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

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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

Apollo 11, 45th Anniversary Memories

Photo by Richard Holl (L-R) Ted Knotts, Dick Holl and Elmer Fredd standing in front of the Parkes Scanconverter at OTC Paddington following the mission.

Photo by Richard Holl (L-R) Ted Knotts, Dick Holl and Elmer Fredd standing in front of the Parkes Scanconverter at OTC Paddington following the mission

An Explosion in the Scan-converter.

by Robert Brand

A few weeks before the launch of Apollo 11, the scan-converter at OTC Paddington in Sydney exploded when it was switched on by NASA‘s Richard Holl following a test. The explosion occurred because the scan-converter was wrongly rewired one evening. 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

OTC Trainee Tool Kits 1968

The Right Tool for the Job

by Robert Brand

Seems that there would be few of us exOTC people with a pretty good intact OTC tool kit that was issued as far back as 1968. Well, say hello to three of them! The big one I was issued as I started work in 1969 as a Technician in Training at the DCA Regional Training School at Waverton. The other two smaller kits were picked up from ITMC Sydney staff that left and their tool kits were not collected from them.

The reason I collected the extra kits was that there were tool kit checks and you had to produce your kit and it had to have all the tools or you had to replace them. The other two kits were considered by me as donor kits as tools often went missing through no fault of your own. Tools strayed when you had a large job and a few people were involved. I do not expect that they were intentionally taken, but accidentally. Continue reading

The Paddington Security Guard

Friend or Foe

by Robert Brand

It was an uneasy relationship between the Paddington Security guard and the staff. Security was outsourced to an external agency and the guards were never really part of the team. It made for an interesting time with lots of problems and also lots of humour and strange happenings.

You never knew whether they were part of management or part of the workers. There are way more stories here, but these few may prompt some memories. Let us know what happened with you and the guards. 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

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

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

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

Trevor Housley and Seacom Opening

Director General Posts and Telegraphs Congratulates OTC

In what must have been a rather smug message of congratulations, Trevor Housley, sends a congratulations message to OTC in his new role as Director General Posts and Telegraphs. It seems that Trevor of course had had a lot to do with the formation of the Compac and Seacom cables and of course satellite comms Continue reading

$59M Communications Highway

Seacom Opening – The AGE

I am just adding more material from the AGE newspaper published at the time of the Seacom opening in 1967. There are many more pages and I will add them later. It is interesting at the number of pages that the AGE dedicated to Seacom. Many are advertisements paid for by suppliers or parts or services, but there are many pages of stories. Continue reading

Seacom Opening 1967

Age Article by Harold White

I found this article in “The Age” archives from back in 1967. It was part of a large article celebrating the opening on the Seacom cable on this day. Initially only the first supergroup was commissioned on the cable that could eventually hold 2 x 80 channel supergroups.

The supergroups were 3.1kHz bandwidth compared to the 60 channel satellite supergroups that consisted of 3.4kHz bandwidth channels. There were about 6 pages of a broadsheet newspaper dedicated to the opening. 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

Apollo 11 Video and Wayne Ozarko

Search For Apollo 11 tapes

As many will know there has been a concerted effort to find the Apollo 11 video data tapes. The NASA files were apparently over-written in an attempt by NASA to save on computer tape. There were other copies made here in Australia but the problem is that no-one has any idea where the digital tapes were stored or even if they were destroyed or not. 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.

Continue reading

OTC and Apollo 11

Apollo 11 40th anniversary Celebrations

This article was published by me (Robert Brand) as part of the Apollo 11 celebrations. The OTVA and OTC stories were told to the world through many media including radio.
This was published 40 year after Apollo 11 took off and it was 57 hours into the relived flight:

Apollo 11 right now (minus 40 years) and 57+ hours into the mission
Skip back 40 years to the minute with Apollo 11

Continue reading

Paddington and the Apollo ARIA network

Apollo 11 and The Role of the ARIA Aircraft.

At 182+ hours into the flight of Apollo 11, the capsule, for the first time, will reenter with lift vector “up”. It is normally down, but they want to extend the range 250 miles. This is a last minute change to correct for the slight error made by not being in the center of the reentry window and bad weather in the landing area if uncorrected. The capsule will sort of “skip” a bit off the atmosphere. In other words the Apollo capsules has some limited steer-ability in this vector. A bit like skimming a stone over water. Continue reading