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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)

The activities of the Observer (Radio)s and Senior Observer (Radio)s were largely concerned with the repair and maintenance and operation of radiosonde and radar equipment. Any other equipment was invariably repaired or maintained by some other authority. The PMG installed and maintained the Muirhead D649 weatherfax recorders at the Regional Office and aviation forecasting offices whilst DCA's electrical section repaired and maintained the Dines anemometer installations at the various airports within the Region. The Macleay Valley remote rain and river gauging system was serviced by DCA's radio section.

When I commenced duty at the Sydney Regional Office in early 1964 the field stations within the region were equipped and technically staffed as follows:

  • Byron Bay was equipped with a Marconi SNW51 radar operated by the lighthouse staff and maintained by technical staff from the Queensland Region;

  • Cobar was equipped with a AA3 Mk VII radar and 72 MHz radiosonde; Jannes Keuken was resident Senior Observer (Radio);

  • Coffs Harbour was equipped with a WF2 radar and housed the base radio station for the Macleay Valley radio reporting rain gauge system. There was no resident 'tech'. I was responsible for the periodic maintenance of the WF2 radar, but DCA radio technical staff attended to all emergency repairs and carried out all repairs and routine maintenance of the Macleay Valley system, which consisted of the base station at Coffs Harbour, a repeating station at Point Lookout (in DCA premises) and five gauging stations;

  • Lord Howe Island was equipped with a 277F radar and 72 MHz radiosonde; I can't remember the name of the Senior Observer (Radio), but he was a very keen fisherman and Lord Howe Island must have been paradise for him;

  • Moree was equipped with a WF2 radar and 72 MHz radiosonde; Len Dawson was resident Senior Observer (Radio);

  • Norfolk Island was equipped with a 403 MHz Metox radio theodolite; Eric Holmes was resident Senior Observer (Radio);

  • Williamtown was equipped with a 277F radar and 72 MHz radiosonde; Ted Taylor was resident Senior Observer (Radio).

The next WF2 radar installation in the NSW Region was at Wagga Wagga and, on completion, Jannes Keuken was transferred from Cobar to become resident Senior Observer (Radio). In turn Jannes was relieved at Cobar by another of the technicians recruited in the UK.

People in Bright Sparcs - Holmes, Ralph Aubrey Edward

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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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