AME T52 VOR - c.1970s
The photo below shows a simlar, though unidentified, T52 VOR. The hut contained duplicated transmitters and power supply, whilst the fibreglass 'thimble' above contained the actual antenna. These units were supplied by French company AME but the designation 'T52' was internal to DCA.
Note the ubiquitous DCA vehicles, coloured yellow with white roofs - the one below has the DCA 'wings' logo on the door.
The first VOR was installed at Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport in 1960-61. This was followed by another at Darwin in 1961/62. The primary purpose of these two units was to "give guidance to international aircraft operating to these two airports". By the following year ten additional VORs had been ordered at a cost of £135,000, with delivery expected in 1964. A total network of 22 VORs was planned (supplemented by many more simpler and cheaper NDBs).
As at February 2005 there were 92 VOR beacons in Australia and its territories. At that time VORs were scheduled to be phased out by 2010 in favour of the GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), however GNSS reliability issues mean that VORs will remain in service for the foreseeable future. The early 'conventional' VORs like the T52 are gradually being replaced with new Doppler units (DVOR).
Read about 'Betsy' the mobile VOR, used to test VOR sites.
(Photos: CAHS collection)
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