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FEEDBACK  Page 1: This page brings you a selection of comments made by visitors to MDS975.co.uk via our Contact page
We thank you very much for taking the trouble to get in touch; we really enjoy reading all of your comments whether they be about CATS or PETS, VINYL RECORDS or TURNTABLES, RADIO & BROADCASTING, AMATEUR RADIO or indeed anything else:


Hello Friends,  I just wanted to send you this message as your website is a pleasure for the brain !  I'm also in love with radio ham and short wave listening / "SWL" (especially with a Lowe radio !) I like the way you talk about these hobbies.

All our best wishes from the North part of France.

Yvon, F8TK
(May 2016)

Hello Yvon, Many thanks for your email, it's good to hear from you and your message is very much appreciated!  Thanks again.

 


Hi there Mike, The name is Michael Barnard and the QTH (location) is Kroonstad in South Africa.

Thank you for the articals on the Top Band antennas... I tried out the Inverted-L and I'm getting very good results with it... I had to made some small adjustments in order to get it to work properly under my specific conditions...

I am now telling every body to try out this antenna because it is certainly doing a very fine job...

Thnaks again, 73 from South Africa...

Michael ZS4MJB
(May 2016)

Thanks Michael!  Glad it's working well for you too!  More on this page:  http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/amateur_radio_antennas.html



Dear Mike,

Warm greetings from cloudy Uganda!

It's been my pleasure reading through your website.

My name is Ojok Moses Ricky 32 years old, a founder and director of Genehen Broadcasting Services.

Genehen Broadcasting Services (GBS) in conjunction with Audience Dialogue, Australia, trained and supported 12 community/local radio stations in Uganda with funding from Stem van Afrika, Netherlands in collaboration with Catholic Media Council (CAMECO) Germany, and Uganda Episcopal Conference in the area of audience research from July 2014 – December 2014.

From December 8th –10th 2014 GBS trained and supported Deutsche Welle Akadamie Germany partner radio stations (two) in Jinja in Eastern Uganda on the improvement in audience knowledge, use of information and marketing effectively.

From May – July 2015 GBS carried out an independent evaluation of both the implementation of the Democratic Governance Facility's (DGF) media development strategy as a whole and of 3 individual partner projects implemented by Uganda Radio Network, WizArts and African Centre for Media Excellence.

In December 2015 GBS undertook a small scale audience research for a Christian radio station Voice of Life based in Arua town in North West Uganda.

In March 2016, GBS oriented the staff of Voice of Life on how to prepare for a radio show, scripting and interviewing skills.

GBS continues to witness information gaps as most radios do not engage/air audience needs and preferences and would like to get into community oriented broadcasting. Our service will broaden the range of local services provided in this area or locality and have content distinct from that of any local broadcast services already operating in this area. Our services provided will primarily be for the good of members of the communities and in order to deliver social gain.

I am an admirer of radio programmes that engage the audience/community as it shows commitment to highlighting community issues through the community voices and also such work demonstrates how to address socio-economic issues by providing a platform to discover community opinions, hear their perspectives through the radio.

Radio is an excellent way to convey maximum information on (rights and responsibilities, health, education etc) to the population in Uganda where oral tradition is important and radio being the most accessible media.

A corner stone that makes a radio to affect the lives of the community is when it knows ever-evolving interests from the audience, and integrate them (needs and wants) in the programming yet, this is still a big gap that needs to be filled to ensure that the would-be-beneficiaries (community) benefits from the radio programming.

However, lack of transmission and studio equipment remains the major set back for GBS to make this project happen, so if anyone has anyone or any radio station has any equipment in store that is no longer needed and can be donated to me or assist with the purchase of modest equipment it would be most appreciated

Ojok Moses Ricky
Founder and director
Genehen Broadcasting Services
Skype: Ojok Moses Ricky



Hi Mike,
               I only recently discovered your website & have found it fascinating. I've been licensed for 36 years & hold the call G4MJA. I took a break from amateur radio for several years & sold all my equipment (pic of the former station attached). I retired 4 years ago & having moved house, 200 yds from where we previously lived, have started to return to the hobby, mainly short wave listening. My Son is also a licensed amateur so we share the aerial, a 68ft long wire with a 9:1 Un/Un & choke balun which works very well & isn't as noisy as I had thought it would be. The receiver I am using is a Lowe HF-150 running into a Global AT-2000 AMU which works very well. Of course it's a John Wilson/John Thorpe design & I wonder if John Wilson is still around? Again, many thanks for a great website, I still have a lot more of it to read.

'73, Mike Swift. G4MJA
(April 2016)

Hi Mike, Many thanks for your email, it's much appreciated! It sounds like you have a very good set up.  Best wishes, Mike




Hi Mike,

I stumbled across your site and was really impressed by what you and your contributors have created. I was particularly delighted to see the Ladybird Book radio, which, like many other of your contributors, I had attempted to make as a child, but didn't have the parts, or, to be honest, the know-how or help available. Wouldn't it have been great if we'd had the internet in the early 80s! Anyway, it motivated me to pick up a hobby I've done very little with for over 20 years and, with the advice from your website, having recreated some ZN414 circuits, I then decided to attempt the Ladybird.

So I was particularly pleased to see Dave Bullimore's version using silicon transistors, something I had previously wanted to try doing, but wasn't sure where to start. I used the screws and caps method used in the book, as Dave did, which I found very satisfying (have never really liked soldering), but, because of the shorter leads of modern components, had to use a different layout, corresponding more closely to the schematic.

The story continues . . . . read more here >>>>

Regards, Marcus
(March 2016)

Hi Marcus, Thank you for your detailed description of your own modified radio!



Hi Mike, I am writing to thank you for a great web site with lots of help and information. Even though I been license for some years as G7LEB, it’s been a great help as I have just started to get back in the hobby seriously with DSTAR and HF.  The first thing I’m going to try to make is the stand for my Icom ID-5100E. As I have never been much good at projects, I think this will be a good place to start plus I must show the club members your site at the next meeting.

Regards, Fred  G7LEB
(February 2016)

Thank you Fred.  Great to hear from you!  I am glad that you have found the site useful!    Icom ID-5100 stand project



Hello Mike,

I have a question about the BBC aerial project, if you don't mind.  I am keen to build one of these aerials but wonder if it would still be effective if mounted indoors in the loft.

Kind regards, Kevin Mallone
(February 2016)

Hi Kevin, Many thanks for your email, it's good to hear from you. To anwer your question, Any aerial will work better outside where it can be higher up and out in the clear. However the aerial will work inside the loft, and be better than any internal / ribbon / rod / rabbit ears type aerial.
Best wishes, Mike.



Hi Mike!

I like to listen to George Noory (I miss Art Bell) on 970KHz AM. The problem is, when I do copy the station, it's always oscillating in and out and/or mixing with some tropical station (I'm in South Florida US).

I tried an external loop with fewer turns and no capacitor and just got similar results as a long wire (except when I turned the loop to attenuate both stations simultaneously).  My DX'ing SWL longwire just picks up the QRM even with a selective Hallicrafter's Sky Champion.  I was considering building and aiming a beverage antenna of hundreds of feet with a terminating resistor just to try to isolate this station.

Upon building your 40 cm loop with 10 turns and a 400 pF air cap, I now make the station resonate so well that it successfully overpowers the interference and takes charge when aimed and tuned.  I only regret making the housing out of cardboard. The loop is that orange plastic race track that Hotwheels or Matchbox cars use from the 70's (it's that old, too).

I can't believe I'm listening to near-perfect "Coast to Coast" exoscience and UFO's etc. real time over the air. Ham Art Bell who started the show would be proud.

And I can add a switched 200 or so mica cap for the lower AM & take this with me to play with on the road (my radio to use with this is one of those Sangean, Tecsun, or Crane-like radios but sold by Radio Shack in their death throws and it just loves the loop). Can't wait to try top band. I wonder if I would ever pick up any long wave here with a LW loop? I was going to try the long-wire and switch the ground/cap configuration on my L-Match to effectively lengthen it, but darn the loop might work better.

Cheers and thanks again!

Jeff Burris
W4VEY
Tampa FL USA
(February 2016)

Hi Jeff, Thanks for your email, it's great to read that you have had so much success with the Medium Wave Loop Aerial project!  I have added some further information on the Loop Aerial page here >



Hey Mike!

First of all, thanks for sharing both the English and German translations of this song. I've loved it since I was a kid, and for some reason have been listening to it a lot lately. (Actually, the melody has become kind of an ear-worm for me, it's driving me nuts! LOL)

Anyway, when I was a kid I took a German class, and my teacher gave me the impression this song was based on an actual event. I'm glad to find out it's basically just a "what if" song. Even though it's about terrible things happening, it's still kind of fun and bouncy.

I'll go ahead and let you go, just thought I'd show a little appreciation from the States. I'd love to visit the UK one day, maybe live there a few months or something. I've watched a lot of British TV here, and it looks really pretty, even when it's raining. Plus, I love your accents, all of them really. Especially the gritty, earthy accents like Newcastle. If I remember correctly, that's where Brian Johnson comes from, and I could listen to him all day!!

Linda
(February 2016)




Hi Mike

Just had drift thru your CB site ,very informative and brings back a few memories.

I like the sound of Amateur Radio, and there is a club near to me ARC near Wigan. I have ordered the Foundation No! book just for a read and to get a better idea before committing. I looked at the links and I'm still really not sure what the jargon means however a I have a few questions for you (below).
Rob Cheshire
(February 2016)


(Q) How long does it take to gain a foundation licence? -

(A) If you study the book and get some instruction from a club it should not take very long at all.  It does, of course, depend upon the when the club is actually holding the exam!! If you already know something about radio, and have had enthusiasm for the subject for years, I would think that one could pass an exam within a couple of months.

What can I do with once i have gained a Foundation?

(A) You can transmit on the bands that I mentioned previously with 10 watts of power which, given favourable propagation conditions, will get you around the world.  You can use all sorts of different modes of transmission;  typically SSB, FM and CW, but also AM, digital modes such as D-Star Digital Voce, PSK and RTTY etc.

(Q) Apart from cost for the equipment what other cost is there?

(A) There is a very small exam fee.

(Q) Could I have a mobile station car and on foot ?

(A) You can operate from a car (mobile), as pedestrian mobile (on foot) from a field or other 'portable' location (portable) or from a temporary address, such a friend's house, holiday let or hotel with permission as "Alternative" Location.

(Q) What is the average cost of of a mid range set up ?

(A) It's almost impossible to say, depending on what type of rig you "want", what modes you want to use and whether you want to build some antennas; In my experience and opinion, many (if not most) antennas that are bought commercially at large expense can be home-made ("Home-brewed") for a few pence, or a few pounds and will work a lot better if you give the projects some thought, ask some expert advice and choose the most efficient designs possible.  There are plenty of commercial aerials available, and many cost hundreds of pounds and promise "miracles"  in the marketing blurb.  I can almost guarantee that you can make something better for a lot, lot less.

You'll need a good Antenna Matching Unit - usually incorrectly referred to as an Antenna Tuning Unit (ATU).  I favour remotely located Automatic Units because for many antenna designs the best place for the matching (impedance transformation) to be done is at the actual antenna Feed Point - NOT in the 'shack' next to, or inside the radio.  This is very often a recipe for losing a lot of precious transmitter power as unmatched feed-line losses.

Both my main aerials have the "ATU" out in the garden in waterproof enclosures - at or very near the antenna feed-point.


(Q) What distance could I transmit ?

(A) On VHF (2 Meters) it very much depends on where you site the antenna - the higher the better and well above roof tops - and the height and 'prominence' of your location. So, if you're on a bit of a hill, you could easily go a long way - 50 miles or more.  If you're in a valley, or surrounded by hills, then distances will be a lot less.  It's very much dependent upon your location and surrounding terrain.  But whatever the case - the use of the lowest loss feeder that you can afford will help.  I favour very low loss Westflex 103 - but consider top quality MIL Spec RG213 as your absolute minimum for VHF (2 Meters) and particularly for UHF (70cms).

I use a very simple DIpole Antenna for 2 Meters and 70cms that I constructed myself for less than £10.00 and it works as well (if not better) than a commercial "White Stick" antenna that costs over £50.00. From my location near Wolverhampton, in "flat conditions" I have spoken to stations in Manchester, The Wirral, Coventry, Rugby, Sutton, Hereford, Gloucester and Worcester, for example.

On HF (that is 80 metres to 10 meters) a simple, but efficient Doublet Antenna will enable you to talk all around the UK and most of Europe easily. With good Ionospheric Propagation - and good timing - you'll be talk around the world. My Doublet Antenna probably cost me no more that £30 to make. With ingenuity and a little more time and effort, I could have probably made it for £10.00!  It also needs a good BalUn.  Again this can be made cheaply, or you can by a good one (almost certainly the BEST one) from G-Whip Antennas.  Helpfully, G-Whip will also sell you the Core very cheaply, so that you can do the physical work of making an enclosure youself and save a lot of money.

However, it does need an ATU which, for ease, I sited in the shed in a IP rated enclosure.  Now, an automatic ATU costs a bit of money - maybe £130 to £180 new. But you can get second hand of course.  However, once you have an effective, and efficient method of matching an antenna, it will last you for years and years (if you look after it) and can be used for endless other antenna projects, experiments and designs.  Unlike buying a "Miracle" "All Band" antenna for £200 or £300 in the first place - inevitably find it disappointing and realise that you've wasted your money on an expensive "Dummy Load"!!


(Q) What about low power hand-held transceivers?

(A) Hand-helds can be very useful - particularly if they have CTCSS and programmable memories. In which case they can be used with amateur radio Repeaters that make talking over longer distances much easier. They can be used mobile, portable and at alternative locations.

There are some people who start of with a hand-held as their main radio for 2M and 70CMS; Connected to a good external antenna, mounted as high as possible above the ground, with Low Loss RG213 or W103 can make a good basic starter into Amateur Radio.

To progress from this I could suggest a Yeasu FT-897D or FT-857D transceiver as this covers not only 2m VHF and 70cms UHF, but also 160 metres to 10m HF and the 6m VHF band with Multi-Modes of SSB, FM, AM and CW and also, if you interface with a PC or Laptop, other digital modes such as PSK, WSPR and RTTY and many more.

You'll also need a good PSU, SWR Meter, 'AMU' ("ATU") as mentioned above, mounting hardware and poles for antenna (I love inexpensive fibreglass fishing poles!) , some simple tools, some enthusiasm about "Radio" and propagation, a little help and some books. The training books (Foundation, Intermediate and Advance) are often good references in themselves, but there are many others!

Please have a good read through my Amateur Radio pages for more tips!!

http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/amateur_radio_antennas_06.html


73, Mike



 Hi Mike, Re your NDB pages (Non Directional Beacons).  Via G0KYA maybe?

The Glasgow Airport AC (Alpha Charlie) NDB on the Westerly approach to Glasgow Airport was torn down quite a few years ago now.

It was on 325Khz and about 5 miles from my QTH.    The beacon station also carried a Locator Outer Marker station.   Both are long gone and the buildings torn down and  the site returned to greenfield.
Gla s g o w ( L ) A C 3 2 5 . 0 5 5 4 8 5 0 N 0 0 4 3 2 3 3 W 2 5

The airfield only has ILS/Glideslope and a VOR/DME (GOW)  plus a single NDB (GLW)

Name: Glasgow NDB
Identifier: GLW (--. .-.. .--)
Frequency: 331 KHz 
Location: 55.869801 | 55 52.188034 N | N55 52 11, -4.433630 | 04 26.017799 W | W004 26 01, 26 ft / 8 m MSL
Intended use: low-level enroute navigation (low power)
Country: United Kingdom
Associated airport: Glasgow International Airport


Glasgow NDB (GLW) @ OurAirports
ourairports.com  -  Open aviation data and mapping.

Glasgow VOR-DME
GOW (--. --- .--), 115.40 MHz, United Kingdom 55.870499 | 55 52.229919 N | N55 52 13, -4.445720 | 04 26.743212 W | W004 26 44, 37 ft / 11 m MSL
0.4 nm (0.8 km) from VOR-DME on track of 96° true / 100° magnetic (102° radial)


Best wishes, Allan.
(January 2016)

Hi Allan, Many thanks for all the useful information!  The original material is indeed from G0KYA.



Hi, I just wanted to say thank you for your website and the information and links contained therein. I'm new to building radios ( 48!) but enjoying the whole journey ! i
Ian Keaveny
(December 2015)

Thanks Ian!


Hi Mike, Just a quick note.  I wanted to thank you for your fantastic website, which has kept me entertained and informed since I discovered it some years ago. Yours is my favourite site - the entire web would be much duller without it!

Anyhoo...I hope you and Jules have a Great Christmas, and A Peaceful, Prosperous New Year. Thanks again for all your hard work - and please keep it up!

Very Best Regards, Mickey - G7WST.
(December 2015)

Hi Mickey, Thank you very much indeed for your email and for your Christmas wishes! You are very kind - too kind !! :-)  May we also wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.   "73" Mike and Jules



Hi Mike,  I just wanted to say thank you for your page. It is very interesting, informative and also useful indeed. Don't stop going on with it!

Take care!  Best wishes!  Frank
(November 2015)

Thank you Frank.  Find the pages here:  http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/amateur_radio_01.html



Hi, Just to let you know, I built the field strength meter from your web article for the shack. It's a very useful item of test gear. I have another that I made up years ago, but it is mounted on a post for use in the garden (and kept in garage when not being used) which helps a lot when adjusting 2m/70cm homebrew aerials, 3 element yagis or 2 ele quads.

73
Richard
G4ICP
(November 2015)

Hi Richard, Many thanks for letting me know, it's much appreciated!
See the project here : http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/amateur_radio_projects.html#FSM



Thank you for a great site the resistor/capacitor/led page is excellent with it all there and complete on one page. Great effort keep up the fantastic work please. Too many sites just have the minimum info, I suspect because they just want to have their name in lights  so to speak. Your site is the first I have ever sent a message back to praising the excellent work.
Many thanks, Peter Newman.
Cool Drive Communications, Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.
(October 2015)

Hi Peter, Many thanks for your message. I am glad that you found the information useful!  Best wishes, Mike.



Hi there Mike,  As promised, here is the audio of when the crossover happens between the end of Planet Rock on 105.2 and the start of Absolute Radio in the West Midlands area. There is a little song and dance about it, - but that depends on what you call song and dance. Sorry for the poor quality of the recording, I still have a tape recorder. I'm 23 years old, so yes, great things tapes! Bring the retro into radio (
The audio is now on the Airwaves page). Sorry if this seems paltry, but I firmly believe in archiving this, it is history after all; I really love your site, it is close to my heart.

I started listening to the radio, gosh, in 2004 or so, when local radio truly was that; local.  was told all about it via a dear friend of mine, and was told to check out the BBC station BBC WM which at the time also broadcast in Coventry and Warwickshire as an op-out service from Birmingham. They were the days, it was a pure accident that I found on how to adjust what my radio could pick up. I'm blind you see, so radio was and still is my salvation even to this day.

I used to get a wire, strip a bit of the plastic from the end and tie it around the aerial I . To my shock I was able to pick up more stations such as BBC Radio Derby, BBC Radio Oxford, and at the time radio Northampton. H
ere is something that may interest you http://radiotoday.co.uk/2015/09/bbc-london-94-9-to-rebrand-as-bbc-radio-london/
I hope you find it interesting. 

Have a Cheery day, Majid Hussain
(October 2015)

Hi Majid, Thank you so much for this!  I have now uploaded the Absolute Radio audio to the Airwaves page on the site - crediting you, of course. I can now appreciate why radio is so important to you. I have always loved the medium. (...and the 'medium wave' too!!).

As you might imagine, I have done lots of experiments with aerials over the years.  The trick is getting the size of the aerial, or aerial wire, exactly correct with respect to the wavelength and getting it as high and in the clear as possible.

I must say that I had to laugh out loud when I read your words "I started listening to the radio gosh in 2004 or so, when local radio truly was that; local".

I have been listening to the radio, and most particularly local radio, since the early 1970's.  I can say for certain that, as far as commercial radio is concerned, local radio was at  best "on life support" by 2004, if not almost entirely dead.  The idea of commercial Local Radio (or ILR, as it was called) was pretty much finished by the end of the 1990's. Its death warrant probably signed by the 1990 broadcasting act. The hey days of real commercial Local Radio broadcasting were essentially from the mid 1970's to the mid 1990's - although localism was certainly in real decline by 1991. However you mainly refer to the BBC,  and the same cannot be said for BBC Local Radio which, despite periods of waxing and waning has, in the main I believe, gone from strength to strength in terms of material output.

Thanks again for all your efforts!  Best wishes, Mike. 



Hi, I have just set up an amateur radio station again after 20 years off the air but not quite got going yet. I found your web page wile looking to find my WAB reference.

For many years I was a very active operator, mainly CW (Morse code), and also a keen constructor. For a number of academic sessions I taught the RAE at our local college but have long since forgotten most of the syllabus, so, as a 'rusty' Radio Amateur I have found  your site extremely useful - straightforward and easy to understand. Congratulations!

Alistair (Al) Fyffe. GM4ENF
(September 2015)

Hi Al,  Thank you for your kind comment and welcome back to the air!!



A note from Noel after I helped with the wiring configuration of his microphone switching project:


Hello Mike, I have finally got the microphone switch box to work with all the radios, including the Yaesu FT7800. Please bear in mind that I built the circuit with no bother; where the difficulty started was me wanting to put it into a switch box, so that I could use one headphone/boom mic on all my pieces of equipment. As you suggested, the faults lay in the multi-way switch wiring, once I had worked my way through the circuitry slowly, all is working ok now.

Thank you so much for your help, it was much appreciated. In fact you have lit a spark, I am looking for other projects to build.
Best regards,
73 de Noel, G4AVN.
(September 2015)

Hi Noel,  Thank you for letting me know. I am very glad that everything is now working as it should. I felt sure that it would be something simple, so it's great that you traced the problem.  Best wishes, Mike.



Hi Mike,

Thanks a lot for your great homepage witch is a good source for small and big projects or ideas.  I have bookmarked and linked it on my QRZ.com web-page.

I have attached some pictures of my copy of your field strength meter. I found all the parts in my cellar… J

Thanks a lot, vy 73’s de Hartmut / DK5LH
(September 2015)

Hi Hartmut, Thank you for your email and thank you for putting the link on your QRZ page!  Your QRZ page is very interesting - lots of material to think about.  I am glad that you found the field strength meter project useful - Read more about the project here.  Best wishes, Mike.



Hello Mike, The HAM community should be grateful to you for providing and maintaining such useful and practical info.

For me, the microphone part was the most useful and I couldn't resist my temptation to send a positive feedback. It helped a lot in connecting a Shure 48 with my IC 7100 and my ANAN 10 radios.

