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Author Topic: Fragmentary broadcasts  (Read 836 times)

RGWealleans

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Fragmentary broadcasts
« on: September 13, 2019, 03:03:10 PM »

I've removed the long tome I wrote. Pardon my enthusiasm. I've posted a reply that takes issue with Ric's math errors in computing time in his response (he used 11.5 hours by mistake instead of 10.5 hrs). See my response elsewhere in this thread.

Additionally, since radio operators recorded "we are on the line..." and we are 'running' on the line..." I ask or raise the possibility that Itasca didn't hear everything that Amelia Earhart said on the radio. I'm referring to "We are on the line...." and wonder if it was actually made in-flight? (as in, "we are somewhere on the line"?) For AE, so hopelessly lost and not knowing where they were or the name of the island, was "...on the line..." a futile attempt to convey where they had landed? Assume the message "..we have landed..." or words to that effect (the context) is not heard, then that "line" she speaks of actually helps a listener pinpoint or come close to the limited, possible places she could have landed the Electra. It's all about miscommunication. Certainly, Itasca never heard what Betty's notes say, and she didn't make a verbatim transcript.
In closing, I'm glad I contributed something to TIGHAR with the discovery of the radio parachute in the manual of the plane that carried Glenn Miller. I hope you find that aircraft.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2019, 12:58:29 AM by RGWealleans »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Dating "Betty's Notes" & other observations/conclusions re Amelia Earhart
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2019, 09:00:28 AM »

Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your observations and conclusions.  You may have set a record for the longest forum post.
We're all entitled to our own interpretations of the facts, but we are not entitled to our own facts.  When we make interpretations based on erroneous information and then treat those interpretations as facts from which we draw conclusions , we end up constructing a house of cards that inevitably collapses.

Forum members are, by now, probably sick of my mantra: In historical investigation, never say "would have" or "must have."  It's a guess masquerading as a fact.  If you can say "did," say so and cite your source.  Otherwise say "could have" or "might have."  Your nearly 3,000-word post includes 9 "would haves" and 4 "must haves."

Examples of erroneous information in your post:

At 3:15 Betty's time, when she first heard the voice of AE, it would have been 9:45 aboard Itasca or 65 minutes after AE's last message of flying the specified line or heading.

Itasca was using U.S. Navy half-hour time zones.  Local time at Howland was GMT minus 11.5 hours.  The radio operators on Howland and Baker, however, were using Hawaii local time (GMT minus 10.5 hours in 1937) for ease in setting radio schedules with the Coast Guard in Hawaii.
The available evidence suggests the last inflight communication from Earhart heard by Itasca occurred at 08:55 Itasca time (see Last Words) or 20:25 GMT.
A notation at the top of page 3 of Betty's transcription says "since 4:30."  Florida was on DST in 1937 (GMT minus 4 hours) so 16:30 in St. Petersburg was 20:30 GMT or 09:00 Itasca time - five minutes after the last inflight reception from Amelia.  Betty could not have heard what she heard on July 2.

I'm interpreting FN's comment to mean that the water is knee-deep inside the plane at the rear of the Electra. Other comments "let me out" and "it's so hot back here" tend to corroborate this assumption or inference.

If the water was knee-deep in the rear cabin the transmitter would be underwater and inoperable.  The phrase "it's so hot back here" does not occur in Betty's Notebook.

"Betty's last time noted in her notes is a few hours later on where she writes NY NY"

Betty's last time noted is at 6:00pm   1 hour 45 minutes after 4:30.

"AE "crash-landed" and could not move or maneuver the plane any closer to the beach to escape the tide. I believe this tells us which gear collapsed or broke off.."

AE could not move the plane closer to the beach because the reef surface is too jagged and pitted closer to shore.  The left side landing gear might have collapsed on landing but there is no evidence to support or deny that speculation.

"I also infer from a fragment of a comment (Betty's notes) by FN that he and AE both believed they were north of Howland Island somewhere "

???????????

