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Radio Call Log

Confirmed updates from the Last Flight

Below is a summary of relevant radio reports.

Report Local / GMT Time Originator Description
1 July WX 2330 GMT Itasca SFC NE 14 mph. At 9000 feet E-NE 31 mph. LONG p206.
Takeoff Lae on  2 July 1000 Lae0000 GMT Lae 1080-1150 gallons aboard.
2 July WX 0000 GMT Fleet Base Pearl Harbor CB 300 miles east.  Winds E-SE 25 knots (29 mph) to ONTARIO then E-ENE 20 knots (23 mph) to Howland. CHATER Report  - Large Notebook. CHATER p7-8.
WX 0000 GMT Baro 29.89 Temp 83 deg F winds E 3. Cloudy CI CI STR CU CUMI moving from E. Sea smooth…NARU 8 AM (not clear local or GMT but assume local taken before takeoff but not received by AE since it arrived Lae at 1000 local, at takeoff), Upper Air Observation 2000 feet 90 degrees 14 mph; 4000 feet 90 degrees 12 mph; 7500 feet 90 degrees 24 mph. CHATER.
Position 1418 Lae Local0418 GMT AE Height 7000 feet. Speed 140 knots. Everything OK. Received by Lae. CHATER. (Speed not specified as to type).
Position 1519 Lae Local0519 GMT AE Height10000 feet.  Position 150.7 east 7.3 south; cumulous clouds; everything OK. [Problematic report.] CHATER.
Position 1718 Lae Local0718 GMT AE CHATER reports this as 4.33 South 159.7 East; Height 8000 feet over cumulous clouds. Wind 23 knots.SAFFORD reports this as LAT 4 deg 33 min. LONG 159 deg 06 min. SAFFORD (p30) states “on course” at 750-795 miles.SAFFORD concludes this is at 7 minutes before sunset, 10 miles west of the Nukumanu Islands. If same course and speed held, ETA Howland should be 2100-2145 GMT. Unfortunately, SAFFORD reports Itasca did not receive this position report until after AE was overdue and missing. SAFFORD (p30.)ComHawSec reports this in post accident summary reports and message logs to ITASCA that “Lae, New Guinea reports last contact with Earhart plane by Lae Radio was at 1720 [LAE LOCAL] Friday GAVE HER POSITION AS 4.33 SOUTH 159.6 EAST WHICH IS ABOUT 795 MILES DIRECTLY ON HER ROUTE TO HOWLAND 0030.  (Pink tab in large notebook)
Progress Author Briand Says he plotted this giving him 750 miles and ground speed 103 knots (118 mph). Says Lexington’s plot gave 785 miles and 111 knots (128 mph). HAWSEC reports 795 miles on course to Howland. SAFFORD.
2 July MSG from Lae via Naval Radio Tutuila to Itasca (Black) received Itasca AE left Lae 1000 local due Howland 18 hours. LONG p207.
Clarence Williams Purdue and Harvard Collections Flight Plan Lae-Howland 2556 miles 17 hours 1 minute.
Position 1030 GMT AE 1100-1200 GMT Nauru Island - Mr. Cude, Director of Police reported receiving radio from AE “Ship in Sight..” SAFFORD  p31.
Position 1030 GMT USS ONTARIO Mid-point plane guard [SAFFORD p 30 states this is at 1030 GMT, but in the ONTARIO LOG, it gives an "8 PM" position. If Ontario used the same local time as Lae, this equates to being on station at 10 hours mission elapsed time. If Ontario used a one-hour time zone change, they'd be on station at 9 hours mission elapsed time.ONTARIO position logged with precision as S 2 deg 59 min  30 sec  / E 165 deg 20 min 00 sec.Included WX. Wind- east 15 knots. Blue sky cumulous moving from East. Amount 40%. (It was night, so Blue sky refers to clear skies.) Visibility 40 miles. Ceiling unlimited.Conclusion - Noonan nav is dead on. SAFFORD.
SS Myrtlebank SAFFORD p 32 explains why he concludes the ship sighted was ONTARIO and not the Myrtlebank. Likely incorrect.
Position 1415 GMT Itasca ITASCA logs "Heard Earhart plane on 3105 but unreadable through static. Chief Bellarts caught Earhart's voice and it came in through loud speaker, very low monotone "cloudy and overcast." (Large notebook logs)
Radio Log 1318-1325 GMT Itasca MSG from ITASCA to Com SF Div that they "heard Earhart plane at 0248 0235."
Position 1415 GMT AE Cloudy and Overcast. S1. LONG p208.
Position 1445 GMT AE Overcast will listen on hour and half hour 3105. S2. Ibid.
Position 1623 GMT AE Partly Cloudy. S1. Ibid.
