Sunday, 2 May 2010

The very first post

Well here we are, first time that i have ever done this. My name is Ken Underwood,  first licensed in July 1963 back in Hayes,  Middlesex west of London and now living in  Annesley North Nottinghamshire.
Retired and enjoying radio as i now have plenty of time on my hands.
Hope to talk soon.
73
Ken G3SDW

Just an update, we moved home on the 23rd March 2012 to Nottingham. We have now settled in just fine and enjoying this part of the country, the local people here are so friendly, we have been made extremely welcome.
Feels like we have come home as the next village is called "UNDERWOOD" how spooky.

38 comments:

  1. Well a bit about me, as you can see i have been licensed for 47 years and in that time i have seen many many changes to the hobby. Some for the good and some not, i still enjoy it just the same.
    These days i try to help newly licensed guys with any problems that they have and one of my main concern`s is the threat of interference from digital equipment that is now flooding on to the market.So some time ago i volunteered to become an EMC(interference) adviser for the RSGB and now get to help others all over the UK when they get problems that they cannot sort out as some of them can be a bit tricky to locate. So far 100% success so i am pleased with that.
    I am still very active on the HF bands running a Kenwood TS480sat and the antenna is a full wave horizontal loop which has a wire length of 79 meters. I feed it with a 4:1 balun and the use 50ohm co-ax into the shack and with a LDG Z100 auto atu i can use the loop on all bands. For VHF (2m) i have a Kenwood TR-751E with a Co-linear in the roof space, this permits me to chat with the local guys and also the local repeater GB3TR.

    Going back to the HF loop, we live in a small apartment block of 4 and due to local restrictions we cannot have outside antennas, so the loop is concealed inside the plastic gutter surrounding the building. The shape of the building is like two oblongs at right angles to each other, there is not a lot i can do about that but for a compromise antenna it works very well indeed.
    So that is about me and now i better let some of you out there know that i am here or else i will be Billy No Mates.
    73 for now
    Ken

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  2. Morning Ken,

    Congratulations on starting a blog. I hope it gives you as much enjoyment as it has me these past 12 months.

    BTW I checked in with a mate of yours on Echolink last week: G4FKI/M (Dave). He was on the M1 northbound! He said to pass on his best wishes to you.

    If you want to increase your readability online, go to the following address and add your URL web address:

    http://www.google.com/addurl/

    I will be sure to check in regularly.

    73 for now, Adam (M6RDP)

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  3. Thanks Adam yes have know Dave for almost 40 years and a great bloke. He is a transmitter engineer for Ofcom and travels the length and breadth of the UK sorting out and installing radio and TV transmitters for commercial broadcasters. He lives in a village next to the one i used to live before i moved to Devon called Ampthill which is in Bedfordshire, i used to live in Flitwick, these are approx`10 miles north of Luton and 10 miles south of Bedford.

    73

    Ken G3SDW

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  4. Hi Ken,

    My GL has just seen your pic from the 60's and asked...'who is thaaat..?'

    I bet you were fighting them off with a ***y stick !

    Hope you enjoy the blogging, I know Adam and myself certainly do.

    73 Paul.

    PS - re stealth antenna's take a look at my latest post, I'd be interested on your comments Ken.

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  5. Hi Paul funny you say that about the 60s as then i was working for Pan American Airways at Heathrow and travelling around Europe and the Middle East so did not have too much time plus the fact i was engaged to Sylvie.Good times though also i had just come away from the birth of Marshall Amplification which looking back then i should of stayed put but there we go, your life is mapped out for you.

    As for the stealth antenna give it a go but remember that for the cobweb do not use metal spiders you must use either bamboo or fibre glass, but you will find that it is a very good antenna indeed. Yes this blogging game is a novel idea and to me is like a very personal "Facebook".

    Hope to see you next time at the club which i find to be a very good one lots of energy and interactiveness which i like.

    It is so good to meet you after all these years Paul funny how things go round in circles.

    73 For now

    Ken

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  6. I have just added a picture of a very old and strange looking bug key that i have just been given. There were only 500 of these made and this one dates from around 1948/9. It is the only British made bug key to be made in the UK by Stratton and Co Ltd in Birmingham and i am informed that toady it is rather a rare key. At the moment i am giving it a good clean and respraying the case and will put a picture on here when it is finished then i will use it and i know that i will get great pleasure in doing so.

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  7. Hi Ken,

    Apologies for not returning back sooner, your comments taken on board re antenna design, and hopefully see you tomorrow night at the club.

    Yes it is funny, but also not so much of a co-incidence as you may think, after all to be a TV Engineer must make you a bit of a geek, perhaps a little like HAM radio ?

