Saturday, July 30, 2005

For whom the bell tolls

A highlight of my recent trip to London was a trip to Parliament in order to visit the Westminster Clock.

Whilst not open to the public in the tourist sense, visits to the clock can be made very easily provided you are a British National- you simply book it via your Member of Parliament, free of charge.

There are three visits every weekday, at 10:30am, 11:30am and 2:30pm with a maximum of sixteen in the party and a minimum age of 11. We had arranged an 11:30 visit, which means being up the tower for Noon. I took my mum, with Karen & David going on to investigate another famous tower, the Monument commemorating the great fire of London. After going through the fairly intensive security (in a Portakabin outside St. Stephen’s entrance which has resulted in moving all of the unsightly security cabin out of the entrance hall) and passing an exhibition on Guy fawkes & the inevitable gift shop in Westminster Hall, we assembled near the Member’s entrance and met our tour guide. After checking that we were all up to the journey, we walked around the square and along the cloister towards the Clock Tower. In the distance we could see the tunnel leading to the escalators in Portcullis House, then as we neared we took a right turn into an archway and part way in we found ourselves standing outside an entrance to the left with three internal doors.

In order to get your bearings, the river runs North/South by Parliament and Westminster Bridge runs very close to the site boundary practically within spitting distance of the Clock Tower. We were standing facing the side opposite to the bridge, the Southern aspect. It wasn’t entirely obvious that we were at the base of the tower being under an archway, but as the flanking wall was about 40’ long and one of the inner doors was signwritten as being to the clock tower, it seemed that we were at the start of our marathon journey.

There isn’t a lift up the tower, access is via a staircase in the south-western corner of the tower, taking up maybe one ninth of the internal volume. The staircase is based on a square design with occasional landings and it spirals up in a clock-wise fashion. Pausing, it is possible to gaze up the central square core and see the handrail disappearing off into the heights. It is light and airy, being cream painted plaster with frequent vertical windows along the way. We did come quite quickly to a door numbered “1” in the north wall as well as some bricked up former windows, however we passed those and kept up the pace until reaching another door, this time in the east wall, also confusingly labelled “1”. This was to be our temporary resting place where we could leave coats & bags until our descent. The room was U shaped with only one door and we were advised that it also doubled as the prison room for errant members, although it hadn’t been used as such since 1880. It was U shaped due to a shaft down the centre of the tower used for the clock weights and which had also been used for hauling up the bells and mechanism in 1859. The main bell (the actual Big Ben) was wider than the shaft so it was hauled up sideways in a wooden frame. The prison room now had a number of displays about Parliament and the clock in particular, as well as a selection of artefacts including mechanical items from the mechanism, some of them broken or worn out. There was also a model of the escapement mechanism, called the Double three-legged gravity escapement.

The guide told us quite a bit about the history of the tower clock and bells, which can also be found here. He advised us that there were ten rooms in total up the tower and that we were now going to proceed up to clock-face level. We were only about a third of the way up so the next set of stairs would be a harder climb than the first set.

After a considerable trudge upwards passing various intermediate rooms (there tended to be a pair each landing then a full revolution without one so the room heights must have varied), we came to a doorway in the south-west corner of the staircase (i.e. to the outside!) after noticing that the outside walls had become noticeably thicker by the presence of two window alcoves deep enough to sleep in. We had arrived at dial level and after passing the backs of three identical clock faces we assembled at the South face for further briefing.

The clock faces (or more accurately, dials) are very big, being about 24' in diameter. They have 315 panes of frosted glass fitted in each one and there is an openable (but cable-tied) panel next to the number five (V) on each dial big enough to get your face through & presumably a brush to dislodge too much snow on the hands.

The back wall behind the face has a large number of discharge lamps, according to Philips there are 28 55W extremely long life discharge lamps per dial. They are rated at 60,000 hours and apparently the original lamps are still going strong from December 31st 1994. Before that, cold cathode fluorescent tubes were in use from the fifties, replacing electrification in 1906 and gas mantles before that. The wall still had a number of metal stays used for scrambling up in order to light the gas.

