Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Monkees

Back in 1967 I thought The Monkees were great!
I hated the TV programme, it was a bit silly, but just loved the music.
The first record I ever bought was 'I'm a Believer'. The later records like 'Daydream Believer', 'Pleasant Valley Sunday' and 'Alternate Title' were just lovely songs! I learned all the words and sang along with them, particularly 'Alternate Title'. Most of these songs went to number one or two in the charts and I remember Alan Freeman playing them. We didn't have a tape recorder at that time, but my mate Keith Taylor had one and we would sit in his bedroom recording the charts back in Summer '67!
I spent a whole day with Joyce who lived next door to my Uncle Bill one Sunday. She was a Monkees fanatic! We listened to all her albums and she new everything about them (A bit like Take That!) Where are you now Joyce?
I collected all the Monkees cards back in 1967, I think there were 44 of them, with black and white photos on one side from the TV series and part of a bigger colour picture on the other side. It took me a while and chewed a lot of bubble gum, but I finally collected two sets of cards. One I kept for the photos and the other I stuck together to make the big colour photo and pinned it to my bedroom wall!
Why am I bringing all this up?
After all you could be laughed at being a Monkees fan, they were the original 'Boy Band' put together by a record company to compete with The Beatles. They couldn't play (or sing) but through sheer hard work and determination they made records that are timeless! I bought The Definitive Monkees' CD not long ago and tonight I played it and still love it!
Now digitally re-mastered!
Don't knock it...some classic songs!

One song called 'This just doesn't seem to be my day' really touched a nerve, but it is not on the compilation CD!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Helicopter visit

Not everyday that a Royal Navy Lynx MK III helicopter drops in, but yesterday it really did at my school!

A big surprise for the children and staff. All the children had a chance to sit in the helicopter and talk to the crew. The Lynx helicopter is about twenty years old and I was quite surprised to see the many analogue indicators and meters. Reminded me of my radio shack in the olden days. I think there must be a hybrid of digital and analogue technology in this helicopter, a wonderful machine and a wonderful sight to it land and take off.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Digital Soccer

Tonight I watched England beat Germany 2:1 in Berlin on television. A super match with a great England team!
Everytime England play Germany I think back to July 1966, just before my 12th birthday when England won the World Cup.
That afternoon the world stopped!
Our whole family sat in front of a 19" Black and White Television on 405 lines watching a low definition picture. We were glued to it! No distractions, just good commentary and focus on the game. I pinched a Union Jack from the rummage sale at school (thinking it was a pair of shorts because I didn't have any for football) and nailed to a stick. I sat in front of the TV with it by my side. I remember charging down the street to my friend Pauls house waving the flag and chanting in the street!
Well tonight the game was great, but why do we have to have constant digital moving adverts flashed before our eyes? I found it difficult to concentrate on the game and my eyes constantly being drawn to to the digital technology in our midst. The commentary on ITV is awful, too much information, I don't want to know all the statistics and constant distracting 'blurb' I just want to know who is kicking the ball!

With so much digital 'light pollution' from adverts around the ground the players must be distracted themselves when playing imortant games. Technology gone mad!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Analogue A35

The ultimate in 'fly by wire' technology must be my old Austin A35 car! This wonderful machine cost £50 and was my first 'bought' car.

When I turned 21 I left my job at Telefusion and went working for Harlow Electronics where I had a company car. This didn't work out well and a year later I went back to my old job at telefusion but without a car. I needed four wheels desperately, so I bought an A35 (can you believe it...I had a brand new Ford Escort at Harlow!)

So many memories of this little car, got me to and from work in Heywood every day, to and from Kaths house in Radcliffe, days out and a real workhorse!

The picture above is Kath and my A35 in Anglesea (OK, it did run out of steam going up a 1 in 5 hill and was rescued by a man with a milkcrate full of water!)
The A35 had a novel design ... stop by wire!
The front brakes were hydrolic, but the back brakes had cables which simply didn't work, in other words this little beast couldn't stop, in fact needed about fifty yards to stop at 30mph!!
The engine was superb, started first time, lively and ran on 'essence' of petrol. I put £5 in at the ELF garage in Whitefield and it would last weeks! Indicator was a big switch on the dashboard, no SatNav, digital readouts, cd player you just drive by the seat of your pants!
Of course I had my rig installed, Pye Bootmount Cambridge with cables to the back of the van and quarter wave home made mag mount sat near the 'chimney' on top of the car.
I still have vivid dreams about this little car and wonder what happened to it, I sent to a scrap yard because it failed it's MOT miserably!
RIP A35!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Topband Contest

Well, i'm listening to topband at the moment on my Yaesu FT-817. It's the club station contest and I am truely amazed!
I have never heard so many stations on 160m before!
Stations from all over the country coming in, all club stations and some with some great antennas. Although I can hear them, I don't have enough power to work these stations with the FT-817, only about 4 -5watts and a piece of wet string as an antenna. I'm listening to G0RAF at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire at the moment, a terrific signal, but he can't hear me! I am very tempted to bring down my FT101E from the loft and power it up just to see what I can work while there are so many stations on Topband.
Gosh... I remember the days when I went on air every night on 160m with my AM rig, lots of stations then back in the 1970's, nowadays you are lucky to hear anyone on topband. Tonight shows just how good topband can be!
Oh...its 11.00pm and the contest has just finished, topband is completely dead again!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Radio Rally

Radio Rally pictures are a bit rare, I never took any pictures myself even though I must have been to hundreds over the years. The picture above is from the Bolton Rally at Silverwell St.
This was one of my favourites as I have had a stand of my own a couple of times and really enjoyed it. The Radio Rally back in the 70's, 80's and even 90's were the place to go to get all your bits and components you needed to build your projects. Wear your badge and meet other radio amateurs as well as having a pint or two!After Silverwell Street sports centre shut down the rally moved to Horwich Leisure Centre, not quite the same, but still good.Alas, rallies are not what it was, last year I went to one and was totally disapointed, no atmosphere, few dealers, cold and wish I hadn't bothered!

Looking back though... some great rallies:

The highlight was Leicester at the Granby Halls. (without doubt!)

Drayton Manor (Brilliant Rally!)

Bolton Rally at Silverwell Street.

Bury Rally at the Castle Leisure Centre.

Preston Rally at the T.A. on Deepdale Rd. (My first ever rally!)

Tamworth Rally (in the shopping centre)