ITASCA 1625 GMT AE ITASCA "Earhart broke in on phone - unreadable." (Large notebook Itasca logs)
Position 1744 GMT AE "About 200 miles out" request DF Steer. S3. Ibid.Large notebook Itasca logs indicate this logged at 0615 IST
Sunrise 0715 Howland1745 GMT Sunrise at Howland (USNO data) GMT 10+30 time zone.
Position 1815 GMT AE "About 100 miles out" request DF Steer. S4. Ibid. Large notebook Itasca logs have this as "PLEASE TAKE BEARINGS ON US AND REPORT IN HALF HOUR I WILL MAKE NOISE IN MICROPHONE - ABOUT 100 MILES OUT (EARHART SIGNAL STRENGTH -4 BUT ON AIR SO BRIEFLY BEARINGS IMPOSSIBLE.)
Position 1912 GMT AE We must be on you. Gas is running low. S5. Ibid.This is 1+27 after sunrise. Large notebook Itasca logs have this as "KHAQQ CALLING ITASCA WE MIUST BE ON YOU BUT CANNOT SEE YOU BUT GAS IS RUNNING LOW BEEN UNABLE REACH YOU BY RADIO WE ARE FLYING AT ALTITUDE 1000 FEET. Other Itasca logs record that "Earhart is on now says running out of gas only ½ hour left..." The signal strength of this AE report is noted as "5."
Position 1928 GMT AE "We are circling" request DF Steer. [Controversial log record as to what was exactly said by AE]. S5+. Ibid. Large notebook Itasca log has this as “KHAQQ CALLING ITASCA WE ARE CIRCLING BUT CANNOT HEAR YOU GO AHEAD ON 7500 EITHER NOW OR ON THE SCHEDULE TIME ON HALF HOUR.” Itasca logs this as signal strength 5 on radiotelephone. Some references log as 5+.
Verbiage Doubt Radioman Galten on Itasca logged this call from AE as “we are drifting but cannot hear you.” To CDR Thompson this didn’t make sense so he allegedly erased “drifting” and substituted “circling,” which then didn’t make sense, so CDR Thompson changed the whole thing to “We are circling but cannot see island.” SAFFORD. Itasca log says “we are circling but cannot hear you” so SAFFORD thinks perhaps CDR Thompson changed the verbiage in his final report.
Position 1930 GMT Large notebook Itasca logs have this as “KHAQQ CALLING ITASCA WE RECEIVED YOUR SIGNALS BUT UNABLE TO GET A MINIMUM PLEASE TAKE BEARING ON US AND ANSWER 3105 WITH VOICE (sent long dashes for 5 seconds or so.)
Position 2013 GMT AE On LOP 157-337. S5. LONG.This is 61 minutes after first “We must be on you gas is running low” report.Large notebook Itasca log has this at 2014 GMT as “WE ARE ON THE LINE OF POSITION 157-337, WILL REPEAT THIS MESSAGE. WE WILL REPEAT THIS MESSAGE ON 6210 KCS. WAIT LISTENING ON 6210 KCS. WE ARE RUNNING NORTH AND SOUTH.” Itasca logged this as signal strength 5.This is the last AE transmission in the large notebook logs which are CDR Thompson’s message logs from Itasca.
The next three audio messages are not mentioned in either LONG or GILLESPIE but only in SAFFORD, however, they are not referenced and the origin of these “documented” messages is not known.
Radio Call 0801 GMTNext day UNK Message garbled on 6210. Received at Nauru. SAFFORD p36 Unsubstantiated anywhere else.
Radio Call 0811 GMTNext day UNK Message garbled on 6210. Received at Nauru. ibid.
Radio Call 0822 GMTNext day UNK Message garbled on 6210. Received at Nauru. ibid.
Gillespie Bearing Analysis From Gillespie on p 164 - If bearings from three stations (Guam, Wake, Makapu) are adjusted plus or minus azimuth values of just 5 degrees in the most likely directions, they intersect and form a centroid  at about 100-200 miles SW of Howland, through which a 337-157 LOP only passes if it is displaced west of Howland by about an hour flight time (100-150 sm). Bearing variances in easterly directions intersect in areas well beyond  the range of the Electra, and are therefore discounted by me. If “post crash” radio transmissions were actually made by AE in the most likely area according to the station bearings on these signals, it would mean AE was about 150sm short, flew an LOP 200 sm south of  Howland and Baker Islands, and could transmit radio signals after a water ditching. All three are considered unlikely.

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