Geissler Tubes

“GHQ on the line, Sir. G2 wireless”. It was my boss who had been lying low recently.

“Morning Lofty, I have a job for you.  I want you to value some electrical gear which Dr. John Ball loft. I suppose you know who he was?”

I thought rapidly. “Probably better than you do. In his youth a very useful Astronomer; later Head of the Survey of Egypt for about 25 years. Took part with Bagnold on the early tests of Wireless in the desert. Also wrote books on Egypt, which I have. I always reckon that the No. 9 set was based on his data. Still a good set if you apply our modifications to abate its greed. I was talking to young Zaki up Pyramid’s Road the other day. He told mc that Ir. Bail was a very keen Radio Amateur in those parts and, please when is he going to get his rig back from the British?

I got no further. “Shut up and listen. Firstly I told you to keep away from Ztaki; he is a Security Risk. You’ll get picked up by the Gestapo if you keep seeing him. Next, my Head Clerk will bring the electrical gear out in the morning. I’ll come along P.M. and have a word about it”.

“Tesharra ftena — you honour us”.

“Good God, what are these things?”; There was a splendid display of twisted tubes and bulbs of many glorious colours with the steady humming of a Ruhmkorf Coil. “The tubes of Dr. Geisler, a late Victorian entertainment. The glass has various doses of suitable elements in it and it fluoresces appropriate colours due to the discharge in low pressure gases. I expect he kept them to amuse the children. They are the best I have seen and a collector might give £50 for the lot!”

The G2 mused awhile. “Listen Lofty, Dr. Ball left a widow and a Bank balance of about £10, Due to his great work on the maps of the Desert and in particular his invention of the “Going” map, the high Command wish to pay his widow a substantial sum. This has gone right to the top in the UK but it must be kept quiet. You will take these items on charge for £10,000 and pass the necessary papers so that Dr. Ball’s widow can be paid. Hide them round the valve pumping gear if you like”.

I can truly say that never before had I seen such a generous act from the Military and the  Government, in general. It deserved the utmost support, but I could still get a bit of fun
out of it.

“Nice mess I shall be it when someone in ten years time starts to check our Accounts. Very like the trouble those insulators yours caused. Anyway, I still have the powers of write-off of Divisional General, so I shall clean up the transaction that way”.

“Good God that should have been cancelled years ago”. I laughed. “Not it, they burnt all their copies in the great flap of Ash Monday, or whatever day it was, when our old mate Rommel was expected hourly. I keep it locked up and, only use it when essential”.

He wagged his sinful head and departed. And thus it all happened.
And thou Achyta. who in thy mind didst overrun the whirling firmament
Who named the numberless stars of the heavens
Lies imprisoned in a. narrow sepulchre – a scanty handful of dust on a foreign shore,
For thou wast mortal..

Eric Vast (M1CYF) March 1983.

Return to the index of Vital Spark articles.

G3MGQ’s Month on the Air

Prepared by the clubs RSGB trainer, G3MGQ, you will find the latest DX contests including the ones to shoot for as well as ones to give a wide berth. Why not download the latest edition of Month on the Air and enjoy your DX just that little bit more.

Become a member of HERC

Join the Hastings Electronics and Radio Club.

Why not join one of the largest and most established Radio clubs in the South East of England? Very low joining cost, and free for a year to new licencees.

Vital Spark Archive

Vital Spark newsletter articles

Take a look through a large selection of articles written by club members over the years which have been published in the monthly Vital Spark newsletter .

Used Ham Radio Equipment

View HERC's Used Ham Radio Equipment for sale list..

Every four weeks, HERC's Used Ham Radio Equipment for sale list is updated on the site. Bookmark the gear for sale page to re-visit easily and take advantage of the used equipment on sale through the club.

Club Photographs

HERC Image Galleries.

Here is the official HERC photograph archive which contains multiple image galleries spanning several decades since the club was formed many years ago. Enjoy the images!

UK Amateur Radio Repeaters

UK repeaters

Click button above for full list, or a local repeater callsign below for info.

GB3EB 2m in Uckfield- Active
MB6EB 2m DStar Node in Eastbourne - Active
MB6RY Wires-X DigiGate in Broad Oak - Active
GB3HE 70cm in Hastings - Active
GB7HE 70cm DStar in Hastings - Coming soon
GB3ZX 70cm in Eastbourne - Low Power
GB3JT 23cm ATV in Hastings - NoV cleared
GB7RY 70cm X-Wires Repeater Rye - Active
GB7ES Eastbourne - DSTAR Rpt. - Active
GB3ES 2m in Hastings - Active

For a complete list of repeaters, head over to
the UK Amateur Radio repeaters list.

Popular pages

Get your amateur radio licence - Find out more about amateur radio licence training.
Month on the Air - G3MGQ's popular monthly DX contest/expedition list.
Wilf Gaye Memorial Cup - The clubs annual operating event in the memory of Wilf Gaye M0GYE.
St. Richard's College Buildathon/STEM/ARISS - HERC attends St. Richard's Catholic College for their various events surrounding the Tim Peake ARISS contact.
G3BDQ - John Hey's Rare QSL Cards.
Sussex Electronics Radio Fair - SERF Sussex Electronics Radio Fair 2016.
Vital Spark - A selection of articles re-published from the Vital Spark.
RSGB News - Find out how to get RSGB news on your mobile or PC.
Experimenters Corner - A selection of Proteus projects by Bob Gornal (G7DME)
BBADL - Bath Based Distance Learning Course.
Conquest Hospital Radio - Presented by HERC member Antony (G4CUS).
Radio Rallies 2016 - An up to date list of radio rallies scheduled for 2016.
Club QSL Cards - A selection of QSL cards the club has received over the years.
Other Newsletters - Excellent newsletters and magazines from other clubs.
TX Factor episodes - Take a look at the TX Factors YouTube videos.
John Taplin - A bio of the late John Taplin.

Amateur Radio Resources

Other Radio Clubs & RAYNET

BSARS - Brede Steam Amateur Radio Society

RAYNET - The Hastings and Rother RAYNET Group.

HERC members sites

Sigord - Gordon Sweet
Hastings Radio Comms - Andrew Haas-Campbell
Hoofbags - Liz Costa