Highlights From the Forum
October 1 through 7, 2000
(click on the number to go directly to that message)
|1||Film & Songs Summary||Ric Gillespie|
|2||281 Message & Betty’s Book||Doug Brutlag|
|3||Local Noon?||Dennis McGee|
|4||Re: Something New||Various|
|5||3105 Propagation in 1937||Janet Whitney|
|6||When Did Betty Hear It?||Alan Caldwell|
|7||The Signal Goes Round...||Mike Everette|
|8||10E Cruise Performance Data||Oscar Boswell|
|9||Chronological Order||Chris Kennedy|
|10||Local Noon?||Alan Caldwell|
|11||Local Noon?||Tom MM|
|12||Re: Something New||Mike Meunich|
|13||Re: Something New||Mike Meunich|
|14||Betty’s Notebook||Ron Bright|
|15||Betty’s Notebook||Vern Klein|
|16||Others Who Heard AE?||Ric Gillespie|
|17||Local Noon?||Mark Prange|
Many thanks to all who contributed to the dating of films and songs in Betty’s notebook. All the submissions are posted separately under "Dating the films and songs." Here’s a summary of the results.
Note that songs were often released prior to the film in which they were featured.
Films on page 23:
Ric is correct that FN would need an accurate timepiece/watch to calculate longitude. That being the case, he had one on the trip. From a good noonshot he could calculate both latitude & longitude-latitude from the altitude(Hs) of the sun and longitude from the sun being in its highest position in the sky and then comparing the local time(noon) with GMT and converting the time difference from Greenwich into degrees of longitude.
On Betty’s notebook, I prefer to wait for the TIGHAR jury’s verdict. Unless I woke up in North Korea this morning, one is not guilty until proven innocent. Give her and the notebook a chance to prove themselves. This one needs some serious effort & midnight oil. Maybe legit, maybe not.........I dunno. Godspeed Ric.
Doug Brutlag #2335
Ric and Doug Brutlag (and others) said FN could determine his latitude by checking the sun’s angle at local high noon. Without a watch how does he determine noon? I know the old put-a-stick-in-the-ground-and-use-it-as-a-sun-dial trick but using that method you won’t know it is noon until -- at the minimum -- one minute after noon, which would give you an incorrect answer.
So, how do you determine local noon with out a watch and without being at least one minute late?
LTM, who REALLY
From Marty Joy
Did you by any chance, ask "Betty" if she recognized AE’s voice on the transmissions? If Betty was a movie/famous person/aviation buff, she certainly would have seen various newsreels of AE and would have been familiar with her voice. Of course if she was listening to a commercial radio hoax, they probably would have imitated it.
Just some thoughts.
Newsreel clips that included speaking parts by Earhart were not very common and Earhart’s voice was not something Betty was familiar with. She is, however, adamant that the extreme emotion in the woman’s voice was absolutely genuine.
From Ross Devitt
Skip (as CBers will recall) fades in and out, the same signal can be heard at different places at different times. I assume it does on the frequency Earhart used as well ??
Is that true? Can the same signal be heard at different places at different times?
From Ross Devitt
> From Ric
A practice I’m sure a lot of us that used to listen to short wave radio have done. I spent hours chasing Radio Australia (international broadcasts), America, Europe, BBC London, and various Pacific island stations on an ancient portable transistor radio that I still have, using a simple telescopic antenna at all times of day and night, from all parts of Australia over the years I was traveling.
Often short wave from another country was the ONLY viable reception.
Th’ WOMBAT (just about to dig out the radio and see if it still works)
It worked. Mackay, Queensland, Tropical Australia, getting very loud signals on some bands Stations from Europe, fading in and out, but all readable. BBC London coming in well, even over the interference from my hard drives.
So even a low power receiver on a standard telescopic antenna is picking up signals from all over the world.
Bearing in mind that in Betty’s day there would not be so much "junk" on the airwaves (remember the Internet back around 1990?) she would possibly have a good chance of picking up a signal from the Pacific.
We used to talk from Melbourne Australia about 30 years ago, to various parts of the U.S. on 27MHz AM CB with a little less (well, a LOT less) power that Earhart’s transmitter.
Th’ WOMBAT (who is now stuck with Spanish voice and whistles and squeals.)
From Ken Knapp
Hue Miller wrote:
> If it turned out
to be a home radio, I would discount her account from
I would NOT discount the possibility of Betty having received post loss transmissions on a "wooden" home type receiver. I own 25 shortwave receivers, of various make and vintage, including a "wooden" home type (not to mention having once been in the business of repairing them ). With an adequate receiving antenna and the right atmospheric conditions, you’d be amazed at what it is possible to hear on the air with any one of them. Bottom line is this -- I would not doubt her story just because of what she was using for a receiver. Atmospheric conditions, antenna, and band congestion have MUCH more bearing on reception than the receiver itself.
