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OTVA Newsletter – September 2013

17 Sep 13
Peter Bull
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805/41 Meredith Street. Bankstown.  NSW 2200

ISSN 1322 1906

Volume 14 page 22       August 2013



President PETER BULL



Secretary:Will WHYTE



Treasurer: Vacant



Editor:Henry Cranfield



Coming EVENTS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Spring Function. 


  20th September 2012


The Red Room

The Bowlers Club

99 York Street Sydney



By 14/9/2013


New Membership Classification. Membership is now available at a one-off cost of $50 to any person wishing to join the OTVA and they will then be a full member for the rest of their days or as long as the OTVA exists as an association without having to pay any future membership fees. Enduring Membership is open to all applicants irrespective of whether they receive correspondence via email or via Australia Post.

For the purposes of balancing the books of the OTVA and accounts management required by the Auditors it is difficult for the Treasurer to give members credits for current membership which is paid up in advance. Those members who are paid up in advance will have to wait until their membership fees are due before they can pay their $50 for Enduring Membership.

(i) Either do an electronic funds transfer of $50 to the OTVA Bank account

(email to obtain the details), OR

(ii) Mail a cheque for $50 to

PO Box 702 Riverwood 2210

For EFT transactions ensure your name is included in the transaction.

Once the electronic funds transfer has been completed take a snapshot of the payment confirmation section of your computer screen and email it to


O.T.V.A Web Site:


OTVA Membership Subscriptions.

$10.00 P.A. is due in May each year. The date your membership expires is indicated by”5/13″or earlier. Mail address for subs payment is:

PO Box702 Riverwood NSW 2210

Or email to  for electronic funds transfer details.:

In this issue

Pp.   23  President’s  Address to AGM.

Pp    23  Telex Exchange Memories.

Pp    23  2013-14 Committee Members

Pp.   24   Sir Ernest Fisk and “The Spirit World “

Pp.   26 History of  Guam   Communications

Pp.   27 Pennant Hills. Transmitting site.

Pp   28 Compac Memories

PP   30 Installation Anecdotes

(Due to unforeseen circumstances President Peter Bull was unable to attend the AGM;  herewith his proposed address(ED)

 PRESIDENT’s Address.

Welcome all to the 2013 Annual General Meeting (AGM) for the Overseas Telecommunications Veterans Association (OTVA).

Please join with me for a minutes silence for our friends and colleagues that passed away in the last 12 months. I apologise for not attending the AGM with you today but it is difficult for those of us that are still in the work force to attend every OTVA function. I think that I have only missed one other function since joining the committee so my record is not too bad. I thank you, the membership of the OTVA for the support that you have given to me and the other members of the OTVA Committee over the past 12 months. Your support & encouragement is vital to keeping the OTVA active and relevant in today’s hectic life style. I thank my fellow Committee members for the encouragement and support that they have given to me over the past 12 months. Together with their selfless dedication to you, the members of the OTVA, we have been able to continue to deliver benefits to our members. The OTVA Newsletter continues to provide readers with interesting and topical stories but our Editor is finding it increasingly difficult to publish what you, our members, fail to provide. You must have some interesting stories that can be published in the newsletter for the enjoyment and nostalgia of the newsletter’s readers. Please support your committee and fellow members by submitting those stories that you have filed away in your memory banks,

The email distribution of stories and events continues to be beneficial by attracting more and more members whose membership may have lapsed and attracting new members.

The OTVA web site which continues to provide members with greater access to communications with each other and access to information & stories considered relevant to continuing to tell the story of OTC and the history of telecommunications in Australia, We thank Bob Emanuel for the service that he has performed whilst editor of the OTVA Newsletter. Bob has chosen to step down to enable him to focus on his interests in the Blue Mountains that are closer to home. Your committee is seeking a replacement for the position of Newsletter Editor. It is not an overly onerous role for someone who is well organised and used to writing reports. Without an editor the Newsletter will cease to be issued every 3 months.

Your OTVA Committee for 2013-14

Col Kelly, Ray Hookway, Kevin O’Brien, David Richardson, Bernie White, Allan Hennessey, Henry Cranfield, Bob Emanuel, Will Whyte and Peter Bull.

Telex Exchange Memories.

