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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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Tales Out of School from Bill Hite

Although I was never a field 'tech', I have been given the opportunity to tell a few tales out of school.

My initial training was as a RAAF apprentice and, after a very short career, I joined the Department of Defence (Defence Signals). From there I followed a couple of others to the Bureau in 1965, commencing as a Technical Assistant Grade 2, on promotion from a position of Senior Technician. At that time most Technical Assistants Grade 2 were qualified 'techs' who were attempting to obtain higher qualifications part time; part time students had to have several years experience in the course before they were awarded their Diploma or Degree.

The Bureau created a Radar Section in Head Office at the time they were purchasing the WF44 radars. Those recruited for the Section were Engineer Grade 2 Alf West, who is now its Head in 1998, Technical Officer Grade 1 Maurice Costello and myself. I was to spend ten years with the Radar Section, progressing as a Technical Assistant Grade 2, Technical Officer Grade 1, Engineer Grade 1 and Engineer Grade 2 before being transferred to the Maintenance Section.

When I arrived at the Bureau, Alf West and Gwyn Court were in England for the acceptance testing of the WF44 radar. Both Maurice and myself were given odds and ends to do while we waited for the WF44s to arrive. We were situated at 2 Drummond Street, in the back part above the Physics Laboratory. My first job was assisting Mike Hassett by drawing four-thirds Earth profile charts for the Brisbane River remote rain and river gauging system.

During my time in the Radar Section we commissioned the first eight WF44 radars, which were made in England. Then we carried out the factory testing of a further thirteen (12 for the Bureau and one for the RAAF) and commissioned these also. I attended all commissionings except Mount Gambier (first batch) and Hobart (second batch).

After each commissioning I would get together with 'Mac' from Training School to discuss all the odd faults we came across. If they were suitable he would then use them for the fault finding part of the WF44 radar training course.

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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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