NEWS AND LINKS
Work continues to fill in the gaps in the material on this site - please visit regularly to stay up to date on progress. And of course, there wouldn't be a News page without YOUR news and comments - keep them coming! News items initially posted here will be incorporated into other pages later if appropriate. News more than about a year old can be found on the News Archive page, accessible from this page. Also on this page: links to sites of those who have helped, and to other sites of interest.
1 April 2018 A workmanlike one-valver from Australia
In 1979, I wanted to build a one-valve radio, but I was advised to build a one-transistor radio. About ten years ago I came across Fun With Electronics at a book sale, and built the one-valve radio a few years ago. I recently pulled it out again to replace the regeneration capacitor I had stolen. I don’t know why I used 90 volts HT.
Peter's set is based on the version published in Fun with Electronics, 2nd edition, 1972. The home-made coil has aerial, grid (medium wave) and reaction windings. I like the nice chunky brass terminals!
Peter has powered the set using ten PP3s in a plywood box for HT, and a single 'C' cell for LT. He says he was a bit disappointed with the performance of the set, and thought at first that it may have been because he was using a transformer to drive low-impedance headphones. Later trials with a high-impedance earphone were no better, with not many stations on medium wave. Peter has some high impedance headphones to try next. His 90-volt supply should allow the set to be brought to the sensitive point of just failing to oscillate, but it may simply be that his locality is the same as in the UK, with broadcasters deserting the medium wave band. At least we in the UK have continental Europe close by which, especially at night, still provides us with a variety of stations to tune into.
Peter has been hunting for a one-transistor radio circuit to build (as originally advised!), and I gently suggested that simple transistor sets with crystal detector front ends are very unselective, so they can disappoint, compared with a simple one-valver with reaction. Nevertheless, I will be most interested to hear if Peter does build a Davey transistor set.
Update, May 2018: My correspondent Graeme Zimmer comments on the above:
Hi Les, Great to hear from you as always, and nice the read the updates on your site. Just a note on your comments re Peter Munro's set: Unlike Europe, the AM band is still healthy in Australia. Still hundreds of stations on every channel from 531 to 1701 Khz. Regards, Zim VK3GJZ. Graeme attached a screenshot of the band at night from his software-defined radio, which shows a well-populated band. I hope Peter had better success when trying his high-resistance phones. Also, the time of day can make a great difference on medium-wave.
My apologies to Peter for the delay in putting his set on to the site. I have recently been able to draw back somewhat from the charity work that has limited my spare time, so I hope it won't be too long before the next update.
|Other recent news||News up to around a year old follows. Please see News Archive page for older items, including those relating to Gilbert Davey's death in April 2011.|
19 April 2017
Another electronics career
launched by a Davey book
"John" (no surname) wrote enquiring if I could help him identify a radio
construction book his mother had borrowed from the local library for him
in 1961 when he was a nine-year-old ill in bed. He could not remember
the title, but described pretty well the sequence of projects that identified
it as almost certainly one of the early editions of Fun with Radio.
This book, by whoever wrote it, launched my interest in radio and electronic engineering - later to become my professional career spanning almost 50 years, and I would dearly love to read it again after all those years.
I wrote back giving him some details that might help him pin it down. John replied:
Many thanks for taking the time in giving such a considerate and detailed reply to my email. Based on what you have given, I will research further and get back to you.
Out of interest - we are probably a unique age of engineers that started our careers in the demise of the valve, and witnessed the very rapid growth in technology from the early "alloyed" semiconductor era!!
In 1969, I was fortunate enough to start work as a trainee engineer at Newmarket Transistors (NKT), where the last germanium alloy junction transistors were still being manufactured. I was initialy employed as test engineer for the "PC line" which manufactured small 250mW + complementary Class B audio amplifier modules, using these germanium transistors. I also worked in the new silicon diffusion labs, where we made (or tried to make!) BC108's and a few other popular silicon transistors. NKT's real speciality was making thick flim "micro circuits" (a bit of a joke in today's perspective!). In thick film I worked on some of the designs for TV circuits comms filters, Linear Audio amps and strain gauges for the development of the Rolls Royce R2-B11 jet engine.
NKT was a brilliant place to have served an apprentiship, because of the very wide diversity of technologies, all encompassed under one roof. Much of the test equipment used in production was built in-house, and was being switched from valve to semiconductor technology. When you are churning out literally thousands of transistors per week, this had to be done with in-house designed special equipment as there were no off-the-shelf solutions available. NKT also had a team of highly skilled mechanical engineers and a full workshop where they designed and built wire bonding machines and other dedicated mass production equipment - some very clever people worked at NKT. I worked with Ted Towers (T D Towers MBE) of the Semiconductor equivalents books and a good few others who were very talented, but we never hear of them!
I left NKT in 1973, having attended day realease and night school. Then, independently financed by evening work and under the old "education grant system", I took an HND in electrical and electronic engineering at Cambridge Tech and then went on to finally sit the IEE entrance examinations to gain my degree in engineering.
After some five years as a computer maintenance and design engineer working alongside Cambridge University's Computer Labs, I have worked for myself since 1983 as a consultant design engineer, contracting to many very diverse types of companies from large internationals to small one man-ers!. 7NBSP; I now design and manufacture my own products.
