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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

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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Stories of the Bureau's Radio Technical Officers from 1948


Metarch Papers No. 14 is a particularly significant addition to the Metarch Papers series. It records much of the history of the Bureau's Radio Technical Officers (or 'techs') in their various guises over the years, and covers an area of operation of the Bureau not previously addressed in depth in earlier issues of Metarch Papers.

The Metarch Papers series was a catalyst for this latest paper which proceeded after Ray Clarke was given positive advice that the Bureau, in principle, was interested in recording the history of the Bureau's 'techs' in Metarch Papers. I wish to acknowledge Ray's subsequent initiative and major effort in seeking contributions from retired, separated and still serving 'techs', and for his initial compilation of the information. I must also acknowledge the significant work of Bill Hite in checking and then readying this information prior to its adaption to the Metarch Papers format. I am particularly pleased, too, that so many past and present 'techs' took the time and trouble to provide submissions.

The contribution to the Bureau of its 'techs' often goes unnoticed. But their efforts in installing and maintaining much of the Bureau's observational and communications equipment over many years have been absolutely vital to the Bureau's growth and development, and have contributed to the high standing that the Bureau's services enjoy today throughout the community.

This Metarch Paper records stories of hardship and isolation, of endurance and devotion to duty and of risks and dangers that 'techs' have been subjected to over the years. It records practices, unacceptable today, that were all in a day's work in years past and provides an insight into the field operations of 'techs'. These stories include episodes which most of us would hope never to experience in the Bureau. Most of us have never had to avoid snakes in the office, never had to take-off in a small seaplane avoiding coral outcrops, never had to sit in a remote airline terminal at 4 am being eaten by midges, never had to take food to a starving island community and certainly never been to a Patrol Station that was subsequently subjected to a fatal attack. The Bureau's 'techs' have seen all this and more, and I am most pleased that this Metarch Paper has recorded these stories before they were lost forever.

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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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