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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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A Very Modest Tale from Alf Svensson (continued)

The relieving party arrived in December 1967 and had with it a new WF2 radar. My term was extended to remain there with the summer party. I looked after the AA3 Mk VII radar while the new 'tech' concentrated on installing the new radar.

Upon my return to Australia in March 1968 I went on the first WF44 radar course conducted by 'Mac'. From there it was on to Eagle Farm where installation of a WF44 radar had just commenced under Ray Clarke. I joined the installation crew, and later Bill Hite, for the commissioning.

I lasted six months in Brisbane before I was again asked to go to Antarctica, this time to do installation work at the new Casey station being built to replace the old Wilkes station which was disappearing under snow and ice. So by December 1968 I was heading south for the third time.

It turned out to be a very challenging trip as some necessary equipment was left behind in Australia, such as the flexible S shaped waveguide at the rear of the radar dish, the spinner drive motor and gear, radiosonde Yagi aerials and the radiosonde baseline box. Nevertheless, all installations were completed, with replacements for the missing items made locally using available bits and pieces. Against all odds, three months after arriving on the station it was commissioned and was fully operational. A most memorable event was listening to the first man walk on the moon on 21 July while doing a night shift.

By April 1970 I was back at Eagle Farm. The OIC was Fred Bell, a gentle man of gentle men. He had a clerical assistant, Faye Robinson, whom I eventually convinced to tie the conjugal knot. My tripping down south had now come to an end.

We only lasted a few months at Eagle Farm before we were transferred to the newly established Queensland Regional Maintenance Centre in Curtin Avenue, Hamilton. Graham Linnett, then in Port Moresby, was selected as OIC, and I was sent up there to relieve him in July 1971 while a permanent replacement was found. My stint there lasted four months.

With the establishment of the Regional Maintenance Centre things stabilised to a fair degree. During the next ten years or so there were less long term transfers but leave relief and other short term transfers increased dramatically. In one year I was away from home for a total of six months.

My next transfer was to Charleville in December 1977. I thoroughly enjoyed my two years there with the old 277F radar, but welcomed breaks now and then to visit Longreach, which was then maintained from Charleville.

I was back in Brisbane again by the end of 1979, at the Regional Maintenance Centre until 1987 when it was decided that the new Brisbane Airport meteorological office was to be staffed with a permanent 'tech'. I eventually succeeded in getting that position and am still occupying it today in September 1998.

People in Bright Sparcs - Bell, Fred; 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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