Directorate of Telecommunications
Peta Meter (1962)
"............... and then there was the time, in very early 1962, when PETA (Portable Electronic Traffic Analyser) was first introduced into service. A more detailed description of PETA is given in INTERCOM No 4, 1973, by Bruce Thomson.
In 1962 I had just been transferred, as a WT, from Bridgend to Cranbrook. Mr Duck was the RWE and Phil Taylor the CWT.
PETA was demonstrated, by Depot staff, to County and Borough (Hastings, Eastbourne etc.) police forces. The equipment had been issued widely from Depots to Forces throughout the country. Many successful police speed prosecutions had taken place.
And then came the time, on a road just outside Maidstone, when a motorist was stopped for allegedly exceeding the speed limit. He, accompanied by the police officer who stopped him, went back to PETA, which was placed parallel to the curb, so the that the PETA beam was 20deg. across the road, (according to the measured Doppler effect).
The motorist examined the situation, discussed the equipment with the police officers, and then produced his authority to ask to see the licence to operate this "transmitting/receiving equipment"..... "Oops".
It seems he was an Inspector of the GPO, (sadly now gone) who had the right, under the Wireless Telegraphy Act, to examine, certify, and licence all wireless transmitting and receiving equipment (usually amateur equipment).
The police officers were clearly bemused. A quick call to their Traffic Office, followed by a quick call to Cranbrook, followed by a quick call to HQ (where there was a GPO Liaison Officer) ended by all PETA equipment being withdrawn to Depots while the Licence situation was sorted out.
The rest, as they say, is history. But, I wonder, what is the licence situation with the equipment in use now?
1. John Maloney; article
2. John Leary, photo source