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Table of Contents

Radio Technical Officers





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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Peter Copland Works in Meteorological Electronics (continued)

A few years back we shifted the Moree WF2 radar about 10 metres to put it on a small man made hill. In the old position, when the elevation was less than 10 degrees, the radar would radiate some of the houses that had been built next door. Then, with the advent of the new office and WF100 radar in 1995, the WF2 was shifted again to be a non-operational gate guard at the new office.

Late in 1996, at Cobar, we fixed probably the longest term fault ever in a WF2 radar, and I think the oddest. I think it possibly goes back 15 or more years, and would have cost thousands of dollars. The fault was that the tuning of the receiver would change sometimes as the spinner rotated. The apparent repair was to replace the magnetron, and it would then be fixed for another six to eighteen months. But the real fault was a very slight bend in the circular section of waveguide in the spinner; it could change the frequency of some magnetrons as it rotated. The radar came good with a complete new spinner assembly. The WF2 radar was subsequently decommissioned with the introduction of the Autosonde at Cobar in 1997.

When the new meteorological office was commissioned at Lord Howe Island, Denis and I spent some weeks trying to assist the Melbourne crew with the installation. The WF100 radar had been installed, as a temporary measure, in the original building and used the old 277F radar tower. With the building of the new office at the airport the temporary installation was removed and the radar was reinstalled in the new building. It is a quite impressive office, but is a bit 'green', even the roof. I think some solar energy could have been fed into the electronic hydrogen generator, though, when one considers the cost of electricity on the Island. We tried to help one of the locals in his endeavour to preserve the old 277F radar for the local museum. Actually, the whole exercise was fairly hard work; but a much better 'holiday' camp than some places in the Northern Territory. Later, the old meteorological office was completely removed right down to the last stone.

The Coffs Harbour meteorological office has had a bit of a rework in the last five or six years. The old section of the building got a new roof and a wiring duct through the roof. Then some internal walls were knocked down and a new office was built for the OIC in part of the old storeroom. Overall, the work has been a vast improvement. There was a new instrument enclosure constructed 50 metres from the office, to replace the often under water one near the old runway. The Dines anemograph was also refurbished and moved to the new enclosure. There is also a good lock up store shed for the unsightly bits and WF2 radar junk. And, of course, an AWS. Also, the WF100 radar has now been upgraded to the PC-Radwin system and a radome has been installed to protect its dish.

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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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