Philip Gilpin - Radio, TV & Electronics Student - Mid 1970's
[picture circa 2006]
Email link from Philip Friday 10/02/17
Mel, I hope this
email finds you well and in top form!
I was scanning through the News Headlines this morning; usually the BBC followed
by SkyNews (as much as I personally dislike Rupert M!) Among the Sky headline
topics was a reference to Alan Dower Blumlein who is to be honoured with a
posthumous Grammy Award. "Grammy
honours British inventor of stereo sound". The BBC had no reference to this
at all and their search engine has never heard of the chap! Link to Sky's
what a guy, a complete to notch genius of the ilk of the likes of Alan Turing.
From audio to radio and to radar development, he excelled The only recognition
Blighty gave him was having being killed whilst participating in a radar test
flight in a Halifax bomber aircraft - and even that was kept under wraps at the
time due to the nature of the kit he was testing. And in a Halifax of all
things! For me that bomber was the unsung hero of WW2, leaving all the glory
credited to the slightly more capable Lancaster, in the same the Spitfire 'won
the Battle of Britain' leaving the Hurricane playing second fiddle.
When working as an
audio engineer during the 1970s, whilst still attending Frank and Mel's weekly
lectures, I found the subject of FM Stereo Multiplexing of huge interest. All
the numbers fit logically (as with all modulation and multiplex designs).
Starting with 'we'll have a high end AF of 15KHz' and working all the way
through, catering for L and R channels, and ending up with a 128KHz subcarrier.
It all fit mathematically beautifully. When the TV dept. were a tad overloaded
I'd go through and help them out. At 58yrs old (and having ventured away from
domestic Radio & TV in to concentrate on Telecoms in 1980), why do I still
remember the number 4.43361875 without having to google it?
Though residing in
France I'm very nationalistic when it come to my 'home' country. We seem to
have invented and developed just about most things useful. Here in Frogland
they did do their bit with aviation bit though the Wright Bros. did, after all,
get there first! But of course they had Mr Voltaire who noticed that if you
apply 1.5v across a dead frog's leg it would coarse it to twitch whilst the
remainder of the population thought it was a better idea to eat them instead -
no doubt to the delight of AVO! But the Germans are certainly worth their salt;
Herr Hertz and part German Heinrich Lenz - the back EMF discoverer. Among his
exemplary work regarding sine waves, he posthumously blest us with the credited
use of his surname rather than having us writing 'cycles per second'. What a
bonus that turned out to be when trying to keep up with Frank and Mel's lectures
whilst suffering pen induced wrist and finger cramps whilst taking notes!
But to the even
vaguely astute, it's patently obvious that Alan Blumleins surname doesn't sound
of traditional British descent. Born in London to a German/Jewish farther ans
Scotish mum, it's hardly surprising, to me anyway, that there was another
Einstein type in the making. And so he was - though maybe not as able to 'think
outside the box' as Einstein managed without seeming undue or indeed
seemingly little effort. So much so that he failed to comprehend why others
were impaired by not thinking the same 'unconventional' thought process
resulting in his 'way out' theories which have now become categorically proven -
In conclusion I think
Alan Blumlein was well up there with the best of the best and thankful that the
Yanks have seen fit to honour and credit him for what he did and achieved - and
died at an early age (38) in the process effectively trying to keep is
semi-parent country from invading his newly adopted one - though that decision
would well have been influenced by the likes if of "Arbeit
macht frei" (Work makes you Free) cast over the main gate of
Auschwitz labour camp.
Recently I bought
(through eBay) a set of Bose noise cancelling (TM QuietComfort) headphones for
£86 plus postage. A+ condition and the external unwanted ambient sound, rabble,
and general annoyance are for the most part sort of eliminated to a large
degree. Most will know that each headset 'can' has it's own external
microphone fed to an internal 180° amp then feeding into the non-inverting
internal sound amp. the inverting in/p being fed with Black Sabbath, David
Bowie, Queen, or Mozart's 45th symphony. But when thinking about the fact the
especially Black Sabbath, at high volume, will also be heard by the external
ambient noise microphones, there must be a clever bit of circuitry within to say
'this is the signal from the source intended feed and therefore ignore it and
don't under ant circumstances attempt to 180° try to cancel it - it's the
wanted bit! They're expensive so that's why I opted for eBay and got lucky with
a tidy set. Thanks for the Alan Blumlein's stereo effect though Bose can be
accredited with the extraneous exterior rabble sneaking past the cushioned ear
more far more than distinctly convinced that Mel (and perhaps any other poor
souls he should forward this epilogue to) will be either board, running out
of finite life expectation, or trying to make the pub prior to last orders but
may I dare give a brief idea the very innovative Philips contemplated. Using
their newly developed 'motional feedback quadrophonic HIFI speaker system, the
placed 4 x 60Watt RMS units - one in each corner of a large hall in Morley Town
Hall for a demo. Then resulting left/right/front/rear sound effects were
astonishing. And a combined quarter of a kilowatt was more than adequate.
There engineers reasoning was why go to the extent of designing, building, and
going to the expense of installing the very best amps housed within the speakers
(in fact there were two amps in each - one for treble/midrange and a second
primarily for bass + each had its own internal power supply. Signal feed to
each was supplied via a master unit at DIN voltage level. The amps themselves
were crap in terms of having a natural flat freq. response but were very good
power dumping devices capable of creating local seismic threshold levels. But
Philip's idea was to create cheap powerful amps kicking out something that would
make even Moronic twist and turn in his gave, but, if you place a HIFI
microphone in front of the speaker drive units and pass this aberrant noise back
to the HIFI preamps, they can then compensate their feed to the crappy power
amps to compensate for their misgivings and autonomous raw poor characterises.
