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Author Topic: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?  (Read 123559 times)

Gus Rubio

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Morse msg analysis Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2011, 10:57:54 AM »

It's likely the charts of the day didn't specify the island names but the Norwich City was one heck of a landmark.  Again, if you have TIGHAR faith, you believe that Betty heard the calls for help and the name of the wreck. Reasonably minded people can make reasonable assumptions that the locals, who AE and FN thought might hear their radio calls, would know about the landmark. What better way to describe to those listening where they were. Time is an issue for them as water is limited. They need to be rescued. Even if they guessed they were on Gardner the natives may have another name for the island and not recognize "Gardner". Besides, what if they had doubts about what island they were on?  So many islands with palm trees and lagoons. How do you describe the one you're on versus another?  Your island has a great big shipwreck to make it special.  If someone other than young Betty had heard the ships name would that have been enough?  I think Ric posted somewhere in this forum that the shipwreck was not well known. But if someone else had heard it then it's still a better clue than "waiting for rescue on a deserted island with a lagoon and palm trees."  Someone could at least investigate the name "Norwich City".  Could this be why Gardner wasn't mentioned?

I have a little theory I've been fiddling with recently, about one of the post-loss Morse code messages:

"281 NORTH HOWLAND CALL KHAQQ BEYOND NORTH DONT HOLD WITH US MUCH LONGER ABOVE WATER SHUTOFF"

If we examine the phrase “BEYOND NORTH” in detail, we see that TH in Morse is “- ....”.  But a C in Morse is “-.-.”.  So if two of the dots in C came across as a single dash,  instead of “BEYOND NORTH” we get “BEYOND NOR C”, or “NOR(wich) C(ity)”.  Remember, the quality of this message was quite poor, and AE/FN were not proficient in Morse.

A similar thought process turns the first occurence of "NORTH" into "SOUTH", which makes more sense ("south of Howland").  *shrug*

This is just a little exercise I went through, for fun.  Thoughts?
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2011, 11:41:21 AM »

Interesting but I don't believe AE or FN had a morse key with them.  Did you check in the post loss credibility paper to see if this message was marked as "credible"? 
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2011, 07:19:06 AM »

Interesting but I don't believe AE or FN had a morse key with them.  Did you check in the post loss credibility paper to see if this message was marked as "credible"?
The "281 message" is credible.  AE and FN did not have a morse key with them so any attempt to send code was done by pressing and releasing the push-to-talk switch on the mic.  Extremely cumbersome and resulting in a "poorly keyed" transmission as reported by the Navy.
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2011, 08:00:49 AM »

Then Gus has an interesting angle given Ric's comments about it being keyed from a microphone.

Was there only one written interpretation on this message?  If others heard it did they interpret it exactly the same way or differently?  Comparing them may give Gus more to work with.
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2011, 08:17:24 AM »

Was there only one written interpretation on this message?

Navy Radio Wailupe (near Honolulu) heard the transmission and apparently told the Coast Guard in Honolulu about it in a telephone call.  Coast Guard Honolulu (COMHAWSEC) then advised Itasca in a radio message that said:
The following Morse code transmission, consisting of fragmentary phrases, with extremely poor keying, was copied by three Navy operators: “281 NORTH HOWLAND CALL KHAQQ BEYOND NORTH DONT HOLD WITH US MUCH LONGER ABOVE WATER SHUT OFF”

No interpretation was offered and, unfortunately, there is no information about which words constituted phrases.  For example, was it "281 NORTH ..... HOWLAND CALL KHAQQ" or "281 NORTH HOWLAND ... CALL KHAQQ?"  It was Warner Thompson, the CO aboard Itasca, who interpreted the words to mean that the plane was afloat 281 miles north of Howland.
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2011, 08:35:30 AM »

Thanks Ric. Just to be clear.  It was one CG radio station and three CG radio operators at tha one station. All three interpreted an "extremely" poorly keyed and fragmentary message identically?  I am unfamiliar with CG radio procedures but is that likely?  As has been demonstrated with Itasca radio logs, could this be another case of radio log "adjustments"?  Could Gus in fact be right?
Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2011, 09:28:18 AM »

These were not CG operators.  These were USN radio operators at the Navy's main radio facility in Hawaii. I would expect that they were pretty good.  It was a Sunday night, the night of the 4th of July.  Official traffic was probably pretty slow and they apparently had time to amuse themselves by tuning in 3105 and seeing if they could hear any of the Earhart messages everyone was talking about.  The phrases were reportedly heard over the course of an hour but the phrases only take a minute or so to send, even if you go really slow - so it would seem logical to speculate that the phrases were sent repeatedly.  If there was an error in relating what was heard I suspect it happened in the (supposed) phone call from the Navy to the Coast Guard or the message from COMHAWSEC to Itasca. 
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Irvine John Donald

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2011, 09:44:06 AM »

Thank you Ric. As always your explanation "paints" a reasonable portrayal of "theoretical" events and the facts surrounding them. Plausible and likely.

I typed the line above with a smile on my face. I really wrote that line for Gary. He hasn't made many posts lately so I am guessing he is doing some major research on Ric's suggestion on crab wrestling and he isn't finding a lot of official technical documents to support his position that the crabs will win. (Or lose, just as long as he isn't on the same side as Ric.)

Respectfully Submitted;

Irv
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2011, 09:53:42 AM »

There is video of me wrestling a medium-sized Coconut Crab out of a hollow tree.  I'll put it up on Youtube when I get a chance.  Kids, don't try this at home.
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richie conroy

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2011, 05:05:34 PM »

1 ov the interviews tighar have done, the person they were interviewing referred to ship on reef as the city ov norwich

also part ov bettys note book telling george to go in cubboard would love to know if he did
We are an echo of the past


Member# 416
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2011, 06:43:31 PM »

The "281" isn't so far off from the actual distance from Howland to Gardner, is it?

If you don't have a sextant but you do have an almanac you can get your latitude pretty accurately by simply observing the time of local noon (when the sun is highest).  If you know you latitude, you know how far you are from the equator.  The spot where we think the Electra was when the "281" message was heard is 280 nautical miles from the equator.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2011, 01:05:32 AM »

The "281" isn't so far off from the actual distance from Howland to Gardner, is it?

If you don't have a sextant but you do have an almanac you can get your latitude pretty accurately by simply observing the time of local noon (when the sun is highest). If you know you latitude, you know how far you are from the equator.  The spot where we think the Electra was when the "281" message was heard is 280 nautical miles from the equator.
Sorry Ric, that's not how it works. If you could determine the time of noon, when the sun is highest in the sky, then you can easily find your approximate LONGITUDE, not your latitude. The sun circles around the earth (360 degrees) in 24 hours so it is traveling westward 15 degrees per hour (900 knots at the equator), one degree every four minutes and one nautical mile every 4 seconds. Since "noon" is connected to the sun, "noon" also travels westward at these same rates. This is not a normal technique because there are methods that provide a more accurate longitude. This is because the height of the sun changes very slowly around noon. Looking at noon at Gardner on July 2, 1937, the highest point the sun reaches 62° 18.6' at 2342:00 Z, noon. But, the sun climbs through 62° 17.6' at 2337:59 Z and descends through the same altitude at 2346:06 Z. This means that the altitude of the sun stays within one minute of arc, one-sixtieth of a degree, of its highest point for eight minutes, during which time the sun moves two degrees westward, which makes the longitude determined by this method only accurate within two degrees, 120 NM. And to achieve that accuracy you need a sextant because there is nobody on the planet earth that can see a one minute change in the sum's altitude without a sextant and it is difficult even with a sextant. And that's with a marine sextant which is much more accurate than a bubble sextant.

If you can accurately measure the altitude of the sun at it's highest point, at noon, then you can easily determine your latitude but this also requires a sextant since you can't estimate the height with the naked eye any better than about ten degrees so you can only determine your latitude with a naked eye to a precision of about 10 degrees, 600 NM, so the "281" wasn't determined this way. To get to an accuracy of one mile you need the altitude to be measured to a precision of one minute of arc and the sextant carried by Noonan had a scale marked only every two minutes of arc.

gl
« Last Edit: December 14, 2011, 04:01:49 PM by Gary LaPook »
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2011, 06:50:04 AM »

"If you could determine the time of noon, when the sun is highest in the sky, then you can easily find your approximate LONGITUDE, not your latitude."
Then the chapter "Finding Latitude by meridian transit and Polaris" in my copy of Crawford is wrong? :o  No wonder they got lost.

I find it easy to believe that FN had a map showing the location of Gardner, but not the name of the island.  It would be an easy matter to take the latitude off of the map, if he was sure that particular dot of an island was where they were at.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2011, 07:22:08 AM »

Sorry Ric, that's not how it works.

Thanks for the correction.

If you can accurately measure the altitude of the sun at it's highest point, at noon, then you can easily determine your latitude but this also requires a sextant since you can't estimate the height with the naked eye any better than about ten degrees so you can only determine your latitude with a naked eye to a precision of about 10 degrees, 600 NM, so the "281" wasn't determined this way. To get to an accuracy of one mile you need the altitude to be measured to a precision of one minute of arc and the sextant carried by Noonan had a scale marked only every two minutes of arc.

Now THAT is interesting.  We think the airplane (and thus our heroes) were at roughly 4.65° South. If a degree of latitude in that neighborhood is 60 nm (I have great faith that you'll correct me if I'm wrong) then our heroes were 279 nm from the equator.  The proximity of that number to "281" is intriguing but I have always wondered how Fred could be close but not precise.  I would have thought that ol' Fred, if he could get their latitude at all, would nail it to the mile.  You have provided a reasonable possible explanation.  Not that I don't trust you  ;) but I checked and the Brandis Navy Surveying Sextant is, indeed, marked in two degree increments.

The "281" message is one of the most cryptic, frustrating, and fascinating transmissions in the whole pantheon of post-loss radio signals.  If 281 is an attempt to convey the plane's location it means that someone, either AE or Fred, has used the sextant to determine latitude, probably by shooting the sun at local noon, but has not used the sextant to get a precise location by shooting the stars on any of the three nights they've been there.  Fred certainly had the required knowledge and expertise to do that.  AE just as certainly did not but she may have been able to manage a simple sun shot.

The 281 message was sent in the very early morning hours (Gardner time) of Monday, July 5.  The transmission Betty heard - with an apparently irrational Noonan - was heard later that same morning.   

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Chris Johnson

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Re: Why wasn't Gardiner identified in the radio messages?
« Reply #29 on: December 14, 2011, 07:42:18 AM »

Has GLP added further fuel to the Niku Hypothysis?

Watch this space  ;D ;D ;D
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