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Author Topic: Post-Loss Radio Transmissions  (Read 13733 times)

Alan Williams

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Post-Loss Radio Transmissions
« on: June 16, 2010, 10:13:53 AM »

Greetings TIGHAR friends and staff,

I've spent about twenty hours on your site and my wife and I just ordered the book, Finding Amelia. It sounds like from the description of the book it will cover what I've been most curious about, the potential validity of any of the post-loss radio transmissions. As we know, mulit-million dollar projects have been launched to locate the missing plane on the ocean floor, yet if any of the post-loss radio transmissions could be validated, wouldn't it dramatically alter all but TIGHR's loss hypothesis and consequent search plans?

Having a technical background and wondering about this, the thoughts about the post-loss radio transmissions that come to mind include first that there appears to have been some clearly acknowledged hoax transmissions. I wonder how much is understood about where would they might have come from? Consider, in 1937 wouldn't radio gear required to make such transmissions been rather exotic and not typically available? Further, wouldn't basic necessities like the electricity to power such radio equipment been even more rare? Next, wouldn't the installation and maintenance of such radio equipment have required more than a casual understanding of high-power RF electronics. If the answers to those questions are true, wouldn't a person having expertise and access to such radio equipment been more likely to have been a responsible person that would potentially be operating in some official service and in fear of losing a license of similar? I'd guess some of the hoax transmissions could have come from passing ships, but wouldn't the crew of a passing ship have better things to attend to?

Regarding the broadcasting of hoax messages, how many people in the general population, before the advent of satellite and day-of-event reporting would have even known the AE plane was missing - when and where? Who would have known what to include to make an authentic sounding broadcast? Who knew FN was on the plane? Who would have known what frequency to broadcast on? Backing up a bit, on another angle regarding the radio transmissions, I've read elsewhere that there appears to be a big question mark regarding why AE and FN stopped broadcasting while clearly still in flight. Wouldn't a flier who was anticipating a crash landing keep talking almost endlessly trying to get the word out about where they were and what was happening?

After the hoax messages have been identified, moving into the area of potentially valid messages  how many potentially valid messages do there appear to have been? What characteristics would be represented in potentially valid broadcasts? Weren't there factors about AE's equipment and transmissions that a potential hoaxer wouldn't have known, such as the keying system of her mic, potential background noise, proficiency with Morse code, broadcast situation, etcetera? How about the several stations that appeared to get an accurate compass indication from the broadcasts? How much work has gone into validation of their claims? I understand that post-loss broadcast messages appear to have been heard for about four nights after the loss, and I also understand that work has gone into theories about the plane being on a reef and only accessible at night when the tide was verified to be low. What other creative energy could be applied to understanding more about the post-loss radio transmissions?

I guess in plain terms, the potential validity of post-loss radio transmissions is to me the biggest factory in understanding what might have happened. I could almost see detailed studies devoted exclusively the the post-loss transmissions being worthwhile. Were any of them be found to be, one might say "beyond a reasonable doubt authentic", that to me would be a tremendous step forward, a breakthrough. Perhaps that has already occurred, we're looking forward to the new book.

Thanks again guys for all the work, your insights always eagerly awaited,

Alan
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Post-Loss Radio Transmissions
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2010, 03:27:42 PM »

... there appears to have been some clearly acknowledged hoax transmissions.

I think it would be more accurate to say that there were some definitely false claims of having hear AE.  The perpetrators were the ham radio enthusiasts making the claims; no one else heard them.  You'd have to classify them as "hoax receptions," I think.

Quote
I wonder how much is understood about where would they might have come from? Consider, in 1937 wouldn't radio gear required to make such transmissions been rather exotic and not typically available? Further, wouldn't basic necessities like the electricity to power such radio equipment been even more rare? Next, wouldn't the installation and maintenance of such radio equipment have required more than a casual understanding of high-power RF electronics. If the answers to those questions are true, wouldn't a person having expertise and access to such radio equipment been more likely to have been a responsible person that would potentially be operating in some official service and in fear of losing a license of similar? I'd guess some of the hoax transmissions could have come from passing ships, but wouldn't the crew of a passing ship have better things to attend to?

That's a good case against the likelihood of hoax transmissions being responsible for the convergence of direction finding on the Phoenix Islands.

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... I've read elsewhere that there appears to be a big question mark regarding why AE and FN stopped broadcasting while clearly still in flight.

There is no evidence that AE and FN stopped broadcasting; rather, the evidence suggests that when AE shifted to her daytime frequency of 6210 kcs, the Itasca was unable to receive what she was transmitting.  There was a similar "blackout" on 6210 kcs on her takeoff from Lae; nothing was heard from the plane until about four hours after takeoff. 

The Coast Guard radiomen lost track of her transmission schedule and were transmitting when they should have been listening for her 19:45 GMT broadcast.  The last message received (20:13 GMT) was only two minutes earlier than scheduled.

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Wouldn't a flier who was anticipating a crash landing keep talking almost endlessly trying to get the word out about where they were and what was happening?

