Transmissions heard from NR16020

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Colored rows in the table below contain the navigation information available for making educated guesses about the flight path of the aircraft. See Randy Jacobson's Monte Carlo simulation of the flight as an example of how this information can be used to set parameters for renavigation of the flight.

GMT Itasca kcs Logged by Content
0418 6210 Chater “Height 7000 feet, speed 140 knots” then some remark concerning “Lae” then “everything OK.”
0519 6210 Chater and Collopy At 0519 GMT, Earhart again broadcast a message on 6210 kHz. Chater reports: “Height 10000 feet position 150.7 E 7.3 S cumulus clouds everything OK.”[1] Collopy states: “At about 3 PM local time a message came through to the effect that they were at 10,000 feet but were going to reduce altitude because of thick banks of cumulus clouds.”
0718 6210 Chater and Collopy Chater reports: “Position 4.33 S 159.7E height 8000 feet over cumulus clouds wind 23 knots.” Collopy states: “The next and last message was to the effect that they were at 7,000 feet and making 150 knots, this message was received at approx. 5 PM local time.”
0726 3105 Itasca Itasca reports hearing a faint signal on 3105 kHz from Earhart, strength 1, voice signal, but unreadable. (This was probably not Earhart, as it is not at her scheduled broadcast time.)
1030 3105 Nauru “Ship in sight ahead.”[2]
1410 0240 3105 Itasca bridge Earhart voice heard, but cannot make out information.
1415 0245 3105 Itasca Itasca1 records "Able hear Earhart at (on 3105)", but Bellarts records "Heard Earhart plane / but unreadable thru static." Black claims that Bellarts heard "cloudy and overcast" in a monotone voice through the loudspeaker. Further, Black claims that James Carey, Associated Press, and H. Hanzlik, United Press, were present and verified that the voice was Earhart's.
1515 0345 3105 Itasca Bellarts states "Earhart heard fone/will lissen on hour and half on 3105-sez she." Black claims she said overcast, and Lt. Cooper is in the radio room at this time. Itasca bridge log states: "Earhart heard said she will listen on hour and half hour signals weak and fragmentary."
1623 0453 3105 Itasca Earhart on the air, Black states volume strength 1; Bellarts states "Heard Earhart (Part Cldy)"; Itasca1 was working Radio Wailupe, but "Earhart broke in on fone 3105 / nw ???? unreadable."
1742 0612 3105 Itasca Bellarts states: "Wants bearing on 3105 KCS on hour. Will whistle in mic. About two hundred miles out appx. Whistling now." Itasca1 states: "Earhart on 3105 nw / want bearing 3105 etc. 200 miles out." Itasca bridge log states: "Miss Earhart reported position 200 miles from Howland and requested bearings. Poor reception. Vessel began laying down heavy smoke to assist Miss Earhart."
1745 0615 -- Dawn at Howland Island --
1747 0617 3105 Howland Howland Island states: "Picked up Earhart (using long antenna, S3, hardly any carrier. Seemed overmodulated. Switched over to loop for Bearing, S1 - 0. She stopped Transmission). Bearing Nil. 3105."
1812 0642 3105 Itasca Itasca1 states: "Earhart on nw reception fairly clr nw Wants bearing es [and] wnts rept in 1/2/ hr"; Bellarts states: "Pse [please] take bearing on us and report in half hour--I will make noise [sic] in mic - abt 100 miles out";[3] Howland Island reports: "(am using the D/F and receiving set sparingly due to heavy drainage on batteries) (the batteries are of low AM-Hour capacity) Earhart on the air, S4 [signal strength 4], "give me a bearing" Earhart did not test for bearing. Her transmission too short for bearing, static x5, her carrier is completely modulated. Could not get a bearing due to above reasons. 3105." Itasca bridge log states: "Miss Earhart reported position 100 miles from island reception fair."
1910 0740 3105 Itasca Earhart on the air. Itasca1 states: "Earhart nw says she is running out of gas, only a half hour left, cannot hear us at all; we hear her and are transmitting to her on 3105 and 500 kHz same time constantly."
1912 0742 3105 Itasca Bellarts record states: "KHAQQ clng Itasca we must on you but cannot see u but gas is running low been unable to reach you by radio we are flying at a 1000 feet." Note that Radio Station 2 (Bellarts) is now out of sync with Radio Station 1 regarding the time of reception of this message. The Itasca bridge log states: "Plane position reported as near the island and gas running low".
1928 0758 3105 Itasca Bellarts states: "KHAQQ clng Itasca we are circling but cannot hr u GA on 7500 wid a lng count either nw or on the skd time on 1/2 hour (KHAQQ S5, A3)." S5, A3 means signal strength 5, maximum, and voice transmission. Itasca1 does not record this message. Itasca bridge log states: "Plane reported as circling and requested vessel to transmit on 7500 KC for bearing, reception very good." Black and Thompson reports state that the signal strength was 5, and "in view of signal strength it is believed Earhart was closest to Howland at this time. It was about this time Itasca expected her to arrive."
1930 0800 3105 Itasca Bellarts states: "KHAQQ clng Itasca we recd ur sigs but unable to get a minimum pse take bearing on us and ans 3105 wid voice / NRUI de KHAQQ lng dashes on 3105." Black and Thompson state essentially the same information. The Itasca bridge log states: "Plane reported receiving our signals but unable to get a minimum for a bearing; good reception." Earhart says she received the 7500 kHz signals, but could not obtain a bearing on them. She asks Itasca to please take a bearing on her, and answer with 3105 kHz with voice. She then sends a series of long dashes on 3105 kHz.
2013 0843 3105 Itasca "KHAQQ to Itasca we are on the line 157 337 wl rept msg we will rept this on 6210 KCS wait, [(3105/A3 S5 (?/KHAQQ xmission we are running on N ES S line)]"
For a discussion of the compound nature of this message, arguably containing elements from several transmissions, see Ric Gillespie, "Last Words."


