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Friends Remembered Home | Friends Detail

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 televised. 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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