What a great career John has had - Gilbert Davey would have been delighted to hear his story! I wrote back asking John to let me know if he reached a conclusion about the book. He soon replied saying that he was fairly sure that the book must have been Fun with Radio, based on my confirmation of its sequence of circuit designs. His only doubt was the title, as he doesn't recall the "Fun with . . .", but then it was a long time ago! He also said that our interchange had sparked off another enquiry:
Re Robert Barnard Way [the prolific book illustrator who drew the diagrams for the first edition of Fun with Radio]: When I was young, we had family friends of the name of Way; the father was named Robert, so I am wondering if the Robert Way I knew is possibly the son of Robert Barnard Way (or perhaps of a brother). I have contacted his granddaughter via the blog site you have given on your own website. We lost contact with the Way family we knew a long time ago - it would be interesting if they are connected to the famous RBW!
I hope John finds a copy of Fun with Radio, and I will be very interested to hear whether he can prove the connection with Robert Barnard Way - see http://bearalley.blogspot.com/2008/10/r-barnard-way.html.
Please see News Archive page for news more than about a year old,
including items relating to Gilbert Davey's death in April 2011.
Links to those who have helped:
(Links in this and following
sections were last checked
on 25 FEBRUARY 2018.)
Sites marked * have kindly added links to this site - my thanks go to their Webmasters.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/written.shtml The BBC's Written Archives Centre has assisted with documents, information and copyright permissions on BBC material.
https://www.bl.uk/ Gateway to the British Library's vast resources. For online catalogues, hover over "Catalogues" (below masthead), then under "Main Catalogue", select "Explore the British Library". Anyone can use the Catalogues, but you have to sign up as a Reader to see books etc. The catalogues are sometimes awkward to use, but they were the key to much of the information on this site.
http://www.eclipse.co.uk/~lk5092/page2.html Source for two 1950s copies of Radio Times. Many other vintage backnumbers in stock.
http://www.pwpublishing.ltd.uk/ Practical Wireless magazine published my tribute to Gilbert Davey, and the publishers have kindly given me permissions and much help in making available images of his pre-war articles.
http://www.vintageradio.me.uk/ Maurice Woodhead's extensive resource covering circuits, component data, restoration etc. The details of the Teletron HAX coil pointed to the probable identity of my similar 50s-vintage one-valver coil.
https://www.vintage-radio.net UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Forum. Hundreds of discussion threads on all aspects of vintage radio and audio. The BBC 1-valver! thread was one important inspiration for this project.
|Other sites for radio and tv - history, restoration, resources:||
British Vintage Wireless Society - events, auctions, resources, and a
beautifully produced Bulletin for members. The Society also caters
for vintage television interests.
http://www.vintage-radio.info/ Paul Stenning's archive of component and servicing data, vintage radio documents, and vintage technology books. Currently raises an internet threat warning on my PC.
http://www.earlywireless.com Lorne Clark's site, with good theory pages, and an excellent page on electrical safety.
http://www.mds975.co.uk * Mike Smith's site, now archived, but a vast eclectic radio technology and history resource.
http://www.oldatheart.co.uk "Grandad" tells "Junior" about vintage technology - reel-to-reel tape recorders, radiograms, telephones with dials that you dial . . . Beautifully written.
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3wrzo_fabrication-d-une-lampe-triode_tech   A charming French video showing the step-by-step manufacture of a triode valve in a "cottage-industry" way that makes you feel you could do it too!
http://www.pasttimesradio.co.uk/ Richard Booth's repair service for vintage radios and amplifiers, "Junk Shop" for new and salvaged spares, and a growing resource of tuning dial images.
http://www.vintageradioworld.co.uk/index.htm * Site belonging to Tony Thompson, author of Vintage Radios. An ample resource for anyone interested in any aspect of vintage radio.
http://www.tvstudiohistory.co.uk Martin Kempton’s excellent site with a wealth of information on current and past TV studios.
http://www.whirligig-tv.co.uk * Terry Guntrip's cornucopia of vintage tv entertainment, programmes and milestones, with many movies and audio clips. Hours of fun!
http://www.turnipnet.com/whirligig/radio/index.htm Visit Terry's companion site for vintage radio entertainment memories, facts and clips.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g99kFlgtlrM Interview with Vera McKechnie recalling her early career including her time on the Studio ‘E’ programme.
https://www.youtube.com/user/britishpathe/featured British Pathe's youtube archive of films on numerous topics - but search "wireless" for radio topics, or "cycle radio" for two cycle radios!
See also CONSTRUCTION RESOURCES page for links to component suppliers and other sources of useful information.
Sites relating to the
Boy's Own Paper:
Informative pages on Boy's Own Paper and Boy's Own Annual.
http://www.philsp.com/index.html Phil Stevensen-Payne's "Galactic Central" site with extensive indexes of children's books, comics and magazines.
http://www.philsp.com/homeville/BJSP/0start.htm#TOC Steve Holland's site, British Juvenile Story Papers and Pocket Libraries index, operates as a satellite of "Galactic Central", and lists the contents of many editions of Boy's Own Paper.
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