In 1937, the RAF transmitter and receiver types R1082/T1083 gave the RAAF its first operational radio system. The transmitter was for general purpose aircraft use and operated on the bands 136 to 500 KHz and 3 to 15 MHz with four plug-in coils. It was capable of CW, ICW (interrupted continuous wave) and radio telephony transmissions, with a CW output of about 60 watts. A five tube R1082 TRF receiver covered about the same bands with a number of plug-in coils. The receiver would go smoothly into oscillation and an oscillator test button was provided on the front of the receiver.
The first R1082/T1083 equipment in the RAAF was installed in a Dragon Rapide aircraft which, with Flight Lieutenant A.G. Carr as pilot and Sir Herbert Gepp as passenger, carried out a geological survey in the Northern Territory. During this survey, the aircraft was lost on the shores of Lake Mackay in Central Australia for ten days. The Rapide's wireless operator, Sergeant W.C. Blakeley, using the normal battery supply, gave an exceptionally outstanding display of operating and technical ability by being able to maintain communications with Laverton for the full period. This remarkable demonstration did much to assure senior officers of the capabilities of radio as a means of communications. Corporal W.T. Taylor operated the R1082/T1083 radio equipment in the Gannet aircraft which found the Rapide. In February 1938, a Gannet A14-3 became the first radio-equipped RAAF aircraft to undertake a flight from Australia. The purpose of the flight was to take Air Vice Marshall R. Williams to Singapore to represent the Australian government at the opening of the floating dock. Throughout the flight, further proof of the efficiency of the R1082/T1083 radio installation was given by Sergeant W.T. Taylor.
The R1082/T1083 equipment was installed in Anson aircraft when these twin-engined reconnaissance aircraft were introduced in the late 1930s. The importance of radio for aircraft communications was recognised when it was realised that it was a very efficient method of reporting shipping information during seaward sweeps. So vital was radio for this work that, if the radio equipment was not working correctly, the flight was aborted. This recognition had at least established radio as a means of aircraft communications.
When RAAF squadrons went on overseas service, radio operators and mechanics went with them. Warrant Officer C.V. Smith was the radio operator mechanic on a No. 10 Squadron Sunderland when it made the first RAAF operational flight in World War II. The flying boat was fitted with the R1082/T1083 radio installation. Three squadrons went to Malaya, where their radio operators and mechanics gave valuable service both on the ground and in the air.
Source: "ELECTRONICS Australia", April, 1971. Article titled "Fifty Years of RAAF Radio" by Group Captain E.R. "Bon" Hall.