Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Consultants - dontcha just luv 'em?!?

Over at David Hepworth's there's an intelligent debate going on about Consultants, amongst other things. It's very good.

However, being time poor but sarcasm rich you won't get anything quite so involved from me. It's a different paradigm. I'll just paint a picture with my own enriched version of my favourite description of this noble best-of-breed:

"Consultants? - They're like seagulls: They spy your chips, fly in, squawk a lot, flap round your head for a while, land, strut around, eat all your food, squawk a lot more, then suddenly take off, fly around you for a bit longer, squawk en masse, crap on you, then disappear. It's very hard to tell one from another."


Sunday, 26 April 2009

Heck - it's BBC bullshit time

'Nazi' cattle indeed. What do they do then, herd themselves into their own cattle trucks?

I also hope you enjoy the commentary, with it's insightful summary of the Nazi rampage through Europe.

See the 'Nazi cattle' here

BBC News - for all your red-top website needs. Doh. Get a grip, BBC, you're meant to be better than this.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Easter Eggs

When was the last time you saw a pair of beauties like this hanging outside a house? They really are the (HMV dogs) nuts aren't they. They're commonly referred to as egg insulators (not dog's eggs, so no sniggering at the back please).

Apologies to those who do know, but for those who don't they are radio aerial, or antenna insulators, used to prevent loss of the radio signal to earth in old style long wire aerials, when receiving your actual BBC Light Programme, or if you preferred, the World Service, VOA, Radio Moscow/Prague/Luxembourg and so on.

Aerial insulators are still used to this day by aficionados of old radio sets, listeners to the short wave and by radio amateurs, a-transmitting and a-receiving worldwide.

Antenna arrays used by those folks can be complex, but for domestic listening pleasure, the general configuration was to have one end fixed to the house, and the other attached to a tall pole at the end of the garden, with the wire hanging between the insulators.

Here's a diagram of the typical installation you might remember seeing at your house. It's in Italian, so let's say it's to honour Guglielmo Marconi.

So a setup like the one in my photo at the top of the post would usually be for a home radio receiver. It would have been a feature of a vast number of Britain's houses from the 1930s through to the 1960s, when transistor radios started to take over, because the long wire aerials were usually required for Radio Sets using valves - perhaps an Ekco, Defiant, Grundig, Cossor, HMV, Pye, Bush, Phillips or a Marconi. Perhaps you or someone you know had one. Perhaps you still do!

But the aerial isn't all that you need to get the best from your old radio. You also need to get the radio signal through your (wooden) window frame to the radio inside the house, without earthing the wire and losing the signal. For this you need an insulator - this one is the typical paxoline tube with a copper thread running through it.

Finally, an earth point is required, in order to set up a good signal flow between the broadcast transmitter and the radio receiver - which are linked together by the earth potential of the, er, Earth.

Now you're all set to go - sit back and enjoy the mellow tones, and, have a Happy Easter!

Click to enlarge pic

Click to enlarge pic

Click to enlarge pic

For those that need more nostalgia there are many websites about old radios, for example this one, from the U.S.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

625 & 405

You don't see many of the old style 405 line VHF TV aerials these days and no wonder as they've been unable to pick up a useful TV signal for more than 20 years. So those that are left, although obsolete often remain in place, safely out of reach. A perch for birds and a passing query for anyone happening to glance upwards.

Actually you don't see too many of the 'old style' 625 UHF aerials being put up these days either. Most people seem to believe the hype that they need an aerial resembling a massive bog-brush in order to pick up 'digital'.

Which in most cases they don't of course.

When the digital signal strength gets boosted in a couple of years time with the demise of the long time standard analogue, the old style copper wire will suffice on it's own I should think.

Still, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.