Thomas

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2011, 05:44:01 PM »

I think I recall reading that info about the work done at Miami is indeed less than what would be desired.  I suggest you will want to read the Ameliapedia article entitled "Modifications by Joe Gurr," if you haven't already done so.
LTM,

Bruce
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2011, 06:09:31 PM »

It was a pretty good read, but the book "The Sound of Wings" by Mary Lovell claims that while the Electra was in Miami, the service techs there discovered the problems with Joseph H. Gurr's work, and undid most of it. Specifically, they undid the antenna lengthening.

Also, it is claimed in that book that Bendix persuaded Amelia to replace all of the Western Electric equipment with Bendix.

It would be nice to be able to definitively find out what was aboard, and what the story on the antennas was.

Let's start by examining Lovell's sources.

Can you list them here?

Did her informants document these claims?

Where are those documents today?

Can we examine those documents?

Are the documents from 1937?  From the people who did the work?  From someone else?  How credible are the witnesses?
LTM,

           Marty
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Terry Richard

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2011, 08:07:34 AM »

I wasn't trying to stir up a hornets' nest here, just asking the questions. I'm not trying to dispute anything that I read on TIGHAR, just that there has been lots of contradictory stuff written about Amelia Earhart's disappearance, and some of it just leaves me befuddled and bewildered. That is the intent of my posts, to clear up the mystery.

Lovell's sources:

Some of what she states is from Elgen Long. I haven't read his book yet, it's on the way. She states in her book, "The Sound of Wings" (from which I quote) that he (Long) interviewed a former Bendix employee, who stated that before Amelia left Miami she was persuaded by Bendix to discard the Western Electric equipment for the new Benidix RA-1 series.

"Bendix offered Amelia five thousand dollars to ditch the Western Electric gear," Elgen Long told me.

Elgen Long also stated that he has further proof of this via Stan Rose, the mechanic who checked Amelia's radio and DF equipment at Darwin and who replaced the blown fuse. Rose apparently stated that all the radio equipment was Bendix.

The Herald Tribune reported on May 30, 1937 that, having tried unsuccessfully to raise a local radio station on both 3105 and 6120 kilocycles, the Pan Am technicians inspected the system and decided that the problem lay "with the new antennae recently installed on the flying laboratory". They believed it to be of an improper length to give the transmitter its maximum efficiency and range and "set to work this afternoon experimenting with various lengths and hope to have the problem solved in time for another test flight tomorrow".

Later, George (Putnam) was to advise Paul Mantz that the radio had given endless trouble. "As I understand it... the technicians decided... that the longer aerials were improper. One part of them just canceled out the other, so they shortened the aerials and got the thing pretty well licked..."

Terry
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 09:47:18 AM by Terry Richard »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2011, 12:30:25 PM »

I wasn't trying to stir up a hornets' nest here, just asking the questions. I'm not trying to dispute anything that I read on TIGHAR, just that there has been lots of contradictory stuff written about Amelia Earhart's disappearance, and some of it just leaves me befuddled and bewildered. That is the intent of my posts, to clear up the mystery.

If you want to "clear up the mystery," you need primary sources to do so: documents from at or near the time of the events in question.

Quote
Lovell's sources:

Some of what she states is from Elgen Long. I haven't read his book yet, it's on the way. She states in her book, "The Sound of Wings" (from which I quote) that he (Long) interviewed a former Bendix employee, who stated that before Amelia left Miami she was persuaded by Bendix to discard the Western Electric equipment for the new Benidix RA-1 series.

"Bendix offered Amelia five thousand dollars to ditch the Western Electric gear," Elgen Long told me.

Elgen Long also stated that he has further proof of this via Stan Rose, the mechanic who checked Amelia's radio and DF equipment at Darwin and who replaced the blown fuse. Rose apparently stated that all the radio equipment was Bendix.

May we check Stan's letters and diaries?

