There were actually something over 300 post-loss radio messages reported
and the expectation that Earhart was alive and about to be rescued dominated
the press coverage of the search. Some, and probably most, of the reported
messages were either hoaxes or misunderstandings. Others are harder to
dismiss. If ANY are genuine, then the Electra did not go down at sea.
We have an immense file on this subject and have spent literally thousands
of hours investigating the possible authenticity of various messages. The
bottom line seems to be that one of two situations existed in the days
following the disappearance.
1. Widespread wishful thinking combined with confusion, poor radio discipline,
and a number of deliberate hoaxes resulted in an erroneous impression,
even among highly skilled commercial and government operators, that transmissions
were being sent from the lost aircraft.
2. The aircraft was on its landing gear somewhere in the Phoenix islands
and was sending transmissions in voice and crudely sent code. The voice
transmissions were barely intelligible at best and often came through as
only a carrier wave. The code signals, probably sent using the push-to-talk
switch on the mic, got through only as fragmentary phrases and were insufficient
to enable the searchers to accurately interpret the intended information.
The more credible messages stop abruptly around midnight of July 4.
For the full report on the post-loss radio signals and the
1937 search, see Finding Amelia.