Cable Enterprise Visit mid 70s

Cable Enterprise 1975-ishThe Cable Enterprise was docked in Sydney for a few days for some reason and many of the Paddington staff paid the ship a visit. It did not have any cable in the tanks to lay, although I believe it carried some repair cable and that was about all. The ship had a lot of control and thrusters. The deck was covered in cable feeding rollers and a lot of things that only the experienced crew would know about.

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Social Club Thredbo Trip 1970

by Robert Brand

1971 Social and Sports Club Head OfficeI was on Field Training in July 1970 in Head Office in Martin Place and I was approached to join a Ski Trip to Thredbo with the OTC Social and Sports club. I had never been skiing before and I was assured that there were a lot of girls going. Well, I just had to join the trip. I had never tried skiing before and that was my only reason for going – not.

The bus did not have a toilet in those days and stops were always annoying. I remember that we stopped at the park in the centre of town (and toilets) in Goulburn NSW and it was time to stretch our legs. Dinner was at Canberra, so someone organised a race around the park in Goulburn piggy back style to ward off the hunger pains. Continue reading

Project ThunderStruck

Project ThunderStruck set to Break Barriers ThunderStruck vertical

by Robert Brand

Here is a story of what my son is about to do and I will of course mentor him. If anyone is interested at any level, please contact me. 0448881101. The launch site looks like it will be at Longreach Queensland in early April 2015

The piece below was written for another group, but it tells the story. We are after sponsors, so if you can help nail down a sponsor we will pay 10% commission. That is standard in the industry.

Imagine a time when a 12 year student could build a supersonic glider 2.5m / 8ft long, attach it to a huge helium or hydrogen balloon and take it to the edge of space, release it, fly it into a dive back to earth that will reach Mach 1.5 / 1,800kph / 1,120mph and land it. Well that time is now and the student is Jason Brand from Sydney Secondary College / Balmain Campus. He is in year 7 and has already broken plenty of records. Breaking the sound barrier will be another cool record. His flight will break a lot of other records too. Continue reading

Apollo Heritage Interview

Hangout-Ad006Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Hangout – Apollo Heritage and the GLXP.

by Robert Brand

Well the Apollo Heritage event is over and I had a lot of fun with the interview or should I say “armchair chat”. It was a very comfortable discussion. I am excited to tell you that there is a video of the event. It was recorded and the link is below. I must say that I am very taken with Dr. Pamela L. Gay (the host) and her interview style. I was never left with a feeling of “what will happen next”. Continue reading

Apollo 11 45th Interview

Hangout 006 GLXP Apollo 11 45thRobert Brand is a Special Guest for Apollo 11 GLXP Hangout

Not much to say, but to follow the link below and be part of the Apollo 11 special event for the Google Lunar X Prize Team Hangout.

I will be discussing my experiences wiring up the Apollo 11 gear in Sydney – not that this was an amazing event, but since I am part of a group building a mission to go to the moon with a Rover, it appears that I am about the only person in the GLXP with a connection to the Apollo 11 event. Continue reading

Tram Outing this Wednesday

Bill Jolly will be Our Driver

Wednesday is our big Tram Museum outing. The outing is broadly in 3 parts.

  • 1st  is the tram ride out to the Royal National Park where we can get out & go to a lookout,
  • 2nd the guided tour where the prison van that Darcy Dugan escaped from is on display & is a highlight of the museum.
  • Then finally the lunch at the Sutherland club. Billy Jolly (ex OTC Eng Branch) is our tram driver & he guarantees us all a good time. Continue reading

exOTC Sydney Get-Together

Another Catch Up

Sunday 14 October Nurragingy Reserve. Lorikeet Picnic Area

by Peter Bull

Maree Giddins is arranging for another catch up for ex-OTC and ex-Reach staff. Thank you, Maree.

If it is half as good as the last one it will be great. I really enjoying catching up with people that I had not seen for years.

