Electrical Department Students

Return to Your Last Page

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 report:.
But 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 - several times.

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 pads.

 I'm 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! 

Best Regards,
Phil G. 

Email from Phil 29/05/15

Hi Mel
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: 
https://www.youtube.com/embed/ie3SrjLlcUY  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 Phil..........

BY A 15-year-old SCHOOL KID 
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 the following 
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 Father.' 


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 a magnet!
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 .......
MK 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, 
Phil G. 

Email from Phil 21/04/15

Hi Mel
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,
Phil G.

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 ?

Hello Mel
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' syndrome! 
Go well Mel.
Best Regards,
Phil Gilpin.
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!

[ A Parent's Guide for online child safety ]
[ Inform Mel Ashton to modify or delete Info / Pics ]

[ Home  |  Elect Eng Dept.  | Pictures (updated 18/02/18) ]

[ Refresh |  Back | Obituaries | Students | Informal Meetings ]
[ Error Test |
Web Mail Login | Updated 07/04/2020 ]