Research Document #34

The Pan American Airways Memos

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This report is from R.M. Hansen, Operator in Charge, Wake Island.

Wake Report 1
Wake 2
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Transcripts

 
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July 10, 1937

 

Division Communications Supt.

Communications

Alameda

 

Operator in Charge

Communications

Wake

EARHART FLIGHT -- Wake Deductions

In accordance with your radio request of July 8, 1937, for a written report on Wake's activities in connection with the Earhart flight, I wish to submit the following:

On July 3, 1937 at 2146 GCT, we opened a listening watch for KHAQQ on 6210 KC. As per instructions just received from Hono1ulu-Alameda (KC-HG). We had a plane at this time but managed to get along with one circuit receiver while using the other to maintain this listening watch on 6210 KC. Until around sundown when the plane landed. At this time, the listening watch frequency was changed to 3105 and back to 6210 and then back to 3105 for the rest of the night. During the day, both 6210 and 3105 KC proved very dead, indeed. Shortly before sundown signals around 6210 began to come in but nothing that resembled those from the plane were heard and as we had been advised that 3105 was the ship's night frequency and as this frequency was beginning to show signs of life about this time, we shifted to 3105 permanently at 0633 GCT. Up to 1105 nothing had been heard that resembled the plane and we closed the listening watch temporarily to open the circuit. At 1150 we resumed watch on 3105 after Honolulu had advised that they had been hearing a series of weak signals all night on 3105. At 1210 several fones were noted in the vicinity of 3105. At 1215 heard an intermittent fone of rather wobbly characteristics; which I at first mistook to be a self-excited signal -- voice modulated with male voice altho unreadable thru QRN. This station came in at exactly 10 degrees higher on the 1496 dial than C5 using the 'E' coils which appears to be 3105 KC plus or minus a gnat's eyelash or two. Called Honolulu's attention to this signal immediately. At 1240 GCT, PN at HNL advised that the USCG wants us to concentrate all our efforts on getting a bearing on KHAQQ even if only an apex or doubtful one, so closed circuit and station guard on 3105 KC to open DF. At 1330 opened DF and QSO'ed KNBF and KNBH from there using C6 both ways. Got lined up on 3105 using 'C' coils at 92-95 degrees detector dial and kept and unfruitful vigil until 1524 then KNSF advises listen quick 3105 KC. Wake and Midway both listen. Unhear any type of signal this vicinity. KNBH says hears OK but too CRJ to get any QTE. KNBF takes a few QTE shots on this signal. At 1540, he says he gets 213.5 appx at 1530. Only signal audible this vicinity of spectrum at Wake is an xtal fone too high on dial and way off 3105 KC and bearing spectrum at Wake is an xtal fone too high on dial and way off 3105 KC and bearing 75 degrees true from Wake. At 1600 GCT advised KNBH that we going close DF now as have to open for our own ship departure at 1830. Says OK. At 1612 close df (now July 4th).

Owing to the fact that we were busy with our ship and a1so that neither 6210 nor 3105 KC are any good during the daylight hours, we did not open a listing watch on KHAQQ until 0600 GCT July 5th. (The evening of the same day local time). At this time Baxter opened on 3105.

Division Supt.
Earhart Flight, Wake Deductions
Page 2
Considerable QRN at this time and no sigs resembling KHAQQ at or near 3105, KIKF, code station near 3105 comingin QSA3 with QSB. At 0620, KNBF called C2 and advised us to have man at DF and at RECR station and one at hotel radio listening for KGMB, for 0630 GCT test. Shortly previous to this time, we had been advised by Honolulu that KGMB was to act as control station during the night's activities. At 0628, I opened the DF listening watch with Johnson at the new high-powered hotel super and Baxter at the receiving station. The only signal audible at the DF up to 0321 was KIKF. At this time Honolulu said OK to QSK until 1100 GCT and the DF amd receiving station watch were closed altho a listening guard was maintained at the BCL super by either Baxter, Johnson or myself individually or collectively until sequence time. At 0945 GCT, I got a bit curious and turned on a 1496 on 3105. At 0948 a phone signal of good intensity and well modulated by a voice but wavering badly suddenly came on 3105. While the carrier frequency of this signal did not appear to vary appreciably, its strength did vary in an unusually eratic manner and at 0950, the carrier strength fell off to QSA2 with the wavering more noticeable than ever. At 0952, it went off completely. This signal was also heard by Johnson whose attention I called to it at the time as its peculiar characteristics and coincident frequency of 3105 appx made it very noticeable under the circumstances. At 1045 listening watch on 3105 was stopped and the circuit watch openend. Immediately after sequence, it was decided that BH, BF, and BI would start a DF watch immediately using C6 for QSO from the DF as on the previous night. Accordingly at 1212, I opened the DF guard on 3105 KC; at 1223 a very unsteady voice modulated carrier was observed at 94.5 degrees (5 degrees up from C5) on the detector dial using 'C' coils (3105 KC appx). This transmission lasted until 1236 GCT. I was able to got an approximate bearing of 144 degrees. In spite of the extreme eccentricity of this signal during the entire length of the transmission, the splits were definite and pretty fair. Inasmuch as the Wake inner system was not recently calibrated in this sector, I used past C5 curves and considerable sinosidual curve juggling of my own in arriving at the corrected bearing of 144 degrees true appx. At the time I believed this bearing to be reasonable accurate and I am still of that opinion. After I obtained the observed bearing, I advised Midway to listen for the signal. (couldn't raise HNL). He apparently did not hear it. This signal started in at a carrier strength of QSA5 and at 1236, when the transmission stopped it had gradually petered out to QSA2 during the intervals when it was audible. The characteristics of this signal were identical with those of the signal mentioned as being heard the previous night on the 1496 at the receiver station with the exception that at the DF the complete periods of no signal occurred during shorter intervals. See attached radio sent to Honolulu for description details. While no identification call letters were distinguished in either case I was positive at that time that this was KHAQQ. At this date, I am sti11 of this opinion. The rest of that night was spent uneventfully at the DF and at 1630 GCT, I closed the DF. As on the previous day, Local time, no attempt was made to stand any listening watch on 3105 KC or 6210 KC, and at 0700 GCT, July 6, 1937, it was impossible to do anything much owing to the presence over and near Wake of a severe electrical storm. Also KGMB reception which had on other nights been good, was very poor on this night. On the following night, no attempt made to stand any watches on 3105 or 6210 as the CG had apa apparently piled at least three of their phones on 3105 KC and kept them going almost constantly. From then to now, I have been QRL with our own planes, monthly report, SGL troub1es, 14A troubles, etc. I have at hand several pages of radio DF and station 1ogs which I shall forward next flight as I want to make them up in triplicate. There in not the slightest question in my mind that the signals I have reported on could have been those of a maladjusted GC phone, because (1) the abnormal and unusually erratic characteristics of these signals as compared to the steady operating CG phones. And (2), the fact that

Division Com.
Supt. Earhart Flight -- Wake Deductions
Page 3

no CG boats were, to the best of my knowledge, anywhere near the line of the Wake DF bearing of 144 degrees appx. Hoping this report will meet with your approval, I remain
  Respectfully yours,  
  /s/ R. M. Hansen  
cc: Sec. Comm. Supr, Honolulu    

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