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Colin Craigen (VK2NJC)
March 18, 2000
It is with the deepest regret that the Manly-Warringah Radio Society
records the passing of Col Craigen VK2NJC on March 18th. He was 82. A
man of distinguished appearance and possessed of a fine intellect, Col
lent dignity to all our proceedings. Always regarded as "a gentleman of
the old school", Col was liked by all and he carried with him a wealth
of experience. Only when the weather was at its worst would Col fail to
turn up at the regular weekly meetings.
First licensed in the UK in 1936, he spent his career in radio and
television, his experience with television going back to the earliest
days of the technology when mechanical scanning was in the experimental
stage. At one point Col made a television appearance for Logie Baird and
thus could justly claim to have been one of the first people ever
Upon the outbreak of World War II Col joined the Royal Air Force. One
day in the summer of 1940, just as the Battle of Britain was getting
under way, Col was mystified to be posted to a derelict-looking factory
in Watford, in southern England. There, to his intense surprise, he
found himself in the company of eleven other radio amateurs all of whom
had been selected by a young civilian called Dr R. V. Jones.
Dr Jones had been charged by the then Prime Minister, Winston Churchill,
to discover and thwart the German beam-bombing navigational system which
was having a devastating effect. This system enabled the German aircrews
to fly to a target and accurately to drop their bombs at a predetermined
point. Dr Jones knew that to do this task he needed people of technical
imagination and flair and he also knew that such people were best found
among the radio amateurs of the day.
Within weeks Dr Jones and his team built special transmitters which had
the effect of corrupting the beams and confusing the German aircrews so
much so that they were sent off course. In the parlance of the day Dr
Jones was popularly credited with having "bent" the beams and once the
Germans realised that they abandoned the system.
In the RAF Col met and became a personal friend of Arthur C Clarke who
was serving at the same time with him and together they worked upon the
development of radar. Recently Colin recounted to the club how Clarke
had explained to him his idea using manned geostationary satellites for
radio communication, a theory which Clarke then published in Wireless
World in 1945.
In 1947 Col migrated to Australia and worked for AWA until his
retirement, one of his major involvements being the broadcasting and
telecasting of the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. After retiring Col
renewed his interest in ham radio and, like many amateurs, he loved to
tinker, especially with VHF gear. Most recently, and in order to keep in
touch with his nephew in UK, he was working to get active on packet
radio but sadly Col passed away before matters were complete.
He will be sadly missed by all his friends in Amateur Radio.
Contributed by: Dominic Bragge (VK2JNA)
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