The plane did have a Bendix radio direction finder coupler.

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The Herald Tribune reported on May 30, 1937 that, having tried unsuccessfully to raise a local radio station on both 3105 and 6120 kilocycles, the Pan Am technicians inspected the system and decided that the problem lay "with the new antennae recently installed on the flying laboratory". They believed it to be of an improper length to give the transmitter its maximum efficiency and range and "set to work this afternoon experimenting with various lengths and hope to have the problem solved in time for another test flight tomorrow".

Later, George (Putnam) was to advise Paul Mantz that the radio had given endless trouble. "As I understand it... the technicians decided... that the longer aerials were improper. One part of them just canceled out the other, so they shortened the aerials and got the thing pretty well licked..."

This has been discussed at great length in the old Forum.  If you can come up with something stronger than "Elegen Long says," that will help to resolve the controversy.
LTM,

           Marty
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2011, 02:45:46 AM »

Moleski. With the high power input of Earhart´s transmitter it is hardly possible to expect any representative propagation malfunction , especially when in the Howland region , the on board radio radiated signals excellently , whereas reception of Itasca´s signals was confirmed. When the DR-Celestial approach showed failure , DF operations changed from second to first line priority , for which A/c´s crew was not instantly capable. Mindful of Occam´s razor , the Earhart tranmissions ended since from 1,000 ft altitude a Lockheed Electra (being generically nose heavy) used less than 15 seconds to get down with  engine(s) lost , if still the more or less under pilot´s control. 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2011, 05:34:59 AM »

Moleski. With the high power input of Earhart´s transmitter it is hardly possible to expect any representative propagation malfunction , especially when in the Howland region , the on board radio radiated signals excellently , whereas reception of Itasca´s signals was confirmed.

The Electra was not heard on AE's daytime frequency for four hours after takeoff from Lae.  That suggests to me that there was something peculiar about her transmitter.  I understand that you do not agree with this interpretation of the data.

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When the DR-Celestial approach showed failure , DF operations changed from second to first line priority , for which A/c´s crew was not instantly capable. Mindful of Occam´s razor , the Earhart tranmissions ended since from 1,000 ft altitude a Lockheed Electra (being generically nose heavy) used less than 15 seconds to get down with  engine(s) lost , if still the more or less under pilot´s control. 

OK.  That guess certainly explains the failure to hear any more transmissions after 2013 GMT.  You may be right.  You clearly should be working with the splashed-and-sank groups.  TIGHAR believes that some of the post-loss radio messages are credible.  This means that the simplest explanation (they crashed 15 seconds after the final transmission) doesn't cover all of the data; something other than a splashdown at sea must account for the end of the transmissions.  For me, it was the decision to change to the daytime frequency that caused the end of transmissions.

"Due to the skip characteristics of 6210 Kilocycles, Earhart’s decision to switch to that frequency effectively shuts off any further reception by Itasca.  Conclusion: The Coast Guard’s official position that the Earhart flight ran out of fuel and crashed at sea shortly after the final transmission heard by the Itasca is not supported by the facts" ("Log Jam," TIGHAR Tracks 12:2-3, 1996).
LTM,

           Marty
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2011, 12:32:14 PM »

T.Rchd  With the o/b of A/c powerful transmitter it is not very important what type of antenna on the plane was in use : evidently the installation worked when in the Howland region and RDF failure became apparent , only after the DR-Astro precomputations failed to the effect that the island did not run in sight. The before 1912 GMT bearings asked for , were most probably to support the Astro-DR approach which had been set in from sunrise o/b of A/c. This does not mean that radio communications research is useless : such investigations may serve the heuristic aim (´we just want to know it´).
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2011, 12:55:02 AM »

