OTC at Spacefest IV 2012

OTC’s Space History on Display.

by Robert Brand.

Many of you may not know that I have recently moved (partially) into the Space sector, but I am not talking about just comms. I am talking about designing and engineering a space mission. In mid September I will announce the details of a mission I have become deeply involved in that will see probes land on another planet. Continue reading

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Paddo ITMC Lunchroom Antics

The Paddo 1st Floor Fridge Door Challenge

by Robert Brand.

It is true that creating a better security system simply creates a better thief. In this case it certainly did. On the 1st floor of Paddington (now L4), Engineering Branch (Eng Branch) and Operations Branch (Ops) shared the lunchroom and the fridge. Each had separate “tea clubs” which paid for tea, milk, coffee and sugar. The big problem was the varying rate of consumption by the Ops staff. Day shifts were heavily staffed and weekends and night shifts were fairly light and the Ops staff were forever running out of milk. Of course late at night there were no shops open to top up the milk stocks, so the clearly labelled Eng Branch milk was usually raided. Continue reading

Doonside in Pictures Pt4 of 4

OTC Doonside Part 4 of 4

Story by Neil Yakalis. Photos by Wayne Clauson and Neil Yakalis.

[Ed: Neil has sent me these great photos and story of Doonside and you can click on them to open and then click a gain to see them in HiRes. Use your “Back” button to return. Thanks Neil]

This post is a series of pictures with their description below: Continue reading

Doonside in Pictures Pt3

OTC Doonside Part 3

Story by Neil Yakalis. Photos by Wayne Clauson and Neil Yakalis.

[Ed: Neil has sent me these great photos and story of Doonside and you can click on them to open and then click a gain to see them in HiRes. Use your “Back” button to return. Thanks Neil]

This post is a series of pictures with their description below: Continue reading

Doonside in Pictures Pt2

OTC Doonside Part 2

Story by Neil Yakalis. Photos by Wayne Clauson and Neil Yakalis.

[Ed: Neil has sent me these great photos and story of Doonside and you can click on them to open and then click a gain to see them in HiRes. Use your “Back” button to return. Thanks Neil]

This post is a series of pictures with their description below: Continue reading

Doonside in Pictures Pt1

OTC Doonside Part 1

Story by Neil Yakalis. Photos by Wayne Clauson and Neil Yakalis.

[Ed: Neil has sent me these great photos and story of Doonside and you can click on them to open and then click a gain to see them in HiRes. Use your “Back” button to return. Thanks Neil]

The first 3 pictures of Doonside (below) taken in January 1986 nearly 30 years after it opened but with lots of the original equipment. Doonside was commissioned for the opening of the Melbourne Olympic games on 22nd Nov 1956. Continue reading

The ITMC Lunchroom Phone

Shrinking the Paddington ITMC Orderwire Desk to Size

by Robert Brand

If you have ever been on a 3 person shift and 2 are busy and it is your lunch break and you are sitting in the lunchroom, you just know the phone will ring and you have to hike it out to the orderwire desk quick-smart and answer the phone. The result has been burnt food, lost calls and plenty of annoyance. Continue reading

The Elusive Paddington TV Antenna

The Monday Hunt

by Robert Brand

The OTC Paddington terminal had TV facilities right from the early days. The program room (ITC) had colour TV monitors in the new facilities by the time I graduated from the DCA Regional Training School.in 1971. It was there during field training, but the techs tended to keep you away from that area. It was my first time on the evening shift thinking it would be a boringly quiet night when someone explained that there was a TV tuner hidden away in the program room. If there was little activity, the Senior Tech on duty would okay the TV and out came the tuner and a reasonable picture was the result. Continue reading

Get a Gravitar

Blank GravitarPictures of Me, Pictures of You

If you would like to comment or write a story for these pages, it is always good to get a picture associated with the account. The easiest is the Gravitar. When you see a comment on these pages, it often has just a blank outline of a portrait of someone. That is because they have not added an image to identify themselves. A Gravitar is a universal way that many sites allow images on their posts. This site is no different. Continue reading

OTVA Sydney Outing Nov 7th 2012

OTVA Loftus Tram Museum Weekday Outing

I am pleased to pass on this opportunity to meet up with some old exOTC friends and to visit a great place – the Loftus Tram Museum. Consider joining the OTVA. I believe that a 12 month complimentary membership for new members will let you see the benefits of the group and I expect that the $10 a year after that will not break the bank. The advance details of the Loftus outing are below: Continue reading

OTVA and Compac Celebrations 2013

OTVA LogoOTVA look at Nov 2013 and Compac

by Robert Brand

Today I attended the OTVA board meeting at the invitation of the committee. I was invited to discuss my proposal to spearhead the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Compac Cable in Nov 2012.