I could go on, but I've made my point.  As with all forum contributors, your observations are welcome and encouraged, but you'd do well to be more rigorous in familiarizing yourself with the facts. At the risk of sounding self-serving, my book Finding Amelia is a good place to start.

« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 09:05:28 AM by Ric Gillespie »
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Leon R White

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Re: Dating "Betty's Notes" & other observations/conclusions re Amelia Earhart
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2019, 09:39:34 AM »

I found the long post to be an interesting read and I appreciate the time it took to write it.  And underneath the words is the passion that all of us who stick with this must have.  What is humbling and a bit challenging is that some TIGHARS have studied and memorized the minutae so thoroughly that when we first land here we don't quite realize how many times dozens of scenarios have been scrutinized and vetted. People try and do it TO tighar endlessly. TIGHAR lives on the facts that survive the assaults of opinion and conclusion.
However - welcome!! Keep the passion and open view and join the other Tighars that share your interest and energy.  "The devil is in the details" as they say, but you're on the right island with the right people, and the pursuit is honorable.
L
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Dating "Betty's Notes" & other observations/conclusions re Amelia Earhart
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2019, 09:41:16 AM »

Well said.  Amen.
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Bill Mangus

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Re: Dating "Betty's Notes" & other observations/conclusions re Amelia Earhart
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2019, 10:14:51 AM »

The post-loss radio signals analysis in Tighar Tracks Vol 4, No 32 is also good.  Should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in AE's communications efforts. ;)

https://tighar.org/Publications/TTracks/2018Vol_34/TIGHARTracks34_02Jul2018.pdf

Bill Mangus
Researcher #3054SP
 
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RGWealleans

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Re: Fragmentary broadcasts & Ric's time & math errors
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2019, 12:49:54 AM »

In reply to my timeline analysis of Betty's notes, Ric stated the following: "The radio operators on Howland and Baker, however, were using Hawaii local time (GMT minus 10.5 hours in 1937) for ease in setting radio schedules with the Coast Guard in Hawaii.
The available evidence suggests the last inflight communication from Earhart heard by Itasca occurred at 08:55 Itasca time (see Last Words) or 20:25 GMT.
A notation at the top of page 3 of Betty's transcription says "since 4:30."  Florida was on DST in 1937 (GMT minus 4 hours) so 16:30 in St. Petersburg was 20:30 GMT or 09:00 Itasca time - five minutes after the last inflight reception from Amelia.  Betty could not have heard what she heard on July 2."
I believe Ric made an error in his math re time: The first error is in the phrase: "The available evidence suggests the last inflight communication from Earhart heard by Itasca occurred at 08:55 Itasca time (see Last Words) or 20:25 GMT."
My math says that 08:55 Itasca time + 10:30 = 19.25 GMT.
The second math error is in the phrase: "...so 16:30 in St. Petersburg was 20:30 GMT or 09:00 Itasca time - five minutes after the last inflight reception from Amelia."
Now, Ric is right that St. Petersburg is 4 hrs behind GMT (5 hrs behind BST) but again, if Itasca is 10.5 hrs behind GMT & using Hawaii Standard Time, would anyone argue that 20:30 hrs minus 10:30 hrs is 10:00 hrs and not 9:00 hrs on Itasca? Ric has subtracted 11:30 hrs by mistake to arrive at 9:00 hrs. The correct math makes it 10:00 hours on the Itasca. This opens the window of time on Betty's notes from Ric's assertion of a mere 5 minutes to a whopping 65 minutes. Ample time to land and to start talking. From Betty's interview she wasn't paying too much attention at first and didn't start writing until she heard numbers, she said in so many words. This increases the time window even more slightly.
I stand by my analysis despite some errors and still maintain Betty heard what she heard on July 2 shortly after Earhart landed on Gardner. The time fits and so do the facts; I used Ric's facts. When one uses the wrong math, Ric, the conclusions reached are equally erroneous. As to where you may have gone wrong is a confusion with BST or GMT+1 and actual GMT where (on July 2) Itasca is 11.5 hours behind BST but only 10.5 hours behind GMT.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2019, 01:41:29 AM by RGWealleans »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Fragmentary broadcasts & Ric's time & math errors
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2019, 06:42:54 AM »

My math says that 08:55 Itasca time + 10:30 = 19.25 GMT.