"Of the making of [coulda-woulda-shouldas], there is no end" (Eccl 12:12).  Everybody has their own view of what a pilot "would" have done in AE's shoes.  The question is moot (interesting, debatable, and irrelevant).  All we have to go on is the logs, and the last logged message says she was planning to change frequencies.

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... moving into the area of potentially valid messages  how many potentially valid messages do there appear to have been? What characteristics would be represented in potentially valid broadcasts? Weren't there factors about AE's equipment and transmissions that a potential hoaxer wouldn't have known, such as the keying system of her mic, potential background noise, proficiency with Morse code, broadcast situation, etcetera? How about the several stations that appeared to get an accurate compass indication from the broadcasts? How much work has gone into validation of their claims? I understand that post-loss broadcast messages appear to have been heard for about four nights after the loss, and I also understand that work has gone into theories about the plane being on a reef and only accessible at night when the tide was verified to be low. What other creative energy could be applied to understanding more about the post-loss radio transmissions?

Ric Gillespie and Bob Brandenberg have been working on the post-loss messages for years.  Their work provides the backbone for the argument in Finding Amelia.  I spent some hours wrestling with the database early in 2009, just trying to offer some ideas about how to organize the information they've collected.  I also once held in my hands and saw with my own eyes an immense printout showing the correlation between tides and apparent transmission times.  The printout was longer than the room we were in.

I expect that Bob and Ric will eventually publish all the information they've collected in one form or another.

Quote
I guess in plain terms, the potential validity of post-loss radio transmissions is to me the biggest factor in understanding what might have happened. I could almost see detailed studies devoted exclusively the the post-loss transmissions being worthwhile. Were any of them be found to be, one might say "beyond a reasonable doubt authentic", that to me would be a tremendous step forward, a breakthrough. Perhaps that has already occurred, we're looking forward to the new book.

I think Finding Amelia is the book, although I think that Ric and Bob have collected more potentially credible accounts since it came out.  I doubt that we'll see much action on the publication of the complete list until the material from Niku VI has been sorted out.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Monty Fowler

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Re: Post-Loss Radio Transmissions
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2010, 05:14:34 PM »

Don't forget some of the DVD goodies that come with the book - and the links on there that go to TIGHAR web pages. It will NEVER be enough to convince the "captured by the Japanese" or "sank at sea" schools of thought, but for those of us who prefer reasonable and rational explanations, this sure fits into those categories.
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
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david alan atchason

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Re: Post-Loss Radio Transmissions
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2011, 07:36:45 AM »

The DVDs in the book............somehow I don't think they will appear if I receive the book on my new Kindle. Maybe I better order the physical book.
I have no way to determine if the messages came at low tides, I don't have the info, but going by Betty's reception, I can picture AE and FN trying to call for help while some big swells are rocking and flooding the plane, FN wants to get out, maybe the plane is being pulled into the surf, but I maintain jumping out into the surf or even between waves is a dicey proposition. Perhaps the Betty message represents their last desperate try to transmit before the plane washes away from land.
I also wonder why the natives are supposedly so disturbed by the alleged plane wreck? Were they always so frightened of plane wrecks on other islands? Did one of them glimpse some human remains inside the plane? Since they came to the island about a year after the disappearance, maybe they could have. Yet, how could they possibly know the when or who about the plane?
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h.a.c. van asten

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Re: Post-Loss Radio Transmissions
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2011, 11:52:21 AM »

Molesk. Leo Bellarts has recorded that Amelia´s voice was "frantic" and near "panic"  with her last message coming in. Is such condition necessary when simply shifting from 3105 to 6210 ?
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Post-Loss Radio Transmissions
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2011, 09:25:34 PM »

Leo Bellarts has recorded that Amelia´s voice was "frantic" and near "panic"  with her last message coming in. Is such condition necessary when simply shifting from 3105 to 6210 ?

The transcript of Bellarts comments from 1973 records one man's opinion 36 years after the fact.  He may or may not be correct in his memory of how she sounded.  It would be more persuasive if his recollection was backed by other statements to the same effect.

Even if we take his anecdote as a matter of fact, there is no way to answer your question.  It is moot: interesting, arguable either way, something about which reasonable people might reasonably disagree, and of no help whatsoever in deciding where to search for the remains of the aircraft.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Post-Loss Radio Transmissions
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2011, 05:19:49 AM »


I expect that Bob and Ric will eventually publish all the information they've collected in one form or another.



We're getting close - and it will knock your socks off.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2011, 06:33:12 AM by moleski »
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Cynthia M Kennedy

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Re: Post-Loss Radio Transmissions
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2011, 01:29:05 PM »

I'm sure anxiously awaiting this report.

Cindy
TIGHAR #3167


I expect that Bob and Ric will eventually publish all the information they've collected in one form or another.



We're getting close - and it will knock your socks off.
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Tim Collins

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Re: Post-Loss Radio Transmissions
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2011, 06:57:11 AM »


We're getting close - and it will knock your socks off.

That's just downright cruel Ric! But I love it and can't wait.
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Ashley Such

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Re: Post-Loss Radio Transmissions
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2011, 03:55:42 PM »

Can't wait to read about the report, either! Sounds like it'll be interesting!
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