Andy Nguyen sends a Balloon Towards South America

Balloon Headed North

This post was from Yesterday and shows the progress of his balloon. Andy’s Pico Flight progress has been as predicted. It is heading very much north from Melbourne in an unusual jet stream current. It is averaging about 8,000m (8Km – 5 miles) altitude and headed north at an average speed of 80kph (50mph). It recently passed over where Jason and I (Robert Brand) launch our balloons. It was a little west of Rankin Springs! Continue reading


Carnarvon Videos Uncovered

Carnarvon smallOTC Carnarvon Video Surfaces

With the help of researcher Brian Larwood and the Carnarvon OTC/NASA Museum, I have found these video gems that that I would like to share. The first is about OTC and the second, NASA.

This first video has only just been found and it details some of the history Carnarvon. Enjoy! Continue reading

Andy from Melbourne Launches High Altitude Balloon

High Altitude Balloon Success. Payload Recovered from almost 37km Altitude.Andy PS1 Preparing to fly

Jason and I went to Deniliquin NSW (Australia) to help a good friend, Andy from exOTC Melbourne, launch and recover a high altitude balloon and payload. My son, Jason (11), and I have launched and recovered 16 of our own payloads to date and assisted with many others and we love High Altitude Balloons (HABs) so giving Andy a hand was a real pleasure.

If you were working for OTC in Melbourne in the early 1990s, you will know Andy. He does not want his last name mentioned online. Continue reading

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

A Visit to Honeysuckle Creek

hsk_1971_tnMy Return to Honeysuckle Creek

It had been 42 years since I visited Honeysuckle Creek. I was still a teenager at the time – 19 years old. I had just been working on comms for Apollo missions and had completed a lot of work wiring up comms for Apollo 11 gear at OTC Paddington. I had been on a pilgrimage to know ground zero zero for the reception of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon – Honeysuckle Creek. Continue reading

Personal Update – Robert Brand

Robert Brand ParkesPersonal Update

By Robert Brand

Sorry for the lack of posts – it has been 5 months, but life has gone to being extremely ridiculous workload-wise.

The OTVA has their Autumn Social event on Friday 5th April at the Bowlers Club located at 95-97 York St Sydney.  RVSP to Peter Bull so that he can submit the numbers to the Functions Coordinator prior to the day. Respond early to avoid disappointment. 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

New Author: Walter Pearce

Walter Pearce to assist me at

Walter kindly sent this offer of help and I will be taking it up immediately on recommendation from Neil Yakalis.

I am ex OTC and have been visiting your website. I previously worked for Maritime (MS & RS) at Auburn with Neil Yakalis before I retired in 2001.

I would like to submit a story with a few photos and comment on posts
etc. Can you grant me publishing access at your convenience. Continue reading

Jack Creswick

Who Has a Story about Jack?

Neil Yakalis Asks:

Many of us remember Jack Creswick. He was the OTC Training School in its original form long before Paddo got its formal training setup. I would love to hear some of the stories about Jack as he was a unique character.

  • Jack always liked to do things differently and he worked out that he could bypass a lot of traffic riding his bike to work through the storm water canals and a few drains. This worked like a treat until one day his front wheel jammed in an expansion joint in the concrete catapulting jack over the handlebars and onto a mess in the storm water drain! I’m not sure whether Jack continued the drain shortcuts and just took more care, but it was one hell of a scare for him! Sydney water never really structured their drains for bikes. 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

The Secret Submarine Cable


by Cyril Vahtrick

[Ed: This fabulous story of what might have been is from Cyril Vahtrick and permission to reprint from the OTVA. Thanks to both]

The 1956 Olympic Games had finished in Melbourne and OTC was still trying to come back to normal, with new equipment such as T.E.D. (Teleprinter Error Detection)  and T.O.C. (Teleprinter on Cable) to be brought into service. Christmas was approaching when Chief Engineer Bob Long summoned me into his office with some excitement. He had on the table a pink covered document marked “Secret”.  I hadn’t seen an official secret document since my Radar days with the Air Force during WW2 and was intrigued at what this might be about. 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

Life After OTC

Robert Brand Part 4

by Robert Brand

So far I have not had anyone else telling me what they are up to after OTC so I will update you on some very new developments in my life. Yes, new in the last few weeks.

Life takes some pretty interesting turns and my headlong rush into the space sector only started 3 years ago as mentioned. We all had something to do with Space missions for NASA or ESA, whether you were in Accounts or Ops. It was what OTC did, but it was the terrestrial and satellite side. Continue reading

Rent a Cable Station

Cairns Cable Station for Lease

It seems that if you live in Cairns, you can lease the old OTC cable station.

This discussion on the ex-OTC group on Facebook:

Peter Burgess says: I must say, I was quite disappointed to drive past the old Cairns Cable Station today, and see it was all covered in Graffiti and also up for Lease !!! Continue reading