Major Achievements

  1. Computer/Communications Policy for the Canadian Government, 1971-74
  2. Leading a Consulting Business - The InterTel Decade, 1961-71
  3. Designing the AN/GRC-103 Tactical Radio Relay, 1962-65
  4. Academic Contributions, 1960-66
  5. The 'IEEE Fellow' Designation, 1959
  6. Telecommunications Engineering for the Mid-Canada Line, 1955-58

1. Computer/Communications Policy for the Canadian Government 1971-74

By the end of the 1960s, von Baeyer had a strong background in whole field of telecommunications policy - with his experience in 1962-63 on the Royal Commission on Government Organization (Glassco Commission), his 1968-69 participation in Science Council of Canada study of Scientific and Technical Information in Canada, and his 1970 work on the Department of Communications Telecommission.

With this background, von Baeyer was named Director-General of the Canadian Computer/Communications Task Force in 1971. The Task Force was independent body within the Department of Communications. It produced a final report called Branching Out/L'Arbre de vie in 1972.

Branching Out provided a comprehensive review of the existing situation in the fields of computing and communications as well as their many overlaps. The report also addressed many possibilities for future development in all these areas.

Branching Out set out the potential benefits and effects on Canadian society, the role of industry, the needs of suppliers and users, and an approach to solving the problems raised. The report went on to deal with data processing, data communications, and data services. It examined stimulation of development, and institutional arrangements. The report made 39 policy recommendations. In its second volume, it tackled jurisdictional and legal issues, and went on to examine automation of payment and credit, applications in education, and the emerging role in health care delivery.

For a summary and comments on the report, see the Canadian Information Processing Society's CIPS Computer Magazine, vol. 3, no. 7, October 1972, pp. 4-7. Full text here.

See also "Conflicts in Computer Communications." Address to International Conference on Computer Communications, October 1972. Full text here.

The report was followed up in 1973 by 'Computer/Communications Policy - A Position Statement by the Government of Canada', which strongly supported the general thrust of the recommendations. Von Baeyer went to head the subsequent Computer/Communications Coordination Group and the Interdepartmental Computer/Communications Policy Coordinating Committee.

Dr. von Baeyer left this area of activity to take up a posting at the International Telecommunications Union in 1975. In the following years, additional follow-up on the Canadian work on computer/communications was much hampered by spending cuts, but the key issues remained those identified with great clarity in Branching Out.

Presentations included the following:

A view of von Baeyer's skills from industry:

... Von Baeyer is not a classical civil servant. In fact, he is an entrepreneur and has only worked for government on contract. He's candid, thoughtful, precise, and sometimes indelicate with the cherished traditions of politics and the civil service. In designing policy, he is looking for concepts which will embrace the concerns of both the federal and provincial governments - and industry too! The more he works at it, the more he sees a need for a continuing coordination function on an inter-departmental basis and the avoidance of unilateral action by individual departments. Von Baeyer's major concern is that the secretariat doesn't lose momentum. If it becomes just an administration unit, shuffling paper, the energy stops. The issues must be pushed, and von Baeyer is a pusher.

From 'Von Baeyer Heads New Policy Group', Ottawa Section IEEE Bulletin, vol. 12, no. 1, October 1973, pp. 9-12.

In 1973 von Baeyer was named 'Telecommunications Man of the Year' by the Canadian Industrial Communications Assembly (CICA) for his organization and leadership of the Task Force.


2. Leading a Consulting Business - The InterTel Decade 1961-71

Dr. von Baeyer was also a successful businessman. In 1961, he and Frederick Gall, P.Eng., AMIEE, established an independent firm called InterTel Consultants Ltd. Dr. von Baeyer was the president, and Mr. Gall the vice-president. The firm of consulting engineers worked on feasibility, architecture and project management in the area of microwave, tropospheric scatter, and later, satellite communications. The firm provided consultancy services to Canadian and foreign governments and corporations. The firm grew to a maximum payroll of 38. In addition to overall leadership of the firm, Dr. von Baeyer undertook several projects himself:

In 1967, InterTel Consultants merged with a major Canadian consulting engineering firm, the Acres group, which had expertise in almost every aspect of engineering except telecommunications. Acres' president was C. Norman Simpson. The new entity was called Acres InterTel Ltd. and it retained a certain measure of autonomy. This merger removed some financial pressure for InterTel.


