A very loose category, containing amateur radio, hacksaws,
railway locomotives, gramophones, early electric pick-ups,
washing machines &c. There are indeed some 78 rpm records
on this page, in which the technical content is of more
importance or interest than the disc carrying it.
The Mk.IV VALVE PRE-AMP FOR 78 rpm DISCS.
27th January 2017. Though we loved the sound of the Mk.III, there was a hum problem,
and it was only a ‘lash-up’, after all. A more considered version was definitely needed…
The Mk.III VALVE PRE-AMP FOR 78 rpm DISCS.
9th January 2017. A kind friend has given me much advice on how to improve this project.
His information may be of use to you too. Also, hear an audio sample of this pre-amp in use.
A Mk. II VALVE PRE-AMP FOR 78 rpm DISCS.
26th November 2016. Hard on the heels of the pre-amp below, we made another, because the
circuit had R & C values for switched turn-over frequencies & top cut. The PSU is giving trouble
with a buzzy hum, but the pre-amp itself is shaping up quite well.
A VALVE PRE-AMP FOR 78 rpm DISCS.
14th November 2016. It belatedly dawned upon us that we had never made any gizmo or
gadget using valves (tubes) for audio purposes. Considering the awesome (some might call it
superstitious) prestige attached to valves in recent years, why shouldn’t we have a go at it? 8^)
SIMPLE STEPPER MOTOR CONTROL WITH NE555 CHIP.
13th August 2016. This page is tied in with YouTube videos. Some weeks ago
we made a video showing the use of the M335 microstep driver. It has just been followed
by Part II, which shows how the motor can be operated by a simple circuit
based on the cheap NE555 timer chip. Click on the chip for more info.
MANUAL FOR LATE 1950s MSS DISC CUTTING LATHE.
18th March 2016. Thanks to the generosity of my old friend Mike Thomas, we can upload the
Works Manual for the CLDED/3/3 Disc Cutting Machine. This may sound obscure; but there are
quite a lot of people out there (including me) who like cutting their own disc records!
THE INEVITABLE FOLLOW-UP TO THE PROJECT BELOW.
26th January 2016. Having by some miracle, made the project below, it immediately
called out for a matching QRP CW transmitter. So begins a new quest.
MAJOR NEW YEAR RADIO PROJECT.
8th January 2016. An attempt to home-brew a High Quality direct conversion receiver for the
7 MHz (40m) amateur band. From an article by Rick Campbell, KK7B, in ‘QST’, August 1992.
A VINTAGE ACTIVE AUDIO CW FILTER BY W7ZOI.
7th January 2016. On old circuit by ham radio guru Les Hayward, W7ZOI : it still works OK for us!
FORTUNATE EASY REPAIR OF A POWER SUPPLY.
23rd October 2015. A friend gave us a useful power supply unit, but it turned out not to work.
Happily, on-line was found a ‘quick fix’ for the problem – quite a common one with this otherwise excellent unit.
THOUGHTS ON AN OLD DYMO PRINTER.
1st May 2015. We had let our old Dymo get into a very neglected state; but it has been cleaned & has given rise to various thoughts.
TINKERING AROUND WITH MODEL AEROPLANES.
30th April 2015. A Christmas present from my daughter has belatedly started another craze!
SAMPLE OF AN EARLY SUBMARINE TELEGRAPH CABLE.
12th April 2015. We bought this on impulse at an auction a few years ago, and have only just got around to investigating it.
A PHONO PRE-AMPLIFIER WITH 78 EQUALISATIONS.
23rd March 2015. Our latest project was to make a device to go between our pick-up cartridge and amplifier, so that we could apply the
proper correction for 78 rpm records. Modern amplifiers are almost always set up just to play LPs, which makes 78s sound muffled.
5 WATTS BY CRYSTAL ON 7 MHz WITH AN IRF510.
29th January 2015. The IRF510 MOSFET is actually a switching device, but it is cheap and can
be used as a RF amplifier, with careful biasing. We learned the hard way.
THE VARIABLE FREQUENCY OSCILLATOR IS BOXED UP.
