Sunday, December 24, 2006

Flying Spot Scanners

Watch out....there's a 5FP7 about!

I thought it might be interesting to post this on the email from John Stratham who went school at the same time as Neil G3ZPL.

While Googling during a quiet time at work, I came across your site which fired off some happy memories.
As a youngster at Bolton School I was always amazed by the skills of Neil Richardson G3ZPL who ran the
Radio Society. I clearly remember him working on TV using a photo-multiplier tube he'd aquired from somewhere. I have not heard anything of him since he left school and often wondered what became of him.

Hi John,

Thanks for your message, always nice to hear about someone who has happy memories!
When you were at Bolton School I was at Deane Grammar School where we also had a 'kind of' Radio Club at lunchtimes. Our Physics teacher Mr Bristow, was also a licenced radio amateur, but he never went on the air!

Neil and myself got our licences about the same time (1970/1) and used to talk for hours on 160m and later 2m and 70cm bands setting up cross-band contacts which allowed us to chat like being on the phone. One of the best projects that we did together was Amateur Television. Neil had a photo-multiplier tube and a 5FP7 flying spot scanner and this allowed still images to be transmitted over the 70cm band to my receivers. Neil worked out a really clever way of not having to send 'sync pulses' to lock the images...we used the BBC's 'sync pulses' by tapping them off another TV receiver. Dead clever! Neil had such innovative ideas, great times were had!

After leaving school, Neil went to Cambridge University and took a Degree in Engineering, then later completed a Phd in Engineering at Cambridge. Neil then got married to Christine (also from Cambridge) and then moved to Palo Alto in California and worked for a large company over there. He now travels around the world and is president of another company over there in Palo Alto. Neil and Christine have three children and as far as I know they are still in Palo Alto. Neil keeps in touch, but I don't think he has been to Bolton for quite a long time now.

As for me John...i'm a Primary School teacher in Bolton and love my job!

A lot of memories here! I remember the famous 5FP7, never got one myself, but I will never forget the smiley face that Neil painted on the front of the tube then transmitted via the photo-multipier tube. This was the first image that I received over 70cm, I thought it was hilarious...a big smiley face filling the screen! The 5FP7 was a long duration device, the screen would continue to glow long after it was turned off, so the smiley face would glow under the bed all night....scary!

I managed to obtain a couple of high quality photomultiplier tubes that came from the Winter Hill transmitter supplied by my Uncle who worked there. These devices provided the 'Test Card' from the ITV Transmitter. I never did get these devices working!

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