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  8. Hi Paul never thought of myself as anything more than just a guy doing a days work and definitely not a geek, TV engineer or Ham radio. I think the geeky bit is more apparent in this day and age as we live in this so called Digital world.
    Tonight i am going to make a phone call to a guy that i helped to start the Marshall amplification empire back in the `60s have not spoken to him for over 30 years his call is G3UDC quite a lot to catch up on.

    73

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  9. Well as you can no doubt see that the Eddystone S689 bug key is now cleaned and up and running.
    The brass had not been cleaned for over`60 years so i set to to find that the best thing to use which is a solution of tomato ketchup and vinegar.
    This i did and as you can see it has come up a treat. Problem is now the shack smells like a fish and chip shop.

    73

    Ken

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  10. Perhaps geek is the wrong word....just two interest's/occupations with a certain crossover, it's probably no coincidence that a few of us used to work at Nortel as well.

    Ken, could you recommend a morse key for a newbie such as myself, nothing too expensive, I have a code osc kit for the Intermediate course to build and it'll need a key to work it.

    73 Paul.

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  11. Paul what sort of key are you intending to use, straight or paddle? let us know and i will let you know.

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  12. Keep an eye open for this new Interference forum (QRM Me) going live on 30th May it will be very informative on all interference problems.

    http://www.qrm.me.uk/index.php?sid=2492c38a129b7e73417d72d7f5c073de

    73

    Ken

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  13. Now to a family subject. Last evening my wife and i had the pleasure of meeting our son`s girlfriends family for the first time.They live in Nottingham and are down in Devon for a weeks holiday. We all met at the Hare and Hounds in Kingskerswell for a meal.
    Once we all had finished eating our son Gavin surprised us all by going down on one knee and proposing to his girlfriend who`s name i Laura. Quite emotional and the best thing of all is that she said YES.

    Get the suit out Ken.

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  14. As a continuation from the last post my son Gavin has asked me to be his best man when he gets married, what can i say what a honour, he commented that he wanted me to do this as he feels that i am his best mate, choke choke.

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  15. Experimenting with a Delta Loop antenna for 24/28Mhz very easy to construct and works incredibly well.Have a look for your self:-

    http://www.hamuniverse.com/kl7jrdualdelta1012.html

    73

    Ken

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  16. Just had the pleasure of a WW2 Spitfire doing a display over head for the local Babbacome Festival 2010 on the Downs, what a privilege, quite breathtaking.

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  17. Some people will never have talent
    They will always use the people who do to make themself look better !!!

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  18. Kids TV is not the same any more so have a look at this as this is what it should be like.


    http://www.velvetmouse.com/

    Just a bit of fun.

    73

    Ken

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  20. Having a one man crusade with Marshall as they have said for many years that the company was firs started in 1962, as i was there i know that it was started in 1963 and now amongst other's i have found this and as they say that Pete Townsend of "The Who" was the first person to by one there amp`s which is true then have a read of this and see that they must be wrong:-

    http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/gear/pa/pa6366.html#s196364

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  21. Been listening on 28Mhz today open to Europe had a few contacts but now it seems to be dying. A few weak signals though so i have known it in the past to liven up again, we shall see.

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  22. Went to see Adam today M6RDP, what a nice chap he is so keen which is what i like to see.

    We managed to finally sort out the problem for him so as he can use his small laptop with his 703 for CAT control. The laptop power supply was a beast to tame because of radiated noise but in the end we found that it was also pumping all sorts of crud into the laptop and radiating from there as well so i made a new lead to connect the laptop to his external power supply and now it is all very quiet.
    I get great pleasure from helping someone who needs help and appreciates it too.Good on ya Adam.

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  23. I did not think it would be so difficult to try to find a name for the book i am writing, had some good ideas and some strange ideas but so far nothing that seems to fit.
    When the right one appears then it will just click, so we will have to wait and see with patients.

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  24. Have been playing around with a Delta loop in the attic for 24/28Mhz and seems to work very well.
    Most of the openings of late have been mainly to Europe with good reports.
    The band has been very poor to dead recently but just had a look and heard CX7CO calling CQ on cw so i gave him a call he came back to me and gave me 559 which i was very happy with so i ma even more impressed wit the antenna now.
    Have a look at the design for your self it is so easy to make.
    73

    Ken
    http://www.hamuniverse.com/kl7jrdualdelta1012.html

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  25. 10m has been very good of late and my quad Loop in the attic has been doing a fine job especially down south to Africa, had many contact into South Africa with good reports ranging from 569 to 599 and today on what seemed to be a dead band i heard and worked 7Q7BP in Malawi, we had a good chat and exchanged reports of 579 both ways, British guy with a UK call of G3MRC and called Joe.

    I am finding a cluster site very handy called DX Sherlock very handy for checking activity on 10m
    http://www.vhfdx.info/spots/map.php?Lan=E&Frec=28&ML=M&Map=EU give it a try.

