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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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Ray Clarke Looks Back (continued)

Back home then for awhile then off to Coffs Harbour with Bruce Duck (Mactavish) to permanently relocate the WF2 radar initially put in by George Khan. I seem to recall that Neil Davies was there but I distinctly remember going fishing with the job electrician, with great success.

Just before Christmas 1967 I installed the WF2 radar at the Naval Station at Nowra. The sailors couldn't do enough for me workwise or playwise. The radar had some problems and I had to work through a couple of nights to finish the job on schedule (no, I didn't claim overtime; just love of the job in those days). The Naval Commander wrote a complimentary letter to the Bureau on my work which I thought was pretty good of him. There's little kudos in the installation game, but make a blue, mate, and everyone will hear about it. That's life, I guess!

After installing some instrumentation at the then new Tullamarine Airport (what a cold, windy hole), I was off to my home town, Brisbane, in July 1966 for a WF44 radar installation. I remember that tower members wouldn't fit and that the late Walter Wentzell had to be contacted for advice. Bruce Duck and Isaac Bugalski (the terrible twins) were on the team and we rented a run-down house not far from the airport. The late Bruce Aubrey, RMO Queensland, gave us typical Queensland hospitality; old 'Straub' was always helpful in his extroverted way. "What are those Central Office bums stuffing up now" was his first greeting but I knew it was mainly tongue in cheek. Bruce was really a dedicated Bureau man, and a colourful character around the Bureau's 'traps'.

In October 1968 a WF2 radar was installed at Cobar with the assistance of my old classmate Jannes Keuken. Always a pleasure to see Jannes. I took a trip down the mine there and don't recommend it to anyone who is claustrophobic.

The next WF2 radar installation, in March 1969, was in one of my favourite places, Ceduna. I have very fond memories of Bruce Duck and self catching King George whiting off the pier. From memory I think Steele Saunders was the OIC there.

The Esperance WF2 radar installation, in May 1969, brings back happy recollections, particularly of OIC Arthur Rae who seconded me into a guest speaker role at the local Apex Club. Two of Arthur's trademarks were that he was always co-operative and efficient.

On return to Melbourne I flew to beautiful Norfolk Island per RAAF Hercules with a Works team. We had to skid the radar onto the site. Trevor Donald came over and we did the test flights together. Trevor was methodical, reliable and always a good companion, both at work and afterwards over a convivial ale or two. One could easily get used to the Norfolk Island style of life.

People in Bright Sparcs - Clarke, Raymond W.

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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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