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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)

The two to three week period prior to installation day could well be considered organised chaos as numerous confirmatory contacts had to be made with Bureau people, works inspectors and electricians, Telecom wallopers, electricity and transport authorities, DCA , probably local government people, etc, etc, and to attend to a thousand or so seemingly trivial matters which affected the job one way or another. So finally, you and your team climbed onto the aircraft, work flow program safely tucked away, and headed out into the wild, blue yonder on job number 40, or is it 41?, living out of a suitcase for up to five months of the year. Flying here, there and everywhere, often at short notice, was certainly not a boring job but it catches up with you after awhile. It did with me and after 16 years and 35 major installation projects I finally had enough. All tolled, I had nearly 50 'installation' trips for the Bureau, but there were many other maintenance trips around the place.

My installations, which always included the commissioning stage except for the WF44 radar, varied in team numbers from one (me) up to about a dozen tradesmen/technicians. The WF44 radar used to take four weeks and needed a team of eight, a supervisor (the buck stops here), three installation 'techs', two Regional Office 'techs', an electrician (generally borrowed from a Government Department) and, occasionally, a storeman (Gerry Punt was a good one). Everyone on the team had specific duties and targets to meet. In general, the overall allocation of duties and delegation of responsibilities proved to be very effective. Very experienced and capable installation 'techs' like Bob Brealey, Bruce Duck and Carl Keswick made life easier for the supervisor as their work was fault-free for intents and purposes.

I never found it necessary to motivate the staff that worked with me. They appreciated the challenge and took a pride in their own particular job. There was a time to work and a time to play. Only once or twice in my experience did I ever have the occasion to seriously discipline a staff member over the 16 year period and I guess that shows the dedication and hard work which characterised the 'met techs' with whom I was associated.

When I returned from the Pacific cruise to Lihou Reef, I was brought down to earth with a rush trip putting a WF3 radar into Wagga before Christmas 1970. After the Mount Stuart WF44 radar was installed, I made another trip to the West for the Perth Airport WF44 radar in July 1972, with the usual installation team plus Regional 'techs' Ralph Bulloch and John Prince, a couple of good, dependable workers. At the same time, on the other side of the continent, my old sparring partner, Bruce Duck, was putting an AWS on Gannet Cay, but we had a good team in Perth and RMO Western Australia John Gilbery (Gilburger) also got some hands on experience.

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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