By Brian Collath

As was the case back ages ago, Telex Exchange staff had two carbon copy books on the TO2 desk. One being the daily Log Book and the other the Fault Log.

The originals were torn out and placed in a case to be sent to HO every morning. This was the duty of the Midnight Shift as the last thing they did before 7:00 am. Also in the case was various pen recorder charts rolled up. This was the joy of HO staff in Telex Ops to open up every morning to see what happened and to gather statistics for Telex Traffic, etc This is probably bleeding obvious to other areas, as they did it too. But this leads into the story below because you can appreciate that our technical world was full of abbreviations and mnemonics, like ARM, FIR, FUR, FDR, RM, TT, SCC Power (Sydney County Council). One day, Greg Martyn was on the way to work for the day shift, and he spotted an injured Cockatoo on the side of the road. He gathered it up and bought it to work for it to possibly recover.The team embraced this cause to the extent that it eventually recovered and was released.Every day in the log an entry was made ie. SCC down, then SCC getting better, then SCC better still, SCC up, then SCC released. I would not be surprised if there was an entry, SCC eating well. Ordinarily, SCC Down would mean Power fail, SCC Up would mean Power restored, but in this case of the Cockatoo it meant Sulphur Crested Cockatoo Down, or Sulphur Crested Cockatoo getting better, and finally he was released. Anyway, after a couple of days, HO Telex Ops could not resist in asking us what “getting better” meant.  Thankfully they (HO) saw the lighter side of it.

Sir Ernest Fisk and ‘The Spirit World

Our thanks to Trevor Thatcher for his efforts and our apologies for having to undo some of his original formatting. Editor.

The following item is based on an ABC Radio programme and the comments are those of Trevor Thatcher to whom goes a vote of thanks for his effort. It seems radio in the time of the item was seen as an actual science? It was a particularly interesting and entertaining programme, which I am sure that those of you who listened would agree.

Sir Ernest Fisk and the Spirit World: Trevor Thatcher has offered the following comment on the recent alert from Noel Sutherland about the ABC Radio National ‘Hindsight’ program acknowledging the centenary of AWA called: ‘Empire State: Ernest Fisk. For those who may be interested, there is one particular brief segment of the programme that touches on Sir Ernest views on communication with the spirit world. A friend of mine, David Harding (VK2AIF), who worked for AWA in the 1940’s at their Alexandria site, also heard the programme. Mention of communication with “the departed, triggered off memories of one particular event that Dave recalled. It was the publication of a related article in the now defunct “Radio News” magazine that was produced in the USA for much of the 1900’s. Dave was lucky enough to have many volumes of that magazine in his memorabilia closet, and he browsed through them and found the article in the June 1944 issue, on page 37! He allowed me to make a copy of the item for distribution to interested parties. Unfortunately, the massive bulk/weight of the Volume 4 prevented me from getting it into a position for scanning, so I undertook to do a manual “mock up” of the panel. Every attempt was made to preserve (as closely as possible) the original appearance of the item, including the red frame, the spelling, punctuation and phraseology used in that era. Further, I accidentally stumbled across a news item in Perth’s “The West Australian” of 7th February, 1944. This item was devoted to the responses from Perth “medical and scientific authorities” who were aware of Sir Ernest’s apparent expectations of the potential for future radio


Item from magazine Radio News, ex USA, June Issue 1944 Page 73


Australian’s Theory Will Be Probed by Scientists If He Can Show “Life” Exists After Death-

When Sir Ernest Fisk, managing director of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd Australia’s No. l radio scientific executive, said he was convinced of the possibility of radio

communication with the dead, the Australian Association of Scientific Workers offered to investigate the theory, provided Sir Ernest produced evidence of “life” after death.

Said Prof. V. Bailey, head of the experimental Physics Department at SydneyUniversity, and a member of the association: “It would be hard to get in touch with dead people unless they have radio receivers.”   Addressing the Legacy Club at Sydney, Australia, recently, Sir Ernest said he did not wish to be dogmatic, but evidence was accumulating, as a consequence of study by leading physicists, that the spirits of the dead inhabited the ionised either beyond the earth’s atmosphere, and that eventually there might be discovered a wave length which would make communication with them practicable.    “Highly scientific people are now satisfied,” he added, “that the whole universe is one unit, planned by one designer.” He said he was not speaking either as a religious man or a church member, but he was convinced that friends and relatives of war prisoners could bring them some consolation by using their minds and spirits to reach those of the prisoners through earnest prayer.

