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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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The Life and Bureau Times of Graham Linnett (continued)

It wasn't worth getting the old toga in a knot so we decided to press on. After putting the pieces of my shattered life together the Good Lord once again provided a reward, and as a result I was given a WF44 radar course in Melbourne with Eric Holmes, Charlie Holman and 'Buggsie' Bonnar. On completion of this course I was again transferred to Brisbane spending time at Eagle Farm and then relieving Charlie Jolly at Mackay until July 1967. It was during this period, and later in Port Moresby, that I came to know Bruce Aubrey well. Bruce was a tireless worker for the Queensland Region. I remember him telling me "we've got a big Region to run" and "you can't trust those 'bums' in Melbourne, we've got to keep the pressure on them". On another occasion a recently arrived staff member commented, after hearing Bruce using the phone, "Geez, Bruce talks to his father a lot during the day". On being asked the reason for his comment, he said well he's always saying lets face it Dad or Dad we've got bums in Head Office to do it.

I was then transferred to Port Moresby in July or August 1967 and took part in the installation of a WF44 radar with Lex Patterson, Bob Brealey and George Khan. The commissioning of the WF44 was carried out by the greats of Bureau radar, Alf West and one William Hite. During my first term in Port Moresby, in about 1968, we were reclassified from Observer (Radio) to Technician. This brought the end of shift work and its associated allowances. This loss was compensated for by the higher salary brought about by the reclassification. We eat again.

I suppose the highlight of my Port Moresby posting was returning from Lae, just before Christmas, and being advised the radar is unserviceable. We had a storm last night and it hasn't worked since. "Oh dear!" or a similar exclamation. Investigation revealed a disaster. Every diode or transistor junction connected to the 100 pair cable between the transmitter and operations building had been transformed into one of two things, an open circuit or a short circuit. Many components and days later the radar was going again, and I knew a lot more about it than when I started. The support from Head Office and the Region was terrific.

During 1969 I was also made responsible for maintenance of the Metox at Lae and also equipment at Madang. Quite a bit of travel was involved and I got to see a great deal of Papua New Guinea. It was a wonderful country and a great posting prior to the changes brought about by self determination and then independence. The staff, the stations and the escapades deserve a chapter on their own.

Anyway, I returned to Brisbane in about August 1971, being relieved by Alf Svensson. My first task was to conduct the first and only WF44 radar course held outside Melbourne. Those on course were Pete Copland, Wally Lloyd-Jones, Horrie Down and George Khan. Obviously, under the guidance of a keen tutor, they all passed the course despite the rigorous evaluation carried out by 'Mac'. Sadly, George Khan passed away early in 1972; he did not get a chance to work on the WF44 radar at Mount Stuart.

WF44 radar training course

WF44 radar training course held at Eagle Farm in 1971. Left to right, Graham Linnett, Peter Copland, Wally Lloyd-Jones, Horrie Down, George Khan.

People in Bright Sparcs - Holmes, Ralph Aubrey Edward

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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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