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

About this time I commenced a correspondence course with the Marconi School of Wireless in Sydney to obtain a marine radar endorsement. I was able to complete the course before the new meteorological station was commissioned.

The radar equipment was installed by DCA technical staff, but was acceptance tested by Bureau personnel. I think that Reg Stout and Dick Cohen were the two supervising technicians involved. In any event Dick Cohen most certainly trained Charlie Rogan, Mick Nichols and myself in all aspects of radiosonde operation, as well as setting up and operating the 277F radar. During the training regime we transferred operations from the old office to the new establishment. We also moved into the new residences.

At about this time, Neville Franks, the Senior Observer (Radio) appointed to Lord Howe Island, arrived on the flying boat with his family. We now had our full staff of three Observers and the Senior Observer (Radio) (or 'tech'). The station commenced operations at 2.30 am and ceased at 10 pm each day except when the flying boat departed Sydney before 5 am, in which case the station remained on duty for the full 24 hours. The flying boat could only operate in the lagoon around high tide.

The new equipment made a tremendous difference to data output from the station. The daily radiosonde flight using 350 gram balloons had an average bursting height of just over 19,000 metres. Radar wind flights using 100 gram balloons and small balsa wood and paper targets had an average bursting height of nearly 14,500 metres. Added to this, we also had radar weather surveillance capability out to a maximum range of 445 kilometres. Eventually, Lord Howe Island became the southernmost station in the cyclone tracking network.

Periodically we launched 850 gram neoprene balloons for specific high altitude programs. These larger balloons could get up to 26,000 metres and quite often the radar would be operating out to its maximum tracking range of nearly 140 kilometres.

In July 1955, Dot and our son Peter returned to the mainland (Blayney) to await the birth of our daughter, Fiona, who was born on 14 August. In due course my family returned to the Island and life returned to normal.

Neville Franks completed his term on the Island and was duly relieved by Ray Missen, who in turn was relieved by Roy Carrick. All three Senior Observer (Radio)s were excellent radar technicians.

People in Bright Sparcs - Stout, Reginald William (Reg)

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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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