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WO Frank Heath's history of RC Sigs station VEA

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At Stewart City, Y.T., a collection of half a dozen nondescript cabins, a telegraph office and Trading Post, huddled at the junction of the Stewart with the Yukon River, we bid adieu to the Mayo trio who must await another boat for the journey up the Stewart River, 180 miles to Mayo.

On September 10th 1923 we arrived in the fabulous, fabled and some3hat faded Gold Metropolis of the North - Dawson City. If it, and all it stood for and represented to us was more than a nine days wonder and curiosity, we likewise were equally so to the Dawson denizens, most of whom had never even heard of Radio, or seen a uniformed soldier for many years, and our reception by all and sundry was, to say the least, extremely cordial and warm hearted.

Within a few days of our arrival we acquired from the very co-operative and helpful R.C.M.P. a suitable six roomed log cabin in which to install our equipment and set up an office. This cabin, situated in the Police reserve some distance from the centre of town, was a relic of the days of '98. Originally built by the "Yukon Field Force", a military organization which maintained law and order in the Klondike gold fields before the old R.N.W.M.P. took over this duty.

The cabin was in a very dilapidated condition after being vacant and abandoned for many years, and required considerable overhaul, renovation, remodelling and cleaning before we eventually installed our 3KW. 110- Volt Delco - a 160 ampere hour, 56 cell battery bank - battery charging panel - 1110 to 2000 volt DC Motor Generator Set - one 500 watt (2 AT.50 tubes) Signals Transmitter - one 4 tube Signals Receiver, and various controls and necessary wiring etc etc. Right here we'd like to dwell at some length on the technical and mechanics details of that first installation -- which was not far from the very last work in radio technique in those days -- but time and space does not permit. However, it was sturdy, compact, simple and quite efficient.

Out antenna system, for the transmitter, was a 300' 2 wire flat top T supported by 80' portable, sectional pipe masts -- 10 sections of 3 1/2 steel tubes which fitted together similar to lengths of stove pipe, and held erect by 12 guys. The receiving aerial was merely 150' of wire lead into the building from near the top of one mast. Out "earth" system of which we were extremely proud -- for a time -- was a copper sheet some 30" wide by 20' long, buried at least 4' deep under aerial centre and quite close to north wall of building, for a short direct connection with transmitter earth terminal.

We brought in with us, and set up this quite rugged, substantial and multifarious outfit, but either neglected or forgot all about office furniture and equipment; result was, that before we could open up for business, and for some time afterwards, we had to do considerable scrounging, borrowing and rustling of desks, chairs, files, typewriter, ink blotters and other essential office gear. Our pride, though, was the typewriter table for the operator -- an old Singer sewing machine, with treadle, wheel and machine removed. It was just the right height and size, and we often suspected that later and a more modern tables supplied to stations were modelled from it

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