Thanks a million once again..!!

Best wishes ("73") and Greetings from VU land

Krishna - VU3KAZ
(August 2015)

Hi Krishna, Thank you so much for your email. It's greatly appreciated and good to hear from you. We are currently on holiday in Cyprus, so having a bit of a break from radio -  (although I do have a 2m handheld with me just in case!). If you'd like to contribute anything about your radio and microphone set up, please let me know and I will add it to the pages.

Thanks again. Best wishes, Mike.



Dear Mike, Thank you very much for your very helpful, interesting and informative website. I have been a licensed Radio Amateur for over a year and I see so many things!

Very Best Wishes ("73") from Erich (OE3OSB)
(August 2015)

Hi Erich,

Thank you very much for your email, it is very good to hear from you!

Sorry for the delay in replying, but we are on holiday in Cyprus at the moment and missing the radio!!!

Thanks again, 73, Mike.



Hi Mike

Sad day as there will be no live football commentary on Free Radio this season….

Interesting how Tom Ross worded it - The "as detailed" bit - I can’t imagine he is very happy - After all the work on BRMB on sport in the 70’s and on I think that's quite sad; Details of our coverage this season, as detailed by the @wearefreeradio management.

http://www.freeradio.co.uk/the-new-season-on-free-radio-80s/

David Butler
(August 2015)

Hi David, Thank you for getting in touch once again, it's good to hear from you.

It is indeed sad that Free Radio will no longer have live commentaries, but unfortunately it is a sign of the times. I believe that fewer and fewer local commercial stations are able to broadcast live football commentaries because the cost of the rights being charged by the clubs are increasing, while the audience for live coverage is constantly falling, as (I would assume) the advertising revenue for the local stations. Unfortunately, for the most part, my conclusion would be that it is no longer viable, possible or sustainable.

These days live coverage is available so much more easily from other sources; satellite TV of course, but also via the internet from legitimate streams, but also, perhaps significantly, from illicit, illegal streaming sites thereby bypassing the audience revenue from legitimate providers..

It's a shame, but I suppose we are now back to the days when BRMB sport on Saturday covered the goals as they went in at each match, rather than a live commentary of an entire game.

It's not helped by the fact that the match schedules are now so fragmented caused, perhaps in the main, by the satellite TV domination of the game; not so much sport now, just a business and a cash cow, which is rather sad.

At the moment we are on holiday in Cyprus, the island where BRMB's John Russell spent his last years.

Best wishes, Mike.



Hi Mike - Haven't been in touch with you for yonks, but I thought you might be interested in this interesting little xtal set...

http://theradioboard.com/rb/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6464&p=61078#p61078

This little baby is a real breakthrough for me as the set is now lighting an LED - AND driving a speaker from a portable bull horn, but no batteries or amplifier in tow... I am including a very short video clip, just in case anyone doubts that my Oatbox crystal sets will light an LED !!

See the AVI video clip here>

Austin Hellier
Downunder
(July 2015)

Hi Austin, It's great to hear from you.

The article is excellent as, indeed, is your Crystal set itself! Thanks for sharing the information.

Thanks once again, Best wishes, Mike.




Hello Mike, I have a question if you have the time and would like to answer it.

I was wanting to connect a studio Microphone to my dual band Yaesu Ft-7900r that I run as a base setup in my home. I am very new to amateur radio and I'm not sure if this would be feasible or practical to do this on a 2 meter / 70cm rig?  The Mic that I would be using would be an Electro-voice re-20. I already run this microphone on my HF ft-950 Yaesu on 10 meter with good reports. I just like the idea of running a boom mounted microphone using a foot-switch activator. OK Mike, any input that you could forward would greatly be appreciated.
Thanks.
Bill, KC3ERD, in USA Pennsylvania. ( Look me up on QRZ !)


visit me on QRZ.com

Hi Bill,

Thanks for your email, it's great to hear from you.

I agree with you; I run a mic on a boom for all my rigs and can operate the PTT with a food switch or hand switch on the desk. It's a very convenient way of operating.

The FT-7800 / FT-7900 and similar rigs are designed to be used with higher output electret condenser microphones rather than lower output dynamic microphones such as the RE20, so that is what I use.

I have tried higher output dynamic microphones with these types of rigs, but due the complexity of having to add preamplifier circuits, it's much easier and better to use an electret microphone. This reduces the problem of RF feedback which is very often a problem with dynamic mic's that need amplification - even the rig manufacturer made dynamic desk mics with preamps often suffer this problem!

I have done many experiments with my own mics and with other ham's mics and invariably a cheap ($5.00) electret mic sounds just as good as an expensive ($200.00 to $500.00) dynamic microphone. Indeed, in a recent experiment, another ham's $2.00 electret sounded better than his £250.00 Heil !  He sold the Heil and also was able to buy another rig with the money gained.

The point is that communications audio is limited to around a top frequency range of 3kHz to 5kHz whereas expensive dynamic microphones boast response up to around 18kHz or 20kHz - therefore most of that audio is simply filtered off by the transmitter - and certainly filtered out by the other guy's receiver, and so is wasted - as is the $200 or $300 difference in cost.

So, in my experience, it's simply better (and a heck of a lot cheaper) to use an inexpensive electret condenser element.

I have put the circuit for a suitable interface circuit of the website.

I hope that helps!

73, Mike (M0MTJQRZ

Hi Mike, Thank you for taking the time to responding to my question, it is very much appreciated. After reading your response, about you using higher output electret condenser microphones it got me to thinking about back in the early 80's when I was operating in the CB (11 Meter Band),I had purchased a few of the electret condenser capsules from Radio Shack to do some experiments. Low and behold digging into my old parts bin I found two of the capsules. I'm not sure what the frequency response is anymore but I can remember exciting them at about 6 to 8 VDC with good results. Well Mike, it looks like I'll be going back to the drawing board and trying to build a better mouse trap or should I say Microphone.

With that being said, I would like to thank you again for your time and consideration and to also comment on your Web page. Very informative, professionally structured and an asset to any Ham Operator that visits your site.

Keep up the good work Mike, I have your page book-marked and will be visiting your site often. 73's my friend from across the pond and hope to hear you on the airwave's.

This is KC3ERD to M0MTJ signing off............



Hi Mike

Just been looking at your site, specifically the section on the old Ladybird 'Transistor Radio'.

That takes me back to the late 70's when a schoolfriend and I used to dabble with electronics. For some reason, my radios always worked a little better than his even though we would sit and build each stage together and compare results. We even used to swap components between the two sets as we went along to try and find out where the problems were coming from. It wasn't until much later that the penny dropped.

The original plans involved marking out the baseboard with a pencil, and using screws and screw-cups to hold the components in place. That was one factor. Turns out my buddy used a 2B pencil and marked his board quite heavily so the graphite in the pencil marks caused leakage around the circuit. I'd marked my board with Biro so didn't have the leakage problems!

I also lived in a centrally heated house whereas my friend lived in a rather damp 300 year old cottage. I'm betting his wooden board was a often a little more 'damp' than mine, adding to leakage and instability problems! His lived on the windowsill in his bedroom....single glazed and used to suffer from terrible condensation. When not visiting his house, mine lived under the bed in a slightly less humid atmosphere!

Happy days, and thanks for a great trip down memory lane.

Mike Percival
Retrotecchie Ltd
(July 2015)

Thanks Mike. That is a very interesting and extremely useful observation. I'll also add your comments to the TRF radio page here.  Thanks again, Mike.



Dear Mike,  Just a quick note to say thank you for both rekindling my interest in Amateur radio, and saving my sanity over a period of months while I've read through your website, studied antennas and generally enjoyed browsing through your pages.

I'm currently in Brazil, and as a 2W0 (intermediate licence holder) I have not been able to operate. I'd all but given up on the hobby, in Brazil. I missed my chance to take the full license on a home visit, so with no full licence, no operating.

The loss of my FT817 when returning here after a visit home last year (bag stolen at São Paulo international airport) was almost the final straw. Then I stumbled across your website. It saved my interest in the hobby. 

I'm returning home in August, so I'm back to studying for the full licence, and planning a little station and hoping to be back on the air soon. Active mind and all that.

I was wondering what your thoughts are on the Icom IC7600? Initially, I'm planning on buying an FT 857D for a little SOTA work - a bonus excuse to get out onto the hills and lose a few pounds too - but ideally I want a dedicated HF rig for home use.  I've always been a Yeasu lad up to now, but the IC-7600 has really caught my eye.

What's your impression of the radio?

Thanks once more, Ian Miles 2W0IWM
(June 2015)

Hi Ian, Many thanks for your email, it's great to hear from you.

I am so glad that the pages have proved useful - even inspirational.

Sorry to read that things did not work out in Brazil.  It's certainly a shame that the Intermediate licence does not allow you to operate outside the UK, so good luck with the Advanced studies. I am sure you'll do well.

I have not used an FT-817, but I do have an FT-857 which I keep for portable or transportable use. It's certainly a useful radio - obviously somewhat larger and more power hungry than the FT-817 - but I feel that being able to use 25, 50 or even 100 watts on HF is useful.  Like the FT-817 it has the bonus of 2m and 70cms SSB and FM which makes it a "shack in a box" as they say

I think that the receivers are quite similar in both the 857 and 817 - i.e. not cutting edge by today's receiver standards with IF DSP, but plenty good enough to have lots of fun.

For a similar cost, Yaesu produce the FT-450D which has more modern architecture. I have read and heard good things about them (the latest and current version that is). The FT-450 is small, by desktop standards, so a lot of functions are in menus. However it does have digital IF DSP filtering. The 450 covers H.F. Top to 6m, but no 2m or 70cm.

A radio that is popular here is the Kenwood TS-2000. Another shack in the cox that covers Top to 70cm. Again, like the 857, it is now an older design, so can't compete with modern IF DSP receivers, but versatile and sure to be hours of fun.

I also have the Kenwood TS-590s which is extremely popular here. It's outstandingly good value for money and covers Top to  6meters. I made some nice 6m ssb contacts on the 590 only this week.

The other radios that offer good value for money currently are the Yaesu FTDX-1200 and FTDX-3000. The FTDX-1200 is, I suppose a re-working of the older FT-950 - same size and similar connectivity (no USB) - but with a colour screen, which makes it saleable, I guess. The FTDX3000 is rather different and, for not a huge jump in cost, includes additional filtering and an entirely different architecture. I did have the FTDX-3000 on my short-list last year and had a 'test drive', but I did not like the ergonomics, I found it awkward. I was not keen on the audio either, or the slightly cheap feel - a bit like a 1990's midi hi-fi system with lots of coloured lights.  Of course, it's so much of a personal thing. Some other amateurs that I have spoken to have complained about the audio too. One was initially pleased with an FTDX-1200, but seemed to soon move it on, to get an IC-7410.  Of course, this really is all personal, so you need to try before you buy. There are plenty of happy users out there.
 
However the IC-7600 is an amazing txver (in my opinion). I always hankered after an IC-756Pro, but then it was discontinued and its replacement, The IC7600, had a huge jump in price.

However the price has since fallen dramatically, so I bought one last year.  I can honestly say it's one of the best things that I have ever bought in any area of interest, not just radio.  (The other one is a Nikon DSLR).  I love using the 7600, it really is a joy and I'm always rather amazed by its performance

The 7600 does have very good specifications, but it's not all about spec's. Ergonomics are very important too (as mentioned above) - and that's a personal thing. The ergonomics, for me, are almost perfect (save for the position of the RF power knob, which is a tad awkward sometimes).

The IC-7410 isn't far behind the IC-7600 and I'd be quite happy to own one of those too.  If I had the funds, I'd quite like a 7410 as a spare / backup / second / transportable radio.

So, the choice is yours. There really is plenty to choose from.

Good luck and have fun. I hope we'll be able to have a QSO one day.

73, Mike.

More about Amateur Radio Here : http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/amateur_radio_01.html


Dear Mike,

Having just dumped yet another expensive yet short lived DAB radio I was searching the internet for a small LW radio receiver to use when out dog walking when I found your fascinating site.  It has rekindled my interest in "simple" electronics and I have just placed an order with Rapid for some of their Keystage 4 radio kits.

If the radio I build works I plan to have a go at the Cooks Matches radio that is described on your site.  I just wanted to say thank you for creating and maintaining your site.

Best wishes, Simon
(June 2015)

Hi Simon,

Many thanks for your email and your kind comments.

Unfortunately DAB can be a disappointment in so many ways. I too have had a couple die prematurely, whereas I still have old tuners and radios from the 1970's that are still going strong. Sadly, it seems, many DAB radios are expensive to buy, but very cheaply and shoddily manufactured. It's an absurd waste really.

I have had lots of building these DIY electronic projects and I am sure you will do.  I hope that you will be able to share the results!

Best wishes, Mike.

More here : http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/trfradios.html



Hello Mike, My name is Daniel and I am from the USA. I saw your posting online on how to create a 2m, J Pole antenna. I have to say that you did a really good job building that antenna. I look forward to building this antenna and doing some field testing this summer with it. I have a 2m Mobile Yaesu that would be perfect with this antenna. Thanks again.

Daniel Acevedo
(June 2015)

Hi Daniel, Many thanks for your email and kind comments. I am sure that you will enjoy building the J-Pole and find it to be a most effective antenna!

73, Mike

More here : http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/amateur_radio_antennas_05.html



Hi there Mike, Here is website that I thought you may find interesting, it is to do with pirate radio. www.thepiratearchive.net

I hope you enjoy, thank you for mds975.co.uk.

Best wishes,  Majid Hussain.
(June 2015)

Hi Majid, Thank you so much for your email.  That is a great link!

Best wishes, Mike.



Greetings, I happened to stumble onto your web while searching for "fishing pole antenna".  I am thinking about building an antenna using a fishing rod blank. The thought is that it would make a reasonable antenna for use on my kayak. Shakespeare makes a bunch of antennas (mostly all marine VHF) that look like fishing poles without guides.

I am thinking a j-pole design would be just about right. Seeing your wire soldered on as the wire radiator section confirms my thought that it would be okay.

I am hoping to get a battery powered light atop the antenna and an orange flag to fly. Hopefully it will help to keep me from being ran over by something faster! - Thanks for your informative site!

Best regards, Fred N7FMH
(April 2015)

Thanks very much Fred! The J-Pole is certainly a good antenna.



Just to say thanks. I sold a 3900 then they emailed me as they had not had a multimode before and wanted to use on uk40. You have explained better than I could :
http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/cb_radio_15.html
Nice work - Thanks, Steve
(April 2015)

Hi Steve, Thanks for your email. I am glad that the information was helpful!  Mike.



Hi Mike, I was reading your article here:
http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/aerials2.html and I was wondering if you would like to chat a bit about a 3-loop spiral copper-pipe, torroid-coupled antenna that I custom-built for a 3-tube regenerative AM radio?

It works quite well but there is a lot a don't understand about optimizing it (AM DX newbie) and I would appreciate some suggestions. If you have the time I'll send some photos.

Thanks,  John G. Hackett
St. Louis, Missouri USA
(April 2015)

Hi John, Good to hear from you. I would certainly like to find out more about your aerial and perhaps include your information on the webpage too. It sounds very interesting. Best wishes, Mike.

John did, indeed, provide plenty of additional information that can be found on this new page :  Aerials 3




Hi, I Just want to say how much I like your website. So much info on radios, the best I seen so far.

Thank you, Doug, KC2YME -
Member ARRL
(April 2015)

Thanks Doug - much appreciated!  Mike.



Dear Mike and Jules, I am a retired (but hopefully still young at heart) university teacher and researcher from the UK,  now living in Patagonia Argentina.

I write to congratulate you on your webpages which I only found an hour ago.
They  have brought back many happy memories and your obvious enthusiasm for life is much admired.

I only found your site by chance through Google.  I had woken  up thinking of ferrite rods and the first transistor set I ever saw and heard back in Newcastle around 1957-58. It is an occasion I can remember vividly. 

My thinking of ferrite rods last night was surely prompted by my receiving an email yesterday from an old school friend who subsequently went on to be a local football commentator with BBC radio. We had been wondering what various class mates who we had lost touch with had gone on to do.  One of them was Chalky White who had built that transistor radio at home.

Chalky was a real scientific wizard whose influence on me I have always appreciated. I had not a clue how a ferrite rod worked at the time. Nor, more significantly, did I realize what a major role ferrite would play in my subsequent life. Indeed without ferrite I would probably not be living here in Patagonia nor have had so many memorable experiences.

The videos Royal Coin Congratulations by Magnetic Coins at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cav0XaMsncE and Amazing Balancing Coins by Grand Illusions https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LPeQ8Onbio should give you a clue.

I think you will enjoy them.  Its amazing what can be done with UK coins, paper clips and ferrite block magnets. Why not try yourselves. Surely your friendly cat will be amazed too.

More at http://www.magicpenny.orghttp://www.capat.org and http://www.MagneticCoins.info.

All good wishes and congratulations once again.
Robin Willson
P.S.  Reading of your enthusiasm for the BBC - Yesterday I  also received an email from John Bennett of the "Sunday Club" on BBC Radio Ulster - one of the hidden gems of the BBC (10.00 pm Sundays).  John interviewed me after the Edinburgh Science Festival in 1993!
(April 2015)

Hi Robin, Many thanks for your email, your kind comments, information and links! We will certainly enjoy investigating your links further!  Thanks again, Best wishes, Mike and Jules.


Hi, I bought this B@Q sundial for $20 at flea market in Brownsville, Texas. Offered 300 for it said to be 200 years old but has allen head bolts? Still worth 20$
(April 2015)

Hi Lester, It's great to hear from you and thanks for your email. It's very interesting to read that you found the same sundial. 200 year allen head bolts? - Perhaps not! Very amusing!

At $20.00 - you have found a really nice bargain!

Thanks again, Mike.



Hi Mike, I have been looking into how to obtain an Amateur Radio licence and have begun sending out various emails to people in my local area. I wanted to just say thank you for your website and the resources on it. I was struggling to get on the ladder, the easiest part has been ordering my radio in anticipation of use!

I have listened to Amateur bands for many years and I am excited to begin the journey, so your website has been a real help to me as it's been a place I can find out things in plain English which is a pleasant change.

Keep it up and thank you.

Regards,  Craig Goldsmith
(March 2015)

Hi Craig, Many thanks for your message. I am glad that you have found the pages useful. Good luck with your studies!  Best wishes, Mike and Jules.



Hi Mike, My name is Ed, callsign IV3TQE. Because I was looking for traps home-brew information, Google reports some your web pages. As a Dxer I read quite everything about ham-antennas but I liked very much the article on Vinyl also. You did a very good job.
Thanks Mike. Best wishes, Ed.
(February 2015)

Thanks Ed, much appreciated!



Cheers Mike,  I m Steve Adams, N4JRW, I live in Pompano Beach, just north of Fort Lauderdale in Florida. I just spent a bunch of time reading your great 'home-brew' page. All I can say, when this much great info presented, is "Thanks". What a great resource in one sitting, really first rate stuff Mike, I'm really am impressed.

Thanks for taking the time to get it all together for the rest of us; going to sharing the link with my locals.

Take Care Mike, 73, Steve Adams.
(February 2015)

Hi Steve, Many thanks for your message, it's great to hear from you and thanks for your kind comments. Best wishes, Mike.



Mike, My parents (Kenway and Young) were radio entertainers particularly in the war years. Their main programme Howdy Folks ran weekly for about eighteen months.  It effectively took over the ITMA (It's That Man Again) slot when that that programme was off the air between Jan 1940 and July 1941. They are not particularly well-remembered and their popularity faded in the early fifties, but they were much part of early broadcasting. Earliest TV being in the scheduled experimental transmissions by the Baird process in 1932/3.   Sadly, nothing of their work exists in the BBC sound archives, except for a private recording of the BBC Royal Command performance at Windsor Castle for Elizabeth's 16th Birthday, but British Pathé has a few films of them which can bring back memories.

I was doing a bit of research into 1940's radio and have come across daily 'News in Norwegian' programmes which started on the evening of 9th April following the German invasion of Norway that morning. From then on 15 minutes of News went out at 6.45am and 6.30pm daily in the Home Service through until March 1943. The Norwegian News slot turned up just before Howdy Folks.

The point is that it was transmitted as part of the BBC domestic programming, not on a special European Service.    I'm not a technical man, but am interested to know if Norway would have readily picked up medium wave transmissions from the UK?   We were, of course, showing solidarity with the Norwegians and were to welcome their Royal Family and government leaders in June 1940, but to use half an hour a day of Home Service programming for one foreign language was remarkable.   (News in Welsh was only 5 minutes a day !)


The BBC Radio Times website is
http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk where all broadcast programmes from 1923 to 2009 can be accessed is fascinating to explore..

Any thoughts? Hilary Young
(February 2015)

Hi Hilary, Thanks for your email and interesting query. I was not aware of the Norwegian news programme.

I would think that the signals from the BBC would be receivable in Norway at those times of day. Medium wave signals to tend to travel greater distances at night, between dusk and dawn, due to changes in the D layer of the earth's ionosphere. The D layer is present during daylight and absorbs medium wave frequencies, restricting reception to about 100 to 200 miles for high powered transmitters. At night the D layer dissipates allowing the signals to travel up to the higher F layers which refract the signals back down to earth so that they are receivable at greater distances - maybe 1000 miles or so for high power transmissions. This is the effect that allowed Radio Luxembourg to be heard in the UK on 208 metres (1440 kHz) at night, while it was not possible to receive the station during the daytime.

I can confirm that I have listened to medium wave stations from Norway here in the UK, so I can imagine that Norway would be able to hear high power UK stations, so I hope that helps explain the Norwegian news broadcasts. Best wishes, Mike.



Hi Mike, I found your website after much searching; I came up with lots of sites with various information about loop antennas, but yours is by far the most comprehensive and easiest to understand from a layman's point of view. I congratulate you for such good communications.

I am in outback Queensland Australia, quite remote. So radio is very important to us out here. My use for my antenna will be to pull in distant AM broadcasts from within Queensland (200 to 500 kilometres away) and just very occasionally from interstate in outback areas of Australia. Mostly the signal may not be reflected, just very weak due to distance. Hope you understand my dilemma.
 
I have constructed a square loop frame with 750 mm sides (diameter) and I have two 320pf air gap tuning gangs. It finds stations and tunes them relatively well.

Yours faithfully, Geoff Douglas.
(February 2015)

Hi Geoff, Many thanks for your email and comments, they are much appreciated. Geoff also went on to ask some questions about antennas, which are answered at the bottom of the Aerials Page here.  Thanks again Geoff.



