Papers from SWICo members
B. Zolesi, M. Pezzopane, C. Bianchi, A. Meloni, Lj. R. Cander, and R. Tozzi.
On 25 May 1928, while coming back to the base in NyAlesund after having overflew the North Pole, the airship “Dirigibile Italia” shipwrecked on the ice‐pack in a region at about 400 km northeast of Svalbard Islands. Using a portable high frequency (HF) radio transmitter, survivors tried to send SOS messages and to establish a radio link with a ship closely anchored at King’s Bay, that is “Città di Milano” of the Italian Navy. All their attempts proved unsuccessful until a Russian radio amateur close to the town of Arkhangelsk about 1,900 km away succeeded in receiving the messages launched by the survivors and raised the alarm. This however happened only after 9 days of repeated radio‐distress transmissions.
This work provides a retrospective analysis of the ionospheric and geomagnetic conditions of those days to try to explain the HF radio communications problems experienced by the survivors. To this purpose, the International Reference Ionosphere model has been used, and early geomagnetic measurements have been analysed. We found that the HF transmission difficulties were associated with the “dead zone” of F‐region propagation but that they might have been exacerbated by solar and geomagnetically disturbed conditions of the days soon after the airship wreck.
Publication: B. Zolesi, M. Pezzopane, C. Bianchi, A. Meloni, Lj. R. Cander, and R. Tozzi, The Shipwreck of the Airship “Dirigibile Italia” in the 1928 Polar Venture: A Retrospective Analysis of the Ionospheric and Geomagnetic Conditions, Space Weather, 18, e2020SW002459, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020SW002459