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Vintage Amateur and Military Radio Amateur/military receivers and transmitters, morse, and any other related vintage comms equipment.

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Old 8th Aug 2018, 5:27 pm   #1
M0FYA Andy
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Default Air Ministry Wire Recorder

Another long shot - I seem to specialise in asking for information about mystery items nobody knows anything about!

Does anybody know anything about this Wire Recorder, please. It has an Air Ministry Stores Reference, and I've found a link to an A.P. number (A.P.2487L), but this isn't listed in the online catalogue at TNA, Kew.

It only has a single valve inside (an ECC82), so I'm guessing it must have worked with another electronics unit.

Has anyone seen one before?

Many thanks,

Andy
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Old 8th Aug 2018, 5:44 pm   #2
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Default Re: Air Ministry Wire Recorder

https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Boosey_and_Hawkes

Model 49?

Lawrence.
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Old 8th Aug 2018, 6:07 pm   #3
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Default Re: Air Ministry Wire Recorder

I was going to say it looked like a Boosey and Hawkes unit that Henry's Radio sold (as surplus) at one point. I never could afford one back then though.
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Old 8th Aug 2018, 6:43 pm   #4
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Default Re: Air Ministry Wire Recorder

I've had one of these for ages. Don't anything about it apart from the 'No.14 MU Radio Workshop' lable on it.

Ging
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Old 8th Aug 2018, 8:40 pm   #5
M0FYA Andy
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Default Re: Air Ministry Wire Recorder

Excellent, how on earth did you find that, Lawrence?

I think I need to find some technical information to stand any chance of making it work, though. The motor has a data plate on it, but it's up against an internal wall so I can't read it.

I have an old Henry's Radio catalogue, I'll see if it's in there.

Many thanks,

Andy
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Old 8th Aug 2018, 9:02 pm   #6
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Default Re: Air Ministry Wire Recorder

Quote:
Originally Posted by M0FYA Andy View Post
Excellent, how on earth did you find that, Lawrence?
Googled "sound recorder type 4185" that returned a hit to the link below:

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30000147

That had the same A.M Ref. and also a reference to Boosey & Hawkes , Grace's Guide for Boosey & Hawkes gave the advert for a wire recorder that looked very similar.

Lawrence.
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Old 8th Aug 2018, 9:02 pm   #7
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Default Re: Air Ministry Wire Recorder

I've just found gingpeakin's earlier thread on his recorder, including the circuit he drew out -
https://vintage-radio.net/forum/showthread.php?t=68894.

Has anyone got one working?
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Old 8th Aug 2018, 9:31 pm   #8
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Default Re: Air Ministry Wire Recorder

This looks like the airborne version i.e. record only.

There is a working version of the more common ground version (playback and record) in the Henlow signal museum - it is almost hypnotic when in action.

I'm sure they would love a aircraft version if one is looking for a good home.

TYJ
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Old 9th Aug 2018, 12:14 am   #9
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Default Re: Air Ministry Wire Recorder

What was it used for on the aircraft.

Is it a CVR?
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Old 9th Aug 2018, 8:59 am   #10
M0FYA Andy
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Default Re: Air Ministry Wire Recorder

From the advertisement found by Lawrence it sounds to me that it was intended to record the pilot's voice during test-flying rather than as a data recorder. But I guess it could be used for both if the data being logged was encoded into a suitable format compatible with the audio spectrum.

Andy
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Old 9th Aug 2018, 9:26 am   #11
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Default Re: Air Ministry Wire Recorder

Some further information posted on the Aviation Forum.

Andy
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Old 9th Aug 2018, 4:32 pm   #12
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Default Re: Air Ministry Wire Recorder

Looks like it was an early "Black Box"

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Old 9th Aug 2018, 5:26 pm   #13
M0FYA Andy
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Default Re: Air Ministry Wire Recorder

I wouldn't describe it as an early 'Black Box'. The purpose of the black box (which is usually bright orange!), Crash Recorder or Accident Data Recorder, is to record various flight parameters of the aircraft, and may also include the pilot's voice, for accident investigation purposes, whereas this unit is to allow a test pilot to record what is happening during a test flight verbally rather than on a note-pad on his knee.
Obviously, though, there is considerable overlap between these two functions, without a clear distinction.
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Old 13th Aug 2018, 2:55 pm   #14
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Default Re: Air Ministry Wire Recorder

I had a short-term job at the B&H factory (Sonorous Works) in Edgware in 1973. I remember being interested to be told by one of the older workers that they had made Wirek recorders during WW2. There were still a few drawings of parts of them in the files. Sadly all long gone now, a housing estate of course...
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Old 13th Aug 2018, 4:44 pm   #15
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Default Re: Air Ministry Wire Recorder

Yes modern day black boxes are orange, and I suspect they record everything digitally. But the name black box originated from somewhere, and in the early days there would be no way of recording anything other than by the pilot explaining what was happening in the cockpit. As this box is black in colour, could this be an actual "black box" flight recorder.

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Old 13th Aug 2018, 6:32 pm   #16
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Default Re: Air Ministry Wire Recorder

Flight recorders were made bright and stripy once they became standard fit in passenger planes to make them easier to find after something has gone wrong.
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Old 14th Aug 2018, 11:31 am   #17
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Default Re: Air Ministry Wire Recorder

I was told yonks ago (and I suspect that it's a little fanciful like so much of the black humour in the aviation world, I'd like to think that there's an element of truth in it though) that the first FDR, used in test-piloted prototypes, was a soft fire-brick cradle-mounted beside the pilot with a set of pre-loaded punches above it designated "airframe", "engine", "controls" etc., the idea being that the pilot would have opportunity and presence of mind to thump the appropriate plunger in the event of unsurvivable incident.
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