Dr. S. L. MacIndoe, president of the Association of Scientific Workers, said: “If Sir Ernest is able to produce genuine evidence of survival after death, my association,

composed of more than l,000 scientific workers, will be glad to investigate such evidence.

“The association will also examine any evidence if such exists, which would remotely suggest the possibility of communication with the departed. In the absence of such evidence, Sir

Ernest is as entitled to a personal opinion as any other private individual. But his ideas cannot be associated with scientific knowledge which requires some factual basis or experimental evidence.

—————————————————–Extract from The West Australian (Perth — Monday 7th February 1944)


“No Scientific Proof.”

Medical and scientific authorities in Perth, as far as can be gathered from inquiries made,completely dissociate themselves from the views expressed in Sydney last Thursday by the managing director of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia), Ltd, Sir Ernest Fisk, on the possibility of communication with the spirits of “departed comrades.” Sir Ernest said that he did not wish to be dogmatic, but that evidence was accumulating, as a consequence of study by leading physicists, that the spirits of the dead inhabited the ionised ether beyond the earth’s atmosphere and that eventually there might be discovered a wave-length which would make communication with them practicable.

“Utter nonsense,” was the comment of Dr S. E. Williams, physics lecturer at the University of Western Australia, on the published statement. “The claims put forward by so-called spiritualists at various times have never stood up to scientific tests. Sir Oliver Lodge and a medical man in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle certainly had some such beliefs and Faraday also belonged to some queer sect called the ‘Sandemanians.’ However, these men were exceptions and the overwhelming number of scientific men have been extremely rational in their outlook generally.

“The views expressed by Sir Ernest Fisk, while obviously not intended to give pain, are most regrettable at the present time when so many people have lost loved ones. The opinions have no scientific basis and will only serve to raise false hopes.”

“Sir Ernest Fisk, it must be remembered,” said Dr Williams, “is not a research scientist, but a company director. He may have had some technical training in his earlier days, but his acquaintance with current scientific developments has been second-hand, at least for the last 30 years. His company employs scientific workers, some of whom have been trained in this State.

“Possibly by ‘physical world’ Sir Ernest meant those regions physically accessible to human beings at the present time; but if he meant that Radar provides access to a supernatural world of spirits he is talking rubbish. Sir Ernest shows that he is at least 40 years behind in his physics by speaking about the ether in the way he does. The subsequent 40 years of advancement in radio technique have provided no evidence whatever either for the ether or for such statements as he has made.

“Similar outspoken comments were made by leading Perth doctors. “We agree entirely with Dr Williams,” said a representative of the British Medical Association. “Spiritualism is on a par with astrology and there is not the slightest evidence to support it.” He conceded that there were some sincere believers. Unfortunately these were often imposed upon by charlatans and confidence tricksters.

History of Guam:   The Pacific Communications Center.

From 1864 to 1976 by Henry Cranfield

The early settlers on Guam are said to have come from South-east Asia 4000 years ago and the first Western discoverer was the Portugese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. The island was claimed by Spain along with the Philippines in 1565 but not colonised by them until 1668 and remained so until the Spanish-American war in 1898 when the island was taken by America as well as the Philippine Islands.  The first recorded communications history for Guam was a complaint in 1684 from a missionary who complained about the late arrival of mail from Manila in the Philippines. Mail was carried by supply ships as both locations were ruled by the Spaniards.

