Wright's Aerials

My second venture into the TV aerial erecting business came like this. I think that it was 1950 or thereabouts. Our local cobbler used to dabble in electrical goods such as torches and light bulbs, and I called in for some torch batteries. The cobbler had ventured into the brave new world of television, and a new set had just been delivered to the shop. The cobbler was unpacking it, and I took the opportunity to show off the 'specialist knowledge' I'd gained as a result of my having fixed up an aerial some time before. I said, "Isn't that one of those television things?"

"It certainly is, young man! How did you know that?" asked the owner. I told him I had fixed an aerial in Doncaster a few months ago. He asked me to come with him through the shop into the back yard. There on the concrete was a pile of rods, bolts, brackets, wire, etc., just as he had tipped it out of the box it came in. He said 'I couldn't even think about putting that together. Do you think you could do it?' On noticing an instruction leaflet among the pile of bits and pieces I agreed to go there next day after work, which was a Saturday. I worked until twelve o'clock every Saturday. So next day after a quick lunch I gathered together some spanners, pliers, and anything else I might need, and off I went to do battle with that aerial.

In reality it wasn't too bad to fix together, first a study of the instructions, then all the pieces laid out in order on the concrete. There was a drawing of the completed aerial on the instruction leaflet. This helped a great deal. By five o'clock it was finished, all except the cable to be coupled up. I had left this for Sid the cobbler to do. There it was reared up against the house, all the five or so long rods bolted to the horizontal bar, the whole lot fastened to the top of a twelve-foot wooden pole. It had taken me three hours to put it together. Several cups of tea had helped. So far so good. Now we had to get it onto the roof. Problem number one, we hadn't got a ladder. I knew where there was a ladder so I went off to see if I could borrow it. I brought it back to the shop across the handlebars and the seat of my pushbike. It was a pole ladder and far too heavy to carry. Because I had fixed brackets round a chimney before there was no problem this time, and the aerial was soon up. We spent a good part of Sunday turning the aerial to try to get a picture but no luck. In the end the set was sent back to the factory. For the record it was a nine inch Vtronic console.

Over the next few weeks and months Sid got some more sets in his shop, 'Cossors' and 'Ultras'. These did get a picture from the aerial and soon Sid began to sell the odd television. I agreed to fix the aerials at one pound a time. He would take the set to the house in his car then I would go with the pole ladder and a roof ladder I had made, on the handlebars of my bike. The tools would be in a bag on the carrier, and I would walk to the house pushing the heavily laden bike. At first these jobs were always done on a Saturday because they would take all the afternoon. As I had no test equipment the procedure was to line up the aerial up by guesswork, plug in the cable, and then turn the aerial to get the best picture. The pictures were, of course, in black and white. Traffic interference was a serious problem near main roads.


To view a full size image click here
This is actually a pre-war illustration showing an aerial positioned as far from the road as possible. In fact a directional aerial would be used, not a single dipole.
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