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After Action Report - Operation "SILLITOE"

1.	Operation "SILLITOE" was a vintage radio activity which was
undertaken to mark the 60th anniversary of the arrival in Canada of
the plans for the Wireless Set No. 19.  During the summer of 1941,
Mr. Sydney Sillitoe, an employee of Northern Electric, travelled to
England to collect necessary information so that the set could be
manufactured in Canada.  He returned to Canada in July 1941 and,
with the assistance of a small technical team, began the task of
tooling up for mass production.  By Christmas the production line
was completed and Canadian made Mk II sets were being produced.

2.	In addition to his work on the W.S. No. 19, Mr. Sillitoe
had been on the design team for the RCAF general purpose airborne
radio set - the AT1/AR2.  That set was designed from scratch in a
project that required an 18 hour a day effort for several months.
It is believed that this effort occured in 1939 as the first known
airborne use of the AT1/AR2 was on 24 January 1940.  (Note: the W.S.
No. 19 Gp marked the 60th anniversary of that event by sending a
commemorative message to AVM (ret'd) McBurney, wartime Director of
Signals for the RCAF).

3.	To recognize the wartime efforts of Mr. Sillitoe, it was
decided that members of the Wireless Set No. 19 Group would use both
the AT1/AR2 and the W.S. No. 19 to pass a commemorative message.


4.	The commemorative message (Annex A) was transmitted from VA3ORP
(D. Lawrence; Kingston, ON) using AT1 (s.n. 2802) and AR2 (s.n. 3559).
The message was received by VE3CBK (C. Bisaillion; Ottawa, ON) using a
W.S. No. 19 Mk III (s.n. C83399).  That message, with a covering letter
and some photographs was then sent by mail to Mr. Sillitoe in
Surrey, BC.  Mr. Sillitoe replied to VE3CBK by mail on 20 July.
From his letter, VE3CBK prepared a reply which was transmitted to VA3ORP
on 1 August (Annex D).

5.	In addition to the stations noted above, several of the W.S.
No. 19 Gp outstations copied the messages and sent additional copies to
Mr. Sillitoe.  The original message was copied by VE3CSJ (J. Dicker;
Ottawa, ON),  VE3BBN (D. Wilson; Niagara Falls, ON) and W1GDZ (J. Ull;
Fairfield, CT).  The reply message was copied by VE3BBN (D. Wilson;
Niagara Falls, ON) and C. Counselman; W1HIS, Boston, MA).

6.	A summary of the event was the subject of an interview on
Radio Canada International's "Maple Leaf Mailbag" programme which is
hosted by Marc Montgomery on 30 July 2001 (transcript attached as (Annex E)
This added publicity was most welcome and resulted in a
number of email comments.

Technical Issues

7.	No particular technical difficulties were encountered with
this operation.  Propagation was very poor during the first attempt
to pass the second message.  This was transmitted the next day without
trouble.  The AT1 failed after the original message had been sent,
however the fault was quickly traced to a stuck dynamotor brush.  Net
control was fully satisfactory using normal Group procedures although
outstations spent a long time monitoring while the long messages were
transmitted and confirmed.  Some additional training might be useful to
ensure that all outstations are familiar with formal message traffic
format and procedures.

Conclusions and Recommendations

8.	The event is considered a complete success.  Group members
articipated in some interesting activity and it was a good opportunity
to put vintage gear on-air.  There seemed to be some interest in developing
skill in message handling.

9.	Of greatest importance is that the Group was able to mark a
significant anniversary and to provide long overdue recognition to
one of Canada's radio pioneers.  The effort was greatly appreciated
by Mr. Sillitoe.

David Lawrence, VA3ORP
W.S. No. 19 Gp/M.A.M.H.
1309 Sunbury Rd, R.R. #2
Inverary, Ontario
Canada  K0H 1X0


Photo of Sydney Sillitoe (left) with Dave Lawrence

Photo of Sydney Sillitoe with Chris Bisaillion

A History of the WS#19

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