The first recorded communication with the outside world was the laying of a submarine telegraph cable in March 1903 from Hawaii via Wake and Midway Islands financed by an American silver magnate John W Mackay A cable had been d been laid 3 months earlier from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii. Another cable was laid from Guam to Japan via the Bonin Islands, plus one to Yap, which also had a cable to Shanghai China. Thus Guam thus became an important hub for world telegraph traffic in the Pacific Ocean region; this continued until the Japanese invasion in 1941. The occupation of the island by Japan on 8th December 1941 saw the cables interrupted and the cables were not restored until July 1945 after the island’s re-capture by US forces. In 1951 the cable was broken but was not restored due to age and costs. The first radio contact from Guam to the US was made by “Ham Radio” operators in May 1936In September 1945, RCA Communications, with the help of the US Navy established radio – telegraph circuits to San Francisco and radio telephone service was provided in November in the same year. RCA also provided H.F Radio communications to Saipan, the Philippines as well as to the USA.  The US Navy built an “on island”  telephone system after WW 2 which included non-military as well as the military bases and this included the laying and maintainence of the telephone cable system. The switching system utilised was ‘step by step’ Strowger and this continued until the mid 1970.s when the Government of Guam established the “Guam telephone Authority”. They took over all the domestic sections of the system including billing and their inter-connection with overseas destinations which was via an RCA semi-automatic switchboard in the capital Agana. RCA also also provided the operators for the manual International Telephone service. In 1969 it opened a satellite earth station to supplement the international network access. RCA transferred, in the early seventies, a semi-automatic telephone interface from Anchorage, Alaska which was installed to cope with the increase in traffic generated by the establishment of  Japanese 5 star hotels and an large increase in tourists. This was replaced by an NEC digital exchange in 1976. Guam was given the International telephone Code number of 675.In April 1964 the first Transpacific Cable (TPC 1) was laid, a joint venture by RCA, AT&T Long Lines and Hawaii Telco. It had 126 2-way voice circuits and was extended to Tokyo, Japan in in June 1964. On the 15th January 1965 the cable was extended to Manila. Further cables were also laid (TPC 2 which had 845 circuits) in 1975. Two further cables TPC3 with 3780 circuits laid in 1988 and TPC 4 in 1991. All these cables were operated by AT&T Long Lines with an underground station built to resist an atomic bomb blast? AT&T now occupy OTC’s former Seacom station building but not the six houses which are owned by the US military.The Guam Telex service was also provided by RCA, utilising a Siemens Exchange. RCA, IT&T and WUI also provided leased telegraph services to subscribers on the island and overseas.

OTC’s Guam involvement, on behalf of the Commonwealth (Canada Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore) was to obtain a license from the U.S. government to establish and operate the SEACOM Cable station located in Tamuning with an inter-connection to the Transpacific cable station This had provision, on a co-axial cable for 120 circuits but was only fitted for 84 (7 groups of 12 Channels of 4 Khz bandwith.).The 120 channel System was replaced in 1976 with a larger transmission system using the same co-axial cable. The Seacom Cable system was opened by Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth on March 30th 1967. The SEACOM Cable between Singapore and Guam had only 80 channels similar to the Compac Cable (but manufactured by ATE from UK) across the Pacific, whilst the Guam to Cairns section via Madang, New Guinea had 160 channels. With transmission equipment and Submarine repeaters manufactured by STC (UK) and the power equipment on Guam– Cairns System was all made in Australia who also provided the raw materials for the cable construction. This larger size was provided on O.T.C.’s insistence, as they saw the growth in traffic. In 1976 OTC installed a Time Assignment Speech Interpolation System (TASI A) which was transferred from MontrealCanada to increase its capacity between Sydney and Guam as well as upgrading the 120 channel system. OTC’s other involvement was a contract with Western Union International (WUI) to provide telex and telephone circuits for the US Defence Communication agency (DEFCOM) to overseas locations from Guam . These were required to be equalised to 1/3 normal international standards as they were used for cryptic purposes.This was terminated in October 1976 as WUI appointed their own representative to the island and established an office.

Pennant Hills Transmitting Site: Then and Now!

Our Thanks to Neil Yakalis, for this item from Transit and his Photo.

The 400 four mast at Pennant Hills as passers-by knew it for the last 50 years.

As the last guy-wire burnt through in the flame of an oxy-acetylene torch and 400 feet of mast keeled over slowly at first,  until in a cloud of dust, it crashed to the ground. The handful of spectators at Pennant Hills on the morning of Friday 17th April 1959, saw the final stage in the passing of at Coastal Radio Station which had served Australia well for close on half a century.

Construction of Pennant Hills Radio Station commenced fifty years ago, early in 1909; the  contractors being the German Telefunken Company. Equipment installed by that company for the Australian Post Ofiice was a 30 Kw quenched gap spark transmitter for 500 Kc/s, and a 60 Kilowat long-wave arc transmitter.