Greetings Mike,  I wanted to pass along a quick thank you for the FT-897 analog meter design. I assembled one this afternoon and it is working quite well. I appreciate your efforts in publishing the pictures and excellent write-up. 
(More about the FT-Meter)

73 and cheers, Steve Kelsey, W0COD
(February 2015)

Hi Steve, Many thanks for your email, it's good to hear from you. I'm glad to read that your FT-Meter construction project went well! Best wishes, Mike.



Hi Mike, I thoroughly enjoyed your website, especially the dual band vertical for 2 and 70.  I have limited myself so far, to Sotabeam-like dipoles, however I have lots of 25mm conduit so I could get a lot more adventurous!
Best 73, Frank, G7THI, Cumbria.
(January 2015)

Hi Frank, It's great to hear from you. Thanks for your kind comments they are much appreciated. I always like to help others in any possible way that I can, so it's pleasing when someone finds something useful or interesting on my web pages. Have fun with you 25mm conduit!  73, Mike.
(More about the simple 2m and 70cm antennas here)



Hello Mike, I have just been reading your pages on QRZ.com and your own site. Like you, I got interested in radio a very long time ago - about 1970, but my interest in mechanical and electrical things began even earlier on.  My first radio was built using OC44's in fact I still have a couple in a drawer in case one day I want to rebuild my second ever circuit.

My first circuit had been less successful and almost explosive; I thought that I could run a 2.5 volt torch bulb from a mains socket if I used some components and made a circuit. So with a few 16v capacitors, and a diode or two I was ready to throw the switch. I did use caution and used a plug socket on the side of a chimney breast in my room and a snooker cue to actuate the switch..... After the smoke had cleared and my hearing started to return I inspected the damage. Well, my circuit was gone and so was the wall socket! That took a bit of explaining but I think I got away with it.

My father did guide me cautiously after that episode, and helped me build a few things, but whenever there was a fuse that blew in the home they started by asking what I was doing first to try and locate the fault.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I moved to France in my 20's and after a couple of years learning the lingo, and having made a few crystal radios in my early teens, I started playing about with some of the very first CB's in France. I was even filmed by French TV " FR3"  about the illegal use of CB's. That took me by surprise when I saw my self on TV not having known that I had been filmed in secret.

I learned a lot at that time and experimented a great deal, building radios, aerials and even some of my own components. 432 MHz receivers made using FM army receivers (BC603), TV tuners and high gain pre-amplifers to receive amateur television on 438.5 and 1200 MHz.

I later decided to drop the CB and buy an amateur radio transceiver. For a year I waited for a reply to my request to take the radio exam and I was about to give up waiting for my exam. I blamed that on their not wanting a Englishman to become a French radio ham. But with some helps and a simple phone call from Paul
F2YT, the exam were papers flying in my direction and a few weeks later I had passed my exam at Lille in the north of France.

My first call-sign was F1HIC. I was on the road at the time my license and call-sign came through, but I had the radio already installed in my truck and after the daily phone call home to see if it had arrived yet I ran out and bought a note book and started my first log. I was finally on the air, legally at last, even becoming the first Englishman since the war to be a member of the French Civil Defense as a radio operator, and equipping my own mobile radio van as a communications centre.

Over the years I have moved back to the UK and again returned to live in France, accumulating a few call signs along the way, F1HIC, FD1HIC, G1YEB, M5AET and now F5VHZ. I have operated from ships, dinghies, cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

I have dabbled in everything except packet radio...never could stand the "burp, burp burp  of packet racket" but did a lot on RTTY and ATV having built my own equipment for both. For the last 20 years of my working career I have been in electronics and radio as an engineer. Now, retired early through health problems, I am again re-activating my station and getting back on the air.

In my lifetime I have only ever bought about half a dozen new antennas, An Ascot 2 meter whip, a 9 element Tonna, a 16 element Jaybeam for 2 meters, a Moonraker 7 MHz whip , and a dual band VHF / UHF Diamond whip. All the other antennas that I have ever owned have been recycled PMR, TV and military ones or as for the most part, have been 'home brew'. In all I would think I have made over a hundred, and not just for myself.

I have made antennas for all frequencies ranging from 80 meters to 10 GHz. I am no expert and I am still learning, I but have enjoyed making and testing every one of them. Some of my best years were as a radio engineer where I designed several antennas and saw them made commercially.  That's why I found your page so interesting.

It's great to promote the true essence of "AMATEUR RADIO"  There is no better satisfaction than building your own equipment and getting a good result.

OK, not everyone is able to build electronic circuits, but almost anyone can build an antenna and that's the bit that makes communication possible. I have made antenna's that have performed as well or better than commercial ones and have ones in use now that I made over 20 years ago - they are still working.

I helped for a few years in the UK at the Bletchley Park Radio Club GB3BP, helping newcomers and older hams alike as well as helping with the running of two repeaters in the Milton Keynes area.

We never stop learning and one of the greatest pleasures is having self satisfaction from making it oneself.

Well done for promoting your site and I hope that many newcomers and old hands alike find your pages useful. Hopefully they will follow us into the fascinating world of radio, and make some of their own gear as well.

Thank you for helping them and the very best of good luck with your web pages.
Colin
F5VHZ
(January 2015)

Hi Colin,

Many, many thanks for your detailed and considered email. Your comments are all taken on board and I really enjoyed reading your recollections and tales of your early experiments. Particularly the explosive one!

At probably a similar age, I managed to electrocute myself three times on mains electricity. I can still see the smouldering skin and smell the singed hair!! I have not done it again since!

Thanks for sharing your experiences with antenna construction. While it is still possible to build a complete transceiver as a radio amateur today, it is probably more likely that we will opt for simpler add-on and accessory projects and, of course, antennas. It is very rewarding to be able to talk across 100's or 1000's of miles on an antenna that you've built yourself! I do hope that my pages encourage some experimentation and 'home-brew' construction, rather than simply operating commercial 'appliances'. I could not agree more about 'home brew' (DIY) construction!

I am glad that you find the pages interesting. Thanks again for writing - it's much appreciated. Best wishes, Mike.

For more information about the subjects mentioned, please see these pages:
Amateur Radio - Amateur Radio Antennas - Amateur Radio 'HomeBrew' Projects - Radio Construction Projects - Crystal Sets - CB Radio



Hello Mike, I Breezed into your site by a random sequence of events, and enjoyed it immensely! - My wife (not interested in radio at all!) and I are both cat lovers, and I also am a bit of an anorak about broadcast local radio, as, it would appear are you!

One of my greatest regrets is that I somehow managed to record over an old reel-to-reel tape I had of the opening of Pennine Radio (Pennine 235) back in the 1970s.  I was mortified when I realised what I’d done!

(The answer to the pub question, “What was the first record ever played on Pennine Radio when it first opened in 1975?” is “I can’t let Maggie Go”, by the Honeybus – file that away somewhere and remember me when you win “Millionaire”!).

I also applaud your campaign to revive interest in vinyl, there’s something so fabulously “tactile” about vinyl, even down to the colour and design of the labels on the records which modern media (in particular downloads!) just miss out on somehow.   Those pictures I have in my mind’s eye of those words “Columbia” revolving serenely on the turntable at 45rpm are just so evocative of an earlier and more innocent age, somehow.

Keep up the good work, and thanks for your efforts.

Martin Rigby
G4FUI –
www.g4fui.net
(January 2014)

Hi Martin,

Thanks you so much for your wonderful email. It's great to hear from you - apologies for my delay in replying.

Happy New Year!

Like you, I loved broadcast local radio of 'yesteryear'! It's a great shame that it is essentially gone now - except for the remnants that remain in the form of a few tapes. I can therefore understand your being mortified by erasing a precious recording. I certainly would be too! It's happened to me. Your pub quiz question is great! Do you remember when the medium wave transmitter mast was felled by vandals who did not like the comments by James Whale?

Thanks for your comments about vinyl too. Fortunately I kept all my LP records and singles and can now enjoy them immensely on a turntable that is better than I could have ever hoped to own back in the time that I bought the discs!

Being a radio amateur too, maybe we can have a QSO one day by sked. My favourite band is 40 Meters. Last year I was fortunate enough to be able to obtain a new transceiver and also constructed and installed a new home-brew Doublet antenna;  I am really pleased with both!

Thanks again! 73 Mike



Hi, Warm greetings Mike from Bonnie Scotland. I have admired your website from afar whilst living in New Zealand as ZL3DWS and Australia as VK2DWS, especially
the MK484 matchbox projects.

I’m writing because I have some brand new items still in retail packaging that can be used to build these radios. I purchased these in 2012 and they are no longer needed. They are in perfect condition. The items are:

16x Ferrite Aerial rod and coil

15x Tuning Capacitors 60-160pf (usual plastic design)
http://www.wiltronics.com.au/catalogue/98/electronic-components-and-parts/capacitor/tuning-capacitor-and-ferrite-rod-aerial?productid=273#273

60x PCB’s for MK484 Radio Kit at Rapid Part No. 70-0120
http://www.rapidonline.com/design-technology/pcb-for-radio-project-kit-set-of-5-70-0120

18x Protobloc Breadboard AD-100 Rapid Part No. 34-0666 as used to build George Dobbs MK484 radio – the modern version (I can email pdf of building instructions)

http://www.rapidonline.com/tools-equipment/protobloc-breadboard-ad-100-34-0666

I wondered if you’d like to offer them on your website to folk for the cost of postage etc or use them with a local group of school children you might like to build matchbox radios with.

All the best, David W Searle
GM8WNY
(January 2015)

Hi David, Many thanks for your kind offer. I have provided the details on the TRF Radio pages here.


Hi Mike,

Just a quick thank-you for your excellent webpages at mds975.co.uk

As a radio and hi-fi enthusiast I have really enjoyed a-lot of your content, the history of UK radio and the Technics SL-1200 info pages a particular fave.

Great work and many thanks.

Regards Ian.
(January 2015)

Hi Ian, Thank you! Your comments are much appreciated. It is a very time consuming and labour intensive endeavour.



Hi Mike, I have recently acquired a Kenwood R5000 receiver and fortunately and recently moved to a house with a large garden – hence I now have the opportunity to set up a long wire antenna.

Having stumbled across your web site I have found your item on ATU’s. With a basic understanding of electronics ( from my youth ! ) – I’m hopeful to benefit from many of your articles. Many thanks for sharing your knowledge

Regards,  Alan Puckey
(November 2014)

Hi Alan, Many thanks and good luck with your new set up!



Hi Mike, Thanks for sharing your expertise and experience!

I am an American living in Mexico and want to use a longwire antenna of about 130 feet for shortwave listening.  Am thinking to bring the signal into the house with a 9:1 unun and RG8x coax, then fine tune with your ATU MK II into my Yaesu FT-847.

I wish I could find people like you here where I live in Mexico to share ideas, and passion for whatever hobby it might be, SWL, amateur radio, and so forth. 

My great grandparents are British but I haven't visited your country, but will someday.  I am envious because you have so many enthusiasts for many interesting activities in your country. I even have the idea that all your countrymen have amazing gardens in their backyards...

Thank you Mike, Ransom Peek in Patzcuaro, Michoacan Mexico
(November 2014)

Hi Ransom, Many thanks for your kind email. More about "ATU's" and Antennas here!



Hi Mike, I came across your site by chance, and thought you might be interested in a few old photos I have, from when I worked at Mercia Sound? Referred to on air as Spider, I worked mainly on the breakfast show, for Gordon, writing comedy lines and making up competitions. You may remember Claws the Porridge Puss? I have a couple of photos from the exhibition at the Herbert. I later did a short summer tour with Gordon, as the Phantom Flan Flinger. Great fun it was, too.

Sadly, I didn't receive an invite to the anniversary celebration, but, I still have fond memories of those days. I also wrote most of the Lateral Thinkers competition questions for Andy Lloyd that you mentioned, and recall being sent out one morning by Mike Henfield, to wake up Andy's then girlfriend Kay Oliver.

All the best, Adam Webb
(November 2014)

Hi Adam, Many thanks for your Mercia Sound memories. Please see the Mercia Sound page here and the photographs of Claws The Porridge Puss on this page.



Hello Mike!, I love your website - especially as I was on BRMB FM from September 1992 for about a year doing the old Night Beat and Swing Shifts! I am pasting below a clip I have of myself and Brendan - let me know if this sort of thing interests you!!
https://soundcloud.com/ljwradio/linda-wright-and-brendan-kearney-brmb

Linda (Wright)

(November 2014)

Hi Linda, Thanks for your email, I always love to hear clips of the good old BRMB Radio, so thanks for posting that one. Do let me know if you have any more. Find out more about Birmingham's BRMB Radio here..



Hi, Mike and Jules, Thanks a lot for your website. What a tremendous job you did. I am DL2BQD and the DL (Germany) rep for the GQRP club here, so I am interested in all these radio matters. A friend of mine built a neat "radio matchbox line" and explained and introduced the DL QRP group to it during the 2014 meeting.

I started an own website to show the chronicle of my local society:
http://www.swschwedt.de/kunden/dl2bqd/html/dl2bqd_radio.html

I also deal with some items on travelling and radio building, however I stopped expanding it. I am 73 by now, so when I will have a wee bit more time I am sure to reconstruct it again.

Good luck to you, take care both, 73! Dieter
(November 2014)

Hi Dieter, Many thanks for your email and for the link to your website which is much appreciated. "73" Mike and Jules.



Hi Mike, I was still on the trail of the matchbox radio. At first I was cheating by using a couple of PCBs and kits, but they weren't quite small enough to go into a matchbox. You'll see a MW & LW built up kit here, not yet progressed to a project box. I tried the PC Wireless circuit twice on copper clad vero board, but it just wouldn't have it. So I took a kit board apart and used the components.

The circuit diagram was virtually the same as PVW, except it had a capacitor and resistor coming off the amp transistor to the ground and the resistor was lowered from 680k to 100k. I just wired in together and hey presto, it worked and was almost the right size for the box. The only thing is, matchboxes are much smaller than they used to be and this made it harder. I therefore put the trimmer base down, as it was too tall to fit the box, even side ways on. Although this did allow me to fit a 2" ferrite bar in the box.

Regards, AL.
(November 2014)

Hi, Thanks for the information and photographs, I have put them on the Matchbox Radio page here.



Hi Mike, I am building the ESP P06 phono stage and I wanted to say that I found your page very helpful in its construction. I am not hot at electronics so seeing the arrangement on your page was a great help

Cheers, Wayne Wardman. Canberra
(November 2014)

Hi Wayne, Thanks for the kind comments - much appreciated. I was so pleased with mine that I soon built a second one for another hi-fi system!  Cheers, Mike.



Hi Mike, Hope it's all going well. It's been a long time since I last sent something over. I thought I'd send you a couple of clips from Scotland (very much being in the news recently). These clips are from Radio Clyde (George Bowie and Gary Marshall) and Radio Forth (Scott Wilson) in March 1992. By that time Forth was known as RFM and Clyde was Clyde One, reflecting the splitting of am/fm frequences in ILR at that time. It's interesting to hear some voices from the 1992 general election coverage that resonate to this day.
Enjoy!
Julian Watson
(September 2014)

Thanks Julian! You can hear the audio on the Airwaves page here..



Dear Mike,  I recently came across your very informative website, and had noticed your interest in 'sundials' - and though the information is correct, you do not appear to mention the most popular type (the interactive "Human Sundial"). These actually use a PERSON'S OWN SHADOW to tell the correct 'clock' time, plus they even change themselves for Daylight-saving in Spring and Autumn.

Each one is UNIQUE to its own specific location, plus could be made from a variety of different 'materials' to blend-in with its setting - and unlike conventional sundials, these cannot easily be stolen or vandalised either. Although such "Sunclocks" are mainly used by Schools, to brighten-up their playground with an interactive and decorative marking (which also has many 'curriculum-wide' educational benefits) - they are also used in everything from Parks, private gardens, to a 'visitor attraction' for Stately Homes !  It was even used as a 'memorial' for the "Space-shuttle" disaster in 2003.


If you would like more information (plus view hundreds of photographs from Australia to Alaska and Tasmania to Tibet), then please see our website at www.sunclocks.com - plus you might even want to 'link' to it as well, just so people do not assume that all 'sundials' are the pedestal-mounted type.

Best regards, Douglas Hunt.
www.sunclocks.com
(September 2014)



Hi Mike, Great website I always use when I'm looking for a winter project. Thanks again for sharing Mike.

Steven Sawyer 2E0NHR
(August 2014)

Hi Steven, Many thanks for your email. Your comments are much appreciated. 73, Mike.



Two emails about Amateur / CB Radio:

Hello Mike, I wonder if you can help please? I am one of an older generation who was into citizens band radio when my children where young, I now have teenage grandchildren, and would like to take up "CB" hobby again.

I've always been into shortwave radio listening and have couple of good receivers, but where we live, on the Norfolk - Suffolk border, I can't find any shops or other CB people who can advice me. I am interested in the President Grant 11 radio as I know law has changed and we can now use the "SSB" mode. I would like help with what type of aerial etc. We live in very rural area where it is flat and, apart from about a dozen houses, it is mostly farmland.

 I hope you can advise. Regards, Brian. (July 2014)


Hi, I would just like to say thank you for such an informative site about CB radio. After many years being absent from the hobby (30 years) I bit the bullet and invested in a President Grant 2 CB radio which I am very pleased with. However, I find the airways are very quiet here in Windermere, Cumbria. I’m still going to invest in a homebase antenna and found your site very helpful and informative in all aspects of CB radio.

Many thanks, Colin. (July 2014)


I have had much fun with CB radio, but it does depend upon who's available in your area. Some areas have a number of enthusiasts, running good base stations. CB also seems to remain popular with truckers and is also popular with 4x4 and off-road enthusiasts.

The new permissions of 12 watts with the "SSB" mode may help promote activity and, indeed, if ionospheric propagation is good you may make some longer distance contacts.

Ionospheric propagation is not an everyday occurrence and also goes in 11 year cycles; we have passed the peak of activity, so are on the downward curve, with the next peak due in 10 or 11 years time, however the band can still be very active from time to time.

The better quality the antenna and the higher it is mounted will improve performance. You cannot really go wrong with a good quality Silver Rod type antenna - either 1/2 wave or 5/8th wave. They represent very good value for money compared to performance.

As important as the antenna itself is making sure that you use the very best possible quality coaxial cable. This ensures the lowest loss - i.e. minimizing the loss of your transmitted power and also minimizing the loss of any received signals. I'd always use 10mm diameter, MIL Spec, RG8 or RG213 coaxial cable.

You can find many good CB Radio retailers form the links on this page: CB Radio Retailers

If you don't find many people on the air in your area, and you have a general interest in radio as a means of communication, I would seriously encourage you to think about taking the radio amateurs Foundation exam and getting licensed. I now find it far more rewarding for many reasons - such as very many more people to talk to (thousands, not dozens); many more bands to use e.g. VHF (2 meters) and UHF (70 centimeters) for local chat and H.F. for regular long distance contacts around the UK, around Europe and around the world - with the opportunity for better understanding, self education and self training in many different and exciting aspects and areas of the general radio hobby.

More at the Radio Society of Great Britain - http://rsgb.org/

Clubs and Training - http://rsgb.org/main/clubs-training/

Amateur radio dealers can be found from the links on this page: Amateur Radio Dealers

Thanks for reply. I phoned one of the radio clubs in Norwich through the clubs listed on the RSGB website (above), and spoke to a really nice chap, he was so helpful and, of course, it got me thinking again about which road I go down - amateur radio or CB or maybe both!

Once again, thanks for your help and what a great website. Good luck to you both, Brian.




Mike, What a very pleasant surprise! In searching for antenna information, I discovered your wonderful site!! I just spent 2 hours reading through some of the interesting articles about antennas- my favorite ham radio subject! I appreciate your photos and detailed explanations of the hardware used. I have bookmarked this page for future reference and plan to read every article again.

Thanks again for such a terrific and informative site!

Regards, Marlin WJ9Y
(July 2014)

Hi Marlin, Many thanks for your email, it's great to hear from you! Thank you too for your kind comments, I am glad that you find the pages useful.

73, Mike.



Hi Mike! My son has recently shown interest in radios after finding his grandfather's ham radio in the attic, which is how he found your page about Amateur Radio that further sparked his interest.  He also really loved "Understanding Morse Code Calls"Being a homeschool mom, I try to encourage my kids to reach out and make personal connections beyond our home, and I think this is the perfect opportunity!

Thanks so much, we can't wait to hear from you!  Trish  (July 2014)

Hi Trish, Many thanks for your email. Glad that the old radio in that attic sparked an interest! Good luck with the Morse Code!

Best wishes, Mike.



Hi Mike.

This is a very old site but your readers might find it interesting:
http://www.satcure-focus.com/cb/

and http://www.The-Cool-Book-shop.co.uk/cbeprom.htm

Aerial mounting hardware:
http://www.satcure.co.uk/accs/page11d.htm

Best Wishes,

Martin Pickering
(June 4th 2014)

Hi Martin, Thank you for the information - it's greatly appreciated.




Hi Mike, I am very keen to build the BBC VHF / FM radio aerial, but I have a couple of questions if you don't mind.

From the instructions, is the dipole polythene mounting block the only piece of insulation needed? Is there no further (electrical) insulation required between the boom, reflector, dipole, directors and balun? Also, I may need to (somehow!) reinforce the arms as we have big birds here!!

Many thanks, Bill Dobbs.
(June 2014)

Hi Bill, Thanks for your email. Yes, the polythene block is the only insulator used, to ensure that the driven elements cannot make any contact with the boom. The directors and reflector are attached directly to the boom metal to metal. Using metal saddles will strengthen the construction - I would consider them essential to strengthen the elements against birds! You may be able to salvage suitable saddles from old broken aerials, or obtain new ones from amateur radio antenna specialists such as Sandpiper Aerials perhaps.

I hope that helps. Best wishes, Mike.



Hi Mike, What a helpful and useful website many thanks. I  do a lot of motorhome travelling with an oldish radio that provides some of the audio entertainment. Searching for radio frequencies of favourite radio stations is more than a little tedious without the data that you provide, well done and again, very many thanks

Kind regards, Peter.
(June 2014)

Hi Peter, Many thanks for your email, it's good to read your comments. Thank you for taking the time, much appreciated.



Hello, I lived in the UK for twenty-seven years, and became an avid radio listener, but I left your green and pleasant land and now live on the American Gulf Coast.

My quick question is, do you have an MP3 of the early morning sign-on of Radio Four.  It was a musical medley of anthems from the Commonwealth, and quite beautiful.  If you know where this could be obtained, I would be very thankful.

Great website, by the way.

Thank you and best regards, Claborne Floyd.
(May 2014)



Hi Mike, I am returning to amateur radio after a 10 year lay off and I will return with my old call M1TAP. I have been looking at antennas to use at my QTH (home). I think that I will start with a G-Whip end fed multi band with 9:1 unun then later on I intend to build myself a 'Cobweb'.

