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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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Some Stories by Colourful Freddie Soutter (continued)

The new site was very rocky but Merv had marked a point he considered we could dig down deep enough to cement in the base for the mast. However, it was impossible to run the cable underground. Merv had brought numerous lengths of galvanised iron pipe and with a spudding bar we chipped holes into crevices in the rock and then cemented in these lengths of pipe. We then ran a strainer wire to support the telemetry cable from the mast to the bottom of the hill where we were able to go underground to the radio shack.

On return to the Regional Maintenance Centre I made a report of the installation, documented with photographs. Shortly after, when on a maintenance visit to the RFC, Arch Shields saw me and said that although pleased that, at last, the Bureau would receive more accurate wind reports from Double Island Point, he was concerned as to the strength of the above ground cable and asked what velocity of wind did I think it would withstand. I made a wild guess and stated in excess of a certain rate of knots and promptly forgot about our conversation.

Several years later, while I was doing an all nighter at the RFC, a cyclone heading in from the Coral Sea towards Gladstone turned and headed for Double Island Point. During the night, when bending down studying the latest satellite photographs, a warm and friendly arm came across my shoulders. It was Arch. He then paid me a wonderful compliment and said that the latest wind velocity recorded at Double Island Point was that of the figure I had stated several years earlier, and that the anemometer was still working which meant that the strainer wire and posts were still in place. Several years later a fire burnt the cable which had to be replaced, however, the strainer wire and posts stood up to the heat of that fire. It was truly a warm and friendly compliment, one that along with other friendly exchanges gave me a great admiration of Arch Shields.

People in Bright Sparcs - Shields, Archibald John

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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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