’In all of her radio transmissions, AE never used her name only her call sign’......Well her call sign did not seem very effective during her ’running out of gas -floundering about in massive waters looking for land time’ and further, she probably was semi-hysterical and perhaps thought using her name might bring understanding and help faster????
Judy who doesn’t fly.
From Bill Moffet
As you know I read Randy Jacobson’s "Post-Loss Messages" file and also your photocopies of NY Herald Tribune contemporaneous stories. None of them reported AE saying anything like Betty reported, nor was there any report of conversation, etc. with FN. She identified herself as KHAQQ, not by her name. I tend to agree with William Webster-Garman and Herman De Wulf that the on-mic struggle sounds like creative script writing.
I suspect she was listening to a short wave harmonic of a local (more or less) broadcast station. To illustrate: a station broadcasting on 1550 kHz (kcs in the "old days") would produce a second harmonic on 3100 kHz - close to 3105. Its fourth harmonic at 6200 kHz might also be heard if the listener were close enough to the transmitter. It’ll be interesting to hear the March of Time broadcasts.
On the other hand, maybe she did hear something from AE that no one else did - although I think it unlikely. "The ’Radio’ Handbook", 1938, by Frank C. Jones and the Technical Staff of "Radio", indicates that a single wire antenna 67 feet long, if fed (connected) 11 feet from its center would work for 40-, 20- and 10-meter operation. Well, 6210 kHz is 48.3 meters, so if the antenna was configured a bit differently - and directionally aligned at a right angle to the transmitter - the receiver might well be able to pick up a "skip" signal on 6210 kHz. Mike E. is far better qualified to comment on this than I. Also one might ask if Betty’s father had the expertise to cut and connect the feeder for such frequencies. And why would he do so? She was apparently not interested in Ham radio nor perhaps in listening to distant (foreign) broadcasts, so I suspect the antenna was not tuned at all.
While we’re at it, somebody might check to see if St. Pete was on Daylight Saving Time in July of ’37. If Betty’s times, 3:15 - 6:15 PM were EST, then subtracting 6 hours would make it (GMT less 11 hours) 09:15 - 12:15 at Baker. (Howland was Baker plus 0:30 for Navy/USCG time.) It will also be interesting to see if we can figure what day Betty heard the broadcast.
LTM (who likes Big
I’m puzzled how you can say that none of the other post-loss messages report saying anything like what Betty reported when you don’t know what Betty reported. The database of all known post-loss messages, that was to be the ultimate product of the research in which you participated, never got made (no fault of yours, I hasten to add).
As a matter of fact, there are some startling similarities between what Betty wrote down and what was later reported by other alleged post-loss message receivers. We really need to take a hard look at the whole post-loss message question.
From Warren Lambing
My two cents, probably worth less then two cents :-). Also more of a reply to other post. Good to remember for the rest of the list, these are analog dials, to tune the station. As far as the neighbors go, who knows what model receiver they had, not all receivers are equal even back then. I play around with old receivers, have listen to some from that era, mostly I listen to shortwave, and have compare them to newer receivers, some the old sets are pretty good receivers, and comparable to the more middle of the road shortwave radios of today. As far as the Neighbor not picking it up, some old receivers will over load with a log wire antenna, some won’t. If the house has poor electrical wiring it will cause an old tube set to pick up the static from the wiring, even on shortwave bands, one house could have poor wiring the other may not. The point being it is hard to compare sets, or even analyze why more people didn’t hear the transmission, you have to wonder, how many people would be listening on that frequency, or have receivers that could pick a good signal there. Also you could asked, if it was a hoax broadcast, why didn’t more people hear it, assuming that it was hoax being transmitted closer to the States, for that matter how many people would have a crystal in there radio to broadcast on that frequency, if there aren’t many transmitters out there to broadcast on that frequencies, you have to consider it limits the amount of people who could broadcast the hoax.
I am not saying what Betty heard was AE, but it is interesting to see a log surface of a possible post radio message.
From William Webster-Garman
to me to see how many people -- even with minimal
Actually, Ric, your original and enthusiastic post summarized quite a lot of salient detail (the description itself contains 474 words).
It does seem likely to me that a Florida adolescent’s transcript of a broadcast alluding to a delirious FN fighting with AE ("The man would alternately struggle with Amelia and try to get the microphone away from her or panic and try to get out of the airplane"), or AE dramatically announcing her presence in an agitated voice without her call letters ("This is Amelia Earhart. This is Amelia Earhart.") is most likely the product of a scriptwriter (or perhaps a creative hoaxer).
Obviously, knowing that you have Betty’s complete notes, anything I may think about the subject must be heavily qualified.
But you shouldn’t be surprised, after making such a sensationalistic post with all those juicy details, that forum members have enthusiastically responded with their impressions.
Is there something in the notebook that you haven’t yet revealed that makes you think it might be a record of an actual Earhart post loss transmission?