M
y reason for contacting you is to say thanks for all the time and effort you must go to to produce your website. It is full of useful information and links and has been very valuable to me.

This time I am going to keep things simple; the rig i have decided on is the Elecraft KX3. I hope to do some portable "SOTA" and some Worked All Britain work -  all QRP (low power) SSB and CW (morse code).

I hope to catch you on the air one day!

Very best wishes, Alan (M1TAP)
(April 2014)

Hi Alan, Thank you very much for your email.

I am glad to real about your return to the bands. The G-Whip wide-bander should be a good all round starter antenna, in fact I think that many people use this type of antenna as a permanent solution. I have not tried a cobweb type antenna, but it is one that I would like to try, however I don't have the space to accommodate one. I do think that it is really good concept.

I friend of mine has a KX3 QRP rig and really likes it - he particularly enjoys portable operation and CW. The KX3 certainly seems to get consistently good reviews.

Thanks for your kind comments! Best wishes, Mike - M0MTJ



Hi Mike, I have been researching some direct conversion receivers, and your web site is a wealth of information. I have built a few kit transceivers, as well as a few just from schematics, and have several regens that I enjoy listening to in the evenings. 

I have just tried The Rugster from AA7EE’s web site and although the schematic was very simple, I just could not get it to operate very well. I suspect my toroid substitution, as well as the tuning diode had some problems.  I want to read more on the theory of the dc receivers and your web site will give me many hours of enjoyment. 

I do refer to the amateur radio handbook, as well as experimental methods in rf design, but sometimes too many technical detail ends up confusing me.  I am 63 years old and have been a ham for 26 years, and have built power supplies and antennas in the past, but the last few years I have been really enjoying homemade receivers as well as repairing some older tube types.  Take and thanks for the work you do on the website.

John Morris N8RVE

PS ... The first article I looked at was one written by George Dobbs,  I had met him at Dayton last year and have joined GQRP club, now his smiling face is turning up everytime  I look up something radio related.  He's a very nice Man.
(April 2014)

Hi John, Thank you for your email, it's really good to hear from you.

I have enjoyed building several home-brew TRF receivers and last year I built one of the GQRP Kits Sudden receivers. It works very well, as you might expect since it was designed by George Dobbs. I don't have masses of spare time for radio, but I do like tinkering, constructing circuits, experimenting with antennas and getting behind the microphone occasionally when I can!

I have not met George Dobbs but I have had some correspondence with him in the past and he has always been very helpful and generous.

Thanks again for your email - and keep on constructing!



Hi, What a great web site! I was around in the 1980's with Mercia Sound and loved it.

All the best, Steve.

(March 2014)

Hi Steve, Many thanks for your email, great to hear for you. Good days!



Hello Folks
, I read your website with interest. I'm based in Northern Ireland and I'm very interested in a possible CB revival here. I accidentally found out about the recent licence changes and also about the introduction of SSB.
 
I immediately bought a wee rig and have it set up. I'm thinking of setting up a website for Northern Ireland to see if I can at least have a location of info online for Northern Ireland people. Maplin tell me that they are selling CBs really well. I was wondering if you had any contact or info for Northern Ireland folk?
 
Love your website.. it's a great source of information.
 
Anthony
(March 2014)

Hi Anthony, Thanks for your email. Unfortunately I don't have any contacts in your area, but setting up a website sounds like a good idea. I'll put some links on my own website if you do.

Good luck and best wishes, Mike.



Hello Mike, I just thought you might be interested to see a photo of my most recent creation - my version of the Ladybird radio. It works very well for only three transistors!

Read more and see the photographs here >

Best,
Karen Orton
(March 2014)

Thanks Karen - excellent work!



Hi Mike, A belated Happy New Year to you and yours too. I've picked up a Lowe HF-225, which I really like. I like it even more than the FRG-7700 I have, it's simpler but somehow feels and sounds better. The filters are brilliant! Anyway, have to get that loop built before AM broadcasting is history. Furthest heard so far is Algeria on MW, but I think they run about 1MW, so is understandable that it is heard here.

I will be upgrading the HF antenna soon too. It will still be a dipole, but will be a tad higher up without looking too "in your face" for the surrounding neighbours. I use it mostly for reception and only run 30W max when I do get on, so, won't really be a problem.

Anyway, enough waffle. Found the info on the Lowe very interesting and am considering cobbling together a D-225 if I can get the parts rather than wait for one to come along on Ebay. It's not an essential item, but I would like to have one fitted.

All the best from Bristol. David - M0ZLI
(March 2014)



Hello, Fantastic job you have done with your page! I keep returning to it over and over again. There's a massive amount of useful information!

I have purchased an Audio Technica AT120E/T cartridge on ebay, but when it arrived it was the AT120e model. Is there any difference between the two or did Audio Technica decided to change the name? I haven't unpacked it yet. I have searched the internet but no one seems to "care" about the difference.

Have you got any advice for me? Should I send it back to the dealer or what?

By the way, I have a Technics SL1200 mkII ca. 1985.

Looking forward to hear from you. Jan Hovland (Stockholm, Sweden)
(February 2014)


Hi Jan, Thanks for your email. To be honest, I have never been 100% certain as to why Audio Technica refer the the AT120 with a T suffix. The E suffix, as I understand it, refers to Eliptical. However Audio Technica only make one AT120 model, so I am certain that there are no alternatives and you have the 'correct' one.

Most dealers simply call it the AT120.  That's what I bought, in fact I have two of them. Both are labelled AT120E. So I believe that you have the correct cartridge. There isn't another one, so don't send it back.

I hope that helps.

Best wishes, Mike.


Hello again and thanks for your reply :-)   Ok, I won't send it back. Phew, that lifted a big weight from my heart!

Now I will figure out how to align it correctly with a two point gauge. And of course all the other adjustments! Was it 50 hrs before it reached peak performance?

This helped a lot ! Thank you very much! Jan.

Hi, Thank you. I found that it is worth taking the effort aligning the cartridge properly. It does take a lot of patience and great care however. It can also take some time to get 'just right'!

The cartridge will take some time to reach peak performance. It will certainly sound gradually better and better as you work your way through a nice big arm full of LP's. Not that it will sound bad from the outset, but my impression is that it will become little bit smoother, more fulsome and confident.

Happy listening!  Best wishes, Mike.


Hello, thank you very much for the info. Hey maybe I will mail you a couple of questions some time :-)

Best Regards

Jan Hovland (Stockholm, Sweden)



Hi Mike, It's time to call in again. The last four weeks I've been experimenting with one valve regen AM receivers - a big step forward for a man who's dealt all his life in diodes, transistors and IC's.

I've sent you a pic of 2 sets that I've recently completed and finally, after weeks of reading, studying, shopping for parts and building and rebuilding, I have these 2 sets that work rather well. See more here>

I can receive all 13 local AM stations here in Brisbane as well as some DX stations as well. The best DX so far, is the ABC local station (1548kHz) out at Emerald in the Queensland "bush". That is a distance of some 635 Kms from the Brisbane CBD Post Office (all such distances are measured from the central PO) so that's not bad for a 1T4 valve a tuned circuit, some bits and pieces and a few batteries!

Enjoy! Austin Hellier
(February 22nd 2014)

Hello again Austin. Thanks for the news. I have added the updates here



Hi Mike, I’ve been reading the MB21 and MDS975 sites for many years and today, after following the rx-chat-list link to you BRMB pages, I have just realised that I have been talking to you on 4m (70 MHz) and didn’t realise…. D’oh.

I always monitor 70.450 MHz and 433.500 MHz when I’m in the shack. I’ve always been an ‘anorak’ first, amateur second – so I love the broadcast radio sites. I have a few piccies on the MB21 gallery, however my QSL card is a bit of a giveaway - see QRZ.com !

You’d be surprised how many people, especially on the LF bands, ask for my card because they’ve seen it on QRZ.

Regards, Martin G4VZO, Kingswinford
(February 2014)


Dear Mike, While searching the Internet for tutorials on Tuned Circuits I came across an amazing Image Gallery devoted to Tuned Circuits:

https://www.google.com/search?q=tuned+circuits&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=_traUsOoHoPj2AWM-YDoCg&sqi=2&ved=0CDMQsAQ&biw=1040&bih=882

In this fascinating "haystack" I was delighted to find your wonderful website of exceptional value to the novice student of radio theory.  Most breadboards used in the US are plastic with wires on the back side of the board. For the young person trying to visualize how to physically create a  circuit from wire diagrams, not being able to see the path of the wire conductor which connects each component, adds to the confusion. Using (you might say) "surface-mount" technology, Ie., mounting each discrete component on an inexpensive wood board and connecting each component from the top, helps a great deal.

On this side of the Atlantic there was a time when the K12 public school system offered classes in radio and television repair. These High School "shop" classes in electronics is where many young Electronic Technicians and Electrical. Engineers in America got their start. Amateur Radio was also a source, and still is to a limited extent.

If time permits and financial resources allow, it would be nice to see you create some YouTube videos guiding the more advanced student through the process of reading wire diagrams and troubleshooting radio circuits using a Digital Volt Ohm Meter and Oscilloscope at a later date.

Thank you again for the wonderful website.

Sincerely, Elmer W. Ross
Everett/Tacoma, Washington, USA

(January 2014)

Hi, Many thanks for your kind email. Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying. I don't think that I can produce videos, although it's a nice idea. Time constraints certainly rule this out at present. Anyway, it's great to hear from you and thanks again for taking the time, it's much appreciated.

Best wishes, Mike. M0MTJ



Hi Mike, Great to browse your website.

I remember that very edition of the September 1975 Everyday Electronics magazine and then saving up to buy the components to build the matchbox radio.  I think I got the parts mail order from Henry's. It was great to see the scanned pages from the magazine as they are etched in my mind.

I continued to use the ZN414 for a tuner as later on I built various transistor audio amplifiers.

Regards, Simon.
(January 2014)

Hi Simon, Thanks for your email. This was one of my favourite projects and, as you can see from the pages, I have made several more since 1975!

Best wishes, Mike.



Hi Mike, I've been ambling through your site for a few days, on and off, and have found it to be very interesting. I too am a fan of ELO, anything "radio" and was interested to read your bit about 99 Red Balloons. I think I still have the 45 somewhere, and I'm sure the English and German variants were on the single. Either way, they were both great!

I too have been through the SW/CB/Ham mangle, and tend to listen more than I transmit, which a lot more would do well to emulate ;o).

Thanks for rekindling my interest in MW DX, I will be making a 40" loop antenna in the near future. I made one many years ago (30) and they work a treat, best DX was from KNIX on 1570 back then, to my then QTH in Wellington, New Zealand. I have an audio clip somewhere.


Anyway, enough waffle. Thanks for a very informative and interesting site...quite a mix!
73 de M0ZLI/ZL1BT
David
(January 2014)

Hi David, Thanks for your email. We played 99 Red Balloons only a few weeks ago and both said what a good record. I still love it!

I'm glad that you liked the Loop Antenna article. I find loops to be very useful for MW reception. Make the most of it though - you never know when we're going to lose analogue radio in the UK. If things go according to plan, Germany will have closed many of its MW and LW transmitter by the end of 2014.

The latest page, that I have just added, contains some pages from the IBA's yearbook, Television and Radio, concerning BRMB from 1976 to 1987:
http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/brmb07.html

Happy New Year and good DX!



Hi Mike, A quiet afternoon and a chance to spend time surfing the net has led me to your site, now bookmarked for return visits.

I grew up with BRMB and have fond memories of Les Ross - a true broadcasting great - and later Phil Holden. There are several records which remind me of Les' stock one-liners every time I hear them "That one finished with a tinkle; my mother always said you should have a tinkle before you start!" still cracks me up.

And Phil Holden causing panic by failing to turn up on time for his Sunday morning show when he forgot to put his clocks forward.

The purpose of the search was to find any recollections of Brendan Kearney's Saturday morning show with the assistance of 3 teenage presenters - Debbie something, Spencer Allmark (?) and another, quite mature sounding lad (who, from memory, may have lost his life shortly afterwards). Timing was probably mid-80s.

I'll see if I still have some recordings of Les - I did have his live outside broadcast on the morning of BT privatisation for some reason - but suspect my wife may have "tidied them away".

Regards, Adrian Jordan.
(December 2013)

Hi Adrian, Thanks for your email. Les did have some funny one liners. I remember him saying "Ever since it got light this morning it's got darker" and "That record really does finish right at the very end."

Now that you mention Brendan Kearney's show (Razzamatazz), I do remember the names Debbie and Spencer, but I cannot remember the third person. Rashida Subedar kindly sent in some comments about Razzamatazz which can be found on this page.

It would be great to receive any recordings of Les Ross that you have. I have put some new ones on the site recently, and I have a few more to go on there too.

Thanks again for your email. Best wishes, Mike.



Hi Mike, I came across your website a couple of years ago when I became interested in taking the foundation course and found your website a great read and a great fun place to be! (Amateur Radio)

I have learning difficulties and really struggled with my licence test but I passed in August 2009! I cannot believe it only took you 6 months to get to full licence! Wow you must have worked so hard! I remember getting the intermediate book and became so overcome with it that I put it down and never looked back lol

I just wanted to wish you and Jules a Merry Christmas and thanks for sharing your site and life with us on the internet! You have a great site and it must have takes ages to build! Mine (m6ceb.com) has taken me ages and its a fraction of the size of yours :-)

I wish you and Jules all the very best and if Ofcom don't take us M6's of the air, I hope to work you one day!

73, Matt M6CEB
(December 2013)

Hi Matt, Thanks for your email, it's really good to read that you have achieved your Foundation licence. You have also done very well in producing your own detailed website.

Best wishes, Mike. 



Dear Mike, I hope you are well.  I have mailed you in the past about matters related to BRMB, and you have always been very helpful, so I thought I'd let you know my latest on Radio Acocks Green. Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of having a long chat to Jasper Carrott, both on my local BBC Radio station, and later on, face to face.  After much mirth, I asked him about Acocks Green, and he was surprised that anyone remembered it.

There was only one edition, and it was mostly him and Ed Doolan.  It was originally broadcast at Christmas (I forgot to ask him which year) and was a one hour show.  I told him about the recordings on your site, and that the longest recording was about 40 minutes.  After thinking back he told me that the show was one hour long, but included music (the latest hit 45's), he remembers recording about 35 to 40 minutes of material with the gang, so concluded that if the recording that you own is about 40 minutes in length and it has no pop music in it, then that's all there is.

Jasper did some great stuff while I was with him, such as the Tony Waiter voice, and he remembered the cup winners, winners cup shield sketch...Great.
So, there it is, straight from the horses mouth, you do hold the complete recording.

Thanks again for such a great website,
Best Regards, Mick Philpott (G7WST)
(December 2013)

Hi Mick, Many thanks for you email. It's really interesting to read that you met Jasper Carrott and that he could recite some classic material to you. It's also good to read that the recording appears to be complete! Thanks for letting me know, it's much appreciated.

Best wishes, Mike.



Hi Mike, Firstly, thanks for putting me in contact with Doug. He has been very kind and helpful in providing me with the transistors and some advice.

Myself and my son have had great fun with the Ladybird project (Ladybird Radio page). We had lots of issues getting the regeneration to work well. In the end this was all resolved by getting hold of some 'new old stock' (NOS) OA81 diodes. I think the diodes are quite critical in ensuring the OC45 is biased correctly. 1N5711 Schottky diodes were fantastic in the crystal set but poor in the regeneration stage. I tried some moderns 1N34a diodes which also didn’t perform well. In fact, I couldn’t get the gain low enough using these, even with the trimmer set to the minimum the radio would oscillate. Great selectivity/sensitivity but almost impossible to control. With OC81s, the radio burst into life and behaved well.

I did make a few changes to the design. I had to change the collector resistor of the second transistor to 1k5. 4k7 was far too big, causing the transistor to saturate and resulting in heavily distorted audio. I replaced the 10pF trimmer with a variable capacitor so I can more easily control the regeneration. (I used a 20pF varicap with 22pF in series). I only had a 350pF tuning cap, so I added an extra 20 turns to the antenna coil. This seemed about right as the radio covers the entire AM broadcast band and a bit more besides. (I also added a couple of turns to the secondary coil to keep the same turns ratio.) I also added a power switch and LED indicator.

I was able to tune well over 20 or 30 stations last night, with different degrees of fidelity and loudness, although it takes a bit of practice with the regeneration and tuning. Local stations are loud, in fact the output stage overloads badly if you turn the volume up. So all in all, really pleasing. I’ll send you some photos when I get round to taking some. I now feel inspired to make another regenerative radio, there are quite a few interesting designs on the web…..

Cheers, Mark.
(December 2013)

Hi Mark, Many thanks for your update. Very interesting indeed! I'd love to see a list of stations that you are able to receive. I look forward to your photographs and any further developments. Thanks again, Mike.



FT-Meter by Wallace MoodieHi Mike, I really like your website, and thought I would just say thank you for all the information contained there.

I've just built your FT-Meter and chuffed to bits with it......pic attached. Flushed with success I may have a go at your Field Strength Meter next.

Kind regards to both of you.

Wallace MM0AMV
(November 2013)

Hi Wallace,  Thank you for your email. You have certainly made a great job of your meter!  See a larger photo and find out more about the project here


Hello there!  I enjoyed your website and have shared it on my Face Book page. https://www.facebook.com/groups/73hobbyradiobuffs/
If you face book, come by check us out & maybe even join!  I don’t know if you share fb links in your links section.  If so, please do.

Thank you and "73" from Spencer Sholly, KB5WQW in Killeen, Texas, USA!
(November 2013)

Hi, Many thanks for your email. Thanks for putting the link on fb. I am not on fb myself, but I am certainly very happy to include the link above.



Hi Mike & Jules, I just stumbled across your great website. What particularly caught my interest were the ‘Ladybird book’ radios. I remember, 35 years ago as a kid, myself and my dad building this up and sadly failing to get it to work. Well, my interest has been rekindled and I think the time has come to have another go at it with my own son. After much sorting through boxes in the loft I have found the book and I think most of the components are obtainable in one form or another. The main problems are the transistors. You mentioned in your website you have some old stock. If so, could I purchase a set off you? Or perhaps you know of somewhere in the UK where I might find reliable devices? I really don’t know how well old Germanium transistors age. Does the doping ‘migrate’? Who knows.

Looking at the schematic and design methodology given what I now know about electronics (yes, I grew up to be an electronic engineer), I can see several pitfalls in getting the radio working. I wonder how many have failed in their quest to get the thing working. I suspect just getting decent electrical connection with the brass screw cups is tricky. The regenerative stage looks like ‘black art’ which might need a bit of tinkering to get it to work well. And the output stage biasing looks poor. I’m not surprised Shane experienced some thermal runaway.

I also fondly remember the medium wave mini in everyday electronics and the plethora of ZN414 based designs of that period. I wish I had the old magazines still, but I think they are long gone.

Once again, thanks for your fantastic resource.

Best Regards, Mark Easton.
(November 2013)

Hi Mark, Thank you for your email.

I remember having problems when I first attempted construction as a youngster in the early 1970's. The amplified crystal set worked quite well for the main stations, Radio 3, Radio 4 and Radio One. But then Droitwich was only a dozen miles away!

When I eventually got the regeneration stage working properly (probably a year or two later, but I forget now) I remember being very pleased that the radio was directive enough, and selective enough to be able to receive BBC Radio Birmingham, Radio Luxemburg and, my favourite station by that time, BRMB Radio.

I have not experienced the thermal runaway problem, but I know others have, so the biassing should really be redesigned. It would be really nice to redesign the circuit, as close as possible to the original, so that common NPN devices could be used.

The brass screws and screw cup approach was certainly a novel idea and one that allowed solderless construction for novices, but it certainly had its problems!

The ZN414 circuits are great fun!

I don't have any Mullard transistors, but I have emailed Doug Wallace inquiring if he has any left.

We'll let you know! Best wishes, Mike & Jules.



Hi, Thank you very much for the Convoy recording. It made my XYL (wife) very happy. If all things were so simple. It has brought back many happy memories of Citizens Band Radio and we didn't even need translation. 10:4!

We knew CB in AM pre-legal days. We met, engaged in 7 days, married in 12 months and still together 32 years later so CB brought "Sparky" and the "Queen of hearts" together in 1981. And, in an alternative universe, we ran a DTI correct radio-communications supply/ build/ repeater station/ import-export company. Don't ask about the things in-between. No doubt we could exchange lots of tales over a bevvy or two.


I have some test equipment for sale, sadly its here in Italy but if someone was interested in a deal we've a spare room....and the wine (1-2 euros a LTR for the good stuff), whole Parma hams, Italian seasoning = real food (which is why we moved here) and the pizza's!!! It spoils you for anything frozen in the future and don't ask about the oil - that could start a war, the stuff in the shops is what they use to can fish here but who knew until we got here and were educated...

But all that said Marmite, Chinese or Indian foods are non existent unless you're in a city like Rome. Canned & frozen goods are just becoming more available, so still we stand behind old ladies who want a quarter kilo of bread from a fresh loaf and 2 slices of ham with one sausage and a 20g prosciutto double minced for lunch.

We came for a slower pace of life and here it is - after (past tense) running a B&B for 6 years. Sorry for the ad', even after 8 years we're still enamored and having eaten a slow lunch from 12.30 to 4.30 outside in the sun today you can understand why.


So again our thanks for the link and hope you are having, or plan to have, as much enjoyment from life as we expect to, one chance so go for it,

Ciao & 73's
Mike & Peggy
GW4CBR (aka IZ0JUB) & xyl
(November 2013)

Hi, We're glad that you enjoyed the recording of Convoy and that everyone is happy!!

Here, BBC Radio Five Live featured a short and amusing piece about CB radio last weekend. I've posted it here:

http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/cb_radio_01.html#New_CB_Modes

BBC News also have a new video piece about amateur radio here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24917880

You've certainly had a very interesting radio life! Your situation now sounds absolutely idyllic. Well, apart from the lack of Marmite!! :-)  I hope we can have as much fun.

Thanks for your email.

"73"  Mike & Jules
MØMTJ  &  M6ORS



Hi, I just want to say that I am very impressed from your web site.

A very useful place! Congratulations.

Dan Katzman, 4Z5SL
(November 2013)

Hi Dan, Many thanks for your email, it's great to hear from you. We are glad that the web pages have been of some use!!

73 & Good DX, Mike, MØMTJ & Jules, M6ORS.



Hi, I just wanted to say a heartfelt “thanks” for including the Wiltshire Radio clips on your website – those jingles are engraved on my brain but I hadn’t heard them for 30 years, so you can imagine my delight on revisiting them. It’s also good to know I’m not the only one who preserves this sort of thing so lovingly – post 1985 (when I first acquired a cassette player), I’ve saved loads of radio jingles – GWR, Fox FM, the “Network Chart with David Jensen” and perhaps most obscurely, a C-60’s worth of the loop tape BBC Wiltshire Sound ran as a demo in the run up to its launch in 1989 ... a priceless treasure in my eyes, if no one else’s!