This was a rather overcast day so the hands and numerals were not too clear but had the sun been shining this would have been the best face to have visited. The rods driving the hands could be seen piercing the inner wall some 12'6" above us.

We then continued upwards, past room number 9 (which I correctly surmised would be the clock room), past a narrow door higher up and then finally the staircase opened up into the belfry. It was now a couple of minutes before twelve noon and we assembled on the north side facing the hammer of Big Ben. There are five bells up there, four for the quarter peal and the biggie for the big bong. The largest quarter bell had two hammers as the Westminster peal repeats the lowest note quickly at the end of the third bar and the beginning of the fourth bar for the full hour and a single hammer would not be able to actuate quickly enough.

There are actually five musical phrases played twice in the full peal across the hour, phrase 1 is for the quarter (a straight descent sequence), phrase 2 and 3 for the half hour, phrase 4, 5 and 1 again for the three quarter, then finally phrases 2,3,4 then 5 followed by the hour chime. It is apparently based on Handel's Messiah, was originally the Cambridge Chimes and has words:

All through this hour,
Lord be my guide,
And by thy power,
no foot shall slide.

It also goes by the name of the Westminster Quarters.

The Belfry can be recognised externally by seven vertical openings above the face. The bells are mounted onto a cast iron girder frame and the roof construction above leads to an upper gallery that includes an octagonal light fitting used to denote the House sitting at night. Access to this is by a wrought iron spiral stair and it was not available to us. What we did have to do was to go up onto a peculiar bridge structure that linked the north and south halves of the belfry. Big Ben cracked shortly after being installed and a substantial platform was subsequently built below it in order to retain the debris of any further damage. As it had a couple of girders blocking the walkway the bridge affair was presumably built to ease access. The Big Ben bell is fenced in and the smaller bells are somewhat out of reach above. All of the openings are meshed in, to keep pidgeons out and presumably visitors in. There is a small balcony beyond the openings with a very ornate stone balustrade capped in gold leafed orbs. It was also pointed out to us that the two thirds of the west tower not taken up with the stairwell were in fact a ventilation shaft from the original Charles Barry architectural design, although it didn't actually work until fires were lit at the base to draw the air. There was a large grid covering the shaft at belfry level, as well as a curious small shed-like structure at the far end of it towards the stairwell, possibly for a ventilation fan.

I was half-expecting all of us to be issued with ear defenders but we were told that we could put fingers in our ears if we chose, although it wasn't actually as ear shattering as we might think. Our warning of all hell breaking loose would be the rise of the hammer on the bell in the south east corner and the guide advised us that some steel wire ropes would be moving up and down to actuate the hammers so we should be wary of them, not because they were dangerous, but because they were greasy.

The full peal sounded and I found that it was bearable without fingers. After the 12th strike, I felt the supporting girders as suggested to feel the ongoing resonance of the thirteen and a half tonne Big Ben as the harmonics slowly died away. In the flesh, the bells sound pretty much like on the radio, exceot that Radio 4 doesn't make your teeth vibrate!

I took a quick look at the roping arrangement- the hauling rope was about 20mm diameter and it disappeared down into tubular glands about a foot above floor level. The one for the smallest quarter bell had a brass plate riveted to the top with the number 5 stamped onto it and one of the next nearest served the largest quarter bell and was numbered 4. The amount of rope travel must have been about 10" for the small bells and perhaps twice that for Big ben.

We then started downwards again and I was asked to lead the way down to room 9. The clock room itself was roughly about 25' long by about 18' deep and as you entered the room, the mechanism was on your left, seperated by a surrounding simple balustrade. It was lit by four elegant large wall fittings spaced out on the two long walls that incorporated the Parliament Portcullis into the design. The North wall had a long workbench with some inspection lights but the room was very clean and tidy to a high standard of finish as per the rest of the internal spaces.