From Ric If my posting came across as "sensationalistic" it’s only because the events recorded in Betty’s notebook are undeniably dramatic. If you think the basic facts I laid out about the nature of the circumstances portrayed by the notes were "juicy", wait until you see the full transcript. It is precisely because the scenes described in the notes are so "sensational" that I’m holding them back until we can make some reasoned judgment about whether they COULD be true, irrespective of their content.
From Cam Warren
Betty’s "short-wave" reception:
I just knew this would come up! It’s highly likely Betty was hearing a second (or higher) harmonic of a powerful nearby standard broadcast station. (As I’m sure was the case with the radio operator in Honolulu and the listener in Montana, et al.)
Betty’s receiver -
It was quite common, during the thirties, for "home" radio receivers to have two or three short-wave bands as an added attraction. My Sears "Silvertone" floor model had such, and (I believe) cost the princely sum of $16.95. Needless to say, it’s sensitivity and selectivity left a lot to be desired, and it certainly did NOT have a "CW" switch. Nor did you have the foggiest idea of the precise frequency you’d tuned!
From Vern Klein
I wonder if 15 year old "Betty" noted where on the dial she hear Earhart?
**** I read some more before posting.
I guess that’s now been answered -- she has no idea. But is there anything in the journal? As with all alleged Earhart transmissions, if it was not heard on 3105 kc or 6210 kc, it was not Earhart. (Poor calibration of receiver dials allowed for, of course) I think the chances of an off-frequency transmitter are virtually zero.
Incidentally, in my opinion, that console radio was very possibly about as good a receiver as was to be had in that time. A guy who strung up a 60-foot antenna probably had a pretty good home radio receiver. In terms of sensitivity and "image" rejection. The fancy communications receivers were little, if any, better. (For radio folks) "Betty’s" radio probably had a tuned RF amplifier ahead of the mixer.
Late comments having read today’s postings...
These home radios certainly didn’t have BFOs!Mp> The antenna wasn’t some kind of array. It was just a wire "perhaps 60 feet long."
Why didn’t all sorts of people hear the same thing? How many were listening to that frequency at that time?
I agree, it’s not a question of, could it have been heard (yes it could), but is it real? That’s the only appropriate question.
LTM for sure!
From Phil Tanner
Don Neumann writes:
> Think you’ve got
a phony here, in all of her recorded radio
The response to this is obvious. Her call sign was appropriate for normal flight, but if she is grounded somewhere and desperately wants this to be reported by anyone who hears it, if she just uses the call sign she limits her audience to those who recognize it - when her life depends on it and she has one of the most famous names in the world as an alternative. A case could be made for using both name and call sign - but you wouldn’t expect a teenager to note both if she heard the name.
LTM Phil 2276
From Don Neumann
Wasn’t Daylight Savings Time a necessity for providing more daylight hours for production of war materials during WWII?
Since you are the only one on Forum who has actually read ’Betty’s’ journal, I’m curious about her actual description of...’the transmissions continued to come in, off & on, for about three hours’..., were the transmissions of an on-going, continuous stream of ’conversation’, interrupted by the ’fading in & out’ of the signal or did each appear to be a _separate_ message, broadcast at regular (or irregular) intervals?
How would a three hour timeframe for such broadcasting fit the amount of fuel ’estimated’ that the Electra had left in it’s tanks upon landing at Gardner, as opposed to the drain on the battery system required to stay ’on-the-air’ for that three hour period?
Also, since the broadcasts were originating in the Central Pacific during the hours from 8:30 am - 11:45 am (Central Pacific Time), what effect would the ’skip’ factor have upon such broadcasts, during such timeframes, in reaching the West Coast of Florida in the late afternoon?
Does the ’notebook’ provide any _dates_ for any of the _other_ entries ’Betty’ recorded? Does the notebook contain _only_ notes & jottings from the...’summer of 1937’...?
Perhaps the...’rush-to-judgments’... you attribute to Forum participants in this case is simply due to the fact that this document bears such a close resemblance to much of the material promoted as ’evidence’ by the ’splashed & sank’ & the ’captured by the Japanese’ folks, whose offerings have been routinely discredited by TIGHAR. It’s difficult to assess the credibility of such ’evidence’ when the original source document is not available for examination & only ’bits & pieces’ of the content are being presented for discussion purposes. Maybe TIGHAR should declare a moratorium for postings on this subject until further, probative investigation of the document is completed?
Maybe this is the wrong way to handle this but I’m trying to enlist the forum’s help in making a preliminary judgment about the possible validity of the notebook, irrespective of its actual content, before we tackle the content itself, which is admittedly very dramatic. PDF images of the entire notebook will go up on the TIGHAR website a soon as we have the basic questions answered. So far we’re doing great, with extremely valuable input form many forum members.
Any analogy to the shenanigans of the crashed-and-sank or Japanese-capture theorists escapes me.
From David Evans Katz
>Betty’s notes span
a time period from roughly 3 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.
If these are the times that Betty heard AE & FN down (and presuming that the transmission was real), then they couldn’t have made Gardner. That is, there would not have been enough time from their last reported transmission to Itasca (within about 100 miles) and an 8:30 a.m. transmission from a Gardner landfall.
