Enjoyed very much listening to your adventures in the UK - I very much want to visit Faraday's lab!

When going to the next radio rally/hamfest, can I respectfully suggest the following:

A jacket or waistcoat with lots of pockets, the bigger the better. A backpack with some more bags inside. An idea also would be some kind of lock or restraint so that you could lock a full bag to a post or something out of the way in case you buy something heavy - I usually ask a stall-holder to look after a bag which they are often willing to do after I have made a reasonable purchase from them!

In one of the pockets put a small multimeter with a working ohms range - to test transformers, coils, valve heaters, etc. before purchase.

In another pocket put valve/transistor (or whatever you are interested in) data books or have a handheld thingy (iPhone, etc.) with a working Internet connection where you can look up such things.

In another pocket put a calculator (not needed if you have a handheld thingy) and a small notepad and pen/cil to make notes and work things out and compare prices from competing stalls.

A camera to take pictures of beautiful things you have no money for or intention of buying.

Some personal news:

Currently building a one-valve BC FM receiver - lots of fun. Recently built a MW 2-car-valve superhet which I listen to the World Service on here in Brussels. I build them into Cuban cigar boxes my missus gets free from tobacco shops around the city and in airports.

The fridge broke down and I discovered it was the thermostat and so I decided - foolishly - to spare the money for the replacement part (unemployed) and build one from components I already had in the radio room. Big mistake. I have been fiddling with different resistor values, broken Veroboard tracks and recalcitrant 740 op-amps for weeks now. Managed to freeze an entire bag of perfectly good carrots! I think I am on the tail-end of the prototype development process now and the production model should emerge in a week or so. The missus was initially impressed but now, sadly, not so. C'est la vie.

I experimented with QRSS using a simple PIC-controlled single car-valve crystal-regulated transmitter and a crystal immersed in a large jar of water for temperature stability. I managed to get seen by various grabbers and so am moderately happy. WSPR might be on the boards next, if I can do it with a PIC and a valve...

Good luck with the RC aeroplanes - try and keep the propellor pointed away!

73 cheers
Nick on4Nic / m0NjP

PS Car-valves are designed to operate from 12V only - heater and HT. Great fun for fiddling around with and completely safe - so long as you don't break them or burn yourself on the glass!