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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 8

I Part 1: Communications
i Before the Telegraph
ii Electrical Communication Before Federation
iii Federation to the End of the Second World War
iv Post-war and on to 1975
v 1975 ONWARDS

II Epilogue

III Part 2: Early Australian Computers And Computing

IV Acknowledgements



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Post-war and on to 1975 (continued)

In 1965 NASA proposed that in support of the Apollo programme an earth station should be established at Carnarvon, Western Australia by October of the following year, to provide tracking, telemetering and command services for the launch of the satellites, together with direct communication links between the earth station and the USA. The earth station, which was supplied by NASA, was available on schedule, but the first satellite failed to reach synchronous orbit, remaining in a 12-hour elliptical one, where it was used on 25 November, 1966, for the first exchange of television signals between Australia and the UK. Following the successful launch of a replacement satellite, regular satellite communications began from Australia in February, 1967.

Meanwhile, specifications were prepared and tenders called for a full performance standard earth station at Moree, New South Wales, and regular public satellite service commenced across the Pacific to USA and Japan on March 29, 1968. The link to UK, Europe, Africa, Middle East and part of Asia, was provided through an earth station completed at Ceduna, S.A., in December 1969 and a second antenna was also added to Carnarvon in October, 1969, permitting the original antenna to be used to provide tracking, telemetry, command and monitoring services under contract with INTELSAT.

All these satellite earth stations provided an important new dimension in Australia's overseas telecommunications services and by 1974 more than half of Australia's overseas telecommunications circuits were carried via satellite. In the early series of satellites operated by INTELSAT, the emphasis had tended towards the most advanced available technology with lesser attention to actual traffic requirements. OTC played a role in the development of a planning approach and G. Gosewinckel became the founding Chairman of a planning sub-committee which was established to consider longer term issues.

While the satellite system was being developed to include all communications, including TV relaying, a new era in international voice communications had been ushered in when research and development overseas resulted in multi-channel telecommunications cable, using a series of submerged repeaters, becoming practicable. TAT-1, the first of the new generation of large capacity telephone cables was laid across the Atlantic in 1956. Planning for CANTAT (UK-Canada) and COMPAC (Pacific) systems began with conferences in London and Sydney in 1958 and 1959. It was agreed that the capital cost of COMPAC, estimated at that time to be 33 million, would be shared by OTC (Aust.), Canadian Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (later Teleglobe), Cable and Wireless Ltd. and the New Zealand Post Office. The cable, which before the later installation of circuit multiplication equipment (CME), had a capacity of 80 3KHz, 4 wire duplex voice channels and comprised 8284 nm of cable and 322 valve repeaters and 34 equalisers, was based upon designs developed for CANTAT by the British Post Office, but the overall installation crossed a number of new frontiers, as two sections of the cable (Vancouver/Hawaii and Hawaii/Fiji) were longer than any submarine telephone cable laid or planned at that time, and this had important implications for terminal equipment and repeater design and additionally, no electrical performance criteria existed for a system of this length. Manufacture of the cable and repeaters was undertaken by two British firms, Submarine Cable Ltd. (SCL) and Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd. (STC), but Australian content was provided by the 130 volt rectifiers for the no-break power supplies for the Sydney, New Zealand and Fiji terminals which were designed and built in Sydney by STC.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Cable and Wireless (C. & W.); Interim Communications Satellite Committee (I.C.S.C.); Overseas Telecommunications Commission (O.T.C.); Standard Telephones and Cables (S.T.C.)

People in Bright Sparcs - Gosewinckel, G.

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