    73 for now

    Ken G3SDW

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  26. Well thought i would try putting out a CQ call using GR3SDW this morning(29/4/11 08.30am on 20m)using this very odd 20m Delta loop in the attic.

    I have found this antenna to give great results so far for what reason i do not know.

    So CQ CQ on cw of course then ARK bang every European station and his brother was there but loudest of all was UA9JO Chita on the Chinese border then worked a string of Europeans and then could here another station down in the noise calling so stand by world and to my surprise it was VK7GN Martin in Tasmania giving me 579.

    All from this very odd delta loop in the attic, i have got the bug again Woop Woop

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  27. http://pogotobritpop.blogspot.com/

    Great site take a look,

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  28. Well as you can see i have not posted since 2012.
    I felt that today i should once again update my situation as it is today, 5 years have gone by and i am still here in Nottinghamshire. 5 years older and a lot more wiser. I am heavily involved with helping fellow radio amateurs but it is increasingly noticeable that the attitude toward other fellow like minded folk has changed. Its not the hobby i once knew and loved. Only the other day i was trying to help someone who had a problem with a new radio that he was trying to program. Another guy pitched in and commented about the power setting as the guy i was trying to help was a newly licenced amateur with a foundation licence which only allows him to run just 10 watts output. This other guy who also is a foundation licence holder jumped into say dont worry about the power and no one will ever know, i dont bother as i have been running full power (100 watts) for 13 years now and Ofcom are not bothered as that do not have the time to investigate, he seemed quite proud of his actions.
    Then a few days later i was listening to the Leicester repeater when someone came on giving others some verbal abuse, so some other guys questioned him about his actions, he brazenly gave his name and his call sign saying that it was his protest against Ofcom and the RSGB allowing the new three tier licence program as it let total idiots into the hobby, no one will do anything about me as that do not have the time and money to do so. What has this hobby come too when this sort of attitude is let to go unchallenged 54 years and wondering what is becoming to amateur radio

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  29. Another start to another week. The year is running by and we are now into September and the mornings are quite fresh and winter will not be too faraway.
    My HF antenna is ready for the bad weather. It is now a 148ft long wire fed with a 9:1 unun along with a 75ft berried counterpoise.
    The bottom section is helix, wound on the wooden support pole, some 8ft, as i did not have enough space for the total length. The wire goes from the bottom of the garden up and over the roof of the bungalow here and down to the plastic gutter at the front of the property.

    It matches extremly well from 80m through to 10m, were the SWR is slightly higher, like 2:1, and that is only on 80m, all the others are 1.1:1, then the internal tuner on my TS480SAT takes good care of that one.
    Its a very compromised antenna but for a small garden works well for me.
    On VHF/UHF i use a homemade J Pole constructed out of copper pipe which is situated in the attic, it works extremly well up there as we are over 600ft ASL. For what activity there is here on repeaters and simplex channels then why do i need any more than that.

    Conditions on HF are at an all time low but as i mainly use CW then it is surprising what can be worked, day time or after dark, on 30m CW yesterday i worked a Russian station at 5pm local and he was very strong indeed, gave me a favorable report for what thats worth with a distance of 1500 miles, not bad in my book for my compromised antenna.

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  30. So as i get older i regularly get asked to do an interview regarding my involvement with the birth of Marshall Amplification back in 1963.

    Recently i was asked to do one and was told he would contact me to make arrangements in a couple of weeks time.

    Weeks went by and i heard nothing, i think this was because i insisted initially that i wanted what i said not to be edited to a point that it was not the true facts, which with all the other publications and videos have been so inaccurate, i did not want this to happen.
    i thought why not i will do it here on my blogspot which i have not used for quite some time.

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  31. Well here we go, back in 1958 i became interested in radio due to my old dad who as a young man made a very basic one valve receiver, which i worried him to show me one day whilst he was on the loft, which it was stored for many years, eventually he did and with a vary large battery to our surprise then it worked, of course we had to attach an aerial to it which consisted of a long length of wire which went down the garden to the fence at the bottom of the garden.

    To our surprise it worked and we could here all sorts of stations from all over the world, the first being the Voice of America, i was hooked.

    Over the next few years i made some simple radios and eventually bought an ex army surplus ratio called a PCR3.

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  32. Forward to 1962, i joined the Greenford Radio club and started studying for my City and Guilds radio amateurs exam.

    There i met many other local radio amateurs, two in particular, Dudley Craven and Ken Bran.

    After each club night which was on a Friday both Ken, Dudley and i went for a coffee at a Wimpy bar in Ealing Broadway, after a couple of months Ken suggested that as we all needed some extra cash, all of us were hard up, that as he did some amplifier repairs at a local music shop owned by Jim Marshall that the word was going round that the local bands needed amps that had a bit more guts and a bit louder as well.

    Ken suggested that we could all together start making an amp to cater for there needs.

