BC Tel- Trutch Island-Page 1

Trutch Island, British Columbia, Canada

Trutch Island, BC Tel Site- Aerial View

Trutch is located at Lat 53-05-20 and Lat 129-40-00
Largest Island in the Estevan Group

Named after- Joseph William Trutch, Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works, of the Colony of British Columbia from 1864 to 1871,
and the first Lieutenant Governor of the province from 1871 to 1876.

This guy was one bad racist guy, and now (2108) a move is on to wipe his name from history.
At first I was not in agreement with this, as I do not like to wipe out history, but I have since been convinced if we can show the children of today, that society will stand for this kind of attitude, and if you are found out to be a bad guy, for any reason, then your name will be removed from History, and all the glory your name had, will be removed. That I agree with. Too bad we can't recover some of the money from his estate to cover the costs. As a taxpayer, I just hate the cost of doing this, and also wonder where does it stop? what criteria for bad is there going to be? who will judge this? It is not an easy topic. But from what I hear and read, Mr. Trutch has to go. In the meantime my history pages will contain his name.

Stories, Information and photos below courtesy my late brother, Don Gent

Trutch Site was dismantled in 1995, The buildings down at the water, Diesels, Power line, the Tropo Antennas, and all the Living quarters were removed.
Trutch originally was under the Island Division, and has switched back and forth to the Northern Division, a couple times.
Jim Gural was Area Manager at the time it switched to the Northern Division in May 1967.

Originally many families made Trutch their permanent home. Trips to Prince Rupert were made for Doctor Visits, and R&R.
Rolly Anderson was Caretaker at Trutch in the late 60’s.
The crew was rotated into Trutch until 1968-1969.

The Trutch Tropo Equip was Northern Electric (See Correction Below) and had 10 KWatt water cooled klystrons
with about a 100 gal reservoir for each of the 4 TX's (2 in each direction)
There were 8 receivers, (4 in each direction) with a combiner system, So any one of the 4 would be on line at any given second governed by the best AGC of the 4.
There was also 4 exciters which were modulators, and 70mz drivers for the pa (Klystron).
The Klystrons were about 4 ft long (worth $10,000) and in a cage about 4’ wide, 5 ft high and 6' long.
To replace the Klystron was about a 4 hr job for 2 guys, as there was at least 20 water hoses to disconnect and reconnect.
If you blew a line, it could take hours to mop up the glycol off the floor.
Each of the 4 reservoirs was also a heat exchanger and had cooling fans plus circulating pump so when it blew you had to be quick to turn off.

Christmas 1966
l/r- Children on the Island, and Santa (Rod Snazel)

Below Don Gent's Home decorated for the holidays

We worked 10 days on and 4 off, on all shifts rotation days, evenings, nights. My days off were always during week, but who cared, you weren't going anywhere.
Had a scheduled flight out of Rupert by BCAir, every Friday with mail and groceries (weather permitting).
Went over 2 weeks one time without plane, some people were desperate for food, and I know we supplied most from our deepfreeze.
There were also 13 Children on the Island:
Me-1, Wellwood-2, Tracy-3, Lummerding-5, Inglis-2, of all ages up to about 10-12.
Dawn, my daughter, the youngest-10 mos
After Trutch wound down, Jim Inglis and Rod Snazel went to Kitimat.
Doug Wellood, Tracy, Me (Don Gent) to Terrace,
Phil Lepage moved later to Terrace, and Ron Lummerding moved to Port Hardy.

a correction came in via email on the Equipment Manufacturer, plus some interesting notes for the site.

I worked at all 3 scatter sites during the Summer of 1964 while employed by Lenkurt Electric. We were sent up there to install Threshold Extension Demodulators on all of the Receivers. My recollections are that the only Northern equipment associated with the Tropo system were the Parametric Amplifiers. The remainder of the equipment was manufactured by REL, Long Island, NY - the granddaddy of all Tropo manufacturers.

Also, you might note the original purpose of this system was NOT to provide BC Tel circuits (why do you think it terminated in Alaska?). This system's cost was underwritten by the US DOD (specifically the US Air Force). The sole purpose of the system was to provide a backup for the Anchorage - Seattle(?) submarine cable system carrying BMEWS traffic from Clear (? not sure of the exact site name) Alaska Backscatter Missile Warning Radar. The quality of the circuits on this system were far from toll quality, but they served the needs of the US Military. The White Alice scatter system that went north from Annette was so crappy that they had a teletype order wire on some of the hops.

The BC Tel system was engineered by John Rhodes and installed by Lenkurt / REL - I think in 61 or 62.

By the time I worked on the system, there were a few Prince Rupert circuits on it that were backhauled from the Annette Tropo site to Mt Hays via an old Farinon PT-80 link. The PT-80 was still operational when I made my first visit to Mt Hays in '67. Another bit of trivia - the CBC Radio program circuit to Prince Rupert was carried on this system as well. This was before the days of satellite program distribution. If you listened very carefully to the Prince Rupert CBC program sound on a good monitor, you could hear the Tropo receivers switching, with the odd noise burst…

And, oh yes, the traffic got to Port Hardy via an old Lenkurt 74 system. I also worked on the replacement of this system with brand new Lenkurt 76 microwave in '64.
From Doug Docherty
Telecommunications Consultant
ex Lenkurt, ex Raytheon, ex Farinon/Harris

Another name to add to the Employees at Trutch came in today Apr 28, 2008
My father-in-law worked for B.C. Tel till the day he passed away in Port Hardy. His second to last post was on Trutch Island. His name was Harry Pritchard. He and his wife Carla were so thrilled to get the posting. What a beautiful spot. My husband and I flew up on the beaver several times and did relief on 2 occasions. From Pam Pritchard.

Game played by the families on Trutch. This “game” would turn serious as it progressed, and wounds from the spoons were a result!

Guy Tracy and his Family -1967

Lois Gent, Holding Dawn Gent, Doug Wellwood, Jim Inglis (Back) and Pilot of BC Air Goose

Inge and Rod Snazel

Phil Lepage and Don Gent
I thought they were working all the time!

Truck with a broken frame on Trutch, someone loaded this baby up a little heavy!
This truck defies the term “anything”. We all know that company vehicles “go anywhere and do anything” But!
The dark line between the bottom of the box and the cab relates to about 6 inches.
The top of the cab and box were completely crumpled together. The frame had to have been bent at least 3 inches off level.
Interesting to know how much weight GM would estimate to do this.

Housing on Trutch Island- 1966

Dismantling the Living Area- Double Wide Trailer -1989

Garage & Laundry -1989

Photos scanned by my brother from his slides, so quality not that great sad to say. Sorry I do NOT have originals to rescan.

Click to go to Trutch Island History Page 2


  • Last modified: 2018/01/20 15:20
  • by dlgent