News from the STAA Editor

from the May 2017 Newsletter


I am saddened to report the loss of another member of the telephone history community. John Moynihan passed away peacefully at Fiona Stanley Hospital, Murdoch, WA on 2nd April 2017. John was well known internationally and contributed much to our knowledge of the history of Australian telephony. I have had many conversations with John although I never met him in person. An obituary appears in this issue of the Journal.

Power has been on the minds of our politicians recently; electrical power. The state-wide blackout in South Australia last September (it's on Wikipedia) was a national "heads up" and the recent closure of the Hazelwood power station in Victoria has made power security and affordability a major political issue. The Premier of SA, Jay Weatherill, announced a new state owned gas powered generator. With it were announcements designed to mitigate the looming gas shortage. Australia does not have a gas reservation policy and the bulk of the gas mined here is contracted to be sold to international buyers - that's why there is a predicted shortage here. The only way to make more domestic gas available without breaching international trade agreements is to discover more.

On the national front, the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull announced a $2 billion expansion of the Snowy River Hydroelectric scheme that could power up to 500,000 additional homes through a new network of tunnels and power stations. Let's hope the environmental flow issues that have affected the Snowy River for the last few decades have been resolved. Let's hope too that the CSIRO's predicted changes to precipitation over the catchment area resulting from Global Warming have been taken into account. I for one would be much happier if these decisions were based on science.

Genetic diversity is a good thing. Many genes combine forming something different from what was. There is always something new, something fresh and the population is better for it - more robust, more interesting and more interested. And so the cycle continues - reinventing itself and making the best of its context. Actually, it's rather like your contributions to this Journal. The Journal would be so much more interesting!

Jack O'Brien,
STAA Editor

from the March 2017 Newsletter


This month (February) we have lost another telephone great - Ron Kay from New Zealand passed away on the 3rd February 2017. Ron was a goldmine of information but I particularly liked to talk to him about the Rotary System and how the NZPO interfaced it to SxS in New Zealand. I spoke by telephone with Ron at length in mid-January; he was on the ball - he pointed out a typo in a recent article I wrote. I'm very happy to have known you Ron; rest in peace.

There was a time when one played with a cat's whisker and a crystal in order to create a rectifier (detector). As technology improved the cat's whisker and crystal became a circuit module - a valve. Further modularisation produced integrated circuits that implemented the complete IF stage and the complete AF stage. Still more modularisation saw a complete radio on a chip then a complete radio user interface on a chip. Now, of course, the broadcast radio is obsolete but there is a module that can implement an Internet radio and its user interface whilst at the same time, acting as a VoIP PABX and a personal computer. For example a Raspberry Pi running Linux. Something more for us to digest I suppose.

I hope you enjoy this month's edition of the Journal. If you have further information on anything within, please share it with me.

Jack O'Brien,
STAA Editor.