Please RVSP as to whether you are able to attend and I will keep a running list of those who can attend so as to better inform the larger group on who will be attending. This may result in greater interest and a larger roll up. Continue reading

Want to Join a Weather Balloon Launch?

Launch and Recovery.

by Robert Brand.

This is not about OTC, but since there are many that are interested in HAM radio and technology, I am posting this as a general interest post. If you want to take part of find out more or even track the flight, you can find out more here:

This post is straight from my WotzUp website:

I mentioned to many people that I would like to launch a high altitude balloon flight in the next School Holidays here in NSW, Australia. I had thought that it would be an experiment in stability and camera work, but it appears that another opportunity has arisen and the experiment has changed – more on that later Continue reading

Sydney OTC Lunch Tomorrow

Lunch Friday14th Sep 2012

Peter Bull just let me know that there is a lunch for those in Sydney tomorrow and everyone is invited. I expect to be there.

OTVA lunch – all exOTC welcome – will cost about $25 or so. All you can eat hot and cold smorgasbord.

This from Peter Bull:

I have received the following advice with respect to attendance at our social event tomorrow (Friday 14/9) at The Bowlers Club, Level 1 Bistro, 95-99 York Street Sydney : Continue reading

Satellites and Change

50 Years via Satellites

by Robert Brand

The video below is courtesy of ESA. It shows the changing face of satellite communications. Very different from our OTC days.

This introduction from ESA: Unless you were lucky enough to get your hands on a coveted London 2012 Olympics ticket, it’s likely you’ll be watching Usain Bolt from the comfort of your living room. This is all made possible by satellites which have beamed some of the most important moments in history to our homes. This year marks 50 years since the first image was beamed through space and back to earth again via satellite. Continue reading

Neil Armstrong Dies aged 82

Complications from Heart Surgery Takes the First Moon Walker

[Ed] I have met most of the Apollo moon walkers and command module pilots but I never met Neil Armstrong. Unlike Buzz Aldrin, Neil had become somewhat reclusive. He avoided public appearances and refused to sign autographs. He was still passionate about space and spoke his mind on where NASA should point their rockets. As one on the many exOTC staff that supported the Apollo 11 mission, I am saddened by the world’s loss of an extraordinary astronaut that had ice water flowing in his veins. He was one cool guy that was able to walk away from many failures where others would have perished. We will miss you – Robert Brand

News article from NASA

The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden regarding the death of former test pilot and NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong. He was 82. 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

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

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

Life After OTC

Robert Brand Part 3

Gene Cernan and Robert Brand

Life takes some pretty interesting turns and my headlong rush into the space sector started 3 years ago as mentioned in Part 1 and Part 2. Pat Barthelow, a HAM radio operator from the US, asked the OTVA to organise a Moon Bounce for the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 back in June 2009. After the next 12 months my knowledge of space had grown considerably as I was posting stories on my Echoes of Apollo Website. Continue reading

Carnarvon and OTVA Support

OTVA also Calls for Help

The (exOTC) web site contains a complaint emerged from Graeme Hanigan who attended the recent Open Day in support of the new Carnarvon Space & Technology Museum. The complaint related to the belief that it was too NASA focused and did not promote and give credit to the huge amount of work that was provided by OTC personnel Continue reading

Life After OTC

Robert BrandRobert Brand – Part 1
World Moon Bounce

A lot has happened since my departure from OTC but a quick note to say that I am extremely involved in the space sector these days. I still work in comms for mines, but also satellite and beyond. What is interesting is that 3.5 years ago the OTVA got contacted by a gentleman wanting to do a commemorative HAM radio event between the Jamesburg Earth Station and the Parkes Radio telescope. Basically bouncing signals off the moon and back to earth and using big dishes to do the work. In the week before the Apollo 11 40th Anniversary (July 2009) dishes from all over the world took part in World Moon Bounce Day (WMBD) and it was a great success. Notably Jamesburg and Parkes never took part! Continue reading