Paddington HAM Radio Repeater

OTC_Paddington_smby Robert Brand

I was interested to learn that the HAM VHF radio repeater that Laurie MacIlree built in Guam and a few of us installed at OTC Paddington is still going, but of course it has brand new equipment, a slightly different frequency and Laurie is still involved. VK2ROT is still the call sign and it is managed by the local HAM radio club, Waverley Amateur Radio Society. This from their website
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Univac 418 – Paddington

Univac 418Computer Message Switching.

by Robert Brand

In February 1969, OTC’s automatic message relay system became operational at the Paddington terminal. I was sent there for Field Training in 1971 so it was a very new venture and the first to compete in a global competitive environment. I published this photo on Facebook years ago and got a lot of responses. The comments form part of this story.

As a Trainee, I got to have a play with the offline system – there were two – the production system and the standby system. They sat side by side. They were switching messages around the world, but I had access to the offline system and learned how to program in machine language. Kieth McCredden was in charge at the time.
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Andy Nguyen Balloon Record

Balloon TrackAndy Nguyen from Melbourne broke a few records earlier this year. He managed to get one of his foil party balloons around the world nearly 3 times. I’m sure that there are hundreds circling the earth every day, but Andy’s magic is adding a HF transmitter, a VHF transmitter with Frequency change ability by longitude (for different countries) a smart controller, solar charging and batteries and they all weighed only some 11 grams.

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Apollo 11 Tour 1969

Collins Armstrong and Aldrin pass by wavingNovember 1st 1969 Sydney Australia

by Robert Brand

I just came across these photos from the Apollo 11 crew that toured Sydney following the moon landing. I think that they were taken on a Kodak Box Brownie that I just happened to have. I remember that I was not planning on taking photos and then just decided it was too historic.

I was 17 and I, along with many others, wired up some of the Apollo 11 comms gear at OTC Paddington in Sydney. The tour had a special significance because of the little bit of work that we all did at Paddo. I had to take my place on a Sydney street along with everyone else to snap a few seconds on the Apollo 11 Astronauts driving by at a rather fast pace. I was on the Corner of King St and Elizabeth Street in the heart of Sydney. Continue reading

Carnarvon by Jim Crockett

Space and Technology Museum at Carnarvon

Space and Technology Museum at Carnarvon 3

10 July 2015

Jim Crockett posted this on our ex-OTC Facebook Page:I just came back from trip on the Norwest coast of Western Australia on my way to the 31st bi-annual conference of the Australian Speleological Federation that was held at Exmouth. On the way we stopped for a visit to the Space and Technology Museum at Carnarvon at the old OTC Satellite station [and NASA Centre].
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What are Others Up To?

Robert brand 2013Tell us What You are Doing.

Can other people write up what they are doing in their lives such as farming, sailing, whatever it is we need to know what you are up to and that includes taking it easy. I know that there are some great stories out there even about doing nothing or getting together for the odd drink with an old ex-otc mate and yes we are all getting older!

  • Richard ‘Richary’ Jary When I eventually left Telstra I added my radio hobby to the IT stuff I had been working on and got into wireless LANs and microwave radio. Now my job involves planning links, troubleshooting and getting on rooftops and towers Continue reading

The Cairns Repeaters


The Great Repeater Hunt

The story so far: Peter Burgess told Robert Brand that when he recently visited the site of OTC’s Cairns Cable Station he noted that it was up for sale/lease. Peter Burgess & Bruce Boler told Robert Brand that they recalled land based cable repeaters being buried behind the station. They considered that if this is true it might be a good idea to approach Telstra to retrieve these items which may be of historical significance so that they can be displayed in the Powerhouse or Telstra Museums Continue reading

Sydney Get-together

Possible Fire Ban for Sydney Meet-Up

Sunday 14 October Nurragingy Reserve. Lorikeet Picnic Area

Maree Giddins says:


For all the people who are planning to go to the “Catch Up” at Nurragingy Reserve on Sunday 14 October, if there is a Total Fire Ban on the day that will mean that you will not be able to use the BBQs so you will need to bring a picnic which will not need to be BBQed. I have checked the 7 day forecast and it looks like there will be a cool change later today (Friday 5 Oct) followed by Continue reading

Life After OTC

Neil Yakalis

by Neil Yakalis

My Corolla KE20 will be in the Sydney Motor Show!

My 42 year old Corolla has been selected to represent the 2nd Generation of Corollas at the coming Sydney Motor Show. Toyota are picking it up on Friday & are giving me a new loan car.

Toyota will then launch the 11th generation Corolla next month at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney’s Darling Harbour. Continue reading

Business Today

Keeping it in the Family

by Robert Brand

1. Camping Out

Life goes on and business is business. Most of us have gone on to other things very diverse from OTC days. None so diverse as our old OTC mate Bruce Boler. After traveling the world with OTC and installing comms systems in the most unusual of places he now runs a camping trailer business based at this home in Hurstville. Sydney Camper Trailer is an accredited franchise of Johnno’s Camper Trailers. Continue reading

View from the Top

Paddington Aug. 1970

by Robert Brand

I have started to scan many old slides and of course found some old ones. Nothing great, but several should be interesting. The first few are the oldest so far and simply the result of the weekly roof inspections. Yes, the ITMC was responsible for checking all was well with the roof. Of interest was the fact that it was Paddington and it was the 70’s. A very liberated time. No photos of that, but I remember that 14 was the highest number of naked or semi naked people that we counted sun baking within easy view of the roof. The building was located at 363 Oxford St Paddington and still stands. 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

Apollo 11 Paddington Video

ABC coverage showing Paddington during Apollo 11

I just spotted this video with more shots of the Apollo 11 gear at Paddington. It is with credit to ABC TV. Not a lot to say about this, but it was broadcast the day before the Apollo 11 moon landing. The video quality is extremely good for the era but since it was for Australian TV at the time it was all black and white. There are also shots of Honeysuckle Creek. Continue reading

Jamesburg Earth Station For Sale

Robert Brand and Jamesburg Earth Station.

It was about when I was 17 years old that I (Robert Brand) first heard of Jamesburg Earth Station. I was a second year trainee at the Dept of Civil Aviation Regional Training School at Waverton and assigned to the International Maintenance Centre (IMC) at Paddington for field training. I was asked to wiring up some Apollo 11 jumpering for Wayne Ozarko and I learned of this site as the received dish for the transmissions from Moree for the Apollo 11 moon landing.

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The Wilds of Carnarvon, Western Australia in the Early Days

Mrs O’Donahue at Hamelin Pool Saves the Day

Mrs Lillian O Donahue - Postmistress of Hamelin Pool

Mrs Lillian O Donahue - Postmistress of Hamelin Pool

Here is a story of the the way things were in the remote Western Australian town of Carnarvon where NASA built a station that was used for the Apollo missions. When the going got tough they of course called Mrs O’Donahue.

This story is from the website of the HoneySuckle Creek group that relayed Apollo 11 video to the world and supplied it first to Australian audiences. Continue reading