Author Archives: Thomas

Tubes and Valves: Dan’s research uncovers three vintage films

Hammarlund-SP-600

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, DanH, who writes:

I have been working on my Hammarlund SP600-JX-21 for the last two weeks. Results of the filter cap replacement were encouraging. I’m going after an AVC issue that is probably capacitor-related as well before doing a re-alignment with the signal generator.

All of this activity has turned my attention toward vacuum tubes. I found three vintage industrial films online that caught my interest…

The Mullard Radio Valve Company produced The Blackburn Story in 1962. The film was shot at what must have been close the peak of vacuum tube mass production. This presentation is unique in its finely detailed documentation of miniature tube construction. The hand labor required to build some of these tubes is incredible, considering it is a mass production operation. A surprising degree of automation is present for manufacture of some of the more popular tube types. The video resolution is not the best but I found myself ignoring this limitation after the film got underway. I have a few Mullard tubes in my tube boxes.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Western Electric presents A Modern Aladdin’s Lamp (1940). This look at the electron tube is hosted by none other than Lowell Thomas. From the age of four pin and octal base tubes animation shows how tubes work.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Electronics at Work (1943) is a WWII offering by Westinghouse. The description of vacuum tube technology is a little more detailed and again animation is employed for visual impact. A variety of vacuum tube applications in industry and the military are shown from curing plywood to producing X-rays. The excellent animation was contributed by Famous Studios (when they weren’t doing the wartime Popeye cartoons).

Click here to view on YouTube.

Wow–thanks for sharing these excellent videos, Dan!

BBC Waveguide and Letterbox archives now available online

Waveguide

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike Barraclough, who writes:

BBC World Service Archives continue to put up programmes on the main site, they were previously available on a beta site you had to register for and were allowed to add tags or edit data. 64 editions of Waveguide, their radio broadcasting developments programme now up, first one 21 April 1988. last one 14 March 2001.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0338l70/episodes/guide

There were only 4 editions of the long running Letterbox on the beta site but they have been transferred over, includes the final edition. None of World Radio Club in the archives unfortunately.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p033dqhr/episodes/guide

Many thanks for the tip, Mike! I’m happy the BBC is making their archives even more accessible as a part of their strategic plan. Please let us know if you note any other archives of interest!

Video: J R R Tolkien on Wireless

RCA-Portable-DialMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor Eric (WD8RIF), who shares this (quirky!) animated video set to a British Library Sound Archive of “Wireless” by J R R Tolkien.

This animation was produced by students at the University of the Arts London:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Proposed amendment to National Defense Authorization Act calls for privatization of VOA

View of the Capitol Building from the roof of the Voice of America on 330 Independence Ave., S.W.

View of the Capitol Building from the roof of the Voice of America on 330 Independence Ave., S.W.

(Source: BBG Watch via Andrea Borgnino)

BBG Watch has learned that a proposed privatization of the U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) is widely opposed by Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) federal employees, their union, the independent Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – cusib.org), and numerous foreign policy and public diplomacy professionals, as well as some former VOA journalists. At the same time, critics of privatization of America’s “Voice” strongly support structural reforms of its ailing federal agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which they blame for VOA’s troubles.

“A decision to reform the Broadcasting Board of Governors merits its own separate bill where both houses of Congress can debate and carefully consider the best course of action,” AFGE Local 1812 union told its Broadcasting Board of Governors members. “It should not be addressed in a stealth last minute amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act,” the union said. The union urged BBG employees to contact their senators and express their opposition to the amendment submitted by Congressman Mac Thornberry and “the offensive language is contained in section 310 (b) of the amendment.” The Senate version of the bill does not have this language, the union reported. Also see an earlier AFGE Local 1812 article, HERE WE GO AGAIN: Another Agency Attempt to De-federalize TV and Radio Marti.[…]

Continue reading on the BBG Watch website.

Ron’s Bluetooth solution for robust shortwave radio audio

S7600

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Ron Wagner, who writes:

Thanks very much for your informative SWL pages. With the, seemingly, shortsighted, contracting world of SW broadcasters, you keep our interest alive!

Recently, you called attention to Jay Allen’s modification and installment of a new speaker for the Satellit 800. Not quite ready to open up my 800, even with a scratchy volume pot, I setout to find another way, not only for the 800, but for all of those older radios that “SWLers” love.

J-Tech

Walla, a Bluetooth TX/RX device (by JETech Designs) which connects to the headphone or external speaker jack of the radios. Then, with a Bluetooth speaker, put the TX/RX device on TX and pair with the speaker, and your off to an audio improvement in all of your radios.

G_G3

G_800a

Attached, see the TX/RX with my 800, G3 and ICF 7600 and my outdoor Bluetooth speaker. With today’s Bluetooth speakers, you can spend to suit your budget and ears. Now, I’m on my way to find Bluetooth headphones to pair with the Bluetooth transmitter.

What a simple and relatively affordable idea, Ron. I had been considering the purchase of a Bluetooth receiver for the AUX in port in my minivan’s audio system. If I understand correctly, this one unit can both send and receive Bluetooth audio.  Very cool!

I could also imagine someone placing their shortwave portable outside–on a patio or deck–away from indoor radio interference, and using the Bluetooth link to port audio to a speaker inside the house. You wouldn’t have tuning control (and you’d have to remember to bring the radio inside if rain is in the forecast–!), but you would have audio control.

Looks like this JETech receiver/transmitter is available on Amazon or directly from JETech. Thanks again for the tip, Ron!