Moles. It may be so that some of the post loss signals are credible , but are they more credible than Earhart´s own : at 1912 GMT "1/2 hour fuel left" ?  For the discrepancy , it is not necessary to belong to any group , " splash-sank" or not . A complex incident like this can , from a certain level , not be solved by verbal determination. There is however , a chance that a solution can be found by quantitative outcomes of a good navigation model , and within the limits of the science and practice of navigation of the era. It is , of course , TIGHAR´s own choice but : if you continuously debate about one single option , a forum will in the course of time become an everlasting repetition without any new vistas , reality itself delivering the evidence : scores of books , titled "Problem Solved" have in the course of time passed in review , each one with it´s own dogma , raised or not to a religion , and with no problem solution at all.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2011, 06:25:18 AM »

Moles. It may be so that some of the post loss signals are credible , but are they more credible than Earhart´s own : at 1912 GMT "1/2 hour fuel left" ?

Yes.  Randy Jacobson dealt with this alleged transmission in "The 1937 Search: The First 24 Hours."

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For the discrepancy , it is not necessary to belong to any group , " splash-sank" or not . A complex incident like this can , from a certain level , not be solved by verbal determination.

You just used a "verbal determination" to call "verbal determinations" into question.  

Words (Latin, verba, the root of the word "verbal") are pretty much all we've got to work with in presenting arguments in this forum.  If you are claiming non-verbal (i.e., mystical) knowledge of reality, then there is no need for you to share any more verbal determinations with us.  If your argument can't be put into words, then it doesn't belong in a Forum that is nothing but a collection of words.

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There is however , a chance that a solution can be found by quantitative outcomes of a good navigation model , and within the limits of the science and practice of navigation of the era.

Do you mean something like Randy Jacobson's Monte Carlo simulation?

Your "quantitative outcomes" are based on assumptions whose worth has been challenged by those who are well qualified to do so.  Your assumptions are not self-evident nor are they demonstrated from self-evident axioms.  They are all hypotheses in need of historical evidence.   After you make YOUR assumptions, then, of course, it is a relatively trivial matter to do the calculations that would lead to a different area to search rather than Niku.  The magic is not in the mathematics but in the adoption of your starting-points:

  • IF Noonan used the sextant instead of the octant ...
  • IF Noonan made a mistake about the proper corrections to apply ...
  • IF Noonan looked at the wrong table during the flight ...
  • IF there was only 1/2 hour of fuel left at 0741 ...

... THEN we can calculate that they did not land safely on Niku.

Quote
It is , of course , TIGHAR´s own choice but : if you continuously debate about one single option , a forum will in the course of time become an everlasting repetition without any new vistas , reality itself delivering the evidence : scores of books , titled "Problem Solved" have in the course of time passed in review , each one with its own dogma , raised or not to a religion , and with no problem solution at all.

TIGHAR is not responsible for things published by other groups.  If you dislike what other researches have written, please go share your non-verbal determinations with them in their publicly accessible forums.
LTM,

           Marty
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Bill Lloyd

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2011, 10:37:57 AM »

Moles. It may be so that some of the post loss signals are credible , but are they more credible than Earhart´s own : at 1912 GMT "1/2 hour fuel left" ?  For the discrepancy , it is not necessary to belong to any group , " splash-sank" or not . A complex incident like this can , from a certain level , not be solved by verbal determination. There is however , a chance that a solution can be found by quantitative outcomes of a good navigation model , and within the limits of the science and practice of navigation of the era. It is , of course , TIGHAR´s own choice but : if you continuously debate about one single option , a forum will in the course of time become an everlasting repetition without any new vistas , reality itself delivering the evidence : scores of books , titled "Problem Solved" have in the course of time passed in review , each one with it´s own dogma , raised or not to a religion , and with no problem solution at all.
I have attempted to read and understand the numerous posts that you have made in the forum. To be competley honest, I find it extremely difficult to follow your logic in the various threads and to provide any meaningful response. Your comments that the Earhart incident cannot be solved by verbal determination is, of course, correct, however, to my knowledge it has never been stated that is what this forum is about.

