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Old 16th Apr 2018, 8:42 pm   #1
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Newbury, Berkshire, UK.
Posts: 89
Default Hi from Berkshire, England

I'm 55 and have been into Electronics since I started reading my Dads Practical Wireless and Radio Constructor magazines at about 8. Of course I understood little of it but some sank in and Dad and I started making things - mostly audio related stuff but we did make a couple of radios, some keyboard instruments (a four octave keyboard with flexible formica strips with glued-on phosphor bronze contacts made by cutting up a door draft excluder!) Another keyboard we made was from an Electronics Today International magazine and we bought the PCB which was a first (strictly veroboard before then!) It worked by your finger bridging contacts exposed on one edge of the board laid out as a keyboard, which used CMOS gates to detect the signal. It worked well as long as you washed and dried your hands well, and didnt get all excited and sweaty causing keys to stick on!
I got interested in computers, borrowed an MK14 from school a couple of times, hung around Maplins in Westcliff playing Star Raiders on their Atari 400, and started badgering Mum and Dad for a Nascom 1, with all sorts of schemes where I'd pay it back... My Dad was dubious about our ability to successfully build and get working a computer with just a soldering iron and a Avo multimeter. One day (I think it was when I was 16) he dragged me off to East London where we picked up a Commodore Pet 2001-8 to my astonishment!
I interfaced a keyboard from a DEC VT-52 to the PET, as the chicklet keyboard wasnt too good to type on, built a paper tape punch interface so I could type in programs at home and feed them into the school computer (the tape reader was started but was never finished). Other projects were made to plug into the computer so I never left Electronics very far away. I still have that computer, but it hasn't been powered up in the last 30 years, hiding in my parents loft, but we're having to clear that so its getting a full restore sometime soon.
In the last 10 years or so I've had the time to start doing stuff again, and its incredible how technology has marched on since those days of yore, but I still love old electronics and I think its important to keep the old hobby going, making and repairing things in an age where everything is disposable.
My current project is to make a replica MK14, and I've already had a lot of help from people on the forum (props to SiriusHardware!) and I hope to get more as we empty out the loft of Mums house (she's gone to a retirement home). I think there may be a R1155 receiver up there, in need of work - its possible it got thrown out but if my Dad had anything to do with it I doubt that...

Anyway thats enough babble for now..

Slothie, aka Ian.
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Old 16th Apr 2018, 9:16 pm   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Westbury, Wiltshire, UK.
Posts: 2,451
Default Re: Hi from Berkshire, England

Originally Posted by Slothie View Post
we did make a couple of radios, some keyboard instruments (a four octave keyboard with flexible formica strips with glued-on phosphor bronze contacts made by cutting up a door draft excluder!)
Hi Ian, for years I have promised that I will build myself a theremin. You have just rekindled my yearning. Maybe I will ...
A lovely childhood. Just me, my mother and the voices.....
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