More on GBR by Eric Vast

I was told something of the early history of GBR by a friend who had worked on the first version.  He was one of the elite band of Post Office engineers who yearly got the job by competitive examination and who handled most of the development.  He was about my age and died a year or so ago, so I must rely on my memory.

It seems the first attempt included a single demountable valve, capable of (hopefully) giving 1000 KW output. The idea being that burnt out filaments, etc., would be replaced and various grids, etc., tried out.  It was water- cooled and provided with suitable vacuum pumps.  They worked it up to 600 KW, but above that things packed up, despite all their efforts and for some years it was actually run on 600 KW, but officially it was advertised as being 1000 KW.  It probably took that amount of power to get the 600 KW of radiation anyway.

I met another of these sort of things in Egypt during the 1939-45 war. I had dealings with Delta Wireless Station, the big one near Aboubir which handled all the Royal Navy’s traffic.  They were one of our clients for crystals. This one pumped some 200/300 amps into 2.4 ohms of aerial via a huge loading inductance about the size of a big beer barrel.  The ground was laced with heavy copper rods under the aerial.  The drive came from dozens of an old pattern valve with a fused quartz envelope and lead seals, looking like a badly made 2lb jam jar.  It ran red hot, including the envelope. Inside the inductance was an ordinary electric light bulb not connected to anything at all which lit up when the key was depressed.  I remember that the staff took an HRO and let me listen to the frequency standard GBR (on about 75 Khz?), as I did not have the 50 – 100 Khz coils.  They said that you could often hear an echo at 1/10 Second interval when it managed to travel round the world.  At times they had heard six or seven successive echoes.

The Navy was good at hanging on to old gear. Another chap told me that an old cruiser was used for training recruits in the harbour at Portsmouth and that this had a primeval kit of radio gear, spark coils, coherer, etc., all in perfect condition, up to about 1950, the stuff originating in the first world war.  It was I believe secured when the ship was scrapped and now resides in one of the naval museums.

Eric Vast. June 1995.

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G3MGQ’s Month on the Air

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Vital Spark Archive

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Used Ham Radio Equipment

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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

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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