The station commenced operating in 1910.

During World War 1 the station, in common with the remainder of the Coastal Radio Service, was taken over by the Department of the Navy  and was handed back to the Post Office in 1918.

In 1922, Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited was given the responsibility for the operation of the Coastal Radio Service and this control was maintained until1946 when the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (Australia) was formed to take over both the Coastal Radio Service and Australian overseas cable and radio services.

The Pennant Hills station served as a combined sending and receiving Coastal Radio Station until 1926 when, due to services on high frequencies to ships, the receiving facilities were transferred to a site at Willoughby. On the 28th February. 1927, the permanent Coastal Radio receiving station at La Perouse was completed and thereafter Pennant Hills served purely as a transmitting station providing facilities for coastal and overseas services on both telephone and telegraph. With the further development of Australia’s overseas services it became obvious shortly after World War 2 that the Pennant Hills site, with its restricted area, could no longer provide the necessary requirements and, in 1950, O.T.C. acquired a site of some 700 acres at Doonsidc on the Western Highway for the construction of a transmitting centre.

During the years 1955/ 1956, with the completion of the new station at Doonside, both the coastal radio and overseas transmitting facilities were transferred from Pennant Hills to Doonside after which the original Pennant Hills station was maintained for some little time as a purely emergency centre until with the completion of adequate facilities at Doonside the station was finally abandoned.


If any of our readers who served at Pennant Hills have photographs or anecdotes of the station in its earlier days. We should be very glad to hear from  them.


Christmas Function

Wednesday 13th November 2013

The Bowlers Club.

Full details to follow next


Compac Cable Installation  Memories By Henry Cranfield

The   installation of the Compac cable saw the construction of the Terminal Building in Paddington and the opening of the first stage to New Zealand in mid 1963 with the final opening by Queen Elizabeth in December 1963. The commissioning of the Paddington equipment was under Bob Long AGM (Technical) and as the UK end was 10 hours different in time; for us occurred in the evening hours.

Bob would turn up after normal working hours in Head Office and put on a head and breast set and walk around the ITMC checking this and that. The head-set had an extra long cord made by Kerry Kearney who would walk behind Bob transferring the plug of the headset where required.  “Bravehearts” would sneak up and partially unplug same and Bob would then upbraid Kerry for not keeping up? Our Bob was not noted for his humour?

John Hampton was one of the engineers involved and liked his cup of coffee. So he bought a jar of Nescafe which we shared . Foolishly he left same in the ITMC kitchen cupboard to discover it had emptied over-night, so we bought a second jar with the same result. On the third night; I cut some Masonite strips up into pencil size and put same through the pencil sharpener. Then I put a layer of paper into the jar covered by a mixture of coffee and shavings! “Voila” as they say in France, problem solved but no one owned up as to who took same?

When commissioning the ISTC equipment, the FM Telegraph Systems we were delayed as the equipment was sent on to Suva and had to be returned to Sydney by air-cargo.

On the Sunday before the Tuesday opening we were still commissioning telex circuits.

I was on the order-wire to Canada doing the line-ups when a stout, red – headed gentleman came and asked me who I was talking to? I did not know him but he had on a canvas beach hat, Hawaiian Shirt, shorts and sandals so I gave him my head-set and he talked to Canada for some 20 to 30 minutes and then let me continue my testing. He then kept coming back every 5 minutes or so asking questions as to where this is or was not which wasted my time. So I finally said “If you would only go away and take all those head office people with you we will finish on Monday as planned. If not we will be here until next Sunday!!” He pulled his hat down over his ears, took all the head office people with him and they left. Several minutes later Ralph Brown came to me and said “Have you seen Edgar Appleton?” “NO” I said “What does he look like as I have never met him”. “He is the Director Operations” Ralph said all astonished. “Well! He has gone” I said and no more was said or mentioned later.

Roll on 3 years to August 1966 and in the middle of the Seacom Installation in Madang we were visited by Frank Stanton, the AGM, and Edgar, Director Operations, who were visiting the PNG stations.  They arrived in Madang at 4.30PM looking very shattered as they were on the “Mail run” a DC3 aircraft with 4 rows of 3 seats (Canvas like deck chairs with pipe frame and seat belt) at the rear and  with mail bags and cargo in the front of same, no meals or drinks and a “Dunny Can” in a compartment behind the seats. They had nothing to eat or drink since 7.30 AM breakfast. So I took them home where Barbara had sandwiches and a fruit cake.

Next morning when we got to the station they had morning tea with the install staff and gave a short resume as to OTC’s future.

Then Edgar said he would get Barry Thompson to show him around as Frank wanted to talk to me about local political situation.

When we got into the office Frank said “Edgar is scared of you”. “Why I asked” and he had never been to any station where an installation was in progress nor unless   he had been invited.

When Edgar joined us I apologized, but he told me to forget it and congratulated us on the job we were doing. The past catches up at times??


From your Editor. As a former editor, I am well aware of the need for contributions from our membership. The complaints I have heard about the Newsletter covering too much technical content perhaps is an indication of where the input comes from.. So! May I ask the ex CRS, Marketing and Administration people for some input to balance the content? We can edit the item to fit, so please don’t be shy and put your fingers to the Keys or Pen to paper?? This marks the beginning of OTVA’s New Year so let us all begin by PARTICIPATING in your organisation’s activities and so ensure its ongoing success!


Some thoughts and Anecdotes on Installations. By John Toland.

When I think back to the many courses that I have done during my years in communications I

never realised how little information was passed on about Atomic Structure until I read a book recently titled “The Outline of Wireless” printed in 1933. At that time I considered not much was known on that subject, but I was to find I was wrong. It went on to say as you probably know that both Electrons and Protons revolve around the Nucleus of the Atom.

The diameter of the Electron is 3/ of an inch. (that is 25.4mm to those metricated )

The diameter of the Proton is 1/ of an inch.

Small as the Electron is, it is capable under certain circumstances of attaining a speed of 540.000.000 miles per hour (You can convert that if you like).

The Proton is much heavier than the Electron. The weight of an Atom is practically the weight of the Protons contained therein. As a matter of fact if we had a cricket ball made up of closely packed Protons it would weigh a trifling 12.000.000 Tons( Close enough to Tonnes}.

While the diameter of an average Molecule is 1/25.000.000 of an inch, the diameter of an Atom of the gas helium for example is 1/400.000.000 of an inch. Langmuir (Whoever he was) calculated and that was without a computer) that if each Molecule contained in a cubic inch was converted to a grain of the finest sea–sand there would be enough to fill a trench one mile wide by three feet deep stretching from New York to San Francisco. Can you imagine how many Molecules there are in a cubic inch? In a small pins head, there are twenty million, million Molecules.

I realise that some of you may doubt all of this, but you are quite at liberty to carry out experiments to prove otherwise.

Anzcan Installation on Norfolk Island

Part of Norfolk’s history is about a convict named Barney Duffy who escaped and lived in a hole under a pine tree for seven years before being recaptured they even have a song about him.

On the day of the opening of the Station which was to be by the Minister of Communications named Michael Duffy, a Brass Plaque was mounted on the front of the building and had a small curtain across it, to be opened by him. I checked it before the Ceremony and pasted over the name of Michael was the name Barney. That’s Norfolk Island humour or was it one of our lads. I think I know who it was.

We had some wonderful times on Norfolk with the entertainment , eating out and the innumerable BBQs around the cliff tops. One evening BBQ we had was attended by Bob Waterfall and he stepped backwards to get a better picture on his camera and stepped over the cliff falling down a couple of feet and landing on a ledge where one of our lads grabbed him and pulled him back. Next day he went back and looked at the hundred foot drop that he just missed out on. We were there for the yearly celebration called “Bounty Day” where the Islanders march from the Kingston area to the Cemetery to pay their respects and then back to the grounds of the gaol for a big picnic. I arranged for Tee Shirts for our group depicting a large emblem of “Anzcan” on the front.

The cows on Norfolk have the right of way anywhere and they are made up of different groups that have their own areas. The mob near our house was called the “Grassy Road Mob”. The cows wander through the middle of the shopping centre of Burnt Pine and stick their noses into the shop doors.

The wife of one of our boys hit a cow one night and went back the next day to find it, but it was gone. They say the rule on the island was if you kill a cow, say nothing, just dig a hole and bury it.

