19
Jun
19

Interests

When ever I pop in to see you, your Soldering Iron is always out, some years ago you fixed my Pc monitor, but you never talk about electronics, yet the stuff your always messing with looks extremely complicated. How come you’ve always been in Construction.

The Royal Signals gave me my initial interest in Electronics, after I picked it from a list of suggestions after my entry tests.  Photography and for a while Computers and monitors, have kept it going.

I was on a three year, night time Degree course in Electronic Engineering many years ago, when my company sent me to work away from home.

More than a year in, but the journey was too far to get back in time to continue with it, and a recession was in full swing. It wasn’t the time to be giving up my job, with a young family to support, living on the edge of a Dormitory town in Devon. In contrast my company grew in that period, with the extra labour coming in from a failing Construction and other recession affected avenues of employment. Ex coal workers from Wales, ex Steel workers from the North, a huge group from Birmingham, and all the males from a village near Newquay in Cornwall.

In the Army I’d learnt a lot about the Weather, Propagation, Radio’s and Waves.

In that year at night school, learning about resistors and capacitance, my garden had sprouted a steerable bamboo three element Yagi, which was used to bounce morse code, down to New Zealand on my home made short wave transmitter. A first in the family, I’m sure.

I was a really early Computer user, and an early upgrader which involved a soldering iron in those days. I would compress my now computer generated morse code, before sending it, in a burst. Electronics fairs where a constant weekend plan.

When I lived in the highest housing in town, with a friend down in the valley bottom, on a Saturday night over a couple of beers,  set up a laser powered data transfer from my bedroom window to a receiver in his garden. His wife returned from her evening job and asked what he was doing, on hearing his reply, what’s the point. Because we where interested in it, way before the beer flowed.

Then returning after a week away working, every hour had to be spent with my family and the house. I can’t even remember what I did with my radios. I can remember opening the door to the room and seeing a layer of dust over everything, forgotten. I came across my iron and my old morse key with a role of transformer wire, the remains of a huge interest, that had made it to this house.

At Christmas I still buy myself a small project, quite often Photography based, triggers, motion, radar, infra red, lasers etc, to keep the iron hot over the holidays. But that’s all it is now, an interest that can still take up a lot of my time, but it could have been much more.


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