Wright's Aerials

by Bill

This is a rag-bag collection of things culled from my contributions to newsgroups and other correspondence. Originally these items were all to be about the aerial trade, hence the title, but other stuff has crept in. Don’t take any of it too seriously; it’s all meant for amusement only. There are a few sweary bits by the way.

Licensed to drill
Quite a few years ago I went out into the wilds to Merryfeather Hall. Apparently the old colonel had taken to spending more time in bed—not surprising at 94—and so I was to rig up a TV set and aerial for the main bedroom. I’d been to the Hall before, years previously, but even so I had problems finding it. I parked on the overgrown gravel drive and swung the ponderous doorknob.

Parking in W1
We arrived at Nicholas House, near Oxford Street, W1, at 2pm, after a four-hour drive. There was absolutely nowhere to park on the street, but we had been promised off-street parking if the van would fit in the lift. These places have underground car parks, with access via a vehicle lift. After about of hour of getting security clearance, etc., we went round the back and tried the van in the lift, and it fitted.
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A curious old TV
Do you remember the Trident Scheme? It was designed to provide work experience for boys and girls in the 15–16 year age group. Maybe the scheme still operates, I don’t know. About five years ago I had a succession of ‘Tridents’, including the one I have the fondest memories of, James. This lad had a lot going for him. He was very good looking, with a lovely personality, although rather quiet.
Barry Brady
No one calls me Billy. I don’t like it, especially from spooky-sounding voices on the phone. I was Billy in the Infants’ Dept., but not since. Since the phone call took place forty years later, in 1996, this had to be someone with a very long memory. But who the hell was it? As the nerdy voice prattled on, realisation slowly grew. Yes, this was a figure from childhood all right, a character from the late 50s known to us kids as ‘one-lung Brady’, for what reason I never knew.
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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.
Mucky stuff on t' stattelite
"Hello Bill, it's Harry. How's things?"
"Oh we're fine. How's your leg?"
"Killin' me mate, killin' me. I told that young woman doctor, whatsername, they might as well chop it off an' give me a wooden 'un if it's going to be like this."
"Are you taking pain killers?"

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The CAI Trade Show 2004
The CAI trade show was held at the National Agricultural Centre at Stoneleigh, near Kenilworth, this week. It’s a brilliant venue. Much better than the ghastly hotel at Heathrow that they used to use. That place was right down in the bottom corner of the country – hardly convenient for most of us. Parking was always difficult and the traffic on the way in and out was appalling.
The Dance of the Wheeliebin
Well, I got myself into a right pickle tonight! We have a wheeliebin, you know, a big dustbin that you have to push to the front gate the night before the bin men come. Now the trouble is this wheeliething isn't big enough for all our rubbish. I can't take stuff to the dumpit because of the fascist discrimination against van drivers, and in any case I'm banned for life after I made a stand (I'm banned from Asda and the Royal Oak as well for making a stand; jobsworths don't like it when you make a stand) so we really have to cram as much into the wheelie as we can. Now you might laugh, but what I do is climb into the bin and jump up and down on the rubbish.
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The first cowboy aerial rigger
What actually happened was, this Italian bloke rung up – well he had an Italian name but he sounded Irish on the phone and as me xenophobia was quite bad at the time I wouldn't have gone out to him if I hadn’t been a bit short of work – anyway he said he'd got a scheme for sending Morse code across to America without using the telegraph cable. I said “What yer gonna do, write the dots and dashes down and post them?” which I thought was quite witty but he didn’t laugh. Dead snooty some people. Anyway I thought oh bloody 'ell another nutter, never mind, as long as he pays.
The Happy Moron
I was high up in a tree, standing in a fork but also secure in a safety harness. It's always best to be above the branch that you are cutting through. Although I felt perfectly safe and I was doing everything by the book, I was aware of the potential danger. The thing is, when the chainsaw rips through a big branch the situation has an element of unpredictability. The wood you're cutting off can weigh as much as a car and no matter how careful you are it might not fall exactly as you plan. Likewise, the tree that you're standing on can react in unexpected ways to the sudden removal of the burden. So the instant when the branch starts to go is a moment to savour, if you like excitement.


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The Megajoint
Today I went to a big new house, very posh in a tasteless sort of way. The man of the house was a local businessman and local football magnate, pompous and full of his own self-importance. The woman was gormless and seemed to think that being married to a rich man gave her class. The teenagers were appallingly rude. The complaint about the TV reception was ‘poor Freeview in the maaarster bedroom’. In Yorkshire you can always tell people who are putting it on. Just ask them to say ‘master’ or ‘headmaster’. Whether they would admit to maaarsterbation I don’t know.
We have no cats
This isn’t about aerials; it’s about cats just for a change. If you only like aerials, sorry . . .


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A severe fright in Hemel
Late one evening about 25 years ago I set off from central London to drive the 170 miles home. I'd just completed a gruelling few days’ work...

An extreme daisychain
Looping the aerial signal though one ancillary device is fair enough, as long as the output channel of the device is chosen with care.
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An unusual aerial location
I called at a terraced house that had recently been ‘done up’ by a spec builder and sold to a young couple.


LNB problems
Paul came with me today to a job about fifty miles from home. On the way he was telling me about his analyser, which had a faulty battery.
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The man who reinvented the
OK, that's a squarial. It's just a flat panel SHF aerial. Under the plastic cover is a large number of tiny dipoles and a complex arrangement of waveguides.


Trip to London
In 1967 I passed my driving test and it wasn't long before I conceived an ambitious plan. I was just at the start of that developmental stage where you come out of the teenage dream
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Working With Cowboys
Years ago I managed to get some work installing aerials for a firm that sold private mobile radio equipment – two-way radios for lorry drivers and taxi firms, in other words. I soon found out that I’d made a mistake getting involved with this firm, because they were a set o
f total tossers. Actually they were a total nightmare...
Early last year we installed a TV distribution system in a very large private house. The house is absolutely beautiful. It's set on a hillside and when you come into the valley it looks fabulous. I love that house. It's brilliantly designed to sit on the hillside just below the trees and it has a sort of modern perfection that is rarely seen. It is all, as Kenny Everett used to say, 'in the best possible taste'...
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