So, thanks again and very best wishes,  Rosie.
(November 2013)

Hi Rosie, Thank you very much for your email. I am glad that you enjoyed the audio. I have recently been sent a small box of cassettes containing some recordings of one of my favourite stations from the 1980's, BRMB Radio. The recordings are mostly from about 1980 - 1981 and I am in the process of digitizing them and putting them on the website. If you'd like to submit your audio recordings to share with everyone just let me know and I'll put them on the site too. I am certainly keen to hear the Wiltshire Sound loop tape!

Thanks again for getting in touch. Kind regards, Mike.



Hi Mike,

I recently came across a number of old cassette tapes I had recorded of Les Ross breakfast shows from when I was a teenager. There is some audio of Ed Doolan and other BRMB presenters from the same era. I remembered that you had a website containing BRMB audio from the time that BRMB was a real local radio station and wondered if these tapes would be of any interest to you.

Les Ross never failed to make me laugh every morning for years so I am glad I made some recordings of his shows and it is great that they can find a home so that others of the same generation can recall some classic radio history and a new audience can get to hear a wit and humor which is sadly missing from the radio today.

Best wishes, Patrick Griffin
Editor in Chief, YourGadgetGuide. www.yourgadgetguide.net   @chattopatrick  @GadgetGuideUK

Hi Patrick,  Many thanks for your email. It's very kind of you to send these recordings to me. I am certainly very keen to make them available for others to hear again on the website. You're right; this was a time when BRMB was a really great local radio station!

I am gradually working through digitizing the cassettes and uploading them to the BRMB Audio page here.



Hi Mike,

Just found your brilliant site and have become immersed in it. It brings back many memories having been a keen listener to Independent Local Radio back in the seventies. I was particularly interested in the stuff about Les Ross and of course the audio clips. One thing I did notice is your ling to Les’ current work on Big City Radio is out of date. It can now be accessed on www.bigcityradio.org.uk with recent shows at http://www.bigcityradio.org.uk/page16.html.

I think I do have old BRMB recordings somewhere in my loft. If I find anything interesting I’ll be happy to share it with you.

David Moore.
(October 2013)

Hi David, Thanks for taking the time to write. I have now updated the links. Regards, Mike.



Hi Mike,

(Re BRMB Radio)

I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for putting the Nick Meanwell Late Show audio files on the site. I used to love listening to these as a teenager and always found the subjects and guest strangely compelling......

I have been looking for any other audio files of the show and they just don't seem to exist anywhere. Do you have anymore at all? I’d be really grateful if you could point me in the right direction if you do.

Love the Mark Keen stuff on the Mercia Sound site as well – all about nostalgia eh?

Thanks again, and keep up the good work.

Nic Freeman.
(September 2013)

Hi Nick, Many thanks for your comments, I am glad that you enjoyed the Nick Meanwell and Mark Keen audio. Unfortunately that's all we have at present!




Mike,

I have just re-visited your excellent website and found your recordings of BRMB’s opening day programme.   I had a dedication read out during their first hour (at 0641) and it was great to hear it again after all these years. Yes, I WAS listening to it in Penzance, Cornwall, probably using a Sony AM/FM tuner and long wire.  Got up early especially to hear the opening show, and phoned them up (it caused a family row at the time).   I have a reel to reel recording of it somewhere, but have not used my only working?? reel to reel recorder for some years and the tape would be hard to find.

BRMB Radio put an “anorak quality” signal into Cornwall at certain times of the day, before the opening of Plymouth Sound on the same frequency.  Their directional transmitting aerial (at Langley Mill, north east of Birmingham) fired at us down the Bristol Channel. It was the first ILR station I heard and I had been listening to the pre-launch test transmissions.

During the mid 70s I was a regular (mobile) listener to Swansea Sound, which propagated well into West Cornwall.   I had a couple of their car stickers on my first car (and one of those massive fibreglass whip aerials which were popular at the time).

Patrick J Collins. G8ZWA
(September 2013)


Hi Patrick, Many thanks for sharing your memories of the first days of broadcasting from one of Britain's pioneering Independent Local Radio stations. I am glad that you enjoyed the recordings, especially as you were featured on the first day's programme. It's quite amazing that you were able to receive the Birmingham local radio station all that distance away in Cornwall on a Sony AM/FM tuner!

Great to hear from another fellow Radio Amateur. Thanks again.



Hello Mike,

I have just seen your website and I understand you are interested in old radio recordings of BRMB. I have an old tape with an edited recording of Tony Butler's football results and phone-in show from May 1983. I was a student at Birmingham University at the time and a fairly regular listener. Not quite sure why it was edited to miss out the records and news bulletins but it is mostly Tony's interviews and the phone banter with his callers, 'on yer bike' and all that!

I was just about to wipe it but f you are interested I can forward this tape to you. It's on an old cassette tape, probably not the greatest mono recording from a tape/radio combo, and unfortunately I don't have the means to digitize it, but you're welcome to.

I had no idea TB was still broadcasting until last year, but not surprised to read he got into trouble a couple of times. He was always pretty blunt and to the point. Perhaps that was his appeal?

Hopefully there will be some snippets you can sample and load onto your website. I think Tony Butler used 'on yer bike' long before Norman Tebbit borrowed the phrase. He also seemed to like using 'let me tell you' and 'can't be bad' a lot - maybe that was in relation to Birmingham City who had a really awful season in 82-83 but climbed out of the relegation places in the final week. With Wolves being promoted, there were 5 teams from the West Midlands in the top league the following year.

I worked out that side 1 and part of side 2 was recorded on Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May 1983 - the day after the BRMB Walkathon - and the rest of side 2 up to the closing theme was on Sat 7th May 1983. They must have played footie on the Bank Holiday Mondays back then.

Enjoy the tape, I have to admit I don't remember much from those days but do recall the Tony Butler theme tune that he played out with each week, and also those 'Regency Windows..... we can do it' ads that must have played every half hour or so...

Thanks for the great website.

Cheers,
Chris Pajdowski
(May 2013)

Hi Chris, Many thanks for saving this tape and sending it in.  So glad you didn't wipe it !!!!!!

Listen to the cassette recordings here:   BRMB Sport with Tony Butler in May 1983




Hi Mike,

Thanks for a very useful and informative website, we appear to have very similar interests.

All the best from Paul Madden, GW8HYT,  Llandovery.


(April 2013)

Thanks Paul.



Hi Mike,

I came across your website and tried your FT Meter Project.  It works!  I was very happy with it and wanted to share to you what I’ve done. I have incorporated it into my EMACS: Emcomm Modular Ammo Can System. See a photograph of Jesse's FT-Meter here

Jesse Francis, KJ4KPV

(April 2013)

Thanks for your email Jesse - a very neat project!



Hello,

I know very little about amateur radio but I decided to read up on the subject, that’s how I wound up on your website. It’s nice to know that there are people who use something different from social networks in order to communicate.

Regards,
Eugene Carsten
(April 2013)

Hi Eugene, Many thanks for taking the time to email me. It's great to hear from you. I hope that you found some interesting and useful information.

Thanks again, and as we say, "73",  Mike.



Hi Mike,

I haven't been in touch for ages, thought I'd just say I've been going through the old tapes. In the last couple of weeks I came across one of my most earliest cassettes (a Currys C90) and found on there that I had about 12 minutes of an old John Peel show. When I checked the age of it using references to the music he played in the clip, it turns out it's older than I first thought. I'm dating it around somewhere between July and September 1977. A good vintage and it is an iconic snapshot of what those listeners who tuned in on medium wave radio late at night would have heard at that time. Punk was just hitting the scene, as Generation X or Gen X as they were known, were defined by Peel as 'the best of the new bands'.  Hear the John Peel clip in the Audio section of the Airwaves page here.

I though you might like to have a copy. I do remember that I must have recorded it on my brother's music centre, or he did as he was a fan at the time. I didn't even have my own tape recorder when this went out! Apart from the fading - it was night time MW - it's good fun. This would  have still been on 247m in the autumn of 1977 - the wavelength changes did not happen until 1978, when Radio One moved to 275 and 285 metres medium wave.

Best wishes,
Julian Watson.
(April 2013)

Thanks Julian, this a great little clip of the great John Peel.



Hi Mike,

I've read your site on and off for a few years now and finally got around to building a matchbox radio. I'd made one as a child during the '70s from the PW article, with the original Ferranti ZN414 and I'd always wanted to make another one to have, particularly so that I always had a mini radio to listen to the cricket on LW....

I have a feeling that my wife will probably disown me over the next few weeks, when I bore he rigid with how the projects are coming on.

Thanks for your informative website.

All the best, Al.  
Read more here >
(April 2013)

Thanks Al.



Hi Mike,

Here's a more authentic pic of another newsman in the BRMB Radio newsroom (me) circa 1977 - about May 1977.
More audio soon. (pic)

Cheers,
John Rogers.
(March 2013)

Hi John, Great to hear from you again. Thanks for the photograph and also for the audio which is greatly appreciated.




Hi Mike, Great website page about BRMB - excellent work....
 
Just thought you would like to know (not sure if you have already heard) that Les Ross is now back on Big City Radio every Sunday afternoon with Celebrations - every Sunday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm. It's a "this day in history" style show with Les' style and each song or piece of music played is linked to a Birthday or other celebration that's happening in the coming week. It's an excellent show and great to have Les back on the radio. http://www.happychappymedia.com/bigcityradio/

With very best wishes,
Steve Evans.

(March 2013)

Thanks Steve, that's great news!



Hello Mike, You might remember me - you have a picture of my 'matchbox radio' on your site!  For some time now I've been doing what I call extreme PIC programming and once again I'm longing for analogue! (Sometimes I wish I had been born earlier so that I could have participated in the analogue boom years of the 50s and 60s. In saying that, I would probably have come up against serious opposition as a woman back then.)

Anyway, I am hoping to put time to making a HAC regenerative receiver and I think your site will provide all the information I need to do that. I return to your site quite frequently by the way. An amusing revelation: As a kid I built and used a 'Science Fair Globe Patrol' regenerative radio from Tandy. I was stunned to often hear TV signals on 30MHz. I found out a year or two later that TV IFs were typically 30MHz! It should have been obvious really - I only ever heard these signals when the TV was on downstairs!

Thanks for a great site, Mike.

Regards,
Karen.

(March 2013)

Thanks for your email Karen. I certainly remember your previous correspondence about your miniature radio and I also remember Tandy's Science Fair Globe Patrol radio. I also discovered one or two 'odd' signals that were, it transpired, the Intermediate Frequencies of nearby receiving equipment. I'll be interested to read about your latest HAC radio project. The details on this page, Hear All Continents radio should provide enough information since the constructional layout is not especially critical. The most critical part is winding, and then adjusting the coil.  Best wishes, Mike.



Hello Mike, I am a shortwave listener since 1990 and I love it. I have a UBC-3500XLT radio scanner, an Eton E1 AM/FM/shortwave Radio that covers 80 metres to 11meters and more. This year for my Christmas gift of my uncle gave me an Intek KT-930EE dual band radio - and there is my problem I don't know how to operate it. Could you please help me out? When scanning, the radio stops stops on even very weak or faint signal where is no radio communication. What must I do to hear some radio stations?

Most kind regards,
Peter from Belgium.

(January 2013)

Hi Peter,

Thank you for your email. Sadly your email address does not work and my reply was returned as undeliverable, so here is my answer:

The radio that you have is actually a transceiver (i.e a transmitter / receiver) for licensed radio bands. It will receive 136 to 174 MHz and 400 to 470 MHz. Since many signals in these ranges could be digital and pagers you may not hear a great deal - perhaps nothing except some amateur radio operators using nbfm.

However there may be some analogue speech transmissions that you could receive - e.g. in the UK we may hear some analog taxi services around 160 to 175 MHz. You will need to ensure that the squelch is not set too low, otherwise the scanner will stop on too many very weak and noisy signals. In any case it will also stop on a lot of digital / packet transmissions that will just be noise of various types - no speech.

Please be careful: Under no circumstances whatsoever should you ever try to transmit using this radio - it would be illegal and cause problems for licensed users.

If you want further training you may find a nearby amateur radio club that can help you pass the necessary exams:

http://www.uba.be      http://www.dxzone.com/catalog/Ham_Radio/Clubs/Europe/Belgium/

The Intek website is here: http://www.intek-radios.com   The user instruction manual can be downloaded from the product page here: http://www.intek-radios.com/?C=Product_V.php&Id=37

I hope that helps. 73 Mike.




Hi guys, I just thought I’d drop you a quick message to say that I’d visited your web site and enjoyed having a look through your photos especially the cats.

I’m a recently rejuvenated radio ham, G8BYB, and my wife Carol, M6MEW, is very new to the hobby having got her ticket 3 weeks ago.  We also have many cats wandering about the place.  They are mainly Bengals but we also have some wild cats.  Yes, we breed Bengal cats. Love the shack and I’ve just realised I’d already visited your web site before for some reason.

I’m still applying the finishing touches to our shack, although Carol has decided she wants her own!!!!

Best wishes,
Andrew, G8BYB
  http://www.eriador-cats.com
(December 2012)

Hi Andrew and Carol, Thank you so much for your email, it's great to hear from you. It's very interesting to read that you are a 'rejuvenated radio ham'  and that your wife is also newly licensed - well done from us! Glad that you liked the photographs of the cats. We have also had a look at your own website - which is full of such beautiful and adorable creatures -  all too lovely for words!

Glad you also liked the shack, which has to be efficiently squeezed into a corner of the box room! But it works. We await a photo of your own shack!

Thanks again for taking the time to email. Best wishes ('73' as they say), Mike and Jules.



  Hi Mike, I have a question that I'm hoping you might be able to answer for me. I am contemplating building a crystal set radio to particular online basic instructions.

However,before I get involved I wanted to know roughly what stations I might be able to pick up in the Bromley Kent area especially with respect to 'Digital' now and in the near future. I am also a bit confused over the suggestion that I might need an AM transmitter. If you are able to throw any light on this subject ,it would be gratefully appreciated.

Thank you. Regards,
David.
(November 2012)

Hi David,

Thanks for your email about crystal set radios.

The need for a miniature AM transmitter would arise if you lived in an area, or a country, without any medium wave / AM transmissions. In which case you would need to generate your own transmission for the crystal set to receive.

A crystal set, because it has no power of its own, requires a good strong signal to work - all that powers a crystal set is the energy supplied to it from the radio stations 'picked up' the aerial. A crystal set, therefore, usually needs a large aerial too!

Norway is in the process of switching off ALL analogue radio transmitters. All their medium/AM radio transmitters have already been switched off and FM will also be abandoned very soon, with all these transmitters being decommissioned and dismantled. The replacement is a digital radio service that needs complex, power hungry radios to listen - and which are certainly not receivable on a simple crystal set.

Another example is where medium wave / AM radio does not strong, or indeed any signals is western Scotland and the Outer Hebrides - an area that has in fact never been served by medium wave / AM radio transmitters.

So in western Scotland and Norway a crystal set would not work. If you wanted to receive something on a crystal set in these or similar areas you would need a miniature AM transmitter to transmit some music or recorded programmes from CD's, LP's, cassette tapes or mp3's.

However in London there should be a number of stations on medium wave (AM) that you should be able to receive on a crystal set:

From the main medium wave transmitter at Brookmans Park:
BBC Radio Five Live (909 kHz)
Talk Sport (1089 kHz)
Absolute Radio (1215 kHz)

You may possibly also receive:
Gold on 1548 kHz from Saffron Green
LBC on 1152 from Saffron Green

Possibly 558kHz from Crystal Palace and maybesome other nearby 'local' transmitters, e.g. on 963 or 972, or 1035, 1305, 1332, 1413 kHz - perhaps (?).

In the UK analogue switch-off (i.e. FM / AM) was planned for 2015, but that may be pushed back due to the poor quality and unpopularity of our digital DAB radio service.

I hope that helps!  Best wishes, Mike.



  Hi Mike, Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed the ILR section of your website. I was inspired to write by the recent ‘biopic /docudrama about Kenny Everett on BBC 4 which brought back some great memories.

I used to spend a number of half term holidays in the 1970s’ zooming all over the UK with my father usually delivering parts to the great British car industry so BRMB was no stranger to the Ford Cortina’s medium wave only radio. As you well know it was on 261m (seemingly the ILR frequency of choice) so you could leave London on the M1 listening to LBC and almost have an automatic re-tune to BRMB and then Piccadilly, if you were heading toward the British Leyland factory in Speke.

All those stations were great and put today’s ‘local’ radio to shame. The dumbing down of the original ILR network is nothing short of a disgrace. As for the new digital only stations the less said the better (with the honourable exception of BBC 6 Music) – and the powers that be are surprised by the lack of take up … perhaps they haven’t listened to any of it!

I’m now the one behind the wheel zooming up and down the M1 and I usually take a pile of CDs to listen to rather than listen to the rubbish pumped out by Heart and Capital; Can anyone tell me what ‘ownership’ and ‘involvement’ someone living in Cardiff or Sheffield have of a station called Capital???

It’s interesting to me how much of Radio 2’s output over the last 10 years at times sounds so much like the ‘old’ ILR. It’s equally interesting how they always clean up when the audience figures are released so it proves those stations were on the right track.

Keep up the good work.  [See the BRMB Radio page here]

Thanks,
James.

(November 2012)

Thanks for your email James. You make some very interesting observations and I cannot take issue with a word you write. It is documented that stations like Capital and Heart have just a few hundred records in total on their playlists, while BBC Radio One and BBC Radio Two have about 3000 tracks each on their respective playlists. No doubt only part of the reason while the commercial stations sound so utterly dire and why Radio One and Radio Two do very well!

Best wishes, Mike.



Hi, I was wondering if you could help. My aunt lives in Warcop Cumbria and enjoyed listening to the Welsh radio (South Wales I think) she now cannot get it at all. I have searched through  websites trying to find an answer and am hoping you could throw some light on this. I don't think she has a digital radio - could she get the Welsh signal if she had a one? Any help would be most appreciated.

Many thanks,
Ann.

[November 2012]

Hi Ann, Thanks for your email. I have to presume that your aunt was listening to BBC Radio Wales. BBC Radio Wales is transmitted on Medium Wave ("AM") and is probably the only Welsh service that one might be able to receive in Cumbria - except under certain unusual atmospheric conditions.

Obviously Radio Wales is only intended to be received in Wales itself, although it can be heard very well along the Welsh borders, parts of the Midlands and around Bristol and the West Country. I would have thought, however, that at certain times of day - particularly during darkness - that BBC Radio Wales could be received to some degree in Cumbria on medium wave.

The main frequency is 882 kHz Medium Wave from a high powered transmitter at Washford (Somerset!), serving South Wales with and another medium powered transmitter at Penmon on Anglesey for north west Wales. There may also be a chance of receiving the lower powered transmitter that serves Wrexham and parts of North East Wales on 657 kHz Medium Wave.

The BBC Radio Wales transmitters remain the same as they always have been, so nothing has changed in that respect. The main influence of distant medium wave reception is the earth's changing ionosphere, which varies according to season and time of day.

Radio Wales does also transmit to some parts of Wales on VHF/FM - but these transmissions would not be receivable in Cumbria under normal conditions. Radio Wales is also on DAB within parts of Wales - but again not receivable in Cumbria.

Radio Wales is not transmitted in England on DAB or VHF/FM. However you will find BBC Radio Wales on FREESAT - the free satellite television service. It is worth checking this out if you are keen. Natuarally BBC Radio Wales is also available via the internet.

Other radio stations that broadcast in Wales include BBC Radio Cymru which is available on VHF/FM across the province and also on DAB in one or two areas. There are also a handful of commercial stations, however none of these VHF/FM or DAB stations would be receivable in Cumbria under normal conditions.

If you want to try to receive the medium wave signal of Radio Wales on 882 kHz or 657 kHz you'll need to use the best quality radio that you can and perhaps give it some added assistance from a "Loop Aerial" that is described on the website here. A Loop Aerial will improve the distant reception of medium wave considerably.

Best wishes, Mike.


 
Hi, I've been reading through the death of Fox FM. It had all the information that I was looking for and answered many questions. What I would also like to know is what happened to the old presenters?'  Where are they now? It was a great shame when the station finished and it's never been the same!  ;-(

Many thanks for any information.

By the way, do you remember the hilarious day Phil Angel went up in the Unipart Flying Fox and had to be brought down because he felt ill? .....Happy days!

Regards,
Mark Townley.
[October 2012]

Hi Mark, Thanks for your email. It is indeed a great shame that yet another good local station has been closed down by the soulless conglomerate. I don't know where everyone from Fox has gone, but here are some:

Jane Markham went to Classic FM I believe and is now a voice-over artist.

I last heard Tony James on BBC Radio Cumbria a couple of years ago.

Steve Ellis sadly died in 1995.

Phil Miles worked for County Sound before Fox FM and I think also Red Dragon Radio. I don't know what he has done since.

I think Phil Angell went on to work at UKRD in management.

I think Steve Priestly was on BRMB for some time after Fox FM.

As I say, that's all I can remember, so I am not sure about the rest of the Fox FM team.

I hope that helps a bit!

Best wishes, Mike.



Good morning Mike, I have sent you the whole 2 hours of the first 'final' Les Ross Breakfast Show on BRMB from 10th March 1989 The show is in two separate files, 0700-0800 and 0800-0900, I've compressed it to 64kbs, unfortunately the original cassette recording was not up to my usual home recording quality but none the less a piece of BRMB history that I'd like to share.

There will be more files coming your way over the next few weeks as I will be able to dedicate more of my spare time to transferring my audio cassettes, I hope you will find them of interest.

Kind regards,
Rob.

(October 2012)

Thank you Rob, This is fantastic material! I look forward to receiving more. In the mean time listen to the first 'final' Les Ross Breakfast Show on BRMB here and also Rob's recording of a BRMB Sport Special with Tony Butler here.


 
Hi, I was a reporter and newsreader at BRMB between 1981 and 1984, working under Brian Sheppard and Colin Palmer. I spent three of my happiest years working for the station.

[On adding Martin to the BRMB page] I was hardly up there with the greats like Les Ross or Ed Doolan - but it gives me particular pride and pleasure to see myself listed, through your work, as part of the collective memory of the station, and I still have some bulletins, jingles and general clips on cassette tape. If you're interested, I will get them down from the loft and send them to you.

Thank you for everything you're doing to keep the BRMB memory alive - it was a wonderful station and I am very sad that it has disappeared from the airwaves.