David Evans Katz
We have already determined that Betty’s notes can not date from July 2nd.
From Mike Meunich
From the mass of material being submitted to the forum it appears that the chronological offerings contained in the notebook will be verified in the near future. I note that Mr. Gillespie has not told us where the AE entries are in the listing; I presume it’s a test. I also note that some of the the release dates and corresponding pages would be after the AE event and therefore I presume (hope) that the AE event falls in between. Assuming the chronological order is accurate, I offer the following:
1. I understand this lady to be 78 years old and submitting a record that is approximately 63 years old. AE, except for us eccentrics, is not a hot topic. Why would she retain the document if it were a hoax perpetrated in 1937 and she couldn’t get anyone, including Goerner in the 1960’s, to buy it then? Is there any chance that the letter from her to Goener could be found in the Nimitz materials or are they so disorganized as to make location impossible short of reviewing all?
2. She doesn’t seem to be "pushing" the document, i.e. hasn’t sent it to e-bay, Sotheby’s, the National Enquirer, etc. As I understand it, a contact from a friend produced the contact from TIGHAR. We called her, she didn’t call us; neither is she seeking publicity. She does not seem to fit the profile of a person "perpetrating" a hoax.
3. If the document itself, not the chronology, fits the 1937 time frame, i.e. paper, handwriting, aging, etc., then it would appear that we have a contemporaneous document and if there was a hoax, it would have been perpetrated on her, unless an overactive 15 year old imagination created the insert. What’s the point if she wasn’t going to report it, (her father did) and unless she wanted the publicity. Refer to #2 above, she might have wanted it then, but now?
4. Three hours is a long hoax. I am familiar with Orson Welles and the "War of the Worlds" broadcast, but such a production would take some considerable time to work up and I seriously doubt that any reputable station would have made such a broadcast at the time of AE’s disappearance given her popularity and the concern of the nation over her loss. EXTREMELY poor taste. I concede that it might be on any number of morning or afternoon TV productions today, but I doubt that it would have been broadcast then. If it was broadcast and if it sounded so accurate and "real life", there should also have been a deluge of calls to the local authorities, a la "War of the Worlds".
5. That leaves an individual. Again, three hours is a long hoax. The perpetrator ought to have known that any number of authorities might be trying to get direction finders locked on to such a transmission, which could lead to him. If the perpetrator was using common or very simple equipment and local to Florida, it seems that more than one person would have listened and there (again) should have been a deluge of calls to the local authorities, a la "War of the Worlds". What’s the point of a hoax if its limited to one person and how would you limit it? If the perpetrator was using sophisticated equipment, it would seem the broadcast would have been wider in scope, more susceptible to interception and tracing by the authorities and potential loss of license or other FCC delights.
6. That also leaves a freak skip of a valid series of transmissions. I eagerly await the radio gurus’ analysis and the full transcript of the transmission(s) with reference to the page(s) of the notebook, hopefully in the proper chronology.
Last night I heard a Japanese ham (JA3BOA) working U.S. and other Western hemisphere stations for about 2 hours on the 10 meter ham band. Probability that I would have heard any DX from the Far East on 10 Meters five years ago was near zero.
The daytime propagation on 3105 KC in 1937 was terrible to nonexistent. Especially with 50 watts AM into a non-directional wire antenna. The daytime propagation on 6210 was OK out to 500 miles or so. There are presently several low power Canadian broadcast stations between 6000 and 6100 kilocycles...running 1000 watts .....hear for yourselves how strong they are during the day.
In 1937, 3105 and 6210 were common night / day frequencies used by the airlines and many "general aviation" pilots. So there were many radio transmitters around capable of putting out phony distress signals.
I don’t think there’s any doubt that hoaxes were possible.
>Betty’s notes span
a time period from roughly 3 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.
If Betty’s notes were jotted down real time and began 8:30 Central Pacific time wouldn’t that have been a bit early for hoaxes to begin? At 8:43a AE was still broadcasting her last known transmission. No one could have known she was lost at 8:30 because AE didn’t know that yet.
I recognize that Betty may not have heard or written down all of the transmissions she received so if she did not hear or record the 8:43 transmission that fact would not be fatal. I also recognize I’m commenting without seeing the whole transcript AND that Betty’s times may not be set in concrete.
We don’t know what day Betty heard what she heard, but we do have a couple of clues. We recently discovered that on a page of sketches a few pages before the Earhart notes "31.05" and "KGMB" were jotted down in the margins (each in a different place). I asked Betty if she had any idea what the significance of those notations might be. She replied (I’m paraphrasing):
The reference to KGMB is very important. At 0630 GMT on July 4th, KGMB radio in Honolulu (a powerful commercial station) broadcast a request for Earhart to reply on 3105 by turning her transmitter on and off in a series of dashes to indicate whether she was on land or in the water. The exercise was repeated at the same time, 0630 GMT, on July 5th. Responses were heard by several stations. The results were inconclusive but seemed to indicate that the plane was on land.
