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WO Frank Heath's history of RC Sigs station VEA

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Sgt. Maj. "Dusty" Royds and a Mr. Jack Watson, from "C.S.R.D.", Ottawa, arrived Oct. 15th to superintend erection of aerial gear, transmission lines, or lead-ins, and the setting up of transmitters, receivers and control units. Despite the cold, snow and unusually wintry weather prevailing by this time, the work was proceeding rapidly and smoothly when, on Oct. 29th tragedy struck suddenly and unexpectedly with the death of Jack Watson. Royds and Watson were busy at the remote site on aerial assembly work that morning when, without warning Watson collapsed and failed to respond to simple first aid, and by the time Royds, aided by RCAF and RCE personnel rushed him by truck to the Dawson hospital not more than 15 minutes later he had passed away. Cause of death was declared due to cerebral haemorrhage or coronary occlusion. Watson's sudden demise was a rude shock to all concerned and progress was quite noticeably affected for several days, and until after the funeral held locally on Nov.4th. S/M Royds keenly felt the loss of his close friend and partner, and left for outside Nov. 7th.

Nine days later another Signals Installation & Maintenance crew of four NCOs arrived to complete the work which had been so rudely interrupted. They, with Capt. Murray who arrived Nov. 23rd finally set up our new PV 500 (L/W), and the new AT.3 (S/W) 250 watt, transmitters and six receivers, and had everything ready for testing early in December.

Severe weather and lateness in the season prevented erection of the aerial and transmission, or feeder, line for the PV.500 long wave transmitter; it was tuned to two of its four frequency capacity and simply fed into an off length temporary, 1 wire L aerial, and was operated that way, with mediocre results until the rest of the construction work was completed in September 1946.

However , the new set-up was functioning fairly well by Dec. 8th so we simply and rather eagerly collected what records and office furniture was necessary from the old log cabin station we'd occupied for 23 years, moved into the spick and span new quarters and went on the air to officially open for general business on Dec. 12, 1945. By now all RCE and RCAF and all but CSM. Pye of Signals had departed. Pye remained behind for several days to coach and instruct us in :"the fine points:" of the new complicated lay-out; but he too left for outside on Dec. 15th and we were eon our own again; this time with something worth bragging about and showing off and demonstrating with pride to the dozens of locallites who dropped in to view its wonders and attractions. once again, too, we were back to a three man staff; Sigmn,. Elsted was posted to Edmonton Dec .8th and until the situation was eased somewhat with the arrival of Sgt. Earl Slack in July 1946 the three of us were more than fully occupied -- especially whenever it was necessary to make repairs, adjustments and alterations (which was quite often) to the new equipment at the remote station.

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