Best regards,

Martin Benedyk (Now working for The Associated Press in London)
(October 2012)

Hi Martin,

Thank you very much for your email. I fear that I have barely scratched the surface of BRMB's history, but at the pages have been able to preserve something of the story and sounds of what was a superb local radio station.

I would be very grateful for the recordings that you have, I am sure that they would make an excellent addition to the BRMB pages.

Thanks again, it's greatly appreciated. Best wishes, Mike.




Hi Mike,

GREAT website.  Although I now live in Canada, I was a Black Country kid and started listening to BRMB in 1976 I think.  I was a Hospital Radio DJ in Dudley and I got to know some of the presenters including Roger Day, Les Ross, and others.  I am still in touch with Roger Day.

I was on BRMB a few times myself, as a guest DJ.  I have one of those as an MP3 file (it's me and Roger Day doing a Sunday morning show in 1982), let me know the best way to send it to you and you can put it on your site.  I also have a Les Ross breakfast show from 1987.  You are welcome to both files.  I also have an MP3 of radio jingles from the 1970s and there's a lot of Midlands stuff on there.

Congrats on a great website, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Terry Hughes. (October 2012)


Hi Terry,

Thanks so much for your email. It's great to hear from you, and thanks for the compliments.

It's very interesting to read that you were a presenter on both hospital radio and BRMB too. Roger Day is a great 'radio guy'. We attended his talk at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre on his very varied life and career in radio.  That was when he was at Saga 105.7 here in the West Midlands.

Since then that station has also been closed and the 105.7 transmitter has become a relay of GMG's national Smooth Radio brand - which itself has recently been subsumed into Global's portfolio, and and its future has been thrown into doubt.

Thanks for the offer of your BRMB audio recordings for the archives. I will be more than delighted to accept anything that you have!

Thanks again for the very offer - I can't wait to hear your recordings!


Hi Mike,

Great to hear from you.  Feel free to enjoy and put them on your site, giving me (Terry Hughes) some credit would be nice.

Let's keep in touch and you never know, I might find a few more tapes! (I have some hospital radio and other ones too).

Cheers, Terry. (October 2012)


Hi Terry,

Thanks for going to so much trouble.

I always credit the contributors - it's very important when trying to save little bits of history to acknowledge the efforts of those, like yourself, who have taken so much time to send material in.

Thanks again, I will download them tonight and put them on the site - crediting you, of course! 

The Les Ross Breakfast Show with the BRMB Flying Eye and Roger Day and Terry Hughes can be heard here.

Best wishes,

Mike.



Just to say a big thank you for putting the Les Ross "Yesterday Never Comes" recordings on line!

Really enjoyed them!   Nim Nim Nim!
 
John Dell (September 2012)

Thanks John, and thanks again to Robert Scott who sent them in. We really enjoyed them too!



With regard to some technical questions about restoring a 1961 vintage Grundig Majestic Entertainment System ......
Mike, You are too kind sir!  Thank you so very much for your wonderfully prompt responses and for endeavoring to assist me through these straits.

Very truly yours, Allen Boobar, Los Angeles.
  (September 2012)

Thanks Allen, Well we haven't entirely cracked the problem yet - but hopefully we'll find a solution! Best wishes, Mike.



With regard to many questions posed and answered about amateur radio ........
Mike, Awesome, awesome, awesome information.  Many thanks!


Thanks again, Rob. KC9VLT  (September 2012)

My pleasure Rob! Best wishes, Mike.



Mike, I know you have been in contact with my good friend Mark G0MGX but I felt I needed to say thanks and acknowledge your work on a 160m sloper antenna. [Antenna article here]

It works very well here and, thanks to Mark who built several inductors until one gave us an SWR of 1.1 on the CW end of the band and also braised several copper rods together for form a reasonable earth under a large pine tree.   He has passed on to me details of the website of K7MEM which may well inspire me to try a 'sloper' for 80m as well.

I've always wanted a top band antenna but felt that I didn't have the room - but thanks to your idea and Mark's enthusiasm for the project I now have what I wanted - I'm being heard (and can hear) into European Russia with it so it certainly works!

Thanks again - I enjoyed your website very much. 73, Vince G0ORC
(August 2012)

Hello Vince, Thanks for taking the time to let me know. Congratulations to you and Mark, G0MGX, on a project very well done!

Best wishes, Mike, M0MTJ.



Hi Mike and Jules!

I wanted to let you know how grateful I am for your website and share some things about my quest for a good record player.

Early 2011 my mom called me telling me she wanted to get rid of my late dad's collection of (mainly jazz) 78's. I gladly went over to pick them up, including his data records on cards, and now had to think of the best way to start playing 'm. I did try to persuade her to throw in the Thorens TD-124, but she still wants to play her own vinyls, so the record player stayed. 
[edit - read full text here..]

I started to browse the web for advice,  dreaming about building my own audiophile belt drive player, finding out a lot of interesting stuff on playing 78's, and finding all kinds of off the shelve units for big budgets which looked great on the pictures. Now I have to say something about my hi-fi enthusiasm: I always read massive amounts about audiophile solutions, but I do become kind of skeptical when authors start braiding their own interlinks and putting speaker cables on mini tripods. My own set is a mid range NAD T742 surround receiver, a good set of Dali Royal speakers, and good but no nonsense cabling. In my quest I kept on landing back on your page, also through other sites and forums, and found your approach to be very close to what I like to see: Practical solutions, advice for good quality products, without the mystery that is so often found on hi-fi pages.
[edit - read full text here..]

So now I am happily playing my own old vinyl, and my dad's 78's. My vinyl sounds as never before, what a difference! For the 78's I had this impression of slightly fast running play back with a lot of noise and a funny sound profile. Now, with a good stable deck with easy pitch control, a good needle, equalizing preamp and a good cleaner, I do realize 78's can actually play back as true hi-fi, even when it is of course still mono. It is also fun to do, because there are so many variables, every record might need some minor adjustments to make it sound exactly right.

Your site and your research and information has helped me tremendously on my quest for a record player. Thank you so much for making this all available online!!!

Best regards, Helmer Verbruggen, The Netherlands 
(August 2012)

[Read Helmer's full unedited story here...]

Dear Helmer, Very many thanks for your email - you have had a fascinating and ultimately rewarding journey through sound! It's especially interesting to see new ideas and different designs such as your excellent case making skills! Yours is another inspiring tale of finding enjoyment from a large record collection. Thanks again for writing such a detailed account!  Mike and Jules.



Hi Mike & Jules, I'm just in the process of transferring some of my home recorded audio cassettes to digital and I've come across a tape I compiled in September 1984 which has a number of episodes of 'Yesterday Never Comes' from the Les Ross breakfast show on BRMB Radio. I have about 16 episodes complete which I've now digitized to mp3 audio files. I must admit I've known that I've had these recordings for years but they've been boxed away, I have finally decided to make the effort and transfer what I have to the pc...it's so easy isn't it ? !

I'm more than glad to share what I have, it's a pleasure looking through your site and I'm sure that I have other BRMB recordings from the early 1980's amongst my cassettes, I'll advise you of my finds in due course.
I seem to have trimmed most of the episodes of 'Yesterday Never Comes' at the time, taking for granted that the Les Ross 'banter' was the norm at the time, oh...how times change !

I've sent you 18 episodes of Yesterday Never Comes, and I'll continue digging through my cassettes and anything BRMB related I'll whizz across to you, I went through a period of recording commercials !! Don't ask !!!! They laughed then and probably still laugh now - I know !  I'll be in touch.

Kind regards, Robert Scott, South Yardley, Birmingham. [August 2012]

Hi Robert, Very many thanks for your email.  It was only last week that I was thinking about Yesterday Never Comes and going though my cassettes trying to find anything that I might have. Sadly I could not find any episodes. It's therefore amazing that you have found such a comprehensive collection. Your recordings are great and I find it remarkable how many of my cassettes have stood the test of time. Yesterday Never Comes certainly made me laugh out loud - it was crazy wasn't it?!

You're quite right, we just take these things for granted at the time, thinking that it will never change. I now wish that I had made many more recordings, but it's too late now, so it is very pleasing to receive yours. It's very sad to think that we're unlikely to witness such a great, wide ranging, radio station again, but we can reflect on these happy memories!

For those that don't know, "Yesterday Never Comes" is the true life story of the ups and downs and the ins and outs - and sometimes the un-soled shoes - of the people of Little Whittle, not far from Wattle: Listen to Rob's recordings of 'Yesterday Never Comes' from Les Ross on BRMB Radio in 1984 here Thanks very much indeed for sending in these gems!

Best wishes, Mike & Jules



Mike,
Thank you very much for the info you have published in you web site. Very informative, interesting and educative. Thank you once again.

Sincerely,
KJ Kumar, California.
[August 2012]

Hi, My pleasure - Thank you so much for your message, it's great to hear from you in sunny California. Best wishes, Mike.



Hello There,
I was searching for the electrical circuits when by chance I came to your site: http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/trfradios02.html

It is great delight to see the content of the book Making A Transistor Radio on line and the experience of others on the page. I want to mention that in 1974 when I was in VIII standard I got this book issued from the school library and by just going through it I felt I could assemble it, I took the book to my father and asked for his permission, he permitted me and I prepared the board in my school workshop, and searched for the parts in the town (Udaipur, Rajasthan, India) and after that was able to assemble it, it gave me an immense pleasure which is still with me at the age of 54 yrs.

This wonderful book paved the path for my forever interest in electronics and I still do something or the other. recently found that Internet is quite helpful in this regard, I congratulate you for this content on the site, and take the liberty to improve it to make it with parts available presently. I lost my set and equipment while I was travelling, only the memories are with me.


With Love and Regards from the other end of the world, Ravinder Singh [August 2012]

Dear Ravinder, Very many thanks for taking the trouble to send an email and for the kind comments and your own interesting story about Making A Transistor Radio. What a great shame that your own radio set went missing while travelling. Happy memories though!!  Best wishes, Mike.



Mick's "Mrs Radio Puss" Hi Mike, I hope all is well, I visit your site occasionally for A. good info on the SL1200 and B. to see my old sadly passed away pusscat Radio Puss.

So here we have, Mrs Radio puss with her litter of Motorola P210 hand portable transceivers.

Best Regards, Mick. [July 2012]

Hi Mick, Very many thanks for your email.

It's good to read your news and particularly to see your photograph of Mrs Radio Puss. Beautiful, and a great litter of P210 radios too!

Thanks again - Best wishes, Mike and Jules.



Hi Mike, I am just listening to your recording of "When Pirates Ruled The Airwaves" and so I found your other pages - Thank you so much. I am also having fun visiting your page : www.mds975.co.uk  - lots of interesting topics.  :-)

Thanks for sharing.

With greetings from Munich, Bavaria.

Cheers, Alec. [July 2012]


Hi Alec, Very many thanks for your email. We're glad to read that you enjoyed the topics and particularly When Pirates Ruled The Airwaves'!

Greetings to you too! Thanks again, Mike.



Hi Mike, I was wondering If you could tell me what type of radio would be most useful in an emergency situation where normal means of communication weren't available. I'm also looking for a fairly cheap model that has a scanning function.

I want to buy a hand-held device....there's a lot out there! I'm assuming UHF/VHF aren't CB radios? Also what is the most commonly used transceiver? CB, or ham, or whatever. I want to increase the possibility of communication to a maximum so therefore would like to know what devices would be most suitable. I'm well aware I am showing my ignorance of the subject, but I believe this may have a very practical use in the future, so again would appreciate any pointers you could give me.

Any help you could provide as well as the best place to get hold of one would be fantastic and much appreciated.

Cheers, Mark.  [June 2012]

Hi Mark, thanks for your email. A two way radio can be handy at times - though hopefully we will not have an emergency that requires its use! A CB radio can keep you in contact with other friends or family locally and be operated in a power cut if installed in a car and running from the car's battery.

I list a number of dealers on the links page: http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/cb_radio_10.html

The Thunderpole website is one that is usually good at indicating a particular radio's functions, such as scanning. Scanning in this case refers to scanning the CB band - not any other radio bands. Thunderpole also  have some complete kit ideas available - but I imagine any of the dealers that I mention could put a complete kit together that suits your particular needs - if CB is what you want. The Intek H520, for example, is a hand held CB with a scan function.

You might also consider PMR-446 hand held transceivers. Like CB they do not require a licence. These use UHF (446 MHz) rather than the HF (27 MHz) that is used by CB; they and are lower output devices with an output of about 0.5 watt, compared to a CB radio's 4 watt output. I am not sure about scanning functions on these, so you'd have to check that with a dealer.

As an alternative to PMR-446 and CB Radio, you might consider amateur radio as it has the potential for much greater ranges. It is radio amateurs that are often used to maintain communications in areas of the world where there has been some kind of a disaster. Amateur Radio does require a licence due to the higher transmitter powers allowed and the consequent potential for causing interference to other users. You would first need to sit the Foundation Licence exam to obtain the necessary licence and be issued with a 'call sign'. This would allow you access to different HF, VHF and UHF bands with up to 10 watts transmitted power. There are hand held transceivers available that include a scan function and have output powers of typically between 2 and 5 watts. You'd could visit a nearby amateur radio club or contact the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) to discover more about the subject and requirements.

I hope that covers everything. Best wishes, Mike.


Thanks for getting back to me so quickly Mike, you covered everything and thanks also for the link. You're a good man Mike, cheers :)

Take care, Mark



Mike and Jules, I ran across your website whilst experimenting with different circuits using the MK484. I saw that you have a link to Bowood Electronics in the UK. I have been using them also for years and I wondered if you had seen their MK484 Kit on there. It can be ordered complete (- 32 ohm earphones ) and includes a specification sheet and the schematic diagram, and the wire and ferrite rod are included to wind to your suiting. The MK484 Kit part number is KT001 and it costs $9.15 $US. Also if you e-mail [the owner] Will, he might sell you the circuit board separately. The link to the kits page is:
 
Just thought you guys might want to know. You have a neat website and it is fun to build simple "Old Time" stuff.
 
Regards, Jamie.
[June 2012]

Hi Jamie, Many thanks for your email. We have used Bowood Electronics for some years too and also bought the MK484 kit from them. It's very good, thanks for the reminder - we'll post your link.

Thanks, Mike & Jules.



Hi, Thanks for your site. I have been trying to track down info about a [radio] phenomenon where I lived, near Kingston upon Thames, before the start of ILR, commercial radio [Capital Radio] in 1973.

There was a transmission three nights a week on FM stereo, not BBC, in high quality on Tue/Wed/Thurs I believe. Same frequency was used, but each night it was called by a different name. The one I remember best was called Radio Aquarius, which would play a single program in the evening, for two hours, of underground and progressive music in hi-fi stereo. I remember them playing The Doors 'Riders on the Storm' when it was first released, which would place it in 1971, but it ran for a year or two either side.

This was not Radio Jackie, local to that area (Radio Jackie was hard to receive where I lived), and was around the time of Radio North Sea International, but far superior in quality.

As a young teenager, this station introduced me to much of the music I still like today. I forget the format of the other two nights, but I believe one may have been jazz and the other soul. I have no idea who was behind these [broadcasts], their legality, or how they were funded, as they featured no adverts, but the quality suggests this was more than simply hobbyists.

My suspicion is that this may have been some form of transmission tests in the run up to Capital Radio which filled a gaping void in radio a year or so after this period, and the way the broadcasts worked as discrete 2 hour programmes on three nights kind of lends itself to that.

I wondered whether you can shed any light on this phenomenon, as I can find no mention of it anywhere?

Michelle. [10th May 2012]

Hi Michelle, Thanks for your email and question.

In the late 1960's Radio Free London North and South shared 255 metres. There was also the Radio Free Helen Network on 197metres - consisting of Radio Helen 1/2/3 /north/south, Radio Revenge, Radio Freedom, Radio Apollo, Radio Telstar and Radio Spectrum all broadcasting in turn, from different locations but on the same frequency.

Later came a group of 'pirate' stations that shared the facility known as "The London Transmitter Of Independent Radio" - or L.T.I.R. - which broadcast various radio stations with different programme styles four nights a week. This certainly wasn't Capital Radio or the IBA, but they were a group of individuals striving for high quality music broadcasting on VHF / FM.

L.T.I.R. grew out of Radio Jackie's original use of a high quality VHF transmitter on Saturday nights on 94.4 MHz and was set up with the intention of providing its high quality VHF signal to other radio stations. Between 1971 and 1972 the L.T.I.R. broadcast different radio stations four nights a week, each providing different programme and music styles.

The stations that used the L.T.I.R VHF / FM facility were: Radio Aquarius - Broadcast on Friday nights providing light music with Barry as the Disc Engineer; Radio London Underground (growing out of Radio Jackie's programmes)  - From 1971 - in April 1972 broadcast regularly on Sunday evenings / nights for eight months with progressive music, pop and classical plus documentaries; Radio Classic; Radio Odyssey; Radio Jackie / Radio Star.

I have some more information and details along with lots of external links to more information on this page: Pirate Radio

Best wishes, Mike.


Hi Mike,  It is interesting, because as well my memory of it being Thursday night being wrong, this version of a track from the musical 'Hair' played by James Last kind of confirms that Radio Aquarius was Light entertainment, on a Friday evening. Whereas, 'Underground' would have been where things like the Doors were played, and that was on a Sunday evening.

Strange thing memory, and strange how hard it is to pin down obscure facts from before the age of the internet.

James Last, like Mantovani and Semprini, were all things my parents would have liked, but not me. Although I did listen to some Mantovani and Semprini 78's about five years ago, and was impressed by the surreality of some of the sounds they produced.

Thanks, Michelle. [23rd May 2012]



Hey there!  I wanted to shoot you a quick email to tell you how my students and I came across your page, http://mds975.co.uk/Content/amateur_radio_links.htmlwhile looking for radio resources.  Anyway, my students mentioned to me that they wanted to contribute to your list of resources: http://www.conferencecallsunlimited.com/history-calling.php  (I also told them I'd award them some extra credit!) 

It'd be a great addition to your page...very interesting! Would you mind adding it to your page? They'd love to make a useful contribution! 

Sincerely,
Carly Walters [May 2012]

Thanks Carly - Indeed it is a great resource and we've added it to the Amateur Radio Links page.   Thanks, Mike.



Hi Mike, We are a couple who have just returned from Spain after about 5 months.  While there we watched a huge amount of sport mainly tennis and football.  On our return to the U.K. we find that any sport worth watching has been lost highly expensive satellite stations.  How is that somebody who doesn't live in our country is allowed to monopolize our sports viewing?   We are sure there must be millions of viewers of a like mind.  What can be done about this ludicrous situation?

Ron & Sheila West
   [April 2012]

Hello Ron and Shiela,

Many thanks for your email.

I suppose you have come back to the UK for the weather!

I doubt anything whatsoever can be done, in this case I think big money and influence rules. Remember, only last week that Ofcom waved through a 30% increase in the price of postage stamps. Terrestrial channels such as ITV, Channel Four, Channel Five and even the BBC may not be able to compete with the billions and the power and influence from other areas of the telecom's sector.

Sadly I think that this may be only the tip of the iceberg. The recent World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) has effectively handed a chunk of radio spectrum, currently used by domestic terrestrial television broadcasting, to the mobile phone / data companies for 4G networks. Certain corporations are doubtless eager to get their hands on this spectrum so that can be used for hugely profitable data transmission. Yet more spectrum, currently used for domestic terrestrial television, will no doubt be handed over in the near future for the '5G' mobile telecom's auction.  [more]

Thanks again for your email. Enjoy the weather!

Best wishes, Mike.



Hi Mike, I have passed my amateur radio foundation exam and was told to just log onto the ofcom site and using my exam code to get my call sign. I have been to the Ofcom site but cannot see where I do this, can you assist?

Best Regards, Steve 
[April 2012]

Hi Steve,

Very well done indeed on passing the exam!

You will need to apply to create a user name and password, if you don't already have them, to log in. From there you should be able to input your details and then be offered a list of available call signs to choose from.

http://licensing.ofcom.org.uk/radiocommunication-licences/amateur-radio/

https://services.ofcom.org.uk/

However, Ofcom don't make their site particularly easy to use, so you have problems you may find it's easier to telephone them in the week. Their licensing staff are always extremely helpful, polite and professional. You may find it less frustrating doing it this way.

Once you obtain your licence I would advise that you print out a couple of copies from the pdf file that you will download from the Ofcom website.

Keep one print out in a safe place at home and keep the other with you in a plastic wallet to keep with you when you operate portable or mobile.

Don't forget to also print out the terms and conditions and refer to them. This pdf is also found on your licensing overview page, or here:
https://services.ofcom.org.uk/terms

I hope that helps.

Again, congratulations!

Best wishes, Mike.



BBC
                            Medium Frequency 737 kHz transmitter
                            crystal Mike, After some persistent Googling I found your excellent site while searching for the BBC WWII medium-wave single-frequency network [Group H].

I thought you might be interested in the attached photograph of a crystal, which I know was used in BBC MF [transmitter] drives of a certain era, and I suspect might have been the carrier master-oscillator for one of the group H transmitters  (2*737 = 1474kHz).  The crystal is beautifully made; it has pride of place on our coffee table!


You're welcome to use it on the site: similarly a PYE MM radio ( photo) which I recently restored to working order for a friend.


Best wishes, John  (March 2012)

Hi John, Thanks very much indeed for your photographs. We have included the photographs of the Pye model MM radio and the crystal on the UK Radio History page.
Thanks again, much appreciated. Mike.



Hi Mike, Our new website (see below) is now online and live!  It is dedicated to the staff who manned RAF (840 SU) Siggiewi throughout the years:  http://www.raf-siggiewi-malta.com I am adding 3 more pages in the next few days, one deals with how RAF Siggiewi was in years gone by, another shows how it is today and the third is for lost friends.

So far the comments have been good and a lot of guys are coming out of the woodwork with information. Dave
Bawden.
(March 2012)

Thanks Dave, great new site!  Mike.



Hi Mike, very extensive & interesting site. I look forward to reading more as time permits. We have a smallish allotment here in Rosebud, South-East of Melbourne (contrary to all those "wide open spaces" stories that seem to illustrate the ideal Aussie home!!), so your lw antenna projects would probably work well here. Anyway, thanks for the great info, Cheers from Mark VK3PDG  (March 2012)

Hi Mark, Many thanks for your email, it's very good to hear from you. I'm glad that you found something useful on the site. Good luck with your antennas, I hope that you find something effective that works well in your space!  73,  Mike.



[David had the antenna for his Lowe HF 225 stolen from his sailing boat. The radio is used to receive marine weather forecasts and warnings. I was able to offer some advice on how to rig up a wire antenna that could be used on a temporary basis.]

Hi Mike, Thank you for all your help. I have rigged a temporary antenna using a length of wire as you recommend and its works fine after a little tweaking. I am now looking at a permanent replacement, once again thank you for the links you supplied.

