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WO Frank Heath's history of RC Sigs station VEA

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1946 was not far advanced, and the paint in the new station hardly dry before we noticed quite an increase in business, and an entirely different aspect, and we realized that at long last the R.C. Signals in Dawson had "come of age", as it were. Our previous 23 years experience and sluggish progress, almost overnight, became very ancient history as we blossomed forth all of a sudden into adult and professional status and a veritable glare of publicity and prominence. Now we were right in the centre of town, instead of isolated and marooned in the obscure environs; and we saw more people and activity in one day than in six months at the old log station.

Also, we soon discovered that our technical, mechanical and maintenance worries had proportionately increased. Plenty of "bugs" remained for us to run to earth and most of them were aggravatingly complicated by being at the remote station, which at times was difficult of access either due to deep snow or gooey mud preventing anything but a caterpillar tractor or "shanks mare" getting to it.

During 1946 we entertained an unusual number of visitors from Signals, Engineers and Airforce who dropped in at various times on business and tours of inspection. In August we enjoyed a three hours visit from our Director of Signals, accompanied by three other Sigs officers. The only similar, previous visit we have on record was in August 1939 when Col. P.E. Earnshaw, the Director of Signals at that time, visited us for three days.

On Aug. 28th 1946 a civilian crew of four men, with S/Sgt. Barnes, RCE, i/c, arrived to assemble and erect our two 150' steel masts, and complete the earth system, Long Wave aerial and transmission line. This was completed, except for a part of the intricate earth mat, by Oct. 7th and we then proceeded with great enthusiasm and anticipation to coax 10 amps or more of aerial current from the PV.500 transmitter which the instruction book and the new aerial system promised . BUT, alas and alack, no such heart warming and ether blasting power could be wheedled into the aerial on any of our authorized frequencies. We had to be content with the same old feeble three amps after all. To say the least, we were disappointed. But it's been like that every time! From our 1921 days of the 120 watt set, through SITD.500s, M7xs Marconi 1 KWs, PT.200s etc, we've been sadly disillusioned - none of them behaved according to the glittering promises of "the book of words' which accompanied them. Nevertheless, we always put out a good signal, so must be thankful for small mercies and small outputs.

In Nov. 1946 we welcomed Sigmn. Bill Bushell to the fold, and a few days later ushered L/Sgt. Bill Hunka on his way back to Edmonton, and settled down to what proved to be the coldest winter ever recorded in Yukon. Temperatures as low as 73 below zero (Feb. 3rd '47) were experienced, and during Nov., Dec., Jan. and to the 10th Feb. the average temperature was about 20 below zero daily.

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