I can think of many more things that we did, such as the “Champagne Breakfasts” at the beach, The “Fish Fries” at the Golf Club, our Scuba Diving and the Crayfish and Balmain Bugs that we caught and cooked afterwards, attending the Big Race Day, and many more, but it was the best installation that I had been involved in, but it sure leaves a lot of memories.

Doonside Transmitting Station..

Reading Dennis Grant’s story of the 10 Kw Transmitter at Doonside jogged my memory. Those transmitters were built by OTC at their workshops at Pennant Hills and were installed in the new building floor so they had to add another 2 inches of concrete on top. Don’t I know it?

I was in charge, later of an Installation Team to install 2 STC CY10 10 Kw Transmitters in the far end of the annex and we had to cut many holes through the floor for the fan ducts and various other cables. We had only a Kanga Hammer of some sort and an Electric Drill. This was taking us quite some time and one day, we had a visit from a engineer asking why we were taking so long.

One of them said you are doing it the wrong way, you should have water in the hole. He gave us a demonstration with the Electric Drill and ended up showering his trousers with cemented water. Good! “Carry on, your doing fine” he said and left. We eventually finished the holes and installed the transmitters.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             But when it came to testing them, one of them had a parasitic or something and when tuned to a particular frequency the PA area lit up like lightning. The Doonside boys had never seen anything like it and an STC Engineer had not either. The answer was not to use it on that frequency. Years later I was removing then, to install them at Norfolk Island and found that the large Coaxial Cable, made up of a heavy copper busbar had a right angle bend in it. One side of the bend had never been screwed, so I suspect that was the trouble.I led a team to install them later on Norfolk Island but didn’t make the same mistake

Later when extra transmitters were installed in the annex at Doonside they employed a contractor to drill the required holes and then they had to support the floor with a steel structure as the floor had cracked.

Editors Note: When testing CY10 transmitters at the STC factory in mid early1960s we discovered that at 21Megahertz and above the Tank circuit self oscillated. After much head scratching by all, a telephone call to our chief Engineer Dave Abercrombie fixed the problem.  He was the designer!

“ Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be”  William Hazlitt



Thanks to Kevin O’Brien, This item is from – the October 1948 issue of Transit. This is most appropriate at this time with tests being played in the UK

 Kept busy by CRICKET

When Bradman stole a quick single at Lords he set not only some English fieldsmen into feverish activity, but also an incalculable number of people concerned with communicating the event to those interested. Radio commentators talked fast, press typewriters chattered, press cameras clicked-and there was more work for O.T.C.

The Commission’s receiving station at La Perouse co-operated with P.M.G. stations in the reception of B.B.C. broadcasts. When the broadcasts faded, the Melbourne operating room was the focal point for cryptic messages on which Australian “synthetic” broadcasts were based-and at all times the focal point of endless “Urgent Press.” The picturegram studio in Melbourne and the terminal set up in Sydney for the occasion averaged a dozen pictures per night. To ensure the best possible reception of the direct broadcast, the pick-ups of various stations, including La Perouse, were fed to the G.P.O., Sydney, where the best was selected and supplied to Australian broadcasting stations. La Perouse’s continuous contribution to this “pool” kept Messrs. Heavey, Peell, Bailey, Drew and Stanfield very busy throughout the Tests. Preoccupied with Australia’s listening comfort, they themselves took in little of broadcasts -not even the scores, to the chagrin of their colleagues. The consistency of the direct broadcast exceeded expectations, so that the synthetic broadcasts were required infrequently. The technique arranged by the A.B.C. in conjunction with OTC was as follows: At the beginning of play an A.B.C. representative would commence a series of messages providing in condensed form a ball by ball description until he received the word “uncable” flashed from Australia, and indicating that the direct broadcast was being received. Whenever the broadcast showed signs of deteriorating the word “recable” was flashed to the ground and the messages resumed until once again the message “uncable” was received. The smoothness with which the synthetic broadcasts took over and handed back the description was a tribute to the thorough organisation and quick handling of traffic. To the Melbourne C.O.R., the Supervisor, Mr. Mancer, introduced production-line flow, from reperforating, printing, gumming to P.M.G. telegraphist, the latter keying the messages to the G.P.O’s. in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, whence they were phoned to local broadcasting stations by teams of telephonists. Many messages were in the telephonists’ hands throughout Australia within two minutes of their being lodged with Cable and Wireless Limited at the cricket ground. The A.B.C. representative sent 11,000 words during the five Tests, which, with nearly 17,000 words of urgent press matter to add also to normal traffic, was sufficient to keep Mr. Mancer and company quite busy (see column 4). Meanwhile, upstairs, Mr. Chilton and his team – Messrs. J. Chalkley, A. Houseman, P. Barrow, G. Scott and W. Terrillwere receiving pictures. They were controlling the reception not only for themselves, but also for the improvised Sydney terminal where Messrs. W. ]envey, G. Russell (from Melbourne), H. Burgess and G. Flynn were intercepting the London transmission via La Perouse, and also by relay from Melbourne. The consistently high standard of the many pictures received during the considerable period of the five Tests and the Olympic Games when these two staff teams worked under abnormally demanding conditions represents a really remarkable performance. The Melbourne team received altogether 285 Test Cricket pictures and 160 Olympic Games pictures. The Sydney team, in action for the night sessions only and concerned primarily with Sydney press requirements, received 174 of these Test pictures and 130 of the Olympic Games.

