Wright's Aerials

Albert's Attic Gallery

This little gem-a very good five shillings' worth- was first published in 1954. This was a great age for the electronics constructor. Consumer goods were very expensive - a TV aerial could cost the best part of a week's wages, and a television set was a very major purchase. Large amounts of ex-military electronic materials were available, left over from the war. The skilled constructor could start with an oscilloscope or radar screen and build a television receiver, albeit with a tiny green screen. It was well worth while to make your own television aerial if you had the resources.

In the book the word 'television' has the broader meaning of the word as we know it, but the word 'televisor' is used for the actual receiver. Although such quaintnesses abound, the first chapter contains a lucid exposition of basic RF theory that today's student would find relevant and useful. Later there is a good clear explanation of transmission line theory, including line reflections and standing wave ratio. Two types of cable are discussed, balanced twin and coaxial. The author regarded balanced twin as the norm, with coax reserved for installations 'where man-made interference is troublesome'.

Aerial elements could be made from copper tube, but for lightness 'duralumin' tube should be used, if it could be obtained. 'The most difficult part of aerial construction is the formation of the insulator of the dipole. . .' but one solution was to go to Woolworth's for an electrical joint box and use that. After the elements had been fitted the box was filled with beeswax.

The second edition (1955), included a small section on the new, rather experimental, band III aerials for ITV. The February 1957 edition had quite a comprehensive section on Band III, but the author still obviously regarded frequencies of 200Mc/s (MHz) as alarmingly high, 'requiring many new techniques'.

An interesting idea was the 'mains aerial'. In essence, the mains supply cable was used to pick up the signal. We are warned that the use of inferior capacitors would be 'risky'.

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