Mike, it is nice to still be able to find some one like yourself who is willing to help and offer advice, you truly have been invaluable.

Kind regards, David
(March 2012)

Hi David,

It's a pleasure, glad it's working, and if you have reception problems you'll now know what to do. Best wishes, Mike.



Hi Mike,  First of all congratulations on an excellent web page to the offshore stations. I was one of the newsreaders/presenters on Pirate BBC Essex at Easter 2004. I never slept very well on the ship and when I came ashore felt like I still had sea legs, but it was great working with those of whom I used to listen to on the air.

I wonder if you could include the documentary that Johnnie Walker and I made for the former Classic Gold Network in 1997, it was, by co-incidence also called When Pirates Ruled the Waves. The programme includes interviews with a number of people involved at the time with newer interviews with Paul Burnett and Dave Lee Travis. It has been, over the years, re-edited for the BBC local stations principally those in the eastern counties through Keith Skues. He and I worked together at the Beeb Eastern Counties Network and produced eight documentaries on Rock’n’Roll and Jazz.

(Done! - It can be found here > )

In 1989, while I was a PO at the BBC in the west,  I also produced a two part feature entitled The Birth of Caroline which primarily dealt with the start up of the old lady of the sea [Radio Caroline] and Allan Crawford’s Radio Atlanta.

My last major contracted broadcasting was with the BBC in the south, after some 23 plus years on the air both BBC, ILR and US radio. I still broadcast in the west on the radio station  which I helped set up a few years ago, now known as Swindon 105.5  My latest guest on the programme was ….Keith Skues who majored on his non broadcasting days.

......I also wrote and produced the original version of Searching the Ether the history of pre-war and immediate post-war commercial radio, for which the radio documentary produced between 1979 and 1981 was transmitted via the IBA programme share scheme and ran on 20 stations, which was about half the ILR network at the time. . It was produced independently and re-edited at Radio 210 in Reading. It was nominated for the Rediffusion-Radio Month Awards of 1982. It didn’t win but it gave me the kudos having been the senior partner behind it. I don't have the original radio script, but if you Google the title, there should be sufficient there for you to put something in if you would like to. Interviewees were: Bob Danvers Walker, Roy Plomley, Betty and Bernard "Benjy" McNab, Noel Johnson (who played Dan Dare and Dick Barton),Leslie Crowther (supplied by Ovaltine) Teddy Johnson and Pete Murray.

In 1982, I was asked to attend a meeting with Trevor Dann and Brian Thompson (no relation) at the BBC with the proposed Story of Pop Radio series..and as a courtesy they called part one Across the Ether.

I still have the original six editions on cassette. My Golden Days archive is split between the East Anglian Music Archive  in Norwich, a luxury B-and B’s garage near where I live and my loft. I call it an archive, my wife calls it something else….

Cheers for now.

Again, great stuff, keep it coming!

Kind regards, Alan Thompson

(February 2012)

Thank you for all your great information and the prompt to put Johnnie Walker's programme, When Pirates Ruled The Waves, onto our Airwaves Page. The programme can be found here

Look for Alan's programme "Searching The Ether! - Commercial stations from the Continent - parts 1 and 2" on the Offshore Echos page here: http://www.offshoreechos.com/radionormandie/RadioNormandy01b.htm

There is lots of other fascinating material on that site including an interesting documentary called The First Pirate about Captain Plugge, first broadcast on BBC Radio Four.

Thank you again for your informative email Alan.

Best wishes, Mike.



Hello Mike, My name is Ray in the state of Rhode Island, USA. You have a great web site. I'm setting my station up now, I have an Extra Class ticket (full amateur radio licence) but I have not been active for a few years, so I will try to spend more time on the bands. I have your site marked as a best site, so thank you for all your hard work. It is radio amateurs like you that keep ham radio alive.

73 (Best wishes) Ray N1XAE

(February 2012)

Hi Ray, Thanks for your email, it's great to hear from you. Thanks very much for your complimentary words about the website - you are too kind. I hope that everything goes smoothly for you as you set up your station and that the weather is kind to your antennas! Thanks again Ray!

Best wishes, Mike - M0MTJ



Dave Bawden asks for some help:  Good day Mike, My name is David Bawden (Dave) and I am a retired Canadian, but many years ago I was attached to RAF Siggiewi (840 Signals Unit) as an HF/DF operator. I am looking for any old photo’s of the HF/DF shack that was located a short walk from the base of RAF Siggiewi for my website http://www.raf-siggiewi-malta.com    RAF_Siggiewi_Malta.html

Obviously nothing shows on Google Earth after all of this time, but I wondered if someone may have photo’s or information on its former location?

I am going to have to spend time and sort through the thousands of photo’s I have from my days in the service and hope something shows up. The problem is that at the time you were posted to a station, you really didn’t want photo’s of it because you were there all the time. Now is when hindsight comes into play and you WISH you had taken some.

I appreciate your link and hopefully there will be someone out there who has something.

Interesting site. Cheers, Dave Bawden.

[February 2012]


Hello Dave, Thanks for getting in contact Dave. We hope that someone who has a photograph of the HF DF shack at RAF Siggiewi and will contact us here. In the mean time don't forget to visit Dave's webpage of RAF Siggiewi here:  http://www.raf-siggiewi-malta.com    http://www.sheba-imports.com/RAF_Siggiewi_Malta.html
Mike.



Hi Mike, I thought I would drop you a line about another easy build and cheap antenna design, it's for v.h.f./u.h.f. but can be scaled up to h.f.  As your web pages are used very often by myself, and quite a few other M3s and M6s that I know of in my area, as a great reference point for home brew antennas "a big thank you from me personally"

After the recent 100mph plus high winds here in the North of England, due to a dangerously bent pole, my 2m/70cm 4 element beam on the roof had to come down for safety reasons; I have been looking for an easy lightweight cheap home-brew (DIY) vertical antenna to replace it and relocate the beam to an easy access wall bracket on the side of the house. During my search I came across a very interesting webpage from down under (VK) which is well worth a look and could be a good antenna to include within your information. I hope it interests you.

Personally, so far, I have made a v.h.f. "slim jim" antenna, many end fed fishing pole HF verticals and a large fishing pole HF delta (which is also down after the winds) but definitely the best yet for my very poor RF location (QTH).
The Flower Pot Antenna: http://vk2zoi.com

Regards and 73, Phil M6MRP
[January 2012]

Hi Phil, Very many thanks for your email. I am glad that some of the pointers on my web pages have helped you and your friends.

When I first started out looking for a suitable antenna I did find it quite a daunting task to sift the wheat from the chaff, as it were. Ther is an awful lot of chaff out there - as you have probably found! I am very sorry to read that you suffered damage in the recent high winds. That must be very frustrating indeed for you.

I have a rather tall pole on the side of the house with a short 2/70 collinear mounted on top and I have to admit that I was certainly rather worried about it. However it survived I'm relieved to say. As a precaution before the winds arrived,  I had reduced the height of the sectionalised fibreglass Tecadi pole that I use to support my Inverted L, and reduced my telescopic aluminium mast that holds a vertical fibreglass collinear and a 2m / 70 cm yagi to its minimum height and lashed it down. They were both, thankfully, undamaged by the ferocious winds.

You seem to find fibreglass fishing poles as useful as I do! They really are great for both experiments and permanent installations. Thanks for the heads up to the http://vk2zoi.com site. The flowerpot looks very interesting indeed! I will have a good look through that information and put a link on the web pages. Great idea!

Thanks again for your really excellent email. Say hello to your fellow radio amateurs from me - and keep up your experiments. Brilliant stuff.

Cheers and 73
Mike
MØMTJ



Hi Mike, After another trip down memory lane on your site I have something else to contribute to the BRMB pages. Firstly apologies, it wasn't Sue Foster in the newsroom but Sue Todd of course, the wife of the late John Russel. Blame my faulty memory.

2nd - you might be interested in posting the attached pic of me circa 1976 when I was in the newsrom.  See this page > .

3rdly - I note mention of George Gavin doing sport but whatever happened to George Reeves who assisted Tony Butler?

Re Tony Blackburn, I presume his stint at XTra-AM was short?
Whatever happened to Allan Nin?

Would love to hear from people like Rob Golding and Colin Palmer again. I will be in the UK in July for three months and would welcome the opportunity to catch up with any former colleagues at BRMB 1975-1977.

Regards,
John Rogers.
BRMB Newsroom, Aston Cross, 1975-1976.  [January 2012]

Hi John, Many thanks for the photograph and more thoughts about BRMB. I hope that more BRMB people will get in touch and help answer your questions - so let's throw it out and kick it around! Please get in touch here >

It's such a shame that BRMB has pretty much met it's demise in all but name - and that could go by April 2012, if it's not all a desperate publicity stunt by a now beleaguered management!  So sad.

Thanks again John. All the best, Mike.



Hi Mike, 

Some stations in the UK came through in the summer of 2000 here on the
island of Oland in south east Sweden.

Here is a recording from  June 11th 2000 on 96.4 MHz vhf/FM at 19:38 hrs:  
Audio file: BRMB received in Sweden in year 2000

Who is the nice presenter in this audio clip?

Best wishes,
Kjell Tunsater.
FM radio enthusiast.

[January 2012]

Hello Kjell, Thanks for your email and the audio recording.

The voice sounds like Stuart Ellis to me - but I have my doubts about that because I think Stuart Ellis had left BRMB by 1998, unless he was doing a 'stand in'. So, I think that it must be someone else, but I am not sure who.

I must admit that my enthusiasm for BRMB was fading by 2000. Capital Radio had bought the station some years previously (now sold on again) and the station was never as good again as it once was. I was listening occasionally in 2000 (always to the Breakfast Show with Les Ross), but I cannot accurately remember the names that were on air at that time.

It's amazing to think that you heard a local station so far away in Sweden when there must be so many other stations using 96.4. Some Sporadic E ?

I will try to think some more about that voice! In the mean time I wish you well and Good DX!

Best wishes, Mike.
P.S. I just found some air checks of Stuart Ellis on his website. Visit Stuart's website and click on "Audio Archive" and see what you think. http://www.stuartellis.co.uk

Does anyone know better?  Please contact us here. Thanks!



Hi Mike,  I absolutely loved your site regarding choices between the various multiband antennas, I thought the attention to detail was wonderful... Mind you, I'm still as confused as ever as each individual lot is obviously different?

Thank you so much for all the graft you have obviously put in,

Best regards, Mark, M6AWG [January 2012]

Thanks very much Mark - There's certainly plenty to choose from!  Best wishes, Mike.



Hi Mike, I just ran across your website, and as a fairly new ham, I want to thank you for putting so much information into one convenient page. I am just scratching the surface of your site, and look forward to spending much time sorting through all the info. I also really like your Ham station. Due to space limitations (i.e. children) , I have been forced into a small corner of my home, and it is nice to see someone running a quality station from such small corner. Now I realize I need to take my station equipment vertical, instead of horizontal!

Thank you again for the time you have put into your site. I hope to work you on the air sometime.

Best Wishes, Fred Lomax KK4BAW  [January 2012]

Dear Fred, Thank you very much indeed for your email, it's really great to hear from you. I am glad that you have found my page of interest and I hope that it may be of help to you. As you have seen, space is certainly a problem for me, both in the shack and for antennas outside. Nevertheless I have managed to squeeze it all in somehow!

I am glad that you like the idea of going vertical. It really was the only scheme that could work for me in the limited space. Good luck with you station - maybe you can tell me how you get on with arranging your shack in the future.

Thanks again. Mike.



I response to our correspondence regarding his Rega Planar 2 turntable and replacement phono cartridge for playing a collection of vinyl records Eric writes:

Hi again. A comprehensive and generously helpful response.

Very many thanks once again for all your help and advice....more than enough to restore anyone's faith in the internet.

Best wishes
Eric
[January 2012]

Thanks Eric I am glad that I could help you get your discs spinning again so that you could play some of your favourite music.



Amateur Radio Station 2QW -
                              photograph submitted by Peter G3THW Hi Mike, I wonder if you can help with a problem. I have attached a picture of an old amateur radio station who I believe to be a relative of my brother-in law John G3PTO. John G3PTO  (a QRP enthusiast) sadly died a couple of years ago. The station is possibly that of 2QW which I believe was located in the West Midlands area. Can you help with identifying the approximate date of the picture from the equipment or provide any further leads?

The photograph was possibly taken before the start of World War 1, and may be of 2QW which was possibly the first licenced radio amateur in the Wolverhampton area. This photograph is believed to show his West Bromwich home. He was my father's uncle, and the morse key is still in use by myself, having been passed down to me when 2QW became a silent key.

Your comments would be much appreciated.
73, Peter G3THW. 
[ December 26th 2011 ]


Hi Peter, Many thanks for your email, the photograph is fascinating.

I honestly cannot date the image, but as you've already guessed I certainly could be from the 1920's. You have probably seen the 1920's Wireless Maps of Great Britain produced by The Wireless Press Limited on the website. The callsign certainly fits in with that era, though it is not actually mentioned on the map. The photograph of station VE2BV from 1936, also on my website, shows some early radio equipment, which bears some similarities.

Sadly, however, I have no other information. A search of Google appears to draw a blank too - as you will have no doubt discovered. If anything else springs to mind I will be sure to let you know.

If anyone reading this has more information on 2QW and any other very early amateur radio stations please do contact us. Thanks.

Best wishes, Mike & Jules.



Hi Mike, I suppose it's 'Men of a certain age' but over the last couple of years I keep finding your site. I'm a Radio Amateur (G8ZWN), have an interest in pirate radio, have just got a SL1200 and I've had cats all my life and would not be without one (or 2).

Thanks for a great site and a great resource. Out of interest what Turntable mat do you use on your SL1200, mine still has the dodgy slip mat and plastic thing from it's former life as a home DJ deck. The accompanied picture was put on face book entitled 'My Cat's A Ham' and some said I set it up but I didn't. Sadly this fellow isn't with me anymore but he was a good puss and his memory lives on.

Best Regards
, Michael Barrett Davies. [December 2011]

Hi Michael,  Many thanks for you kind words. We do seem to have very many things in common!

I use the standard Technics platter mat on my turntable - it's not a DJ slip mat, just standard rubber, but quite thick. I love the photo of your beautiful cat - such characters aren't they! A sad loss. We love the photograph of your cat - thanks for letting us include it on the site.

Thanks again, Mike.

Hi, I'd love you to have a picture of my old mate on the site, attached is another. I won't bombard you but I have a lot of pictures af cats that have a definite interest in technology so If I send any your way feel free to do what you want with them. Some time ago when I buried an old cat i read something on the web which went along the lines of 'Remember me in the same way you did as when I was alive' and I do for all of the things I have loved that have moved on'.

Best Regards, Michael Barrett Davies.

Thank you! We'll put your wonderful photographs on the site soon. Best wishes, Mike and Jules



[Regarding the Vinyl Heaven pages] - Hi, I wonder if you can help me?  My husband has recently dug out all his old vinyl and his old record deck - couldn't tell you what make it is but it's a pretty good one.  Anyway we went to try and plug it into our Yamaha CRX-330 mini hifi system only to discover it doesn't have a turntable input (Pre-amp) to enable us the two together.  To be honest we're quite happy with a little hifi but it could do with updating and I'd like to buy one for him for Christmas which has a turntable input - any advice?

Hope you can help. Gill 
[December 2011]

Hi Gill, Thanks for your quaestion. Sadly, as you have found, most mini and micro stereo systems do not have a dedicated turntable input. A turntable requires a special input, that has a pre-amplifier with R.I.A.A. equalisation. Some stereo systems will have a standard line-level "AUX" input than can be used to connect a device such as an mp3 player, DVD player or cassette deck etc. This type of input is not suitable for connecting a turntable directly however, but using an additional external turntable preamplifier, such as the NAD PP2 or a Pro-ject Phono Box for example, will allow the use of a turntable with a standard line leve auxilary input.

Unfortunately the Yamaha CRX-330 system has no auxilary inputs whatsoever - so you'll need a new system. I recently researched some micro hi-fi systems and was very impressed with the Denon DM38DAB. Along with FM and DAB radio tuners and CD player, the Denon system has a multitude of additional inputs: A 3.5mm stereo input jack on the front panel for connecting any MP3 player or other device; a USB port for iPod docking and control; a tape deck loop consisting of four phono sockets on the rear panel; a standard line level auxilary input consisting of a stereo pair of Phono sockets on the rear panel. It sounded very good indeed and appears to be good value for money. This could be just the system you need.

You will still need a turntable preamplifier (e.g. NAD PP2 or a Pro-ject Phono Box) to connect your turntable to the system via the rear auxilary input. Please visit a specialst hi-fi dealer such as Superfi, Sevenoaks Sound and Vision, Audio T, Sight and Sound or Richer Sounds to have a look and a listen. I am sure that such a system will suit you very well indeed. Do let me know how you get on! Mike.

Great, thanks so much for your help!

Kind regards, Gill




Good Evening Mike, I have just read your web page with interest as I have just acquired a Palstar PS30 power supply. However it was supplied without a user manual and I have been trawling the internet looking for details. I wondered whether it would be possible for you to scan and email me a copy. I would willingly contribute to any scanning/printing costs etc.

With kind regards, Chris, M6XJP

[November 2011]

Dear Chris, Many thanks for your email, nice to hear from you. Do you have a specific question about the PSU? I do indeed have a printed copy of the manual filed away, so I have added it to the website for you here.
Best wishes, Mike, M0MTJ


Good Afternoon Mike, Thank you so much, that was most kind of you. In response to your earlier email the reason for my enquiry was that, unlike the common perception that males just connect things up and then read the manuals at their leisure(if at all), I value my gear and wanted to make sure I didn’t do anything detrimental. I know it’s only a simple PSU but better safe than sorry.

I have to congratulate you on your website – a mine of really useful information – which I have tagged for future reference. I am also extremely envious of your obvious technical ability. I have to say that since obtaining my licence in March last year (a present to myself on achieving pensionable age!) I have found nothing but friendship and endless help from the Amateur fraternity. Your kind assistance on this matter is just further proof. Many thanks once again.

Kind Regards, Chris, M6XJP

[November 2011]

Hello Chris, Thanks for your reply. It's a pleasure to help you. I hope that the information was useful. You are quite right - it is always good to read the manual before connecting and using new equipment. I usually try to download the manual and read up on the basics before even buying something new.

Thanks for the compliments on the website. I always hope it's useful to someone, even if it's only the host of useful links! I am a relative newcomer to amateur radio too, but I have spent many years with an interest in radio, SWL and things of an electronic nature. I must admit that I am no expert, there are very many more operators on the bands with vastly greater experience than I have, and a more detailed technical ability - but thank you for your compliments! I keep trying!

I hope that your experiences in amateur radio continue to be good ones. I do always try to be of help where I can, and it's rewarding when that is possible. I must say that I (like everyone I suppose) feel that there is an an opportunity to learn something new every day!  Find out more about Amateur Radio here!

Best wishes, Mike & Jules.



Dear Mike, I wanted to send out a quick thank you letter in regards to your sundials page. I work at an after school program and your resources have been very helpful, we've been making sundials the past few days.

The students and I have been working on creating a section of our website which has fun links for kids to use at home.  I used a few of your links in there for the kids and their parents to check out, so thanks!

Sincerely, Barbara Hayes
After Skool Kids - http://afterskoolkids.org/index.html
[November 2011]

Thanks Barbara!  Mike and Jules.



  Hi Mike, I am thinking about beginning as a licensed radio amateur. What is the minimum equipment that I must buy? I like a Yaesu FT-897d. I'd appreciate your comments very much. Thanks in advance

Regards, Fernando Osorio
[October 2011]

Many thanks for your email Fernando. The FT-897D is an excellent transceiver. It is very versatile because it is a nice size to use as a base station radio, but it is also transportable so can be used mobile ( /M) or even portable ( /P).

What else do you need? Well.....You will need to study for your licensing exams, so a good study book from you local amateur radio society is an absolute necessity.

Once you have passed your exam and been granted your licence and obtained your call-sign from the licensing authority you will need some other things: A power supply to power the radio. A 25 amp PSU is common for this radio. You will also need an antenna or antennas for H.F. work (1.8 to 29 MHz) and an antenna for 2metre and 70cms (144 and 430 MHz). Perhaps later you might consider another antenna for 6 metres (50 MHz). For H.F. operations you will need an Antenna Matching Unit (often referred to as an ATU) to match the varying impedance of the antenna to the 50 Ohm impedance required by the  transceiver.  Many ATU's have built in VSWR and Power Meters, but if not you will need a separate, external VSWR / Power Meter. A dummy load is pretty much essential too.

You'll also need basic tools, for example: Digital multimeter (DMM), 50W Soldering iron, screwdrivers, spanners, pliers, ruler, tape measure, calculator etc. You can read more here>. I hope that helps you. Good luck with your exam and licence.

73 (Best regards)
Mike
M0MTJ



Hi there, I have been trying (unsuccessfully for a while now) to track down a copy of the instruction manual for a Lowe HF-125 receiver.  It has just come back to me after spending the last 15 plus years in a loft and I want to fire it up again.  Any suggestions as to where I might get my hands on a copy of the manual, would be much appreciated.

Best wishes,  Tony [August 2011]

Hi Tony, Thanks for your email. I have sent you a copy of the HF125 manual as an attachment. Hope that helps and that you enjoy using your classic Lowe HF receiver again!

Wow Mike, that's brilliant. Thank you so much.

Best wishes, Tony




Hi Mike, I chanced on your site while reading up on DAB radio as my wife and I just bought a Sony DAB, I noticed your Siamese Sienna, as we have 7 Siamese and 2 moggies. We also show some of our Siamese cats. You may like to take a look at my wife's website to see all our cats! The URL is www.lizs-lot.co.uk  Maybe if you deem it worthy you would consider putting a link to it? if you do i will make sure a link is put on it back to your website.

Graham Ellis (DAB radio novice and Siamese owner & lover!)
(August 2011)

Hi Graham, Thanks for your email. We've have had a look at you website - it's excellent. What a wonderful collection of cats you have!! I will certainly put a link to it from the cats page and links page. Thanks again, Mike & Jules.



  Hi, I stumbled upon your website today and I found it endlessly interesting, it is a real treasure trove of information. When I get enough time I feel I may have to try and build one of the crystal sets, and if it's easy enough try and get my Scouts to complete some. I am going to have to book mark your page and keep coming back to it as it is very interesting.

I am a bit of a radio fan myself, I volunteer at Kingstown Radio which is Hospital Radio for Hull & East Yorkshire. Thanks for putting so much time into your site, I have included a link on my homepage http://www.richardellarby.co.uk

Yours, Richard Ellarby.
(July 2011)

Hi Richard, Thank you very much for your email - glad you found our site! A crystal set is always a fascinating project and could be a very good Scouts project. Thanks for the link! Best wishes, Mike.