——————————————————John Hodgson Remembers?


The following is a story about my Second World War gunnery training which would finally qualify me as a Wireless Air Gunner. The training was carried out in Fairy Battle aircraft at Port Pirie in South Australia. It was the last training flight before qualifying. There were two other trainees in the aircraft and we each had two 100 round circular magazines for firing from Vickers Gas Operated machine guns. The target was a drogue towed by another aircraft. Including the pilot, we were all about 18 or 19 years of age.  As it was our last training flight we asked the pilot if he would put on a turn of aerobatics when we finished our firing exercise.  The pilot gave his agreement and so, with the drogue about 100 feet away, I started firing with one long burst which got rid of the first magazine. (I was first on the gun). Another long burst got rid of the second magazine, The second gunner then started to do likewise, but the poor old machine gun decided to give up the ghost. We then gave the pilot the thumbs up and he immediately went into aerobatics. We three trainees stood in the open rear end of the long cockpit while the pilot put the plane into various aerobatics. Our parachutes were left lying on the floor and the safety cord which we were supposed to attach around our waists was also left on the floor. However, this was great fun. but it almost came to a conclusion for the three of us when the pilot put the aircraft into a partial reverse loop. This caused us to suddenly become weightless and in unison we all started to leave the aircraft with the prospect of a long three or four thousand feet fall into Spencer Gulf. However, our weight was suddenly restored and we all flopped back into the open rear cockpit.

Aerobatics continued and soon we reduced altitude to be flying with just a few feet between the aircraft and water of Spencer Gulf. The Gulf was calm with only small waves, which was fortunate because the pilot started to play silly goats by dipping each wing in turn until the wingtips caused disturbances in the water. As I said, we were all about nineteen years of age and at that age, like young car hoons of today, we thought ourselves indestructible and in this case, luckily, we were not destructed. ..


During the early years of the Second World War I was seventeen years of age and living in Goulburn. I was employed by a motor repair shop which also ran the town’s buses and several taxis. I wanted to be licensed to drive both buses and taxis, so I fronted up at the Council Chambers and told the clerk behind the desk what I wanted. On request I produced my driver’s license which satisfied him of my qualifications, so he gave me a bus and taxi drivers licence on the spot.

It was a bit difficult driving the taxi at night because the town (city) was on blackout conditions. One night I picked up a woman passenger who hopped into the front seat beside me and immediately started on suggestive moves. (She was probably hoping for a free trip). However, during the trip a light fell on my face and she exclaimed, “Why, you’re only a baby.” So that was the end of her manoeuvres. She was about thirty years of age and I believe she was one of the town’s prostitutes. Instead of being on the receiving end she had to pay up.  I will also mention that in Goulburn and during those years it was very easy to get a driver’s licence. On turning seventeen I drove my Father’s car without a licensed driver beside me to the Police Station where I stated my request for licence. The policeman said “Ok let’s go for run.” I drove off and at the next turn he said “Turn left”. The same applied at the next three corners which took us back to the front of the police station. Test over and licence issued.


Follow not the well-worn path, but go instead and make your own so that others may follow?” George Bernard Shaw-





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