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Re: Conelrad question
<< I remember listening to Conelrad and thinking something was wrong with
the radio because the signal kept fading in and out. My mother explained
that it was supposed to do that. >>
As with much of the wisdom dispensed by mothers, there was more truth in
that than either was apparent at the time or was understood by either party.
CONELRAD was such a bad idea that it couldn't even have prevented the event
that spawned it: the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Had we known about the
departing bombers the moment they became airborne and activated a system of
radio carriers going on and off from random places in the Hawaiian Islands,
the signals fed into the ADFs would still have led the planes accurately to
within visual range of the intended targets.
Ditto for an attack originating from Europe: From out in the ocean, all the
signals on either 640 or 1240 --their apparent randomness notwithstanding--
would still have guided an incoming bomber in the direction of the shores of
the U.S., from which visual reference could be made to completion of
And did anyone think of making the TV and FM (as few as there were, major
cities had them) stations, police radios, aircraft NDBs, LF ranges, and
numerous other point sources of RF gather on common frequencies to alternate
on-off in random cycles? Or of shutting down the earth's magnetic field?
I suppose the public expected the government to do *something* and CONELRAD,
as silly as it was, probably served that need better than nothing at all.
The practice continues to this day.