23rd January 2015. The work begun in 68 & 70 below is brought to a successful conclusion!
CAN WE REPAIR OUR INDESIT WIXL 123 WASHING MACHINE? YES!
19th January 2015. It turns out that the 123 and related models have a generic fault on the control board,
but is very easy & cheap to fix, provided you have the necessary abilities.
MORE WORK ON THE VARIABLE FREQUENCY OSCILLATOR & SUPERGLUE.
5th January 2015. We are still prototyping a VFO for our projected 3.5 MHz low power Morse transmitter.
Superglue is a vital ingredient, so don’t let the tube get gummed up…
STARTING TO BUILD A SMALL LOW POWER MORSE CODE TRANSMITTER.
3rd January 2015. It’s been ages since we dabbled around with a Ham Radio project, so here we go.
The first – & usually the most difficult – stage is the variable frequency oscillator.
THE MIRACLE OF WIRELESS TELEPHONY.
28th December 2014. Tinkering around with an old valve (tube), some drain-pipe & wire, & short wave radio.
CASH, SOLO and TOAD.
24th January 2014. Three useful mnemonics or acronyms I learned nearly 60 years ago, and used today to make the taper shown above.
A VOICE FROM SPACE, 22nd MAY 1991.
The voice of Helen Sharman, recorded on the above date, from the Russian MIR space station, via Amateur Radio.
LISTEN TO THAT SHOOTING STAR!
Sometime in the 1960s, I was certain that I heard a shooting star. This has proved to be correct after all these years.
THE HACKSAW: ITS INHERENT FUTILITY?
November 2013. Short musings in finding a 35 year old hacksaw has, somehow, worn out.
VINTAGE RAILWAY LOCOMOTIVES, AND A FEW STATIONS.
We recently acquired a batch of old Railway postcards, which has made us go all Nostalgic for the era of Steam Locomotives!
THE BIRTH OF RADIO.
‘The Birth of Radio’; or, The Romance of Marconiphone’. A 1934 Columbia advertising record, given away with their radiograms.
Believed to be narrated by Ralph Richardson.
EARLY ELECTRICAL PICK-UPS.
In early 1925, electrical recording came into its own. Almost immediately, people sought to play back records electrically too. Here are some notes on, & images of, early electrical pick-ups and pick-up arms.
These are the old spring-driven machines that play discs by acoustic – i.e. mechanical – means. I have, alas, started to collect them in the last year or so. Join me in a brief look at some of the 6 basic & quite inexpensive machines acquired so far, and how we have been tinkering with them. It’s ‘conservation’ really, but is also fun!
HOW WERE 78 rpm RECORDS MADE?
The answer is by no means as simple as it ought to be. Several process routes were used. This page gives a very general & simple account of how I think many of them were made. But it gets more complicated too!
MORSE CODE ON 78 rpm RECORDS.
By way of helping you learn the Morse code, many companies produced 78 records for this purpose. Here are notes, jottings & labels scans & audio examples of several sets from 1907 to around the 1940s.
SOME RECORDINGS OF RADIO JAMMING SIGNALS.
Here are 4 examples of the sorts of signals used by Germany and Italy to ‘jam’ radio broadcasts. They very likely date from World War 2, 1939-1945.
GRAMOPHONE NEEDLE TINS.
A very few remarks on, er… gramophone needle tins!
3 OLD AMERICAN STEREOSCOPIC VIEWS.
I just found these ‘stereoscopic’ cards, dating from the early 1890s, in an old folder, where they had been forgotten. One is of cotton pickers in Louisiana, one is a shot of ‘Lovers’ Lane’ in New Orleans, while the third must have been mildly salacious for the times. But why not see for yourself?
THE TUMBLE DRYER.
Some observations - you may find them too lengthy - on the incipient démise of my 18-year-old tumble dryer, and some of the impressive design features found within, upon partially dismantling it.
The last day that trolley ’buses ran in Walsall - 30th October 1970. 16 crude black & white shots taken that day. They may prove of interest to enthusiasts of public transport?
Last revised 15th November 2016.