In 1971, Dr. von Baeyer was asked to become Director-General of the Canadian Computer/ Communications Task Force, an independent body within the Department of Communications. To take up this position, he had to leave Acres InterTel.

Shortly after Dr. von Baeyer's leaving, the Acres group went through a belt-tightening and decided that Acres InterTel should move to corporate offices in Toronto. This was not acceptable to the principals at the time, Rick Gall and René Cardis, who formed a new entity called Intel Consultants and continued in Ottawa.


3. Designing the AN/GRC-103 Tactical Radio Relay 1962-65

The Story of the AN/GRC-103

By Hans Jakob von Baeyer

February 1980

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the US Army labs at Fort Monmouth worked on a new generation of transportable, tactical radio relay systems for forward use of PCM (pulse code modulation) channels. Digital radio, PCM, synthesizers, etc. were still in a rather rudimentary state of development, and no funds were available in the US beyond those for lab experiments. As a consequence, this type of equipment was put on the list of US/Canadian development and production sharing programs.

DDP (Department of Defence Production) hired me about 1962 as a consultant (I headed at that time a small consulting firm, InterTel Consultants, in Ottawa) to assess the potential of this program. The Fort Monmouth concept was based on narrow band FM transmission, and there was a strong school of thought opposed to FM as being wasteful in bandwidth, and favouring other modulation methods. The mathematical theory of narrow band digital FM was not yet available (shortly afterwards Bell Labs published a comprehensive theory) but I succeeded with the help of a brilliant Indonesian summer student - Tjeng Tjhung, now a professor in Singapore - to prove mathematically the superiority of a certain type of FM with appropriate pulse shaping.

Armed with this, DDP sent me, as consultant to the Canadian NATO delegation, to frequent NATO working group sessions in Paris (France had not yet pulled out) and we managed to get approval for a NATO standard specification on the particular kind of digital FM transmission. The UK was vehemently opposed, and sent a team carrying its own test equipment to Fort Monmouth, but had to concede that the theory was correct. In the meantime, Marconi had been given a development contract based on a construction plan which we drew up with the approval of the Fort Monmouth people; Marconi did a splendid development and production job, and - based on NATO acceptance - had excellent sales chances.

This is the success story of the AN/GRC-103. What are the conclusions we can draw? One thing is certain: it takes a lot of different people and the right mix of conditions to create something new, and there no simple 'institutional' solution that guarantees success. Although Canada's successes in satellites seem to be more straightforward, even there certain aspects prove the same point.

Image of AN/GRC-103 (without antenna) downloaded from on 1 Aug 2006.

See also Top

4. Academic Contributions 1960-66


From 1960-64, Dr. von Baeyer was a Sessional Lecturer in the School of Engineering, Carleton University, Ottawa. This was a formative time for electrical engineering at Carleton, and Dr. von Baeyer played a noteworthy role.

In the fall of 1959, an undergraduate program in electrical engineering had been created, and Dr. von Baeyer was recruited to teach Electric Transmission and Radiation, beginning the following academic year (1960-61). In the spring of 1961, the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario accredited the undergraduate programs, including electrical engineering. In the fall of 1961, Carleton added a graduate program in electrical engineering, and Dr. von Baeyer contributed a course in his specialty. In the fall of 1962, Carleton awarded its first Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical). Thereafter, the electrical engineering program expanded and prospered.


Significant theoretical and analytical publications in this period included:

While employed at InterTel Consultants, Tjhung produced 'Band occupancy of digital FM signals', IEEE Transactions on Communication Technology, vol. COM-12, No. 4, December 1964. With technological guidance from von Baeyer, Tjhung wrote a Master's Thesis at Carleton University in 1965 entitled 'Power spectra and power distribution of digital signals in direct and FM transmission'. This led to Tjhung's 'Power spectra and power distribution of random binary FM signals with premodulation shaping', Electronic Letters, August 1965.