Neither of the broadcasts coincided with the time frame of Betty’s notes, so it appears that what she heard was not the KGMB broadcasts or Earhart’s possible direct replies. However, whether a hoax or not, whatever Betty heard almost has to have been transmitted sometime after the first KGMB broadcast on July 4th. Because Betty’s recollections include her father coming home from work in the middle of the transmissions it seems unlikely that it would have been a holiday (July 4th), so it seems likely that the event occurred on July 5th or later.
A hypothesis for how AE’s signals could have been heard in St. Pete (if they were AE’s signals):
Suppose AE’s transmitter was mistuned. Suppose it was radiating a strong second, or even third harmonic... perhaps even stronger than the fundamental?
That means the 6210 kHz signal could also be heard on 12420 kHz or even 18630 kHz... both of these freqs were well within the range of many home-type all-wave sets (most tuned up to 20 MHz if they had true all wave coverage, usually meaning three bands -- standard broadcast, "police" 1.5-6 MHz and "short wave" 6-60... yes, in those days, the police were using freqs in the 1.6 and 2.4 MHz regions and the low SW band on many sets was called the "police" band even tho it extended quite a bit further).
Freqs in the 12 and 18 MHz bands have excellent daylight skip propagation.
A very good reason to think this may be true, is the line about the "rough modulation" or "broad signal" (I forget the exact wording) in the Chater Report regarding AE’s transmitter on 6210. These conditions may be indicative of a mistuned xmtr. Joe Gurr, when he lengthened the antenna on NR16020, may have made a critical tuning problem even worse... and the way the rig was coupled into the antenna, with the connection made directly to the power-amplifier output coil, really invited harmonic radiation!
And here is another thought (get ready, Bob Brandenburg...)
Consider the possibility of some type of strange propagation phenomena in the tropics, on ANY freq. Something like tropical ducting. St. Pete is not that far north of the tropics.
Ric alluded to other independent reports of signals being received... what were the locations of reception? Any idea of the freqs?
Is it not strange, though... even mystical? That these signals were received by young women, as Ric hinted?
I agree with another posting. We should ask Betty what AE books she may have read. Some of this sounds like the stuff in Flying Blind by Max Alan Collins, which came out in 1998 or 1999... that guy took every AE story, every conspiracy theory, every Japanese connection, and made some interesting fiction out of it... but his account of McMenamy’s reception of signals sounds very Orson Welles-esque.
For Janet Whitney: Yes, many communications receivers tuned up to 30 MHz in 1937. Examples are the Hammarlund Super Pro and the National HRO, plus numerous Hallicrafters sets.
The typical home receiver with SW bands tuned at least through the 12 MHz (25 meter) and 15 MHz (19 meter) bands and quite a few went up to 20 MHz.
LTM (who has big
and very efficient ears) and
Betty says she has never read any Earhart book. The first what-happened-to-Amelia books were all Japanese capture/conspiracy and Betty had no interest in them because she "knew" they were wrong. Betty has never been an Earhart fan and so had no interest in the later biographies or in the crashed-and-sank theories, again, because she "knew" that Earhart had come down on an island and the plane had been threatened and probably destroyed by rising water.
I’ll put up a separate posting about the other women who have reported hearing post-loss signals on the short wave.
Earlier this year, we lamented the lack of original Lockheed cruise performance data on the 10E.
Through the courtesy of Birch Matthews, I have now had access to Lockheed Report 465: "Flight Tests-10E, Prepared by C.L. Johnson, Date Nov. 16, 1935." This is not the POH or final Operating Instructions (which are in Report No. 466, according to Elgen Long), but the report of the tests that presumably produced the numbers used in the final operating instructions.
The Report contains a graphic "Level Cruising Performance" chart dated Nov. 14, 1935, giving curves for speeds at 200, 250, 300, 350, 412, 450, 500, and 550 hp at various altitudes, and includes a temperature correction chart. Since the Forum does not accommodate email attachments, I am sending you a photocopy of that chart via courier, together with a table I prepared interpreting the graph, and giving speeds at sea level, 1000, 5000, 8000 and 10,000 feet for some of those horsepower settings (and for other -- interpolated -- settings as well). I personally find the table -- with numbers -- easier to use for quick reference than the graph, which I have tried to read and interpret as accurately as possible, although (as with any interpolation) someone else might see 174 or 176 where I write "175."
Birch also furnished me with a set of Lockheed Model 10 (10A) operating instructions, intended for the foreign market (speeds in km, etc.) I am sending you a copy of the graphic "Cruising Chart" from that report, together with another table I have prepared showing speeds at various horsepower settings and altitudes for the 10A.
I enclose the 10A data as well as that for the 10E because there is a very interesting anomaly, which I am quite unable to explain, about which more in a minute.
What do the 10E data indicate about cruise speeds at Kelly Johnson’s settings, and how do those speeds differ from those we estimated in April?
