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U.S. Radiomen Comb Air For Signals From Amelia


Photo of Amelia Earhart ©1935 Amelia Earhart Air-Light Luggage During the last 10 days we have had the opportunity to watch a branch of the Federal service in action that really earns its money and one which has received all too little notice for its excellent work.

And so to the Coast Guard radiomen, who for the last 12 days have been standing 18-hour shifts in a futile attempt to hear the missing Earhart plane, this department would like to add its bouquet.

With three men listening in on 11 sets 24 hours per day, the airways have been fairly combed for signals


While the Earhart search has meant long hours and extra work, the routine duties of the Coast Guard must go on. One of these is to keep constant watch on “500,” the international distress frequency. Late Thursday night on this band came word that the West Mahwah, 8800-ton freighter, had run aground south [of] San Francisco.

Instantly transmitter keys clicked, the cutters Ariadne and Alexander Hamilton rushed to the rescue, a truck with short wave radio equipment and emergency life-saving apparatus roared to the location on the beach. All routine duty and dispatched with aplomb.

The search for Earhart was still going on. Contact was maintained with the Itasea, Colorado, Swan and Lexington. Thus the Coast Guard.

Lieutenant F.K. Johnson, communications officer, has set up an augmented staff to handle ether traffic on the plane search.

E.G. Fraim, together with W.N. Fanning, R.E. McAffee and Lewis Gilman, have been handling the special monitoring station and special high frequency circuits since Amelia dropped from contact.

Regular watch standers at the South Side radio station at Fort Funston, who have been assisting in special monitoring are: R. Smallwood, H.R. Ward, J.G. Green and T.J Banes Jr.

Down at the division communications center in the Customs House three first-class radiomen have been carrying the load. They include C.A. Parcheski, H. Bridges and W.G. Wildfong.


Technicians at the Fort Funston station have set up a special antenna designed to permit reception only from Honolulu and vicinity and by this have been able to monitor six different frequencies on which signals from the Earhart plane might have been heard.

Another Coast Guard radio party composed of J.E. Steward and Brock C. Roblin, are established some distance up the coast from San Francisco, attempting to listen to the missing plane.

During the hours not required for its own commercial use, the Press Wireless has turned over the facilities of its modern station to Coast Guardsmen L.W. Gilman and E.G. Fraim.

San Francisco Chronicle
July 11, 1937

See also: Lonely Ocean Still Holds Secret of Amelia’s Fate, and

“Preface to Greatness,” by Captain Hilton H. Railey

Read details on the flight from the U.S. Naval Historical Center

U.S. Navy Amelia Earhart Records

Amelia Earhart Bibliography