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Representative DELANEY. Was there any defect in this antenna which caused the order to be given to take it in?
Captain HOOPER. No, sir; ordinarily you reel in your antenna during lightning storms, it is a matter of safety, the antenna might draw the lightning and cause the ship to be struck.
Senator KEAN. Well, is not the ship impervious to lightning?
Captain HOOPER. Well, I do not know about that, sir, but I know if you have got a lot of big long wire hanging out, it would be more liable to be struck than if it was not hanging out. This long wire draws sparks where it goes over the reel. They do not need the antenna to be out; they could receive perfectly well.
Senator KEAN. Could they send?
Captain HOOPER. They could send on high frequency which we accord all of the time; they could receive and send on high frequency without any interruption; they could send a short distance on intermediate frequency.
Senator KEAN. Was there any failure on the part of those in command of the ship to get adequate information regarding their status and the weather conditions and things of that sort?
Captain HOOPER. I could not say that, as a matter of fact, sir; but I assume the captain was tremendously interested in getting that weather report. Even when the weather is good they just wait for that weather report as the most important thing, but I do not know whether he got it all or not.
Senator KEAN. How many hours before the disaster was it that he failed to communicate with you, or ceased communicating with you?
Captain HOOPER. 9:46 was the last time we communicated with him.
Senator KEAN. About 4 hours?
Captain HOOPER (interposing). The accident happened a little after midnight; it was only 2 hours we had not communicated.
Representative DELANEY. 9:45 to 12:45 would be exactly 3 hours, would it not?
Captain HOOPER. Yes, sir; between 2 and 3 hours.
Representative DELANEY. It would not be between 2 and 3, it would be 3 hours.
Captain HOOPER. Yes, sir.
Senator KEAN. And would that put your department or your staff on notice when the storm was apparently all through that section to send out warnings to different places to watch for this ship?
Captain HOOPER. No, sir; the onus is on the ship itself to communicate if they want any report or any help. We provide a service, and if the ship wants something extra they ask for it.
Senator Kean. Do you not figure out that something might have happened to the ship and she was unable, as it did in this case, unable to ask?
Captain HOOPER. She was able to call us, sir; if she could not call us on the set which had the trailing wire which was reeled in, she had another set there which worked many times farther.
Senator KEAN. She did not ask you anything?
Captain HOOPER. She did not call us at all; she had every facility and opportunity to call a shore contact, not only with Washington, but the other stations along the coast within range if she wanted anything.
Senator KEAN. The reason I ask those questions is because the statement was made in the press to the effect that somebody was sleeping
Captain HOOPER. Yes, sir; well, we never sleep in naval communications, sir; we always have so much work to do there it keeps us awake.
The CHAIRMAN. Were you at Lakehurst?
The CHAIRMAN. You do not know whether they were sleeping there or not?
Captain HOOPER. I do not know anything about that, sir.
Captain Hooper. Yes, sir; we communicated with her as soon as the first rumor came about the Phoebus message; we immediately communicated with Philadelphia---
The CHAIRMAN. At what time was that? Captain HOOPER. That was about 2:15, we got right in touch with all stations on the coast and immediately had extra operators on guard and full distress conditions assumed.
The CHAIRMAN. That is all; thank you.
TESTIMONY OF CLAUDE M. SMITH, NEW YORK DIVISION,
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
The CHAIRMAN. You do solemnly swear that the testimony you will give in the matter on hearing will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. Smith. I do.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Mr. Smith, will you please state your name and address?
Mr. Smith. Claude M. Smith, communications supervisor in charge of the New York division of the Department of Commerce, beadquarters at Newark, N.J.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Will you please give the committee the results of your study of collateral radio communications in the vicinity of the Akron crash the night of the crash?
Mr. Smith. Well, I have a report here, if the committee will permit me.
The CHAIRMAN. Prepared by you?
Mr. Smith. Yes, sir; extracted from our own station logs and reports taken from transport company pilots.
The CHAIRMAN. Were you on duty that night?
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead. Is it long? What particular point did you want, Colonel?
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. One of the main agencies of collection of weather data happens to be this Department of Commerce service, and we checked up every other source, and I was trying to check up from that the last authoritative source on weather conditions.