The magnitude of the difference at the lower power settings surprises me somewhat, but what surprises me even more is the comparison with the 10A numbers. Note that the charts for both airplanes are for operations at the same gross weight (10,500 pounds). The 10E should have more drag than the 10A because of its larger engines, nacelles and cowls, but otherwise they are nearly the same. What do the charts show for speeds at 5000 feet?
I trust everyone has noticed that while the data show the 10A as being faster than the 10E at the higher power settings (as we would have expected), the 10 E is faster than the 10A at settings below 250 hp, and the speed advantage increases as the power is reduced still further. I have no idea what to make of this reversal.
In any case, I pass this on for whatever it is worth to those who remain interested in the subject. It prompts, of course, some "Second Thoughts on 10 E Performance".
I have gotten the impression from several postings submitted that if the release dates of the songs/movies in Betty’s notebook are out of chronological sequence with the likely dates of the Earhart-related notations, then that fact alone will be highly relevant to many people in determining whether the notebook is a genuine record of what Betty heard (this is a separate question, of course, from whether what she heard was really from Earhart). I guess I would like to raise a word of caution in this regard: If you think about it for a second, I suspect this notebook is something much less formal than a Franklin dayplanner, and given the use of the notebook as something to record one’s hobby, I can think of lots of reasons why many things may not be in sequence (e.g., Betty may have been so startled by the Earhart transmissions that she wanted to record them on a clean page(s), then, as the drama passed, later went back and made other records around these notes; also, the release dates of the songs/movies may not bear a too close relationship to the actual time that Betty chose, for reasons now unknown, to make an entry of them into the notebook.
Finally, remember, also, we are talking about 1937 and the country is in what I have been told is the "second depression" of the late 1930s (1937-1939)...we can expect every part of a notebook to be filled before someone will buy another, chronological order be damned. I also would feel pretty silly condemning the Betty notebook based upon notations made out of chronological order, as I have next to me as I type this a favorite notebook of my own that I have been using over the last year to record various professional and personal notes---lots of these notations do not follow a chronological order either.
Dennis, the North star will give you latitude and since we are talking scattered islands it wouldn’t have to be all that accurate. Keep in mind that the basic question was whether they went SE to the Phoenix group, West toward the Gilberts or NW toward the Marshalls. A general latitude call would answer that.
A precise latitude would nearly pinpoint the island unless there were a bunch of islands exactly on the same latitude line.
With a marine sextant, you simply follow one of the sun’s limbs (usually lower limb) in the final stage (maybe 30 minutes) of its climb, turning the micrometer drum until with successive readings the sun reaches its zenith and appears to "hang" in the sky. You can use that final reading as the maximum altitude, or (if you have a watch) you can continue to take readings as the sun begins to "drop" and then plot a curve (the time of max altitude of the curve being meridian passage). Either way, after you apply your corrections, you have the observed altitude at local apparent noon. In the absence of an Almanac FN could easily estimate the corrections well enough for effective emergency use.
You will also need the sun’s declination to determine latitude, but this changes slowly, especially when the sun is near one of the solstices (i.e., late June/early July). FN could use an average value for the day or even a value that he remembered using sometime in the previous day and not be too far off. Because the celestial triangle resolves to a single line/arc at LAN, you do not need sight reduction tables for determining latitude at LAN (you just add/subtract a few lines). This could be very handy if all you have is your sextant and a good idea of the sun’s declination.
Got to run - hope
this is clear enough to be helpful.
Several commentators seem to have concluded that the notebook is bogus because AE used her name, not her radio call sign or aircraft tail number and that the "drama" of her struggling with FN is some sort of window dressing to gloss up her account. She had been using call signs of one sort or another all morning without much success. Very few people are going to know KHAQQ or November whatever (NR16020) and might not respond to a call, broadcast across the Pacific to anyone who could hear her, for help. If she screams "this is Amelia Earhart", given the publicity surrounding her flight, everyone will know who is calling.
About the drama of FN struggling for the mike, we are not talking about a sterile broadcast studio, or even a semi-quiet cockpit where everybody keeps quiet while one person talks. Its tough to remember your initial objective is to clear the swamp when you are up to your _ _ _ in alligators. I doubt that radio discipline was high on FN’s (or AE’s for that matter) priority list under the limited circumstances described so far. Remember he’s been with her for the past 16 plus hours, presumably listening to her one way radio conversations, failure to get a DF, and inability to communicate with anyone. AE has just dumped this thing in the ocean, (reef), the water is rising (tide coming in--sharks, not alligators), he’s hurt and he’s not real confident about AE’s capabilities at flying, talking on the radio, chewing gum, or anything else (what plan "B") at this point in time. Am I going to grab for the mike to get control or shout in the background to get my point across--you bet your sweet whatever I am. It’s every man (woman) for himself at this point and AE is not telling me what to do anymore.