TIGHAR has researched and presented much evidence and has stated that the scientific method is used to evaluate that evidence. The relevance of that evidence is what is normally debated.  I see no evidence that this forum continuously debates about "one single option", conversely many options are argued and reargued.

With all due respect, I would suggest that you take time and read as much of the old forum and published documents as possible before you post on a subject. Make an attempt to synthesize that information before you express an opinion or propose a theory. I would also suggest that you construct your sentences with better verbiage, usage and punctuation so that  they can be more easily read and understood. Most of your writings appear rambling and incoherent and could  be the reason that you do not get meaningful responses. Do not make conclusory statements (construed) and be prepared to support your arguments with appropriate authorities. Provide links to those authorities so that readers may see them.
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Mark A. Cook

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2011, 07:23:41 PM »

I am a Newbie here Mr. Lloyd.. with only  3 + hours just reading this forum..

I don't have enough time to say much but I do see your all have a mountain of very good infromation on here.. The most I ever seen on this case in question..We talking about close to 74 years if not more time has passed... A long time for any first hand fresh accounts on anything today..

Myself I plan on reading a whole lot more before I make up my mind on much at all that happened ..  I think that is a very wise tip on what to do..
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Tony

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2011, 06:44:19 AM »

Sorry if this is old news and already discussed but I thought I might bring it to the attention of the forum in case some of it is new.

 There is mention of Radio equipment being serviced by a Sgt Stan Rose of the RAAF Directional Finding Station at Darwin in this article dated 28 July 1937...has anybody seen the report I wonder?

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/30763161?searchTerm=%22amelia%20earhart%22%20darwin&searchLimits=sortby=dateAsc

And interestingly there is film footage of the Lae take off taken by Engineer and Aviator Syd Marshall who later become a collector of rare planes.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/51274550?searchTerm=%22amelia%20earhart%22%20darwin&searchLimits=sortby=dateAsc

Tony
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William G Torgerson

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2011, 07:06:16 PM »

T.Rchd  With the o/b of A/c powerful transmitter it is not very important what type of antenna on the plane was in use : evidently the installation worked when in the Howland region and RDF failure became apparent , only after the DR-Astro precomputations failed to the effect that the island did not run in sight. The before 1912 GMT bearings asked for , were most probably to support the Astro-DR approach which had been set in from sunrise o/b of A/c. This does not mean that radio communications research is useless : such investigations may serve the heuristic aim (´we just want to know it´).

A word of caution here .... the transmitter's power is not the only variable.  50 watts might sound like a lot, but on A3 (AM Modulation) most of that is wasted in the sidebands. What really matters is the A/C's ERP (Effective Radiated Power) and that can be a small fraction of the input power.  It (the ERP) can be very directional also.  I once worked on an Naval Aircraft (A3D-2) HF AM system (AN/ARC-38 w/CU-509 Automatic Antenna Coupler) that generated 100 watts of input to the antenna (which was only 11.5 feet in length) but had an ERP of about 3 watts .... directed mainly to the front of the A/C. These were at frequencies close to 41 meters (not too far from 6210 kHz).  The system could be made to work, but you had to be aware of its limitations.

Bill Torgerson
« Last Edit: June 04, 2011, 09:14:55 PM by Martin X. Moleski, SJ »
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Jon Romig

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Re: Electra radio equipment and antennas
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2013, 06:14:12 PM »


"Due to the skip characteristics of 6210 Kilocycles, Earhart’s decision to switch to that frequency effectively shuts off any further reception by Itasca.  Conclusion: The Coast Guard’s official position that the Earhart flight ran out of fuel and crashed at sea shortly after the final transmission heard by the Itasca is not supported by the facts" ("Log Jam," TIGHAR Tracks 12:2-3, 1996).

Hi Marty,

I have not been able to find a discussion of the skip problem with 6210 kilocycle transmissions. Could you point me in the right direction?

Thanks!

Jon
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