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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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Adrian Porter Pulls No Punches (continued)

An incident which should not go unmentioned is that of the exploding anemometer mast hydraulic ram on Lord Howe Island while I was installing equipment in the new meteorological office. In the process of raising the radiosonde antenna mast the hydraulic return valve jammed causing the end of the ram to explode. Shrapnel whistled past my face, large fragments of which finishing hundreds of metres up the road. My arm was strafed with fine metal splinters. The amusing aspect of this incident was that the slimy hydraulic fluid spewed out covering me from head to foot; the ultimate insult. I must have looked a sight as I walked into the office looking for assistance.

It is pleasing to see, after leaving the Installation Section, that some of the building designs I had involvement with went on to appear in new places around Australia. I regret, though, that some have appeared in places where I would not have put them. I think that the Giles meteorological office design was a mistake and view the Brisbane Airport observing office building as a failure. In the case of the latter, design alterations leading up to its construction meant that the WF44 radar tower moved relatively around the corner of the building and rotated 90 degrees relative to the waveguide entry. This had the effect of the wildest waveguide entry to the pedestal of 66 degrees. Initially it took three flexible bends to achieve this; later a solid section was made. In any building design, success or failure is established with time and by its users. Buildings should also have the potential and space to adapt to equipment and staff changes over time.

During my time in the Installation Section I had the opportunity to act in the RMO position in Tasmania for a month. This was my first encounter with the future, but it was another seven years before I successfully applied for the then newly created position of RMO of the Tasmania and Antarctic Region. By chance, one of my last installations was that of the new Hobart Airport meteorological office. The connection to Tasmania was complete in 1990 and I have been working here, now in 1998 as RESM, since then. My work here continues my long term involvement with meteorological science in Antarctica.

Recent inspection visits and another winter at Casey in 1994 have proved interesting. Going back 'behind the counter' at Casey while RESM was well worth the effort, and I would recommend it to a lot of managers in the Bureau since sometimes, as managers, we find it hard to accept the legitimate requests and difficulties of others.

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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

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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