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Table of Contents

Radio Technical Officers

Foreword

Acknowledgements

Preface

Introduction

Chapter 1: The Early Years

Chapter 2: The Training School

Chapter 3: Equipment Installation Records

Chapter 4: The 'Techs' in Antarctica

Chapter 5: The 'Techs' Tell Their Stories
Trevor Donald Tells It All; Life in the Bureau from 1947 to 1989
Ray Clarke Looks Back
Some Memories from Ralph Bulloch
Peter Copland Works in Meteorological Electronics
Some Titbits from Dave Grainger
A Very Modest Tale from Alf Svensson
Adrian Porter Pulls No Punches
Jack Tait Recalls
Some Stories by Colourful Freddie Soutter
Some Snippets from Noel Barrett
Stephen CourbÍt Has His Penny Wworth
And a Flyspeck or Two from Lenny Dawson
Some Interesting Reminiscences from Jannes Keuken
Brief Stories from Phil Black
From Gloria West, Wife of the Late Bob West
The Life and Bureau Times of Graham Linnett
Tales Out of School from Bill Hite
Peter Copland on Cyclone Tracy
Peter Broughton Tells the Story of Maralinga

Appendix 1: 'Techs' Roll Call

Appendix 2: Trainee Intakes

Appendix 3: 'Techs' Who Have Served in the Antarctic Region

Appendix 4: Summary of Major Installation Projects

Appendix 5: Summary of Major Equipment Variously Installed at Sites and Maintained by Radio Technical Officers


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Trevor Donald Tells It All; Life in the Bureau from 1947 to 1989 (continued)

The course which concluded in the latter part of 1961 was quite interesting and we were all successful in our final examinations. After spending so many years living on islands we were hopeful of getting a transfer to a reasonable mainland location. Such was not the case. I was asked to go to Woomera Rocket Range as a matter of urgency as the existing Senior Observer (Radio) had been promoted and transferred to another position at the Weapons Research Establishment (WRE).

Once again I took Dot and the children back to Blayney and headed off to Woomera. On arrival I was duly quartered in the Staff Mess pending allocation of married quarters.

What a change in climate! I had forgotten what inland Australia was like in summer; the last time that I had travelled through the Centre was in 1942. I certainly missed the cool summer breezes of Lord Howe Island.

When the firing range stood down for the Christmas break in December 1961, I headed east to spend Christmas with my family prior to us all returning to Woomera in the New Year.

George Trefrey was the officer in charge, with Frank Callas the other Meteorologist. I doubt that I can remember all of the Observers stationed at Woomera but certainly Alan Ashton, Arch Ryan, Stan Sketcher, Roger Bruhn, Jack Salmons and Neville McMahon are names that readily spring to mind. Also, Navy Airman Ian Moran was detached from HMAS Albatross to the Woomera office.

My duties were quite straightforward being to maintain all of the electronic equipment that we used and also to carry out all radar wind-finding flights.

Equipment-wise we had two radiosonde ground stations, one at Woomera itself and the other at Mirikata, up range. We also had a modified anti-aircraft AA3 Mk Vll radar which fed a rectangular co-ordinate Cartesian converter which in turn fed an EMI X-Y plotting table. The latter two units were located in an air-conditioned plotting room about 50 metres from the radar itself. This equipment configuration provided a ground plot for each wind flight from release to burst. A 30 second time pulse injected into the trace allowed the extraction of wind data quickly and accurately; heights were read directly from an analogue display.

The two years spent at Woomera Rocket Range were extremely interesting and the experience gained proved very helpful in later years. The double theodolite flights that the Observers were required to carry out are particularly worthy of mention. Their baselines were of varying lengths and on occasions up to about 45 kilometres. On those occasions the radar had to slave (or assist) the second theodolite onto the balloon.


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Clarke, R. 1999 'Stories of the Bureau's Radio Technical Officers from 1948', Metarch Papers No. 14 February 1999, Bureau of Meteorology

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