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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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Preface (continued)

After a short break building a house he was engaged by Telecom (Australia), initially as a technical coordinator. He applied for and got his Technical Officer qualifications recognised then undertook a crash course in communications. In 1983 he was promoted to Senior Technical Officer (Communication) Grade 2 in charge of Level 2 maintenance (special services) within the State. These special services included tie-lines, outdoor extensions, fire and security services, data lines, music systems etc and had a high degree of complexity. Whilst in this position he introduced new systems and maintenance procedures which were instrumental in the development of and subsequent increased efficiency of the 1107 fault finding centre. He took early retirement in March 1990.

Since retirement he has been busy in pursuing two great loves, short story writing and metal detecting. Metal detecting for gold, coins and relics has led him to beautiful parts of the country and provides good healthy exercise without being financially lucrative. Writing has kept him mentally alert and he has been lucky enough to have had some stories and poems published.

For many years his great dream was to record the history of the Bureau's Radio Technical Officers (met 'techs'), and much of his time was spent cajoling former colleagues into providing the bulk of the information contained in this Metarch Paper.

Ray is associated with writing clubs, the local Australian football club, is President of the Brisbane Metal Detecting Club (which he founded) and, not least, is Vice-president of the Frosterley Club (Queensland) where he keeps abreast of old colleagues, both serving and retired.

I do not think I can just leave this preface as a history of Ray, so I have added my personal recollections of Ray and the 'techs'.

Although I am now an Engineer, I was briefly a Technical Officer and, particularly in my early years in the Bureau, travelled throughout Australia where I worked with many 'techs'. Of these, Ray was one of the most outstanding in many ways. He had a reputation as both a hard worker and hard player. I have seen him in a WF2 radar, hanging out the open door having a smoke and carrying on a conversation, and still carrying out a balloon flight. When I followed Ray around the country, to commission the WF44 radars that he had installed, I could always rely on him to have everything near-perfect and if anything was outstanding, it would always be listed as such and arrangements would have been made with various locals to complete the work. After six weeks in a town, all the local tradesmen would be Ray's personal friends.

After reading the many stories which follow, it is probably true to say that in some cases 'facts get in the way of a good story', or perhaps it's just a case of selective memory, a trait of the old, or so they tell me. However, these stories need to be told before they are lost forever.

The 'techs' were a hard working, dedicated bunch. Very much a part of the Bureau 'family', they were expected to do anything that was not on anyone else's duty statement and in the days when they were station based, the general condition of the station was considered to be their responsibility. It was their station, not the OIC's. We were always considered the poor relation by such organisations as the Department of Civil Aviation, but they could not understand how we could maintain a station with one 'tech' when they needed sixteen to maintain a radar (a true story).

Bill Hite

September 1998

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Frosterley Club

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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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