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Not knowing Morse code was a much more serious failing than you imply. Morse code can travel much further with far more fidelity than voice. Most radio communications at the time were Morse.

None of the issues mentioned below should have happened if Earhart had properly learned how to use the equipment, prepared for the flight with with best practices, and coordinated with the ship & ground radio operators beforehand.


"Neither Earhart nor Noonan were capable of using Morse code."

"At least twice during the world flight, Earhart failed to determine radio bearings at 7500 kHz."

"Through a series of misunderstandings or errors (the details of which are still controversial), the final approach to Howland Island using radio navigation was not successful."

"The Electra had been equipped to transmit a 500 kHz signal that Itasca could use for radio direction finding, but some of that equipment had been removed."

"The antenna was bulky and heavy, so the trailing wire antenna was removed to save weight."

"Earhart's only training on the system was a brief introduction by Joe Gurr at the Lockheed factory, and the topic had not come up. A card displaying the band settings of the antenna was mounted so it was not visible."

"the aviators had cut off their long-wire antenna, due to the annoyance of having to crank it back into the aircraft after each use."

"It was at this point that the radio operators on the Itasca realized that their RDF system could not tune in the aircraft's 3105 kHz frequency"

"If transmissions were received from the Electra, most if not all were weak and hopelessly garbled. Earhart's voice transmissions to Howland were on 3105 kHz, a frequency restricted in the United States by the FCC to aviation use.[Note 35] This frequency was thought to be not fit for broadcasts over great distances. When Earhart was at cruising altitude and midway between Lae and Howland (over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from each) neither station heard her scheduled transmission at 0815 GCT.[166] Moreover, the 50-watt transmitter used by Earhart was attached to a less-than-optimum-length V-type antenna."

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