Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bolton FM

At last!
We now have a community radio station ... and cool it is too!
I'm really impressed with Bolton FM, no adverts, great music and has an audience aimed at the Bolton Community. The Internet Radio Stream is spot-on and the website well designed. Great to that see Frank White played a leading role in the project!
Well done to everyone concerned with the station, planning and launch. I went to Bolton last Saturday to watch the launch and it was a great afternoon. The drums group were superb and who was that great 15 year old singer? Fantastic!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson

As I speak we have just heard that Michael Jackson has died!
First lots of conflicting reports, but now confirmed. This is one of those days that shocked the world. (like 'Where were you whe Michael Jackson died?' ... HERE I AM!!)

I have to say that the conspiracy theorists are about to erupt on this one! Lets face it, he was about to start a 50 date tour starting in London next week and has upstaged Farrah Fawcett as she has also died today. OK..maybe i'm a cynic...but a bit of a coincidence don't you think?

Rest in Peace Michael

Friday, June 12, 2009

Devil's Lantern!

Here is another photo of my old English Teachers - Mr Hanley (left) and Mr Worthington (Right) on the road to stratford - on - Avon.

Mr Hanley was a bit of an extrovert, really into Shakespeare and stuff and our lessons were a bit unusual! This guy caught Me, Dorothy Collier and Christine Hilton playing a game of 'Stretch' with a compass! We were summoned to the staff room (from the window) and told to write an essay with the title 'Those who live by the sword, die by the sword!'

Now Mr Worthington was different, had strong opinions about technology and called Television the 'Goggle Box' or 'Devil's Lantern'. I remember a lesson where we discussed the use of computers in society (at that time back in 69 computers were BIG) he predicted that one day computers would fit in a matchbox and everyone would be using them.

How right he was!!

I also remember writing a story that really impressed him and he read it out to everyone in class. That year I scored 58% in my English GCE Mock Test (a pass!) Then, guess what...I was moved into the CSE class with Mr Hanley only to fail and then take and pass my GCE twenty years later!

Now I teach Literacy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Harold Riley

Tonight I met Harold Riley, a famous artist from Salford who worked with L.S. Lowry.

He came to my school to open our Art Exhibition for children. A great evening!

'Born, bred and still working in Salford is the renowned artist and local legend Harold Riley. A successful painter since the age of 17, his work has focussed on the portrayal of ordinary working lives. But as a portraitist, he's painted those living extraordinary lives - Nelson Mandela, Tiger Woods, George Best - even Pope John Paul II! He's still painting today at age 74.'

Tonight he chose a picture that he really liked to take with him called 'The Road to Jo'Burg' designed by one of the children in my class!

Harold Riley and my Grandaughter Melissa.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Haynes Manual

Haynes have brought out a manual to celebrate the Apollo 11 Moon Landing!

"On 20 July 1969, US astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. This is the story of the Apollo 11 mission and the 'space hardware' that made it all possible. This manual looks at the evolution and design of the mighty Saturn V rocket, the Command and Service Modules, and the Lunar Module. It describes the space suits worn by the crew and their special life support systems. We learn about how the Apollo 11 mission was flown - from launch procedures to 'flying' the Saturn V and the 'LEM', and from moon walking to the earth re-entry procedure."

Now I know that I have used these manuals to repair and service most of my cars and they are superb! How much time have I spent under a car with my trusty Haynes Manual at my side. I wonder if they took one of these on the Apollo Missions?

What can I say...I just ordered one!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Elegant 7

The Elegant 7 is an example of a "kit" radio from 1967
It had a "room filling" 350mw output!
Powered by the 9v PP9 it was also available for use as a car radio and had an optional power supply .
It was a 7 transistor superhet design.

Christmas 1967 and I wanted a transistor radio kit to build for my Christmas present. I wanted the 'Elegant 7' a lovely looking radio and had seen it advertised as a kit in Practical Wireless.

It used a printed circuit board and was quite complex to build and also very expensive, so I decided against it. My Uncle Bill had built one of these and worked perfectly! Instead, my Dad ordered me the 'Roamer 7' transistor radio which was a bit easier to build and used tagstrips instead of a printed circuit.

The 'Elegant 7' was a wonderful radio kit back in 60's!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Keep It Simple Steve!

Quoted regularly in 'RadCom' by Pat Hawker back in the 70's and 80's KISS (Keep IT Simple Stupid....or Keep It Simple Steve!)
Came across this which gives a really simple way of extending the range of a Wi-Fi link. Wireless Network antennas are usually omni-directional and have a small 'rubber ducky' type helical aerial. Making it directional, hence increasing the gain can be useful. I know at school we have RF deadspots in rooms and i'm sure this would be useful.
The 'Windsurfer' is simply a piece of card covered in foil which acts as a reflector for the 'rubber duck'.

Here is the template and radiation pattern: