Vancouver Radio between 1945 and 1948

from Al Miller

Vancouver Aeradio about 1946

Right to left

1. Radio Range position   2. CPAL Air/Ground Position   3. CPAL Point to Point (CW) Position


Maybe this will be of some interest until I get around to telling you about my Doukahbour experience. Briefly here are a few details regarding the attached picture. Unfortunately it is rather poor quality.


Starting from the right is the Radio Range or Aeradio position. The operation was typical of the standard Range position which was monitoring your own and the adjacent Radio Range courses, weather broadcasts and contacting aircraft as required.


Under an agreement between the DOT and Canadian Pacific Air Lines (CPAL) the second position was strictly air/ground between CPAL aircraft and other stations monitoring the frequency.


The third position was also strictly CPAL using CW to exchange operational and reservation traffic between stations on the aircraft route. This includes stations on the Northwest Staging Route. Operational traffic was copied on white forms and reservations on red forms. An interesting Copy All system was used for passing operational messages. The originating operator would send CQ CA and just send the message blind and you were expected to be ready to copy without any check in until after the message was sent. Cargo despatches looked like cipher until you learned the code.


The fourth position was used for government business between DOT stations and these messages were handled on green forms.


During the evening and graveyard shift when traffic was light the positions were consolidated from four to two.


At the end of the regular positions a typewriter was set for trainees who were unfamiliar with the operation and generally told to copy everything they heard. On the other side of the room there was a telephone position during the day to receive and deliver traffic mainly to the DOT offices.


The control racks were made of wood due to the shortage of steel during wartime. This caused no end of grounding problems.


Although all operators were required to have a First or Second Class operating certificate the Aviation operation was completely different to the Marine operation,


I was transferred to the Vancouver Airport station in 1944 and operated there until 1948. I went over to technician in 1948 when the first ILS was installed. At that time I also did most of the flight calibration on the system, I hope you find the above information interesting.


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Tribute to Al Miller ( from his daughter Kate Iredale )