Sunday, March 11, 2007

Whats a QQVO3-20A?

This amazing valve, which looks a little strange, was a wonderful device for VHF and UHF transmitters. Driven correctly, it would provide 20w output on 144mhz and 10w output on 432mhz. The device had twin anodes which was great for balanced tuned circuits. It's 'big brother' was the QQVO6-40A which would provide 50w+ output, but needed a higher voltage. It's little brother was the QQVO3-10 which looked like a conventional valve.

My first 70cm transverter used two of these QQVO3-20 devices, one to 'triple' the frequency from the 144mhz input to 432mhz and the other to provide the power output.

The base was made of ceramic and quite difficult to obtain. The transverter was Grid Modulated for Amateur Television Transmissions and worked quite well! Quite a bit of metal work was needed to build the transvertor, including tapped brass anode and grid lines. It was tuned with a PTFE square which passed between the anode lines.

Now, I had some of these devices in a box in my loft, but I can't find them...surely I didn't throw them away? I'm still looking!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Radio Rallies

These well worn badges were bought and made at the Leicester Show by one of the dealers. I must admit that sometimes I stayed incognito at rallies!
Radio Rallies were great events for Radio Amateurs! It was a chance to meet others amateurs that you talked to on the Radio and buy equipment and components from dealers that normally would advertise in Radio Communication Magazine or Short Wave Magazine. You could get some real bargains!

In 1969 I went to my very first Radio Rally at Preston. The venue was at the T.A. Headquarters on Deepdale Rd, next to the football ground. I only had about 50p to spend! I was amazed to see so much equipment all under one roof. I came away with a huge bag of mixed components which lasted me for years afterwards.

During the 70's and 80's I travelled to many Rallies on Sundays, Drayton Manor was one of my favourites and in 1982 when I went down with Kath and little Jacquie now 2 years old, it the end of April! The whole thing was a disaster as most of the Rally was set in large Marquees. I remember carrying Jacquie freezing cold and unable to use the buggy because the snow was so deep. To top it all, Kath lost her engagement ring in the snow!

Rallies I went to in the 70's and 80's include: Drayton, Leicester, Belle-Vue (Manchester), Bolton (Silverwell St and Horwich Leisure Centre), Bury (Castle Leisure Centre), Telford (a pain to get to!) I went to few other 'odd' ones as well.

The best, without doubt, was the Leicester Show at Granby Hall. A brilliant rally where you were guaranteed to get everyhing on my shopping list and some great bargains (70cm Transverter to match my FT101E for 30 quid...boxed and new!!) Could spend hours at Birkitt's stand and buy hard to get components dead cheap! I actually took time off work to go to the Leicester Show as it was a three day event.

In the late 80's I had my own stand at the Bolton Rally in Silverwell St and the Bury Rally just to sell off my own 'junk' I really enjoyed it!

Sadly, Radio Rallies are not what they were....the best ones have now gone, and the ones that are left have lost the atmosphere and appeal. Although, it is the Blackpool Rally next week...might just have a look!

In the Digital World, Radio Rallies have been replaced by 'Computer Fairs' ...more on this later!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Analogue Weather Station

In the early 1980's Bill Kay (My Uncle) sent me a complete analogue weather station which came off the Television Mast at Winter Hill. (along with some spare bits) It had actually been struck by lightning (several times) when on the mast and was replaced. This machine was painted grey and built of solid brass to military standards for weather recording. A superb piece of equipment, but REALLY heavy! The equipment had a wind speed rotor and wind direction fin with sensors which could be connected to meters.
I had the station running at one point with the station mounted on the shed, but the weight of this monster was not really practical!

When I spent some time on Sundays at the Winter Hill Transmitter, every hour the Manchester Met office would ring the station for the latest weather readings. In the reception area on the wall were the wind speed, direction, pressure and humidy meters that were read and passed on to the Met Office along with cloud type and height (which could easily be estimated from the cloud cover of the Mast)
Amazing to think that I had some of the same equipment in my back garden!

The weather station was eventually passed on to a school to be used as part of the Science Curriculum. (I seem to remember putting it in Loot to see if any local school wanted it!)
I now have a digital weather station sitting on my desk which tells me the inside and outside temperature, humidity and what the weather is like at the moment!