Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On the Air!

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!)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Micro Men

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!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Monty Python

Another 40th Anniversary!


I watched the first series of this back in 1969 (along with Rowan and Martin's Laugh in!) At first I thought some of it really funny, but was a bit nieve at the time to understand some sketches. It was on TV on Saturday Night just after Rowan and Martin, totally different humour than the american stuff. I still laugh at some of the sketches, like the 'Parrot Sketch'. It was on quite late at night, I watched it because I was baby sitting my brothers and sisters at the time when Mum and Dad went out.

Later in the 70's I got more into Monty Python, I went to see 'The Holy Grail' with Kath when we were going out together. It's still a funny film

Saturday, October 03, 2009


Found these photos by accident on Facebook!

The Navada was an intitution, roller skating and great bands. When I was at school lots of kids from my form went to the 'Nav' on Tuesday nights. I never really fancied it at the time. When I left school the Navada along with BIT was the place to be. I remember my first visit to the Nav with Neil (G3ZPL) and two girls. I could skate (quite well really) and Lynn was brilliant, but Neil had never had skates on before so I spent some time showing him how to skate. I remember watching Lynn skating around the arena with the music playing and she was fantastic!

Would you believe that the bar was upstairs!

You had to climb up the stairs with your skates on and carry the drinks down again, it was pretty scary.

One of the best nights at the Navada was watching 'MUD' not skating this time, because they often had good groups playing at the Nav. They were excellent!

Such a pity the place burned down...we were all devastated when it happened, it was an icon of the 60's and 70's.

50Mhz Contest

Had a great time last week with the 50Mhz contest. My Yaesu FT-817 puts out about 5 watts and fed into my vertical antenna I wondered what I would manage top work on 6m.
Loads of stations on that night, so managed to work:


Not bad considering I have not been on the air for ages! I have started to pull out my old stuff in the loft and have set up my FT101E and VHF / UHF Receiver. Maybe I am getting the bug back. I must admit that I find it hard to get back into the old days of Amateur Radio. I would dearly like to go back to the old days (before the days of mobile phones!!)