This picture shows the surface of Howland Island, a flat and dry place in the broad expanse of the Pacific ocean. The tent and the radio antenna belongs to a ham radio expedition which try to make successfull calls to other amateurs in the world. The expedition has taken place in 1993 and stayed on Howland Island for one week.
Hi, are you aware that Howland Island was the destination that Amelia Earhart was flying to when she disappeared in July 1937?
At the time the US had built an airstrip with three runways, but now there is no trace of them
Ironically, Amelia missed the Island because it is believed her receiving antenna, on the belly of her plane, was damaged or had been separated from the plane upon take off from New Guinea. Her transmitting antenna (a loop antenna on top of the plane) was still intact so she could TX but not RX from the Naval ships waiting for her. Her TX and RX antenna weren't the same one, as they normally would be - even if the TX and RX freqs aren't the same (tuning the antenna takes care of this). The irony is this little ham station on lonely Howland island, an amateur radio station that, with enough power, amps, and proper antenna, can reach amateur stations all over the world.
I was a USAF navigator (B-52), 67-72. Have read quite a bit about the disappearance of of Earhart and her navigator, Noonan.
Imagine trying to find this speck of sand, barely 20 feet high, in the pacific, after flying all night from Lae, one of the longest overwater flights ever attempted at that time.
All they had was a hand-held sextant and a sunshot line of position, with a cumulative dead reckoning error of 10 nautical miles an hour due to erroneous wind speed reports, trying to find this island which was plotted 6 miles west of its true position on their chart. The navy could hear her tansmissions, but she was monitoring the navy transmissions on the wrong frequency. She had a short wire antenna on top the plane for her voice radios, and could switch to a loop for direction finding, but could not transmit when using the loop. The loop was not capable of receiving the 5 and 6 Mhz bands which were being transmitted by the navy for her to hone in her approach to the Island. Amelia had never practiced using radio direction finding or the loop, nor was she aware that the band switch settings on her high frequency radio did not match the antenna coupler settings for the loop antenna. None of her previous legs had required radio direction finding for position determination.
Her long wire antenna for 500KC had been removed months ago when her plane was repaired after the take off crash on Hawaii for the the first attempt. The long wire was only for CW, and neither Amelia or Noonan knew morse code. It is believed she had only 30 minutes or less fuel left at Howland.
Despite all the speculation and crazy theories surrounding her disappearance, it is most likely that the Electra and their remains are are some 14,000 feet below the pacific, probabaly about 15-25 nautical miles nw of Howland Island.
This photo is very beautiful. is a wonderful place! I Adlen from Algeria .. meet me :)
Great story! Thanks BuffNav! And thanks for the photo, it's great to visualize the place.
Lately there is more evidence of the ditching at Gardner which just so happens to be along the same NW-SE sun line as Howland Island which reportedly was the fix being used by Amelia Erhardt's navigator. Unfortunately, they were not well versed in radio aid navigation so beacon signals from the US Navy at Howland Island were lost on them. All Erhardt could do during this leg of their trek was to transmit. (I, too, am a retired USAF navigator).
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Photo taken in United States Minor Outlying Islands
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