Amazingly it worked and the specs. where very good.
One chap was so
impressed with these things that he placed an order for a Quadrophonic installation
in his non-too large living room. it was duly installed and tested. A week
later her phone in and complained of 'tinny rattling noises' coming from the
four speakers. He was out at work but had left a key with his neighbour. I
went in and power the stuff up. When I increased the volume level to about two
on a scale of ten, his voluminous collection of crystal wine glasses in his
cabinet were performing characteristics of a Walz, heavy rock head banging, with
some attempting conjuring acts. I thought, 'what do you expect when you elect
to have 240 Watts RMS in a place like this'!
Another epic email,
Mel, sorry. I don't participate too much with your group though when I do I
tend to go a tad over-board, which by shear coincidence, I forgot to complement
Ian on his very neat and tidy voltage distribution/current/voltage regulator and
over-load/input supply detection kit he's installed in his boat. But
considering the mass of those tapped down autotransformers I'm living in hope
that he avoids going over-board too!
Email from Phil 29/05/15
The young man's spot on in every respect - good of him.
A while ago you sent a link to a very interesting documentary about the Super
Marine spitfire; superb and I responded with one I'd seen. Hope you enjoyed.
An old friend and ex-colleague from Greenside Electrical Radio&TV apprentice
days sent me this short documentary:
Only 10 or 15 mins but interesting.
Graham started at the company a year before I left school and enlisted with
Bradford Tech. whereas I went onto Kitson. Working at Greenside's were two
part-time lectures at Bradford; Edward Harker (my boss) and Sydney Godwin - did
you get chance meet either of them?
Look forward to your reply. Best Regards, Phil G.
The Poem Mel previously sent to
BY A 15-year-old
who got an A+ for this entry
The Lord's Prayer is not
allowed in most US Public schools any more.....
A kid in WINNIPEG, Manitoba, wrote
NEW School Prayer:
Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.
If scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.
Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That's no offense; it's a freedom scene..
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.
For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all..
In silence alone we must meditate,
God's name is prohibited by the Provence.
We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks...
They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.
We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.
It's 'inappropriate' to teach right from wrong,
We're taught that such 'judgments' do not belong..
We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles...
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.
It's scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school's a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot; My soul please take!
If you aren't ashamed to do this, Please pass this on..
Jesus said, 'If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before my
Email from Phil 12/05/15 Hi Mel
Always good to receive an email from you - and as you
know, I especially adore aircraft in just the same way that iron is attracted to
Here's one for you, and please forward it to the chaps. Guy Martin is a
race motorbike rider and what a bloke! Have a scan at 30 seconds of this:
Isle of Man TT Movie (new window) before watching his
documentary / participation of a MK1 Spitfire rebuild .......
Spitfire Rebuild (new window)
Mel Ashton says "Scroll down for British Link (no need to join 'vimeo' just
allow time for download".
Brought a tear to my eye also when I heard that RR Merlin
proudly sweeping past the aerodrome :-)
Hope you enjoy.
Go well and Best Regards,
Email from Phil 21/04/15
Always good to hear from you.
I was carefully screeching a Sony 48" LED device from its
box a couple of months ago. The 179.9° CRT hardly left any space for either a
PL509 or indeed an R2009B line O/P transistor! How things have changed in such
a relatively short time and to top it all, it's so efficient that it nearly
pumps power back into the National Grid :-) When I peg out I'm going to have a
word with Frank about these!
Over the past few months I've paid quite a few visits back to England but as
ever, never enough time to catch up with everyone and everything. Please pass
on my Regards to the chaps attending this Thursday and make a good day of it.
It's not beyond the realms of possibility or technology to join you guys for a
time at one of these gatherings on Skype one day? Just a thought.
Go well and Best Regards,
I will mention this on Thursday if I get
chance but I will have to leave early as I hope to attend a boating friends, and
Wakefield pub landlord's funeral at 12:00
Nigel Hardcastle was only 40 years of age when he died recently !
Email from Phil date ?
It was good to catch up with you last week and share a few thoughts of those
excellent days at Kitson College of Technology. I would have liked to thank
Frank Riley also... but Ian will do that for me once I have his email
address. As I mentioned, the professional telecoms field can be quite
narrow with many interlinks with the likes of people such as Dave Walker
- inspirational to many.
I'm happy that Ravi made it back to Kitson - like a full 360° and bet your
backside he's as good at teaching as he was at learning.
I mentioned that you sound just the same as you did in your lectures (I mean
that in the best possible way) and you recognised my voice and name but
'couldn't put a face to my voice'. I adore photography but for me there's
only one orientation for a camera - that's at the back of it. However,
about 8yrs ago my wife caught me off-guard whilst enjoying the local scenery
on Palm Island in the Caribbean. (Attached).
Whilst being a very degrading and unfortunate result (and a gross misuse of
pixels), it may serve useful in filling in that 'can't put a face to it'
Go well Mel.
PS. I'll forward later a couple of pics of a couple of radio sites I've
implanted down here where it's lovely in summer but in winter it's like
Yorkshire with palm trees!