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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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From Gloria West, Wife of the Late Bob West

In March 1958 Bob commenced a five year apprenticeship as a Radio Tradesman with the WRE, at Salisbury, South Australia. He completed this in December 1962 and was transferred to Woomera in January 1963 where he was given responsibility for maintaining the receiving station VL5BW. Bob was also involved in maintaining mobile transceiver equipment and audio communication systems.

In March 1964 Bob commenced an Observer (Radio) course with the Bureau. He completed this in August 1964 and was posted to Giles as acting Senior Observer (Radio) for six months. Upon his return we were married in Gawler, South Australia. Bob subsequently served at Adelaide Airport and Woomera from 1965 to early in 1967. From March 1967 he was posted to Albany, Port Hedland and then back to Woomera. Sharyn, our daughter, was born at Woomera Hospital in December 1967. In January 1968 it was off to Lord Howe Island.

In 1968 Bob attained fifth position in an eligibility examination held for Bureau 'techs' throughout Australia. He subsequently undertook a WF44 radar training course in May 1969 and, on completion, was promoted as a Radio Technical Officer Grade 1. Our son, Andrew, was born at Gawler two days before the course began. After the course Bob moved to the Sydney Regional Office where he maintained and serviced a range of the Bureau's electronic and mechanical equipment.

In 1971 Bob was promoted as an Radio Technical Officer Grade 2 to the Installation Section in Head Office. Between 1971 and 1978 he supervised the installation of WF44 radars at Hoddle Street, Hobart Airport, Adelaide Airport, Gladstone, Alice Springs, Williamtown, Mount Kanigan and Broome. He also supervised the installation of the WF3 radars at Rabaul and Mount Isa, and also a temporary installation at Daly Waters for a CSIRO experimental program. He installed AWSs at Gannet Cay and Swains Reef in the Coral Sea and at Tasman Island in Tasmania. Bob also assisted with the installation of WF44 weather watching radars at Townsville and Laverton. During his time in the Installation Section, Bob was promoted to Senior Radio Technical Officer Grade 1 and, at times, acted as Senior Radio Technical Officer Grade 2 during the absence of the supervisor; for a period in 1977 he acted as RMO for Victoria in the absence of Peter Broughton.

On Bob's return to Sydney he again maintained and serviced a range of the Bureau's electronic and mechanical equipment throughout New South Wales. He successfully completed subsequent courses, on both the new WF100 radar and Aldenfax in 1985, on WF100 radar weather watching in 1987 and, in 1988, on Rapic.

In October 1992 Bob went to Saipan on Guam to inspect a vertical wind profiler being given to the Bureau by the USA.

Bob was a keen cricketer, golfer and bowler. He participated in a number of such clubs in his travels around Australia, and was responsible for the formation of the Bureau's Golf Club at Head Office where he served as Secretary and President. He proudly represented the Bureau in a number of Commonwealth golfing and bowling tournaments.

Bob West

Bob West playing lawn bowls at Norfolk Island in 1982.

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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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