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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Pi Day! Scottish Moonbounce in 1965, Eddystone Dials

Somehow this seems appropriate for Pi Day (3-14).  I guess it is because the antenna is circular.
Thanks to David GM4JJJ for sending this to us.  There is no audio. Kind of fun to watch the lads struggle with the big antenna while wearing coats and ties! 
David writes:
Hi Bill,
    Just watched the video of the progressive receiver and immediately noticed the old Eddystone drive and dial. 
    My first general coverage receiver was an Eddystone 840C in about 1969 I guess, so it brought back fond memories. 
    I also had (much later) an Eddystone 770R VHF receiver, which I used to listen to transatlantic 50MHz on during the sunspot peak a couple of cycles ago now. That was before we were allowed to transmit on 6m over here. 
    Incidentally if you saw the recent film "The Imitation Game" about Alan Turing, you might have spotted the 770R in it, which was actually a mistake as the receiver was not produced until after the war. 
Now something to break your heart, and mine actually:

    This old rig which was given to me sometime in the 70's by another ham, was stored the attic of my previous house now used by my brother, and a couple of years ago I had to clear the attic of the "junk" that I had left when I moved out. I didn't have any more room to store quite a lot of things and I made the decision to take a few things that I never thought I, or anyone else, would need. They went to landfill. :-(
    As you can probably see there is an Eddystone drive and dial driving a VFO which originally had insulation material around it for thermal stability. I think it may have been mixed or multiplied up to 144MHz judging by the scale on the dial. Looking back now I should have tried to save it, but I just felt at the time it would just probably lie in my new attic until I departed and then someone else would have to throw it out.
    I don't know exactly who made it, I was given it by Andy GM3IQL(SK), but I vaguely recall him telling me that it was made by Fraser Shepherd GM3EGW(SK) who I did not know as he died tragically young, but was a brilliant constructor. It could equally possibly have been made by Jimmy Priddy GM3CIG, and I could contact him as he is still around in his 80's now. At least I had the sense to take some photos.
  Now a couple of semi related video material that I put up on YouTube.
This is a (silent 8mm) film made in the 1965s about the first moonbounce attempts from Scotland and Jimmy CIG made the film. My Elmer Harry GM3FYB(SK) is in it. 
Another one this time 1965 field day!
    Bill, I really enjoy SolderSmoke podcasts etc, I am returning to ham radio after about a decade, got the bug again....
    The KX3 is in the shack, and I have the parts here now to build a QRP WSPR beacon by Hans Summers also.
    I like QRP, having previously worked with George GM3OXX back in the 70's when we went out portable with wideband FM QRP 10GHz (3cm) gear using Gunn diode oscillators. Just a few mW and we could work several hundred miles with small 2 foot dish antennas in the right conditions over water by super refraction. The receivers were just mixers, no active RF amplifiers in those days.
I think the best I did was 322km with my 10mW from Scotland to Wales on 10GHz. A couple of decades I built up a real SSB transverter with surplus MOSFETs for 10GHz and with greater power (250mW) and SSB bandwidths I could work non line of sight paths on that band from home. 
    I also like QRO for such things as 2m EME (moonbounce) and am in the course of replacing my old 8877 W6PO design 1500W amp for 144MHz with an Italian manufactured LDMOS 1kW amp that is a fraction of the size and weight, who would have imagined a single solid state device would be able to do that at a price amateurs could afford?
   Anyway enough of my ramblings. 
   Hope you don't mind me taking up so much of your time, I will let you get back to whatever you have on your workbench!
David Anderson GM4JJJ
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