  Hi Mike, That Everyday Electronics ZN414 matchbox radio brings back memories.  I made exactly the same one in the long hot summer of '76.  I first used it on a coach trip from Surrey to Devon to join my parents on holiday.  I'd stayed behind to take my driving test.  Oh to be 17 again (but with the knowledge I have now ;¬)  Andy.
(July 2011)

Hi Andy, Many thanks for your email. Oh yes - happy days. The Matchbox Radio was a great project that I enjoyed building and re-building and modifying and taking everywhere! Thanks for your own memories of the project! Find the Matchbox Radio project here



  Hi Mike, Regarding your Vinyl Heaven pages, have you heard of this Ed Saunders 'Red Ed' in conical and elliptical versions?  They seem to be OEM versions of the Goldring Elan and Elektra!  http://www.edsaunders.com/reded.htm  Regards, Felix Scerri.

Thanks Felix - That's a great find for budget conscious vinyl lovers! Cheers, Mike.



  Hi, While living in Ashover in the UK I used to be good pals with Penny Lowe, her Dad owned Lowe Electronics. Do you have any idea what happened to the Lowe family? I now live in Vancouver after many years in Africa and America. Any leads would be appreciated.
Thanks for any help. Simon Fellows   supachramp [at sign] yahoo.com
(July 2011)

Hi Simon, Thank you very much for your email. Sadly I cannot answer your question so I hope someone that knows reads this and can let us know!
Best wishes, Mike.



Hi Mike, I would like to congratulate you and thank you for your uploads of BRMB recordings from 80s and 90s. I was particularly interested in the George Gavin and Tom Ross football phone ins. I was a keen listener and never missed a show and never thought that I would hear them again until I came across your website. 

Kind Regards, Bobby. (June 2011)

Hi Bobby, Thank you for your kind comments - glad you enjoyed the BRMB archives! Best wishes, Mike & Jules. You can find the BRMB audio here>



  Hi Mike,  Congratulations on a great web site. I remember building one of the Ladybird book circuits back in 1975 and was quite pleased with the result. This was at a time when transistors seemed expensive. Nowadays, I have amassed quite a stock of radio components, the result of being an electronics hoarder.  I am looking at building the Triple T  HAC receiver and noticed your nicely finished radio.

Best Regards, Symon McCabe. (May 2011)

Hi Symon, Tnaks for your kind comments. You can read more about the HAC Hear All Continents Triple T  Radio here>



Hello Mike, I’ve tracked you down because I would love to know what happened to Martin Dean. Martin had a great late night show on Radio 210, playing new age and jazz funk. I recorded one of his shows which I still have on cassette and still listen to Even with access to internet radio stations around the world, I have not yet found a programme to better it Any news of Martin, or any other recordings of his programmes (this is a long shot) would be much appreciated

Many thanks, Terry Bailey, Basingstoke, Hants. (May 2011)

Hi Terry, Thanks for your email. Julian Watson is an enthusiast in that area and knows a great deal about Radio 210 and GWR (WR) so I have passed your details on to him and asked question. He replied:

"Hi Mike, Yes Deano did a great soul show. I do have a few clips from his shows post 102.9 going on air, so I can help Terry a little in this respect. As for what happened to Martin, he was always a keen computer man and the last I heard he had gone back to working with computers after he left 210. This was some time ago. Hope this helps. Julian"

More abour Radio 210 here>

Best wishes, Mike.



Many congratulations on your excellent site about BRMB, which brings back many memories. I came across this interview with John Slater, in which he talks about his time at BRMB:  career-profile-john-slater-a-life-of-drive-time-162478

Regards, Stan Drew (April 2011)

Thank you Stan for alerting me to that excellent article - it all adds to the rich tapestry that was BRMB! Our BRMB pages can be found here>
Best wishes, Mike & Jules.



Hey Mike, Glad to see you are still around. Don't have time now to look around but I will later. My site, which I see I forgot to include (or maybe I did not have it up then!) is: http://www.tubemodules.com
Sorry, no cat pictures or personal stuff except my tech stuff, but I do have a wonderful Manx cat. She's black and somebody named her Pepper. She is quite verbal sometimes. Her meow is like that of a chain-smoking lounge singer... really rough and somewhat annoying. I've been trying to get her to learn a sweeter meow, but so far no luck. I have a picture of her here >.

Best to you all,
Mike Fratus, Houston, Texas  (and no, I don't have a horse or drive a pickup truck!) (April 2011)

Thank you Mike for your kind comments and photograph!



Mike, I was passed your link from one of our club members and you had such a section on the pop pirates I thought this might interest you:

Eric G3PGM (now Silent Key) mentioned some thing in a QSO some years ago when he was alive! That he had been involved in something illegal and it had nearly cost him is marriage and his life. He asked me to scan some images and then he let on about his past writing this article which he had kept secret from club members but as time gone by he felt it would be of interest.

Eric would not print the part on the 2 women that got married while he was at sea but the News of the World printed it and his wife was not happy. At the end of the article you will see that he left a week early and his replacement was then drowned in the boating incident. Last year the sister contacted me for more information as she lives local in Henley on Thames, so I was able to point her in some directions but time has moved on and the information that was available is getting lost.

I’ve attached it for your reading and you are most welcome to use it or link to it. Read Eric's article here>

Min Standen  G0JMS
http://www.radarc.org/g3pgm.htm this is subject to change as we're doing a revamp of the website.
RADARC. Committee Member   http://www.radarc.org  (April 2011)

Hi Min, Thank you very much for your email and excellent aricle which you can read here>



Hi, I've been reading your excellent history of radio broadcasting. I feel, however, that I must take issue with you on one point. You state that "INR1" was advertised as a non-pop licence, and was awarded to Classic FM " I  believe that this is incorrect because, if my memory serves me right, the licence was awarded to Showtime Radio, which was to broadcast from studios in Milton Keynes. The problem was, that the promised financial backing failed to materialise and the licence was handed back. It was then that the 2nd choice, Classic FM, was given the opportunity to become the first national commercial radio station.

During Classic FMs test transmissions they broadcast from the Peterborough transmitter as Radio 101.6 - "One O One Point Six" - and I believe the first voice on 101.9 was that of Nick Bailey. Other broadcasters included Petroc Trelawney and Henry Kelly.

I hope you are not offended by my contacting you like this and may I compliment you on your history site.

Kind regards, Michael B Cox (April 2011)

Hi Michael, Thanks for your email. I'd forgotten that little bit of detail, but I think that you are right.

I did remember that Showtime Radio was initially in the running, but dropped out due to financial trouble of some kind. I cannot remember if they actually got to the stage of winning the licence then handing it back, or if the licence went to Classic FM (due to the financial doubts over Showtime) before the actual licence award was made.

I do feel sure that the Radio Authority advertised INR1 on the basis that it would be a non-pop service - i.e. not the chart music oriented radio station. Showtime Radio would, I feel, have also fitted that description - as would a jazz, country or folk music based station I suppose.

Perhaps I'll have to research these finer points.

The pre-launch marketing tests for Classic FM were called "Radio 1 - 0 - 1 point 6"

These programmes were broadcasts from a series of 'RSL' transmitters dotted around the country, all broadcasting a simulcast of "Radio 101.6" distributed nationally (via satellite IIRC). The transmitters would all have been low power - perhaps 25 watts - to conform with the RSL restrictions of low power, fairly low aerial height and 28 day licence length.

GWR was one of the main backers of the Classic FM venture and at that time GWR had just bought Mercia Sound in Coventry. The city of Coventry was one of the locations for a "Radio 101.6" transmitter and perhaps the fact the GWR owned Mercia Sound meant that the city was part of the reason for this. I had assumed that they sited the RSL transmitting antenna on the Mercia Sound building in Coventry - but I never had this confirmed.

The purpose of "Radio 101.6" was for marketing and to test the 'sound', play-list and the content of Classic FM, when it launched.

Nicholas Tresillian was regularly heard presenting on "Radio 101.6" - I believe that he was the founding Chairman of the radio station WR/GWR.

Later, of course, work on installing the first stage of the main VHF/FM transmitter network began. First on air for test transmissions was Wrotham in Kent. Later, as you note, the main high power transmitter at Peterborough using 101.9 MHz was installed.

Thanks again. Cheers, Mike! 



Hi Mike, Many thanks for your kind comments about Cool Gales and me on your website. Yet another customer has pointed them out to me recently, and I'm remiss for not thanking you much sooner.

Best wishes,  Ivan.  (April 2011)  www.coolgales.com
www.coolgales.com
Cool Gales Ltd
The Victoria School House
Henrietta Road
Bath BA2 6LU, UK
T 0800 043 6710
T +44 (0)1225 478400
F +44 (0)1225 478401

Dear Ivan, Thank YOU very much for your email and thanks. Thank you you also for your excellent service, that I mentioned on the web page.



Hi Mike, Great memories of Mercia Sound from your site (it was the station that inspired me into radio), especially seeing “Private Life, Public Image” on which my father was featured one week. I'm now a part time presenter. I did have my own evening show on permanent station Corby Radio, have also presented on Ashby Radio, Whittle FM, & Radio Lutterworth, all of which were RSL. I now have a show Global Dancefloor which is broadcast by 58 stations worldwide, all the fault of Mercia Sound in 1980!  www.globaldancefloor.co.uk

Keep up the good work and memories.

Thanks, Julian Little.   www.domustiles.com  (March 2011)



Hi, I was browsing trying to find someone who does repairs to Lowe Receivers and saw that you had contact with a Gary Elesmore who said that he did. Do you know if he still does this work, I would be most grateful if you could advise. I do like the website excellent info. Best regards Peter Cartwright. (March 2011)



Hi Mike, I don’t know if you’re interested in any of the history, but I’d like to think I was one the main facilitators of CB in the UK from 79 to legalisation. If not the first, were in the first 2 or 3 major importers (and undoubtedly the largest), we supported CB Radio Magazine from when Miles first started it up, advertising in every copy from Issue #1 (I still have them all somewhere).

I also wrote the infamous ‘CB Song’ in 1980 with Spatz Melzer that was promoted on 10/4 day in 1980, and is still selling well on eBay.

The early pre-legalisation days were surreal in many ways, with some huge personalities, most of whom I’ve lost touch with. It’s interesting to see that some of the equipment suppliers on your links page were my customers in those days, over 30 years ago.

Anyhow, if there’s anything you’d like to know, drop me a line.

Andy Marshall  (now living in the USA) (March 2011)


Hi Andy, Thanks for sharing your early CB memories. Excellent!  More about Citizens Band Radio here>



  Hello Mike, What a great site I compliment you on all your hard work. I remember BRMB back in 1974 when I lived in Stratford upon Avon. In fact I won a record and tee shirt!! I also did a lot of charity work for the blind driving a narrow boat up the cut to give the people a day out; I heard the appeal on BRMB.

I write to ask if I can put a link onto our club web site, the Barry Amateur Radio Society  http://www.bars.btik.com

Again my thanks and appreciation for a very informative site.

73  Glyn GW0ANA, Chairman, B.A.R.S. [March 2011]

Hi Glyn. Very many thanks for your email. Those far off days of BRMB in the seventies were indeed great times! We're only too happy to add a link to your club site at http://www.bars.btik.com.



  Hi Mike, I have just stumbled across the article on community radio. Here are a couple of pictures to go with the text. I am the guy standing on the left and the guy on the right is from BBC Bristol  - sorry it was a long time ago! Chris Hibbert [March 2011]

Thanks Chris, that's much appreciated. See the article and Chris' photographs here: Community Radio 3



  Hi Mike, Please can you put me in touch with a someone from whom I can order a permanant crystal (diode) for my 1922 Crystal set. Many thanks for your help. Bob Lewis. [March 2011]

Hi Bob, I imagine that it would be quite difficult to source the original detector for this radio, but you may find something similar that would do the job. I have provided some company names and links below that may be able to help or point you in the right direction. If you cannot find a suitable detector immediately you could connect a modern germanium diode into the circuit. Diode type OA47 or 1N34 would work very well indeed, but you could also try an OA80, OA81, OA90 or OA91 if you have one. Here are the contact details that may be able to help with rare and vintage components:

J BIRKETT Radio Components - 25 THE STRAIT, LINCOLN, LN2 1JD. Telephone (uk) 01522 520767 
Birkett's often have rare and so called 'surplus' components in stock, particularly surplus air-spaced tuning capacitors.

6V6 - Electronic Nostalgia and Vintage Components. Visit http://www.6v6.co.uk

VINTAGE COMPONENTS - Another possible source of components, TRF valve radio kits and (most excitingly) low power AM Medium Wave transmitters for listeners and experimenters who no longer have a local AM broadcast station within range: http://www.vcomp.co.uk/index.htm

Here are some other interesting links for you: http://makearadio.com/crystal/17.php   http://www.midnightscience.com/kits.html#kit4D
http://www.midnightscience.com    http://www.kipgen.com/radios/sale/detectors.htm  Also try searching GOOGLE for Galena Detector, you will no doubt find some more!!

Best wishes, Mike & Jules.

Many thanks for your helpful reply to my enquiry. I am not very proficient with the computer. I will ring the company in Lincoln.   My receiver is in good condition, it stands next to a 1935 Ecko radio, the round type. Goodbye for the moment. Bob Lewis.
[March 2011]



  Mike, I just thought I'd drop a line to say how pleased I am to have found your site.  I stumbled across it yesterday via the usual convoluted route - Town Hall concert in Leeds, listened to Purcell's Abdelazar suite, said to my companion that it used to be the intro music to a BBC radio service, couldn't remember what that was called, hit the web and bingo, found your site and the name Network Three.

I've just dipped in to Vinyl Heaven.  I have a load of LPs and inherited a Technics SL2000 deck from my dad about 20 years ago.  It still goes well although I've had difficulty sourcing styli and decent record cleaning kit.  When I've got a minute (!) I'll use the contacts on your site to get that sorted.  I inherited a pile of LPs from him too as he was a hi-fi fanatic but haven't managed to play them yet.

I intend to read your history of UK radio as I heard so much about the early days from my dad, who was building his own sets in the early 1920s.  I've 2 copies of the Radio Times from 1924, before it became the Corporation, and they give a fascinating insight into what wireless was like then. Thanks so much for putting your site together.  Keep up the good work.

Regards, Pete Shilson.
(February 2011)

Dear Pete,

Thank you so much for your extremely kind email, it's really good to hear from you. I am glad that my brief radio history was of some help! It is just a brief account really and as such I included links to some other resources that provide greater insight and detail which I hope will prove fruitful for you.

As for vinyl records,  I still enjoy the medium very much. I wish I had the time and money and, particularly space, to invest in some classic, vintage hi-fi components from years gone by. I often look at photographs of hi-fi separates from the 1970's and 1980's and wish that I could collect and accommodate just a few of them! I still love the look and appeal of some of the equipment of that era from Rotel, JVC, Sony, Technics, NAD, Sansui and Akai - to name a few. I am really glad that I have the Technics turntable, that really is something I'd never change. What a piece of equipment!

I haven't used an SL2000, but I am certain that you'll spend endless happy hours with it. I don't know what sort of cartridge would be fitted to it, but assuming that the arm has a standard 1/2" headshell, then any good modern replacement cartridge could be fitted to it, which should make future stylus replacement a lot easier. The arm may also allow for a new headshell to be fitted, if necessary.

Look after those 1920's Radio Times!! Wow - fascinating indeed!  Happy listening - Best wishes, Mike & Jules.



  Mike, Great site you have an excellent page on aerials, I'm looking to build aerials for hf and 2m now that we have moved house and have the space again. After viewing your pages I'm thinking fan dipole for the 20-10 metre bands, inverted trapped L for 160-40 metre bands and either a dipole or halo for the  2 metre band.

More interesting for me was too see your pages about Mercia Sound as the house we have just bought and moved into has been the family home of Stuart Linnell for the last eight years or so. I too remember the test transmissions and early days of the station here in Coventry, although my love of radio stems more from building a crystal (germanium diode) radio and listening to BBC's Radio 4 and 2 on a portable transistor radio my grandad gave me and then CB radio (handles Microchip and FM Deviator) here in Coventry from 1983/4 on and off to 2000, whilst a Telecommunications Technician Apprentice at GEC Telecommunications taking my RAE in 1988 at Coventry Technical College with the encouragement of a CB friend (and Elmer), (Mobile Mike, G4RCS). Anyway just wanted to say thanks for the info available on your site.

Best regards, Andrew Brookes (operator of amateur radio station G7KXM) (February 2011)

Hi Andrew, Thanks for your email. I have not experimented with a fan dipole personally, but I know someone who has and the results did seem very impressive. The inverted L should also be a very good choice. A dipole for 2m keeps things nice and simple for an effective home-brew project. As for Mercia Sound, it's fascinating to read that you have bought your house from Stuart Linnell. He's a rather interesting character I feel. He was there in the great and glorious days of Mercia Sound in the 1980's, but was also at the helm as the station went down market in the 1990's finding itself where it is today, at the lowest common denominator. I suppose we cannot really blame him entirely, the policy must have been set by the station's corporate owners and encourged / caused by the policies of the regulators The Radio Authority and its successor Ofcom. There must have also been some rocky times in more recent years with the Laser Broadcasting failure which affected Sunshine Radio in Hereford I beleive.

However it is now really pleasing to see Stuart Linnell doing what he does best, that is broadcasting at BBC Radio Northampton. Excellent!

As you may have read, my fascination with radio also stems from crystal sets and TRF radio experiments as a lad in the 1970's. On those radios I listened to Radio 2 on 1500m and sometimes Luxembourg on 208m if I was lucky! I also dabbled with CB and gained an amateur radio licence, but I am really still a listener day to day, while doing some occasional experiments and construction.

Thanks for your memories which are fascinating. Kind Regards, Mike.       Mercia Sound pages here>               Amateur Radio pages here>



Hi Mike

I was very interested to see the Radio Vicomte mast photos on your website. I visited the studio some time ago and was shown around the small house. The station manager pointed out the small dish on the building which transmits the signal to the main transmitter on the hill through a gap in the trees and buildings. The receiving dish is visible in your photos. I'm going there next week and I would be happy to photograph the dish at the studio if you would like. The station transmits a rather bizarre mixture of music and is a very strong signal at my house in Vegennes.

Regards, Chris G4RBR (February 2011)

Hi Chris, Thank you very much for your kind email. The photographs were taken by our friend Martin Watkins when he visited that area of France. I'd certainly be very grateful for any new photographs of the TX site, studio building or dishes that you can take. I have not heard the radio station, but it does sound like a happy mixture!!  The photographs of the Radio Vicomte transmitter site can be seen here >

Thanks again - very much, and I look forward to some new photo's! Regards, Mike & Jules.



Good day Mike. I stumbled across your website quite by luck while surfing for shortwave links. You certainly have a very extensive website! I've just spent a couple of hours, looking and reading, and have barely scratched the surface. I am particularily interested in your amateur radio activities/equipment/history etc. I've been an enthusiastic SWL'r [Short Wave Listener] for over 50 years and I love anything to do with radio, shortwave, antennas, ham gear. Never got my amateur licence but I do like to listen to the world. I use a Kenwood R-5000 receiver connected to a simple longwire antenna that is end fed with coax. Back-up is a Radio Shack DX-394. Both receivers are good performers.

I received a SWL'r certificate recently from SWARL and I joined eQSL.cc just 2 days ago. My sign is VE3022SWL. We live here in Orangeville, Ontario, Canada and this town is about 1 hour NW of Toronto. I looked you up on QRZ.com which I joined also, although I have no content posted there yet--something to work on!

I've included an attachment in this email--it's just a pic of my new SWL certificate. Back to your website now because it's only 19:37 hours here.

Nice to meet you and 73 de Doug Stevens in Canada! (February 2011)

VE3022SWL - Doug Stevens SWL
                              Certificate


Hello Doug,  Thank you very much for your email, it's really good to 'hear' from you. The Kenwood is certainly a nice receiver. I not used the DX-394, but I do have a Realistic (Radio Shack) scanner which has always been very good,  so I can imagine that the DX-394 is very good too. I have always enjoyed experimenting with aerials and other simple accessory circuits and simple receivers too. Thanks for your certificate (above).

Jules and I have been to Canada twice and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves - it's a truly wonderful country. One of our trips was to Toronto. We did not pass by Orangeville unfortunately, but we did get driven past Peterborough on the way to the excellent dogsled centre at Winterdance in the Haliburton mountains. We were also taken past Burlington, Hamilton and Saint Catherines on the way to Niagara and Niagara on the Lake. As for radio in that area - I really enjoyed the CBC along with AM640 Talk Radio Toronto, Newstalk 1010 CFRB and 610 CKTB. 

While we were on holiday in the Mediterranean last year we met a couple more  great Canadians - Frank and Sue. They beckoned us into a lovely little cafe bar in Turkey as we were walking past checking out the menus. We did not know them at the time, but Frank called out "The beer's great in here!", so we went in and had a good old laugh. - So it's nice to meet another Canadian via the email and internet right here!! Thanks again for your email. Give our regards to wonderful Canada.

Short Wave Radio pages here>              Radio pages here> 



Hello Mike, I came across your website on the net and I was wondering if there is a possibility for a link exchange. I sell CB's and related equipment mainly for truckers and 4x4 users. I am a licensed amateur as well and will be selling amateur stuff on the site once everything else is on. http://www.truckersnet.org.uk/index.asp  Kind Regards, Toby Dunne. (February 2011)

Hi Toby, Thanks for the information. we've added a link on the CB Radio Links Page here>
Best wishes, Mike & Jules.



Very nice web site.  Excellent graphics.  Especially like the page on capacitor setups for loop antenna tuners.
Ed Ruff, Kennewick, Washington,  USA  (January 2011)

Hi Ed, Thanks for your email and particularly for your kind comments. I do try to do my best to make things clear, so I am glad that you found the medium wave loop antenna information helpful. Thanks again, Best wishes, Mike & Jules.



Hello, I'm a big music and radio fan. sadly radio and music has changed but I still love listening to old music on the radio and I'm trying to find any memorabilia from Red Rose Radio before it became Rock FM, around the time Red Rose Gold started and all the presenters that were on at that particular time. Any information about the station and where a lot of the presenters moved on to would be gratefully received. Many thanks, Mick. (January 2010)

Hi Mick, Thank you very much indeed for your email. You are quite correct, music and radio has changed a great deal. Sadly commercial radio has changed a great deal for the worse and most of it is utterly dire these days. Regrettably the only recordings of Red Rose Radio from the 1980's are those that are already on the website, which you have probably already found. I wish there was more from that era. Hopefully you may be able to unearth some more audio of Red Rose somewhere - so Good Luck! Best wishes, Mike & Jules.




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