Perhaps you could cite your source for Itasca using + 10:30.  My source for Itasca using +11:30 is page 5 of Commander Thompson's official report Radio Transcripts Earhart Flight

When one uses the wrong math, Ric, the conclusions reached are equally erroneous.

I agree.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2019, 06:55:06 AM by Ric Gillespie »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Fragmentary broadcasts
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2019, 06:53:58 AM »

Additionally, since radio operators recorded "we are on the line..." and we are 'running' on the line..." I ask or raise the possibility that Itasca didn't hear everything that Amelia Earhart said on the radio.

That is entirely possible.

I'm referring to "We are on the line...." and wonder if it was actually made in-flight? (as in, "we are somewhere on the line"?) For AE, so hopelessly lost and not knowing where they were or the name of the island, was "...on the line..." a futile attempt to convey where they had landed?

If the message had ended with "We are on the line 157 337" you could make that argument, but she went on to say "running on line north and south."  That's a present-tense statement of an action she is engaged in at the time of the transmission.  She can't be running on the line if she has landed.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Fragmentary broadcasts
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2019, 08:08:01 AM »

Betty did not make a notation of what day she heard Amelia, but there is one clue in her transcript that suggests the date was Monday, July 5.
One of the first entries in Betty's notebook is "here put your ear to it" allegedly spoken by Amelia.  She can only be speaking to Fred.  Put your ear to what? Why? There must be something she wants Fred to put his ear to so that he can hear something.  There must be a purpose to that request.
The only thing I can think of that he could put his ear to are the radio earphones and there must be something she wants him to hear that will serve a purpose.  We know from the context of the transcripts that Fred is upset, almost panicky.  Amelia has been calling for help.  Any kind of response to her calls would be greatly reassuring. So, the question is, was there any day when someone was transmitting to Earhart shortly after 4:30pm St. Petersburg time (20:30 GMT/ 09:00 ITASCA time)?
According to the Itasca Radio Log,
•  As has been shown, Friday, July 2, is not a possibility.
•  On Saturday, July 3, nobody tried to call Earhart during the time period in question.
•  On Sunday, July 4, Chief Radioman Bellarts heard "not one signal" on 3105 at 09:00 but called Earhart in voice at 09:30. No response.
•  On Monday, July 5, at 09:57 Chief Radioman Bellarts "hearing signal on 3105 / little low in frequency".  At 10:00 and again five minutes later, Bellarts "called Earhart // 3105 key" (in other words, in Morse code).  Earhart would not be able to understand the message but a response on her frequency would be an indication that her calls were being heard by someone.
•  On Tuesday, July 6 through Friday, July 9, nobody tried to call Earhart during the time period in question.

So there were two days, Sunday the 4th and Monday the 5th, when Earhart could have heard something on her frequency (3105) during the time Betty heard her say "here put your ear to it."  According to Betty, her father came home from work during the time she was hearing Amelia and her recollection was that her father did not work on Sundays, so Monday, July 5th is the date that best fits.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2019, 08:11:26 AM by Ric Gillespie »
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RGWealleans

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Re: Fragmentary broadcasts - times in your response posts now understood.
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2019, 03:58:59 PM »

