Saturday, January 28, 2012

QSL Card

Now if you want some cheap QSL cards go to VISTAPRINT and design your own for nothing!

I have wanted to have some new QSL cards printed for years now, but the old suppliers are not there any more. To order some now you usually have to order from the Ukraine or Norway.

I got an offer from VISTAPRINT to make 100 postcards free, so I designed them on-line and then took up another offer of printing 250 cards for only £7.00 in full colour!

I got my first QSL cards back in 1969 when I joined the RSGB as Short Wave Listener A6412. I had some glossy cards made that cost a fortune at the time. When I got my Amateur Radio licence, George, G3ZQS designed and made me some QSL cards. They were a bit boring! After that, I used postcards in full colour of Bolton town centre and had a stamp made with my callsign.

This was an interesting story... It was about 1975 and Bolton had twinned with two other towns in Europe. At the time I was a committee member of the Bolton and District Amateur Radio Society and we had organised events that involved linking with Le-Mans in France and Paderborn in Germany. One event was a net on 80 metres run by G3XUM. We asked Bolton Council if they would print some QSL cards for us to use. After months of phone calls and letters eventually they decided to print fact 10,000 of them!! We had boxes and boxes of QSL cards that we couldn't get rid of!

I guess nowadays QSL cards are not that important any more, you can send an e-QSL instead. I have to say though that receiving a real QSL card through the post for a DX contact still gives me a buzz, and yes, I still collect QSL cards. They are something special that has come from that town, city or country, something personal.

That is why I decided to print some more, I just love having them!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Now i'm not one to watch 'Coronation Street' on television, but tonight I saw something even more amazing than Becky! The Man from U.N.C.L.E. on Coronation Street?

I was passing by the television when I suddenly saw Napoleon Solo - (Robert Vaughn) having a pint in the 'Rovers Return! Now I understand...Tracy Barlow works for T.H.R.U.S.H. (Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity) so they send in the Man from U.N.C.L.E. to eliminate her because Becky (an undercover U.N.C.L.E. agent) has been assigned to Barbados for a special assignment.

Gosh! This immediately brought back the memories of the 1960's series. I can honestly say that I watched every episode on television! I waited for each episode to come on in 1966 and pretended that I was Illya Kuryakin (David Mc Callum) We even played 'Man from Uncle' games in the street and made my own 'Pen Communicator' out of an old fountain pen with the plunger that you pulled down for the aerial.

“Open Channel D.”
The silver pen that converts into a communication device is one of the most memorable spy gadgets of any TV espionage show. The Pen Communicator, as it is called, was used regularly by the stars of both the “Man From U.N.C.L.E” and “Girl From U.N.C.L.E.” series. U.N.C.L.E. agents would remove the pen's end piece, flip it around and reconnect it, exposing a gold microphone grid. They would then extract a hidden antenna from the other end, which, when turned, would activate the unit. The phrase “Open Channel D” would put Section II agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin into direct contact with U.N.C.L.E. headquarters in New York City. Alternate voice-activated channels would connect them with each other, or with other field agents. Additional functions include amnesia inducer and electronic scanner.

This series was well ahead of it's time with all the technology hidden behind the taylor's shop to stop the infamous T.H.R.U.S.H. from ruling the world!

U.N.C.L.E. - United Network Command for Law and Enforcement

T.H.R.U.S.H. - Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity

OMG...acronyms gone mad!
Now I get it...Tracey Barlow works for T.H.R.U.S.H.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I was bought a Kodak Instamatic when I was 14 years old for my birthday. A fantastic little camera which I used for slides. Most of our family photos were taken with this kind of camera.

Is this the end of an era?

Kodak going bust?

It seems that the company have not kept up with the digital technology over the years and have been in denial of the fast moving digital camera market. I have to say that I have been surprised at how few Kodak cameras have been on the market in shops and stores. They currently market the Kodak printer as a way of printing photos cheaper, but seriously, how many people actually print out all their photos like we did with film cameras.

Do you remember these, the 126 film cartridge, easy to use with the instamatic!

It should be interesting to see what happens next. Will the name 'Kodak' survive or will it disappear like Woolworths did.

Some Kodak facts:

Kodak founder George Eastman produced the first camera film in rolls in 1883
The firm Kodak is set up in 1888 and launches the first consumer camera in 1888 with the slogan: "You press the button, we do the rest"
In 1900 Kodak introduces a consumer camera for $1 called the Brownie, which goes on to become a best-seller in America
In 1969 a Kodak camera is used during the first Moon landing
Kodak claims to have invented the world's first digital camera in 1975. It had a resolution of 0.1 megapixels; the camera was the size of a toaster

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Should've gone to Specsavers!

This amazing image of the stricken ship in Italy taken from a satellite.

How could this have happened with the most sophisticated, state of the art navigation technology?
Costa Concordia cost a lottamoney!

Maybe the captain should have gone to Specsavers!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Success Maker?

Now this guy has got it right!
I had to work my way up from nothing when I left school. I found a job...a good job with an apprenticeship and had to work hard at college as well as working. I never took anything for granted and worked for everything I got and achieved.
Now, young people seem to expect everything to be put on a plate for them relying totally on their parents to bail them out when things don't work out. Bill Gates has some good advice, especially number 11. Four words here...Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook. There is nothing wrong with being a geek!