  1. "At 0519 GMT, Earhart again broadcast a message on 6210 kHz. Chater reports: “Height 10000 feet position 150.7 E 7.3 S cumulus clouds everything OK.” Collopy states: “At about 3 PM local time a message came through to the effect that they were at 10,000 feet but were going to reduce altitude because of thick banks of cumulus clouds.” This is a puzzling message. The coordinates related by Chater place the airplane well south of the intended rout and, although the flight had been en route for 5 hours and 19 minutes, the position reported is only 186 nm from Lae, giving the airplane a ridiculous ground speed of 37 knots. The reported 10,000 feet of altitude is higher than the 8,000 feet recommended by Kelly Johnson for best fuel economy on this portion of the flight. None of this message makes sense in the light of the reported comment “everything OK,” and we must conclude that either the message or its transcription was inaccurate" ("The Final Flight, Part I: Lae to Midpoint").
  2. The original source is a State Department telegram from Sydney, Australia dated July 3m 1937, which reads: “Amalgamated Wireless state information received that report from ‘Nauru’ was sent to Bolinas Radio ‘at 6.31, 6.43 and 6.54 PM Sydney time today on 48.31 meters (6210 kHz), fairly strong signals, speech not intelligible, no hum of plane in background but voice similar that emitted from plane in flight last night between 4.30 and 9.30 P.M.’ Message from plane when at least 60 miles south of Nauru received 8.30 P.M. Sydney time, July 2 saying ‘A ship in sight ahead.’ Since identified as steamer Myrtle Bank sic which arrived Nauru daybreak today" (Gillespie, Forum, 25 April 2011).
  3. "Things Not Said": "A close examination of the Itasca radio log shows that Amelia probably never said 'about one hundred miles out' at all. It is clear from the platen mis-alignment that the phrase was later added to the 0646 entry in which Earhart says she 'will make a noise in the microphone' upon which she hopes Itasca will take a bearing. It is also clear from an earlier entry that this operator uses a dash to separate his own comments from the text of the message. With the added knowledge that it was part of the operator’s duty to judge distance based on the strength of reception, it becomes apparent that the 'one hundred miles out' estimate is the operator’s, not Amelia’s."