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  33. After a couple of weeks Ken had done his home work getting supplies and Dudley had been hard at work redesigning an existing Fender Bassman amp, this he did, how i will never know as he had a full time job with EMI and Ken worked with PanAm at Heathrow airport doing turn round check on Kites, thats american slang for planes.

    Once all the hardware had been complete Dudley supplied me with 6 chassis along with all the fittings like valve bases, pots, transformers, chokes etc for me to assemble.

    I set to getting this done and like the other two i had a full time job, again in an apprenticeship like Dudley with EMI.

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  34. This took up may late nights to early hours of the morning in my garden shed in Hayes Middlesex, Dudley being in Hanwell West London and Ken in Heston Middlesex, both in there respective garden sheds.

    Once i had finished the first 6 chassis then Dudley picked them up to assemble all the wiring along with the tag boards that Ken Bran had made. This was quite a task for Dudley and speaking to Dudleys wife recently said that on many occasions she found Dudley fast asleep at his bench in his shed at 3am.

    Once the first amps sold,via Jim Marshall`s shop on a commission basis, the first being sold to Pete Townsend for £110 then the pressure was on.

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  35. Jim said that he wanted in and suggested that as he had the cash to expand and the premises to make the amps much faster that we could all work at the back of his shop in Hanwell not far from where Dudley lived.

    I was 16 at that time and was in a dilemma on what to do, so as you do when you are that age is to ask your mum.

    I told her and without any hesitation said "Son there is not future in this pop music thing so i think it is better that you stay in your apprenticeship"

    Dudley and Ken carried on in the back of the shop in the Uxbridge Road Hanwell which they soon outgrew and moved across the road to an empty shop, they soon outgrew that and Jim negotiated and factory unit in Silverdale Road Hayes and after a few years Marshall moved to Bletchley in Buckinghamshire were they are still to this day.

    Thats all for today but i will post some other details another day.

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  36. Once the last tests had been done to get the sound right for the music scene at that time then the JTM45 was finally tested at the Ealing Club in Ealing Broadway, still there to this day. Originally run by Alexis Corner and there was never a band booked to play on a Sunday night so what happened was several of the local Musos used to put a band together and that consisted of Terry Marshall on Sax, Kenny Rankin on Bass, Dave Golding on Lead and Mitch Mitchell on Drums.Mitch worked in Jim Marshall`s shop and took drum lessons there too.The final tests were done and i will never forget the track which was played which was a recent hit for the Beatles called " I saw her Standing there" recorded in March 1963, note that date. After the gig we all went back to Mitch`s flat, him driving his old Upright Ford Pop`. We chilled there fora couple of hours and then went home in the early hours as i had to get up for work the next day, things we did back then.
    Still will carry on anther day

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  37. I forgot to say that when we were at the Ealing Club we were honored to have from time to time a guy with a great voice who often came in late after one of his gigs called James Royal (Jimi) he had a band called The Hawks, and in 1964 they were entered into a band competition on BBC1 on a show called Ready Steady Go being called Ready Steady Win. The came second to another band called the Bow Street Runners. Jimi lives in Australia now and is still gigging and from time to time visits our shores and does a few gigs with Terry Marshall who also played in the band on Sunday nights back then in the Ealing Club.

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  38. In an earlier post i mentioned that we visited a Wimpy Bar in Ealing Broadway on a Friday night. Towards the end of the evening 4 guys came in and all hell was let loose. They were a local band that were playing locally at the Ealing Town Hall, they were called the High Numbers, and yes they about a year later renamed them selves The Who.
    By the end of the evening the place was i right mess as Keith Moon loved to have food fights and his favorite food to use was Pancakes with Maple syrup with fresh cream, you can imagine what a mess was let for someone to clear up.

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This is me when i was first licensed in the early `60s

This is me when i was first licensed in the early `60s

Proud to say that i was there at it`s birth in 1963 and it was created by 3 radio amateurs.

Proud to say that i was there at it`s birth in 1963 and it was created by 3 radio amateurs.

This is my favourite straight key the HI-Mound HK-803.

This is my favourite straight key the HI-Mound HK-803.

On the left is Dudley Craven G3PUN with me on a field day trip somewhere in the country side.

On the left is Dudley Craven G3PUN with me on a field day trip somewhere in the country side.
Canadian Marconi 52 set in the middle, very heavy.

GM0HCQ/MM

GM0HCQ/MM
This is Mike`s ship the RSS James Clark Ross and is radio officer with the British Antarctic Survey. Take a regular look at his web site which is updated every day, most interesting and take a listen for him as well, you will find him on 30m and 40m cw most nights.

Me and Sylv on Christmas day

Me and Sylv on Christmas day

Me and John G3YPZ 1972 NFD Harlow common in Essex

Me and John G3YPZ 1972 NFD Harlow common in Essex