The times of Betty’s saga, about 3:00 p.m. to I presume 6:00 p.m. (Mr. Gillespie hasn’t shown all his cards yet) seem to fit very well within the range of probable landing times at Niku. I think we can forgive an elderly lady one hour (maybe it was 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.) 63 years ago, assuming Betty’s notebook does not specify the times of entry on her "log". It is my memory that TIGHAR had estimated an arrival time between 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at Niku, depending on her position at last transmission. I seem to remember numerous postings about one year ago on just what time all this occurred and how GMT would be calculated at Lae, Howland, and Niku. If Betty is plus/minus one hour, or even two hours, I think it gives her story more credibility than less. Maybe it was even the next day, not the day of the ditching. The post-loss messages (some of which are now believe to be credible) apparently went on for several days. If he’s capable of moving or returning to the aircraft, do you think FN is going to let AE handle this on her own?
Here’s another card for you. Several of Betty’s pages of notes have time notations on them. The actual beginning time is not noted but the ending time is, as are several interim times along the way. In other words, the local time of the event is rather well documented.
I have reviewed again the limited information from Betty’s notebook which you have made available and also tried to compare that information with the summary of films and songs and have the following comments.
First, I note that the pages are not all accounted for. You progress from Page 23 to 29 to 31 to 33 to 34 to 35 to 36 to 37 to 38 to 41 to 43 to 46 to 47. Are the missing pages lyrics, odd information, comments? Are the pages you identified the only pages with references that can be tied to a date or event? How long is the AE material by page count and where does it fit in the range of pages you have provided? Is that consistent with other events she recorded as to the detail of information provided. You noted that she wrote lyrics to songs--either the songs were slower than today, she transcribed well, or she went back and completed lyrics as songs were replayed through the week, month--she only had one shot at the AE transmission and you note she caught only bits and pieces.
Second, the summary seems to stop, depending on how you read some of the entries, around August 23rd. Item 5, page 31 refers to "There’s a Lull in my Life", which could have been released as a song prior to release of the movie, (St. Petersburg or Hollywood?) on August 23rd; same as Item 3, page 31. I am somewhat troubled by the fact that the entry on page 38, Gershwin’s "They Can’t Take That Away From Me" ties to dates (three) between March 14th, 1937 and May 7th, 1937 while entries (Items 3 and 5) on a prior page (page 31) postdate (August 23rd) the later paged entry. I understand she could have flipped back and forth to record lyrics, Hit Parade results, etc. to keep them in context, but it does create a problem with a strict chronological order. This would have less impact if she followed the same practice for the remainder of 1937.
Third, is this her only notebook? The more she kept, especially if there are more notebooks before and after, the more credible the process would seem. If this is the only notebook, why did she keep this one, (obvious answer--this had AE’s material in it) as opposed to keeping others? Similarly, did she record in more than one notebook and just save this one, or is this the only notebook she recorded in?
Fourth, are there more pages after page 48 and what are the events listed there than can be verified? Again, if this notebook covers the dates, beginning around December 1936/January 1937 (page 23, beginning of movie list) and ending around August 23rd (see above) it would be less credible than if the dates (entries) continued into 1938 and would also provide a better context for the AE entry.
Fifth, are the pages hand numbered by her, a number count by page by you, or machine paged with some form of printed (scripted) number.
Sixth, is the notebook bound and if so how, spiral, actual glued binding, three-ring, etc.? What is the size of the paper, type of cover? Is the type of binding/cover consistent with the period? Is it tamper resistant, i.e. can pages be removed or inserted without appearance changes or visual evidence?
Seventh, is the document capable of being scanned onto the Web site? When do you think you might be able to post the text?
Whew... lots of questions... but good ones. I think my recent reply to Chris Kennedy (another lawyer) will answer your questions in paragraphs one, two and five.
Betty routinely kept notebooks, one at a time, but this is the only one she has saved (as you note, for the obvious reason).Para. Four
As you can see from my reply to Chris, there isn’t much we can hope to date after the Earhart entries.Para. Six
The cover is heavy shiny paper and measures 8 3/8 inches by 6 5/8 inches. The notebook has a sewn binding. Pages can not be removed without it being obvious and pages can not be added at all. The art deco style of the cover, the yellowing of the paper, and the tables printed on the back (for example: English money in Guineas, Pounds, Shillings, Pence and Farthings) are entirely consistent with the purported period.Para. Seven
The forum’s response to the need for basic qualifying research has been outstanding and I very much appreciate everyone’s patience. I expect to be able to post scans of the actual pages on the TIGHAR website later this week.LTM,
I’ve seen some great input re this authentication exercise, but as someone mentioned it’s really shooting in the dark without the entire notebook text, the results of her interview with you, and all other pertinent details of the circumstances of its late arrival to the Earhart mystery. For instance, has she shown this notebook to others (who can confirm her notes) some 60 years ago? Or just recently. Did she tell her teacher,her fellow classmates, neighbors, mother, friends, etc. in July 1937 that would corroborate the Earhart 1937 broadcast?
