It was fabulous
Joe’s entry was built in the days when computer installations consisted of a number of computer ‘dumb’ terminals connected to large mainframe type computers. As a service engineer to a huge Strathclyde-wide network of terminals, he found it counter-productive to have to swap problem terminals and test back in the workshop, when most computer problems were actually caused by faulty connection lines to the mainframe. Joe devised a polling tester, which, when connected to a suspect terminal, would rapidly diagnose faults without the need to bring the terminal back to the workshop. He achieved this by observing the polling signals between the terminal and mainframe and impersonating the signals from the mainframe with this unit. Thus his construction saved him many back-breaking hours at his work moving about functioning terminals from site to workshop.
Tom built an audio amplifier to provide a louder output from his handheld transceiver (which he finds tricky to hear). Although not boxed (this is to be the next stage of his project), it is battery-operated and compact. He demonstrated the circuit with his handheld rig to show the circuit was working. A second submission from Tom was a pair of probes and circuit for fault-finding and analysis of electronic circuit boards.
We proved them right
Jack is a member of S.O.T.A. (Summits on the air), which involves operating QRP from the tops of mountains using small and light equipment able to fit into a rucksack. Not content with traditional portable antennas, he constructed a ‘Fishing rod’ setup for about £11, which allowed an inverted ‘V’ configuration with an elevation of about 20ft. Built around a telescopic fibreglass pole and lightweight elements/feeder cables, his antenna is very portable: lightweight and efficient enough to fit into a rucksack, yet effective enough to achieve great contacts. Jack used custom shaped plates to slip over the telescopic pole and hold the nylon guy-ropes and element wires. Special lightweight cable and stong nylon guy-rope was employed to keep strength up but weight down. The antenna covers two HF bands and has proved successful for 2m operation. Jack has reported making some impressive contacts using this aerial and 5w power from his portable rig.