Ah, Ric! I was confused by your use of 10.5 hours in your original response & thought Itasca was part of the 10.5 hr deal for Baker & Howland Island posts. From the log of the Itasca, they were using "+11.5". So, that's cleared up. Okay, Betty didn't hear this on July 2. Itasca further heard nothing intelligible after 20:45 GCT on July 2 (16:45 EDT at Betty's home). I don't know if Betty tried to listen in on subsequent days but there's no "notes" and perhaps the plane did disappear shortly after this transmission but atmospherics may no longer have been favorable for reception on Betty's radio. I'm assuming that Earhart & Noonan sat in the plane with the microphone keyed while conversing in order for Betty to hear most of the anecdotal stuff being said? "Get the suitcase in the closet...." must be a last farewell and sort of giving up hope of being heard and found. We might assume that waves/tide broadsided the Electra and snapped off the landing wheel thereby, thereafter, rendering useless any engine use and radio use (after the battery died). My friend who has his own boat and runs charters up and down the Atlantic coast says that the "line" AE gave was a huge clue out there in the vast, empty Pacific but useless over land or areas containing many islands. He said that his first instinct would have been to ask for charts of the area around Howland and to lay that line on the chart and move it around to see what it intersected (given the plane's range and speed) since there's so few islands there. But he said that assumed a lot of hindsight that she had landed rather than ditched. Agreed. Such a shame that the spotty radio waves and those presumed voices of AE & FN never were heard to clearly say they had landed on an atoll and near an old shipwreck. Chance did not favor those two. Does anyone believe Earhart would have returned to Lae if someone had radioed her that her antenna came off on takeoff? Seems many showed indifference toward her. As for how long they lasted, Bevington's chronology and how he walked the island without carrying water speaks volumes, drinking four pints upon his return from "exploring." Thirst, drinking contaminated water, and within a week I think they died. Imagine if Bevington had stumbled upon the skeletal/human remains! The hunt continues!  As for the fragment broadcast and my comment about them saying they were north of Howland, that was not in Betty's notes but came from your presentation about other post-loss signals. If it was a true broadcast, then FN committed a whopping navigational error leading AE and he to believe they were north of Howland. Misidentifying one of the Gilberts from the air in cloudy conditions and altering course to the South might have set them up for this disaster and explain why AE flew south on that line (mostly) sighting Gardner some 380 miles away and south of Howland still believing they were north of Howland. So many errors in judgment. I hope TIGHAR helps to write a correct and fitting epitaph to the mystery.   
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Fragmentary broadcasts - times in your response posts now understood.
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2019, 08:24:42 AM »

My friend who has his own boat and runs charters up and down the Atlantic coast says that the "line" AE gave was a huge clue out there in the vast, empty Pacific but useless over land or areas containing many islands. He said that his first instinct would have been to ask for charts of the area around Howland and to lay that line on the chart and move it around to see what it intersected (given the plane's range and speed) since there's so few islands there. But he said that assumed a lot of hindsight that she had landed rather than ditched. Agreed.

No hindsight. The Navy reached that conclusion at the time.  They only changed their mind when no aircraft was seen at Gardner.

Does anyone believe Earhart would have returned to Lae if someone had radioed her that her antenna came off on takeoff? Seems many showed indifference toward her.

A. No one seems to have noticed the wire laying out on the runway until much later.
B. With the antenna gone, how could they tell her anyway? 

Thirst, drinking contaminated water, and within a week I think they died.

The archaeological evidence suggests she had a system for collecting and boiling rain water.  The remains of fish, birds and turtle suggest she survived for a matter of weeks, maybe months.  She seems to have caught and eaten one adult and at least one baby sea turtle. Sea turtles are impossible to catch unless they are onshore.  They only come on shore to lay their eggs.  At Niku, turtles breed in July and lay their eggs in September.  Earhart may have survived at least until the eggs hatched in October.

As for the fragment broadcast and my comment about them saying they were north of Howland, that was not in Betty's notes but came from your presentation about other post-loss signals.

I think you must have misunderstood something I said.

If it was a true broadcast, then FN committed a whopping navigational error leading AE and he to believe they were north of Howland. Misidentifying one of the Gilberts from the air in cloudy conditions and altering course to the South might have set them up for this disaster and explain why AE flew south on that line (mostly) sighting Gardner some 380 miles away and south of Howland still believing they were north of Howland.


They were over the Gilberts in the middle of the night with an overcast blocking any moonlight.  The islands had no electricity.  They were essentially invisible. There is no evidence Noonan made a navigational error.  The error was Earhart's in not understanding how to use her radio direction finder.
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