John Kenneth Ayre (Ken)

Marconi Lead Project Engineer (1965)

John Kennith (Ken) Arye at ARO Control Desk, 1966 Ken Ayre worked for Marconi Radar in the UK for 37 years. One of his first projects was as a team member of the Algonquin Radio Observatory project. When the project lead was head hunted to construct the Parkes Observatory in Australia, Ken was promoted to lead the Algonquin project for Marconi and was sent to Canada in 1965 for eight months to lead the implementation of the electronics in processing the radio signals.

The Algonquin Radio Observatory project was the most enjoyable point of Ken's career at Marconi Radar, and left him with a deep affection for Canada and the Canadian people for the rest of his life. 

Throughout his life, Ken's study walls were framed with some breathtaking pictures of the Observatory from his time there, including a family favourite which shows Ken in the control room at twilight with the observatory in the background (below). 

Ken died on the 9th June 2008 aged 72. His family is pleased to contribute to the ARO archive copies of technical notes, schematics and photos that Ken gathered during his time at the telescope. These include his log book entry (below), where he documents the first successful observations with the 46 m antenna May 19th, 1966. For Ken, the Observatory was a family affair. His son was one of the first babies ever to visit the site. Further images take by Ken during the construction of the telescope are available here.

Marconi's fully automated control desk is child's play to operate!

Ken Ayre operates the Algonquin Radio Antenna at Twilight, 1966.

A telescope is born! - From the logbook of Ken Ayre, 1966.