In a similar vein, if one reads at face value Noonan’s alleged printed message in the bottle document (see the internet) one can see how complex, partially accurate and believable, a dramatic description of a sinking Electra with Amelia and Fred can be and the time and effort it would take to create what appears to be now a classic hoax.
My biggest problem with the story, is if she and her father heard the tragic end of Earhart’s life, that in spite of the alleged contact with the Coast Guard there, her father wouldn’t have contacted the local Press with perhaps the biggest story of the young 20th Century. Her disappearance was in all the newspapers! Or the Police. Surely then and now Betty and her father were convinced the transmission had veracity or other wise why contact Goerner in the 1960’s. And why would the sagacious Goerner dismiss it out of hand? He certainly accepted less reliable reports of Amelia.
The March of Times broadcast was on 8 July 37, very soon after the 2 July disappearance and featured a simulated conversation with the Itasca.
The Noonan message-in-the-bottle hoax is not a bad model. Like Betty’s notes it purports to be a contemporaneous document and portrays dramatic and emotional events. The bottle message turned out to be a crude and transparent hoax that was exposed by its own content. Perhaps Betty’s notes will prove to be the same. As I’ve said, the whole thing will go up on the website later this week.
I can’t argue about what Betty’s father would have done. As for why the sagacious Goerner would dismiss it out of hand. I can only comment that in my own dealings with the late lamented gentleman I found his sagacity wanting.
Betty’s notes do not describe a conversation with Itasca.
One thing at a time... I think that when the dust settles we will have to concede that Betty could have heard a transmission from Amelia Earhart with the plane on land, or reef flat, in the Pacific (where but the Phoenix Islands?) and that she may have been the only person to hear it. Serendipity does happen. Not often but it does happen.
The "skip" phenomenon is highly unpredictable thing. A signal may come in like the transmitter was right next door in one locality and not be heard at all only a few miles away. That’s not to say it will be heard in only one spot but it will be a pretty here and there sort of thing. It is very unusual for a particular skip path to hold up, although fading in and out, as long as Betty alleges.
Betty listened to the signal for about 3 hours. There’s no way to know how long it had been there before she tuned it in. Although that’s a long time for the aircraft batteries to have held up (we have to assume engine running), it’s not a long period of time for someone else who just happened to be in the right local to have also stumbled upon that signal in the short-wave bands.
How many people does one suppose were in the right place to hear that skip signal and just happened to be tuning through the short-wave bands in the period of time the signal was skipping in for them? All those in the Pacific who may have been hoping to hear something, and knew what frequencies to expect, were probably in the dead zone for the signal. Remember Bob Brandenburg’s "high angle radiation." Being on the ground does not help this situation -- maybe a little worse. Fine for skip but not at all good for local reception.
If it was Amelia, she had no idea how very unlikely it was that anyone at all would hear her. I can believe that it may have been Amelia and that only one person in the whole world heard her during the possibly short time she had to try to be heard. Now, more than 60 years later we may have the only evidence of her last effort to communicate. Maybe we just got serendipity!
On two other occasions, over the years, I have been approached by elderly women who think they heard Amelia Earhart on the short wave. Here’s a summary of each story.
In a letter to me dated March 21, 1991, Thelma L. of Ontario, Canada wrote:
At the time, Mrs. L. was living in St. Stephen, New Brunswick which is just across the river from Calais, Maine (far northeastern Maine). She has since looked for the book in which she wrote down the position but can’t find it.
In a letter to me postmarked October 11, 1990, Mabel D. of Vermont wrote:
Of course, President Roosevelt never made any announcement about Amelia Earhart, but what’s interesting about these stories is that - for all their differences in date, time and location - they seem to describe similar situations; water in the plane, Noonan injured, coordinates sent, urgent call for help - exactly the situation Betty describes. Of course, all of those factors (except for the "Noonan injured" bit) might be considered to be no brainers for any description of Earhart’s situation. Still, it is apparent that Betty’s experience was hardly unique. What IS unique in Betty’s case is the existence of a transcription.
Dennis McGee asks:
>....FN could determine
The Sun’s angular height when it culminates at local noon would be useful. The Sun’s declination was provided in the Nautical Almanac. Subtracting the Sun’s observed height from 90 degrees would tell how far south the observer was from the Sun’s subpoint.
Knowing the exact time of the culmination is not necessary for the latitude computation. The declination changes but negligibly during that time span of observation.
Knowing the exact time of culmination would, however, be useful for a determination of longitude. Since the height of the Sun changes so little in the minute before and after culmination, getting an idea of the time when it peaked is easier if a height is noted some time before when it is rising, and noting the time after when it is descending through that height. Midway between would be the time of culmination; the Nautical Almanac gave the Sun’s coordinates at, I think, hourly intervals. Also, for the longitude computation unless the plane were tracking along True East or West, the motion of the plane would have to be taken into account.
to Page Two---Messages 18 through 34.
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