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Old 16th Jan 2019, 11:41 am   #121
Phil G4SPZ
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Default Re: TV Detector Vans

The fact that the Common Cold Research Unit actually existed is confirmed by academic papers in medical journals, as well as several films. Whether “other” research went on at the same facility, I don’t know.
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Old 16th Jan 2019, 11:50 am   #122
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Default Re: TV Detector Vans

I would take great exception to the BBC licence fee being funded from taxation.
There are already lots of not-relevant (to me) but essential services coming out of my pay packet, without other peoples' entertainment joining the queue.
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Old 16th Jan 2019, 11:57 am   #123
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Default Re: TV Detector Vans

This thread was reopened to merge in a new thread yesterday, but has since had more inappropriate posts about TV licencing, conspiracy theories etc than posts about the possible technology used, and the latter have only repeated what has been said previously.

No option but to close it again, and this time it's staying closed.
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Old 20th Jan 2021, 4:01 pm   #124
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Default Tv Licence detector Vans

Great article and pictures on yesterdays Southgate Amateur Radio News. http://www.southgatearc.org/
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Old 20th Jan 2021, 4:15 pm   #125
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Default Re: Tv Licence detector Vans

Quote:
The VHF era brought with it a new detector van design, this time built on a car such as to avoid clearance issues with the tall antenna.
I'm not sure what this means - unless it's saying that they were detecting the experimental medium-wave 30-line transmissions.

Television was already in the "VHF era" in 1952 when the vans were said to first be deployed.
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Old 20th Jan 2021, 4:52 pm   #126
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Default Re: Tv Licence detector Vans

It's a very interesting article Hamish thanks for posting [as is the Southgate news feature itself]. "Detector Vans" is another one of those subjects that used to run and run at one time [and there should be threads to prove it-unless the Met Police IT Maintenance Team has been on site] Like stories of war time surplus dumped in mines and early Baird achievements [eg colour TV] etc there was always scepticism but proof emerges in the end. I recall that one chap got in touch to say he had actually operated a Van and that it wasn't just a propaganda exercise [as suggested] with no real equipment on board ie they could actually detect something! Combined with other info that came in, I was pretty much convinced by that. I wonder what's in the BBC Archives out at Caversham! [is it?] The lack of info either way has always been a puzzle and a greater mystery in a way! I've never seen this amount of detail before.

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Old 20th Jan 2021, 5:01 pm   #127
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Default Re: Tv Licence detector Vans

That article seems a bit 'off' in terms of the timeline - it says "Once ITV started broadcasting in 1963, this method of detection became impractical".
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Old 20th Jan 2021, 6:55 pm   #128
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Default Re: TV Detector Vans

Nowadays, of course, their approach is more low-tech - they simply pester every address without a television licence (including my storeroom, which many years ago was a shop and has never operated a television).
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Old 24th Jan 2021, 10:17 am   #129
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Default Re: TV Detector Vans

Quote:
Nowadays, of course, their approach is more low-tech - they simply pester every address without a television licence
I cancelled my TV licence four years ago, I get an email every two years to declare I do not need one.
On the other hand, a mate of mine also cancelled his licence a couple of years ago, and he has had a few rather threatening letters.

It seems a lot of people are now declaring they do not need a licence, as they only watch Netflix, Youtube ITV/CH4 catchup etc.
The BBC are apparently experiencing a lot of licence cancellations as more people are getting their entertainment quite legally online, according to an article on Radio four recently.

As the law stands, you only need a licence to watch or record live TV on any channel on any device, also BBC catchup (Computer, TV, mobile phone etc.).


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Old 24th Jan 2021, 10:56 am   #130
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Default Re: TV Detector Vans

1963 is a bit late as ITV started in 1956,so I am not sure why a detector van would not still be used. Round here it was channel 2 and 10.

It is very interesting and there are many storires about tv detection and I hope we can all keep the topic to just that and nothing else in order to keep it open.
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Old 24th Jan 2021, 11:18 am   #131
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Default Re: TV Detector Vans

I have a set of photos of Martin's Commer Detector van shortly after it was renovated. I know nothing of how they worked. Is there anyone out there with inside information that could help put together an article for the BVWS Bulletin ? If there is please PM me.

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Old 24th Jan 2021, 11:25 am   #132
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I bought a dealers licence when I opened my shop in the early 1980s . Some time later a chap called in from licencing to check if the flat above was occupied as if it had been a full licence would be required.
He was a friendly chap and stayed for a cup of tea during which he told me of the problems of enforcing and checking. He said that while some detector vans were operational others were dummies to just encourage the purchase of a licence.
He said it was impossible to detect in flats and the like, there was no mention of hand held detectors . It seems that they were struggling even then to enforce the purchase of a licence. He told me many people that had a colour set only had a monochrome licence and unless they agreed to a inspection there was little to be done.
Hence I think the requirement for dealers to send in the report forms when a set was sold.
My mate has a bungalow he uses as a store and office he got letters constantly he would have happily allowed an inspection but no-one ever called it was just the constant letters.
In the end he got through on the phone and explained his position. The letters then stopped but he was told he would have to reconfirm that no licence was needed again in the future.
It seems a strange that you have to prove or at least declare that a licence is not needed. I don't know of any companies that you have to opt out if you don't want their services...
My Mother who is 90 this year is now having to buy a licence since the change of rules. I could go on about this but I fear it is may be off topic...
As far as detector vans are concerned I haven't seen one for over 30 years.
I think the last one I saw was one of the old Bedford CF vans.
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Old 24th Jan 2021, 11:51 am   #133
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Default Re: TV Detector Vans

As the person who started this thread (all those years ago!), I found the Southgate article illuminating, despite the obvious errors.

