Wright's Aerials
Daughters – Who’d have ‘em?

I thought I'd call at Carolyn's for a quick cuppa on my way home, since she lives 19 miles away and I don't see her enough. What a mistake! As soon as she saw me she went into wheedle mode --

"Dad, will you do me a massive favour?"

It turned out that the VCR was faulty. Would I have a look? The VCR turned out to be a Crown CRV2250. I hadn't seen it before. I thought she still had the Panasonic I bought her from the Wembley branch of Comet when she was at Brunel Uni. “What are you doing buying a shit thing like this?” I asked.

“Well that one I had at uni broke, so we got this from the supermarket. They had some at £49.95 but we got this one at £59.95 so it should be all right.”

“Well it isn’t, it’s a pile of shite. What happened to the Panasonic?”

“I dumped it in my bedroom at home.” Meaning her room in my house before she scarpered.

“What’s wrong with this one? It’s new, isn’t it?”

“Err, it just doesn’t work.”

“Has it ever worked?”

“Can’t remember.”

Good grief. I put a tape in the Crown and pressed play. The machine gave no indication that it was in ‘play’ mode, but at least it made a whirring sound that made me think that moving parts were in fact moving. There was nothing plugged into the one scart socket. The TV set had the Sky box into the first scart, and the DVD into the second.

“What channel do you use when you want to watch a tape?”

“Can’t remember.”

I flicked through the presets and there was no sign of the VCR playback. With a heavy heart I went out to the van and collected the analyzer.

“Do you want a cuppa, Dad?”

“That would be nice.” The RF output of the VCR was on channel 22. That wasn’t ideal because Carolyn lives in Belmont land, where ch22 is used for BBC-1 analogue .Carolyn has a distribution system that accepts a VCR output on ch39 for distribution.

“Have you got the book for this bloody heap of shit?”

“There’s no need to be like that, you miserable old git. Here’s your tea, and I’ve put poison in it.”

The instruction book was nowhere to be found, but there was a one-page quick start guide that mentioned that the RF output was factory set to ch22, but didn’t say how it could be altered. I tried everything but couldn’t find out how to alter the RF output channel. I took a deep drink of tea, and nearly spat it out over Minkie the exotic cat. It beats me how anyone can spend five times as much on a cat as on a video, when cats are useless and in my experience are generally free to a good (or any) home, but there you are. “Bloody hell girl, how much sugar have you put in this?”

“I couldn’t find a spoon so I just poured it in and stirred it with a fork. Is it too sweet?”

“It is very sweet, rather like yourself,” I said.

“Oh Dad you are lovely,” said Carolyn, hugging me from behind as I squatted uncomfortably on the polished wooden floor with my thumb sore from pressing every possible combination of buttons on the Crown remote in a vain attempt to alter the RF output channel. In the end I daisychained the Crown scart into scart 2 on the Sky box. This allowed recording from the Sky box, and playback as long as the Sky box was not in use. Far from ideal since both items feed all the outlets in the house. I left the Crown’s RF-in and RF-out disconnected.

Does anyone know how to alter the RF output on a Crown CRV2250 VCR?

Much later, at home, I heard raised voices from the kitchen. Hil has been on about having a VCR in the kitchen for ages. Today she had been clearing up in the front bedroom (ex Carolyn’s, now Paul’s office) where she had found a VCR. She had prevailed on Paul to install it in the kitchen. All went well except that the kitchen telly has only one scart, and this is used by the DTT box, so Paul needed to feed the Panasonic VCR RF into the telly. The VCR RF was on channel 39, and for some reason this was affecting both channel 44 and channel 47.

“How the $%$% do you change the RF output on these bloody things?” cried Paul in tones of considerable exasperation. He’d found a remote that worked the video (from my bedroom so now I have a VCR without a remote), he’d done all the usual Panasonic things, but nothing led to the ‘RF output channel altering’ menu.

“Are you sure it isn’t the old type of modulator with a screw adjustment on the back of the machine?” I asked.

“Yes I am sure and no it isn’t.” But of course it was. Eventually I got roped in and I ended up setting the RF output to channel 39 and a half, the only setting where it didn’t play havoc with other channels. When I came to tune-in the RF input channels I noticed that they were set up for Belmont. The penny dropped. This was Carolyn’s old VCR! I tested every function and the machine worked perfectly. I rung Carolyn.
“I’m going to ask my friends on the newsgroup how to do your nice Crown video,” I said, “But just out of interest, what was wrong with the Panasonic?”

“Dunno really,” she said. “It just wouldn’t work one day, so we got a new one.”

Maybe it wasn’t plugged into the mains. Who knows? Who cares in this throw-away age?

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