First of all I continue to be impressed by the OTVA and the current state of play. It is a very open group that is not like the old days. I have seriously enjoyed the lunches and get togethers over the years. Just plain fun. Continue reading

exOTC Mailing List

New Email System on the Way for exOTC

I will try and get the exOTC mailing list going as my next priority. It was a vibrant way that we kept in touch in the past and although I no longer have the email server that provided the list, there are still a few options.

Until then here is a reminder of the sort of chatter that got about on the list: Continue reading

Fanning Island

Letter from Desmond Kinnersley (25/2/04):

I am attaching some photos of some of the equipment in use on the old telegraph cables. They were taken at Fanning Island in 1962 about a year before the station closed due to COMPAC coming into service.

The equipment pictured was the the tri channel equipment used at Fanning Island on the fast cables between Suva, Fanning and Bamfield (Vancouver) to provide time division mutliplex operation ( even though it was done with cams and contacts). Additional slow speed cables were also operational between these stations. Continue reading

How OTC Install Purchased all the ST’s in Carvarnon WA

Carnarvon Women Angry

by Roland Ayo. This Story first ran on the exOTC website in late 2001. It was reprinted in the OTVA newsletter in 2002.

My first install in OTC was to Western Australia (the Carnarvon Installation). Barry Thomson led the team to remove the Ground Equipment from the caravans to the new building, and for the first time OTC was to run and joint rigid wave guide from the NASA Sugar Scoop Antenna to the Ground Equipment room. Continue reading

Terry Percival – OTC R&D

Global WiFi and Terry Percival

by Robert Brand

It is always a joy to see Terry Percival at industry meetings and other technology events. He is one of those people that radiates a joy in his work. He headed up OTC’s R&D efforts between 1987 and 1991 and that is where I bumped into him. He bough voice messaging services from my company at the time. I have kept in touch with Terry and it was great to see him in the CSIRO story of WiFi – see the video at the end of this story. Continue reading

Paddington Telephone Exchange Hacking

ITMC PaddingtonThe First Australian International Phone Hack

by Robert Brand

In researching the first telephone exchange to be installed at the OTC Paddington terminal, Peter Bull today came across this reference. It is from a very well documented site on Australian Communications. http://www.austehc.unimelb.edu.au/tia/559.html Continue reading

Compac Celebrations in 2013

Compac 50th Coming Soon.

In November 1963 the Compac cable was opened with a massive fanfare of hope and expectation. Heads of state joined in the event with a conference call never heard of in this and other countries. For the first time, there was clear and easily connected calls that would not fade or suffer from noise interference as did the radio waves. They would also not suffer from lack of privacy as did the HF radio calls of the past. The world changed and Australia became connected to the growing world of modern day telephony. Reliable “high density” data was suddenly possible and the growth in telex and other low speed services was immense. Continue reading

Jamesburg in a Movie

Battleship (2012) uses Jamesburg Earth Station (graphically).

Sure Jamesburg Earth Station is not the only dish with this design, there are two others. One still in use in South America and another somewhere in the US – possibly Alaska from memory. The identical AT&T sister dish on the east coast was demolished many years ago. Jamesburg, however is the most well photographed and documented of the remaining dishes and thus attracts attention. Continue reading

OTC in 1946

OTC’s First Year 1946

In August 1946, the Overseas Telecommunications Commission was established by an Act of Parliament: The Overseas Telecommunications Act, 1946.

James Malone was appointed Chairman. In October 1946, JES Stevens was appointed first General Manager. Here is the advertisement that attracted his interest: Continue reading

Telstar 1 – 50 Years Ago

Telstar 1 satelliteJuly 12, 1962: The Day Information Went Global

Telstar was launched by NASA on July 10, 1962, from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and was the first privately sponsored space-faring mission. Two days later, it relayed the world’s first transatlantic television signal, from Andover Earth Station, Maine, to the Pleumeur-Bodou Telecom Center, Brittany, France. Continue reading