Professor Emeritus David Coll of Carleton University credits von Baeyer with making a fundamental contribution to communications theory and practical data communications with the discovery that the frequency spectrum of coherent frequency-shift keyed signals could be contained within a very narrow bandwidth by the proper choice of the parameters of the modulator. This result was totally counterintuitive, and although these parameters were used in some signaling systems as a result of empirical observations, mathematical proof of the result was unknown previous to von Baeyer's work.


5. The 'IEEE Fellow' Designation 1959

by Frederick Gall, February 2006

On January 1, 1959, Dr. von Baeyer became a Fellow of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE). The IRE was founded in 1912 as a forum and development organization for the then infant discipline of radio engineering. Fairly stringent standards of education and practice were required for entry-level membership. Entry to the more senior levels required that candidates provide evidence of correspondingly higher levels of experience and accomplishment in the profession. To provide recognition and acknowledgement of significantly superior achievements in the field of radio engineering, Fellowship, the highest level of IRE membership, was instituted in 1914. The ranks of IRE Fellow include many of the giants of radio engineering, such as Lee de Forest (1928), F.E. Terman (1940), W.R. Hewlett (1954), P.E. Haggerty (1962) to name just a very few.

In 1963, the IRE was merged with the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) to form the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The IEE had evolved from its origins in power generation and transmission, generically known as heavy current engineering, to include and be dominated by light current branches comprising, inter alia, control systems, robotics, telecommunications, computer engineering. Thus the separation between the purviews of the two Institutes ceased to have meaning and merger took place in 1963. At the merger, Fellows of the component institutes became Fellows of the IEEE.


6. Telecommunications Engineering for the Mid-Canada Line 1955-58

Dr. von Baeyer was Chief Engineer, Systems Engineering Group, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), during the creation of the Mid-Canada Line, a part of the North American defence system during the Cold War designed to provide early warning of Soviet attack. The line had over 100 small stations from Labrador to Northern BC, and ran parallel to the DEW Line in the far North, and the Pinetree Line closer to the border with the US. The following map of the eight sector control stations is from Larry Wilson's website (, which also contains a history of the Line.

From 1952 to 1955, von Baeyer had been employed by Canadian Aviation Electronics Ltd. as consultant to the Pinetree Project in Ottawa, working on special microwave systems for the Arctic. He became Chief Systems Engineer, Pinetree Project Office (a joint Canada-US defence initiative), creating a UHF tropospheric scatter communications system in the sub-Arctic (called Polevault, on the northeast coast of Canada). This was the first major operational system to use the new tropospheric scatter technology, which provided over-the-horizon transmission capabilities, and as such required both advanced theoretical work and determined practical application by the engineer in charge. This experience was essential to the completion of the Mid-Canada Line.

Click here for more maps and a photo of mid-1950s defence installations.

Click here for "Mid-Canada Radar Line Is Unveiled", a 1-minute silent newsreel made by Universal Pictures in 1956 (black & white), which includes views of a station site with a radio tower, a helicopter bringing in supplies, a man working on a control panel, and diesel generators. Library & Archives Canada Item 191780 (copyright waived by US National Archives & Records Administration).

Over the period of about seven years, the Mid-Canada Line became obsolete due to innovations in technology and aircraft design - it was shut down during 1964-65. Tropospheric scatter transmission as a telecommunication tool in very remote areas was itself rendered obsolete by the introduction of satellite technology.

However, the Line provided some clear benefits during its life. In the words of Maj. D.H. Thorne in the above-mentioned web history of the Mid-Canada Line (MCL) from 1958 to 1965:

Although considerably less than successful from a cost effective viewpoint, there is no doubt that building the Line was a major pioneer undertaking and accomplishment, and is an important if little known part of our history. The lessons learned about construction in the sub-Arctic, management of very large projects, transportation, etc were invaluable. In addition, particularly in the east, MCL activities contributed immeasurably in opening up the country to both mining and hydro-electric interests. And a project adding to our store of knowledge of this part of our country and opening it for development to the National good cannot be called completely unsuccessful.

[downloaded 1 March 2006]

Related Technical Publications by von Baeyer: