Tell me what you know!Jump to Tech DetailsWF100 (& WSR81C)

The Bureau's first engineer, Geoff (Benny) Goodman, 1951- 1969, was to predict the future direction of radar purchases in 1956 when he said that he thought "5 or 6cm radar might offer a suitable compromise between the 3 and 10cm radar now in common use." (1)
So in February 1981 the Bureau received its first C-band radar. It was the prototype WF100-5C to be installed at Broadmeadows for acceptance testing - a task that fell to Frank Cummings soon after his arrival from the Department of Civil Aviation. This radar was the marrying by Enterprise Electronics Corporation (Alabama USA) of their C-Band weather surveillance radar -WSR74C and their X- band balloon tracking radar, the WF100-4X . Though fundamentally feasible, a lot of work was necessary to fine tune the EEC design to achieve the required performance levels. It was agreed at higher levels of Government to provide EEC the Bureau designed solutions to the prototype's problems, rather than cancel the contract and suffer the inherent massive delays in finding another radar to meet the Bureau's urgent need to replace the aging 277F radars.

"The WF100-5C windfinder radar with meteorological option (MET/TRACK) consists of a primary C-band windfinder radar with a meteorological color TV monitor type display" is the description offered by the manufacturer in the technical handbook. Though the transmitter and receiver offered no great technological advancement apart from the use of transistor technology the extensive use of TTL in the tracking system and the PPI presentation being a scan converted colour TV style display was a great improvement on previous Bureau radars.


Integrating the microprocessor into the console
By December 1984, a program commenced to remove the standalone microprocessor and replace them with a new Master Control Unit with an integrated microprocessor. This used Bureau developed software and moved the small Datel printer to within the Tracking Console.. This new software written by Alf West provided many improvements in comparison to original units. These included the addition of an audio lost target indication, preventing calculations whilst the radar is in MET mode as well increasing its speed of operation.
Soon after this the Bureau decided to remove the Datel-Intersil Thermal printers with its thermal paper from the console , which had a limited life, and use cheaper Dot-matrix printers instead. For this new side benches were fitted onto the Tracking Console and a new GPO had to be installed for the printer. This was marked "RADAR PRINTER ONLY" so cleaners would not unplug the printer!

WF100 Tracking Console with the integrated wind-calculating microprocessor.
The Bureau fitted dot-matrix printer is on the right of the console.



The Bureau purchased two of these radars in 1985, the first was installed at East Intercourse Is. at Dampier in W.A. the second replaced the Cossor CR353 on Saddle Mtn. near Cairns, Queensland in late 1986. After this no more were purchased as the Bureau assembled its own remote weather watch radars by using a Rapic Transmitter fitted to a WF100 Transmitter/receiver, servo and a 'MET' only antenna purchased from EEC.

The WSR81C radar was simply a WF100-5C system rearranged as a remote weather watch radar system. It used the same basic transmitter/receiver/servo/antenna with the linear receiver omitted, and a shepherd's hook horn feed in an 8 foot antenna. A remote control system using the EEC binary synchronous format provided the same colour TV style display as on the 'MET mode of the WF100. Control of the transmitter, elevation angle and azimuth rotation rate was available at the remote operator site via a small console..

EEC 'MET' Display at WF100 or WSR81C


(1) Proceedings of the Tropical Cyclone Symposium, Brisbane December 1956)