I had rather assumed that a system would be looking for local oscillator signals, etc., but it seems the methods employed were anything but crude.

Living much of my life in large urban areas, I never saw a van so I did wonder if they were mythical items. As with enforcement of most things, a fair amount of psychology was/is employed.

I lived without a TV for many years. A busy life, a preference for radio since childhood, and visits to various elderly and ailing relatives meant I saw more than enough. Timing my visits carefully meant I saw programmes I was interested in - this was pre-digital of course. I found keeping Dad company during a football match was preferable to having to endure ‘Emmerdale’.

I regularly received the carefully worded threatening letters and received several knocks at the door. I politely but firmly refused entry and other than telling them I had no TV and, in fact, no aerial – something of a necessity in this location – refused to give further information. I had no intention of giving some total stranger, who was a mere employee of a collection firm (rather than some official like a policeman) a guided tour of my home for him (it was always a him) to tell his mates down the pub (remember those?) about the Picassos on my wall or worse, my Hacker Sovereign, Bush TR82 and vintage Dansette. (Actually, I have no Picassos but I do have a Leonardo - a small framed picture postcard.)

I wrote TVL a letter stating the facts and they did leave me alone for periods of two years at a stretch. I refused to phone their premium rate number.

I did have one bit of fun with one of the TVL callers when I offered to show him my licence to transmit TV signals. It confused him no end and even more so when I explained that in the dim and distant past that I had done so!

With visits to elderly relatives over, I finally got a set at digital switch over. I watched a lot of BBC 4 until I noticed that the same programmes came around again and again. The set developed a screen fault some years ago but is so rarely used I haven't bothered replacing it. I got the money for a replacement set from the extended warranty so I have effectively had the TV for free!

With classic transport enthusiasts restoring vans to the former glory of their original liveries perhaps someone with a Commer van will build a replica.
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Old 24th Jan 2021, 12:01 pm   #134
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Default Re: TV Detector Vans

Quote:
Originally Posted by Junk Box Nick View Post
With classic transport enthusiasts restoring vans to the former glory of their original liveries perhaps someone with a Commer van will build a replica.
I see from posts that have come in whilst I was composing my reply that someone has already done it.

I expected that some vans might be dummies. A prosecution on based on detector van evidence would be enough to demonstrate that detection was possible.

I guess that there were so few, and with the secrecy that surrounded much of the operation, that the chances of any of the kit surviving is next to nil.
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Old 24th Jan 2021, 12:13 pm   #135
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Default Re: TV Detector Vans

The 'Southgate' article has been lifted from an original Hackaday article:-

https://hackaday.com/2021/01/18/tv-d...ts-of-england/

- which contains links to Post Office Engineering Journals describing the technologies used:-

The Detection of Televison Receivers (1952)
https://archive.org/details/poeej195...ge/n1/mode/2up

A New Detection System for Television & VHF Radio Receivers (1963)
https://archive.org/details/poeej196...ge/n1/mode/2up

A New System for the Detection of VHF Sound Radio Receivers & VHF & UHF Television Receivers (1969)
https://archive.org/details/poeej196...e/n13/mode/2up

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Old 24th Jan 2021, 12:24 pm   #136
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Default Re: TV Detector Vans

Quote:
I offered to show him my licence to transmit TV signals
I've got one of those too. That begs the question, do you need a TV licence to receive amateur TV transmissions?
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Old 24th Jan 2021, 12:46 pm   #137
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Default Re: TV Detector Vans

No way Merlin.
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Old 24th Jan 2021, 12:50 pm   #138
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Default Re: TV Detector Vans

Back to detection, I understand that it was the line time base frequency that was picked up in the early days and then the ref oscillator 4.619 khz in the colour era 1967 etc.

So, how do they detect an led/lcd set these days? It it so obvious I have missed it?

And yes, I do have a licence for the record before anyone thinks that is why I was asking.
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Old 24th Jan 2021, 2:12 pm   #139
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Default Re: TV Detector Vans

Quote:
That begs the question, do you need a TV licence to receive amateur TV transmissions?
I would say that you do! A Russian guy I worked with a few years ago had put up a dish to watch programmes from his home country, he was told he still needed a TV licence, even though he never watched UK TV!

While the detector vans are a thing of the past, I have heard that small handheld devices, similar to a mobile phone are now used to catch licence fee dodgers.
I would love to know if this is true, and if so, how they work.


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Old 24th Jan 2021, 2:58 pm   #140
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Default Re: TV Detector Vans

Quite possibly just a smartphone with a list of local addresses to which no TV licence has been issued.


(I spent a few years in the '80s ignoring licence nag letters addressed to myself after I bought a new TV- my wife held one ).
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