Dear Santa…

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Dear Santa

Please can I have a Hornby Train Set so that I can play with electric trains again, because after watching James May’s programmes on television about Hornby Train Sets, Models and stuff I am about to enter my second childhood.

I would also like an Airfix Saturn V model which has been re-issued to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. When it first came out I did not have enough money to buy one as I was still at school.

Oh…by the way… can you please sent me a Digital Photo Frame with blue lights and 2GB memory card, the one that plays MP3 sound, MPEG videos, digital calendar, alarm clock amazing transitions and links to my TV so that we can all watch photos and videos on the TV.

Thank you Santa and don’t forget to give the Reindeers a carrot!
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Analogue Native Book!

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Well, here it is!

My own autobiography that I predicted when I first started my blog.

I didn’t think it was possible to actually print out a whole blog, but I found a site that will do this and even make into a book. The book took a while to be delivered from New York, but the quality is SUPERB!

I now have my own professionally printed blog autobiography!

More from the Judy Wallet!

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This time we have my original membership cards from the Bolton and District Amateur Radio Society back in the 70’s. I went to the first meeting which was at a pub at Four Lane Ends. Evert meetin I travelled on the number 10 bus then the 82 bus to the meetings. I was still at school at the time. The club moved around a bit over the next few years. The Clarence Hotel on Bradshawgate, then the White Horse (I think!) at the corner of Moor Lane. After that we moved to that awful loft room at Bolton Recreation Club. It was then when I kind of gave up, but the club continued at the Horwich Leisure Centre. I was Secretary of the Club when we were at the Rec Club.

Now the Bolton Wireless Club has replaced the old club and is thriving, I must join this club myself. Chris (G4HYG) and Chris (G4ADM) are now members of the club.

The times they are a changing!

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Last night Kath sorted out one of her drawers and found her ‘Judy Wallet’ this was a plastic wallet given away in the comic/magazine ‘Judy’ back in the 60’s. (I had one of these that I sent for from Weetabix in the early 60’s with my name engraved in gold)

Inside the wallet were tickets and Membership Cards from the 70’s. Here are the tickets when we went to see DEEP PURPLE and RORY GALLAGHER in the 70’s. I remember these gigs like yesterday, especially the Deep Purple concert at Belle-Vue.

(I have loads of memories of Belle-Vue, particularly the Belle-Vue rally)

Deep Purple were amazing, but we had to get home, so we had to leave without watching the encore to catch a bus back to Manchester. When we got to Manchester we caught an all night bus from Piccadily that took hours to get back to Bolton!

Now if you look on the back of the Deep Purple ticket you can see how it was in those days. In fact we were searched when we went into the concert to make sure we were not carrying a camera or tape recorder (sad days!) Try doing that now in the mobile phone era, you can have the concert recorded and digital stills uploaded onto YOU TUBE and FACEBOOK before it has even finished! Fantastic!

Digital Switchover!

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The photo shows the old 405 line aerial on the right and the new 1015ft aerial on the left. (The old aerial was later dismantled) Bill Kay had photos of these aerials including the construction of the new aerial.

Well tonight marks the end of era!
The analogue TV transmissions from Winter Hill will begin to switchover to Digital. Tonight BBC2 will be switched over to the digital transmission system. It seems that Manchester is the first area in the country for the national switchover.
For 20 years I worked on analogue televisions, from the old Thorn 1500’s Black and White TV’s, Decca 2230’s, Kortings, Philips G8’s and loads of others.
I still know how analogue TV works!
Here are some memorable words and figures that I can still recall from my head…
PAL (Phase Alternating Line), Luminance Delay Line, Chrominance Delay Line, (B-Y) (R-Y), RGB, Subcarrier Oscillator, 4.43361875Mhz, 625 lines, 15.675Khz (line Frequency), 50Hz (Frame Frequency), Static and Dynamic Convergence, Sync Pulse, Colour Burst, Varicap Diode Tuner, Boost Capacitor, Scan Coils, CRT (Cathode Ray Tube), Line Output Transformer, 25Kv (on the final anode), PC86, PC88, AC138, AC139, NTSC (Never Twice the Same Colour), SECAM.

On the Air!

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Well, today I got my Amateur Radio Licence back in 1971!

I will never forget dashing home from work to find the brown envelope stood up on the window sill in the kitchen. As I was opening the envelope along came George, G3ZQS (in his slippers)

“What’s the callsign then?” said George. “G4AQB!” I exclaimed. “Ahhh…A Queer Bugger!!” says George with his usual sense of humour!

I still have my logbook with all my first contacts.

Tonight I joined in with the 70cm contest on SSB and managed to work quite a few stations. The QRA locator baffled me a bit, it must have changed during my time off the air. I found a website that pinpoints locators and shows on a map…brilliant! If only we had that type of technology back in 1971!

I am tempted to put beams back up for the VHF and UHF bands, there are now contests every Tuesday nights on different bands. The next one is 23cm. (I still have the transverter!)

Micro Men

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Just watched the whole of this programme on BBC4, loved it! Brought back so many memories from the 80’s with the Sinclair and Acorn, learned a lot of things that I didn’t know as well.

Imagine what would have happened if Chris and Clive had worked together with the personal computer? The BBC Computer was used in all schools and this is where I started off myself, but then things went off at a tangent. The Acorn Archimedes was a super machine and had a super ARM processsor that was really ahead of its time, but the PC ruled! I remember making a bold decision for our school when I went for the PC route and bought new PC machines for each classroom. At the time other schools thought I was mad, but how right I was!!

The Acorn didn’t have the backing that it deserved. Gosh! How stunned I was with the graphics of My World with Dress Teddy and the Weather Map!

They were great times, I can still picture myself sat in my loft room with the Sinclair Spectrum, home made interface and 300baud modem talking on bulletin boards before the word ‘Internet’ had even been invented!
A nice bit of the programme was the thing in the paper that showed how many were returned faulty. When I worked at TAM my job was repairing computers returned to the shops. The Sinclair Spectrum was the worst, mainly because the memory chips failed. It was easy to diagnose…the chips got HOT! Boy, Have I changed a few of those!!
I went through gallons of ‘Freezer’ spray diagnosing faults on these beasties!