The CHAIRMAN. On the evening in question? Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. Yes, sir. Mr. Smith. May I ask about what time would you want that? Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. From 7:28 until 12:30. Senator KEAN. Give it from a little before 7:28. Mr. Smith. Our actual report at 6:42 New York to Washington Airway, New York: Thin, overcast, light fog; ceiling unlimited; visibility 1 mile east 6; temperature 46; dew point 44; barometer 29.75.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. What does "east 6” mean; wind blowing 6 miles an hour from the east?
Mr. Smith. Yes, sir.
Floyd Bennett-that is, at Floyd Bennett Airway: Overcast, moderate fog; estimated ceiling 300 feet; visibility three quarters of a mile; east, 18; temperature, 44; barometer, 29.75.
Trenton: Overcast, lower scattered clouds, hazy; estimated ceiling 6,000 feet; visibility 8 miles; wind east-southeast, 15, variable; temperature 56; dew point 41; barometer 29.70.
Wilmington: Scattered clouds; unlimited visibility; 10 miles; wind was calm; temperature 55; barometer 29.64.
Senator KEAN. 29.64?
Senator KEAN. Those three show quite a drop in the barometer, do they not?
Mr. Smith. Yes, sir. At Aberdeen: Broken clouds; estimated ceiling 7,000 feet; visibility 15 miles; wind 3; temperature 57; dew point 41; barometer 29.67.
At Baltimore: Sky overcast, lower scattered clouds; ceiling unlimited; visibility 8 miles; wind east, 6; temperature 56; dew point 41; barometer 29.62.
Washington: Overcast, sprinkling; estimated ceiling 6,000 feet; visibility 10 miles; wind east-southeast, 6; temperature 59; dew point 43; barometer 29.60.
On that same airway, New York to Washington, at 7:42
Senator KEAN. Before you go on with that you have a barometer at Long Island of 75, Trenton 70, Philadelphia 64, and at Washington 60 or 62. In reading weather maps, what does that mean to you?
Mr. Smith. It really does not mean anything because I am not a meteorologist; I know nothing about meteorology work; I work on these communications, ground-station work, teletype, and radio.
Senator KEAN. That does not mean to you any storms?
Mr. Smith. Well, just general conditions, except here where it states-from reading I would not say offhand that it does.
Senator KEAN. Well, go on.
Mr. Smith. Now, at 7:42 p.m. on the 3d, Newark was overcast, light fog; ceiling 700 feet; visibility 1% miles; wind northeast, 12; temperature 45; dew point 44; barometer 29.75.
Floyd Bennett was high, thin, broken clouds; unlimited visibility, 6 miles; wind east-northeast, 15; temperature 45; barometer 29.76.
Trenton: Scattered clouds; unlimited visibility, 7 miles; eastnortheast, 16; temperature 47; barometer 29.65.
Philadelphia: High, thin, overcast lower scattered clouds; estimated ceiling 7,000 feet; visibility 8 miles; wind east-northeast, 14; temperature 53; dew point 41; barometer 29.71.
Wilmington: Scattered clouds; unlimited visibility, 10 miles; wind calm; temperature 53; barometer 29.62.
Aberdeen: Overcast; estimated ceiling 8,000 feet; visibility 15 miles; wind east, 3; temperature 57; dew point 40; barometer 29.62.
Baltimore: High overcast, lower broken clouds; light rain; estimated ceiling 3,000 feet; visibility 10 miles; wind east-southeast, 7; temperature 56; dew point 42; barometer 29.62.
Washington: Overcast; light rain; thunder storms; estimated ceiling 7,000 feet; visibility 10 miles; wind south, 10; temperature 57; dew point 43; barometer 29.57.
Now, at 8:42 p.m., that same airway, New York to Washington
Senator KEAN (interposing). These were broadcast at 7:42?
Mr. Smith. Yes, sir; it requires approximately 3 minutes to run the sequence and give it to the radio stations for broadcasting.
Representative DELANEY. Mr. Chairman, may I call it to your attention that we have agreed that this evening would end the hearings and if you have a program that you wish to have followed, I would be very glad to go along on it.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. As far as I am concerned, these successive reports can be introduced without reading.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; there is no necessity for reading them.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. You have 6:42, 7:42, 8:42; one every hour?
The CHAIRMAN. Just hand them to the Colonel and let him indicate to the reporter those that should be admitted.
Colonel BRECKINRIDGE. I am sorry to encumber the record, but I would like to have all of those in.
The CHAIRMAN. Congressman Harter, is that all right?
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