The clock mechanism is spread out on a large rectangular frame supported by two brick piers either end which are an extension of the weight shaft walls. It has three distinct sets of mechanisms, known as trains. The centre part is known as the going train and is the bit that actually keeps time. A weighted drum provides the motive force to drive the hands and it is regulated by the escapement to the rear. A 14' pendulum swings with an interval of two seconds and every time the pendulum changes direction, it trips the escapement which also gives a slight push to the pendulum to keep it swinging. Fine tuning is by the means of coins on an accesible collor of the pendulum below and apparently it is the height of the coin that alters the centre of gravity, not the weight. An old penny has the effect of two fifths of a second every 24 hours. Every time the escapement spins, the minute hands turn one thirtieth of the distance between the minute segments on the dial, which by my reckoning must be just under half an inch. The hour hands are geared to revolve at one twelth the speed via planar gearing and the link to the hands is via an upright shaft from the clock that transfers the movement in all four directions from gearing supported by two substantial girders that run across the room.

Every fifteen minutes, the going train triggers the chiming train which is to the right of the frame. This is actually a replacement mechanism, as the original one went horribly wrong one night in 1976 and showered the room in gears and the drum went for a high speed wander round the room, ending up next to the bench in the corner. The air brake mechanism failed due to a sheared shaft and as a consequence the chime train simply span faster and faster whilst its weight plummeted to the bottom of the tower, landing on sandbags below.

At thirteen minutes past twelve, the air brake moved slightly, with a clunk and a slight spin on the ratchet. This was the warning to anyone working on the clock that it was now close to operating. Apparently, the horological term is that the clock has "warned". I positioned myself to the operating cams to see what would happen next.

To the right of the frame, five vertical steel wires rose to pierce through a row of tube lined openings in the roof. They were much smaller wires than the ones actuating the hammers, being no more than 6 mil. They also didn't actually move very far when operated, no more than about three inches. I would surmise then, that the floor above would have a complex pulley arrangement to distribute the ropes to the right places under the bells and introduce mechanical disadvantage, i.e. use the force in a negative ratio of 3 or 4 to 1 to get sufficient movement to move the hammers.

As the chiming train actuated, four of the five ropes operated in sequence from back to front, which relates to playing the four bells in descending order. I didn't have sufficient knowledge of the peal to work out beforehand how it would operate but another visit would make reading of the cams straight-forward. Unsurprisingly, the cams were shaped like sawblade teeth, to smoothly lift the hammer then let it fall under gravity for the strike. Whilst the mechanism was actuating, the air paddle above was spinning furiously and at continued to spin on the ratchet for severl seconds after the movement had stopped.

To the left of the frame was the striking train, used to operate the hours. We weren't to see this operate as it was now time to return back down to room one and collect our things. The guide pointed out two photos in the corner of the 1976 damage and I also had a quick look at the winding mechanism below which is motorised and winds the chiming and striking trains. The going train is wound by hand three times a week and takes about twenty minutes. Apparently it is designed as an eight day mechanism, however, the longer you leave it, the longer it takes to wind up!

After going round and round in squared circles for what seemed like an infeasibly long time, we reached our gallery room again, where we were given a brief guide to the visit and had a final chance to ask questions. I meant to ask what was in the other intermediate rooms on the way up but never got round to it.

It was a very fascinating hour which simply flew by, although the trek was rather arduous on the way up, especially up to dial level. The guide also threw in a number of other little snippets and anecdotes which showed that he certainly knew his stuff. If you get a chance, take it, they might not do it for ever once Health & Safety throw their oars in...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Health & Efficiency

Health & Safety is second only to Politial Correctness in stifling common sense.

My own case in point is my run in with the premises department of the Leeds City council regarding access to Morley Town Hall Clock Chamber and Belfry in order to record the bells for Morley FM. Having carefully considered and demolished every possible counter-argument about whether is is actually unhealthy or unsafe, how does the system handle such a challenge to its authority? By banning their own staff from going up there too! Now that I know a lot more about Turret Clocks and have a forthcoming visit to see Big Ben at westminster, I feel a future horology radio programme coming on and will renew my efforts to gain access. replies have been somewhat evasive, maybe a freedom of information request might be enlightening...

Regarding the title of the blogpiece, I have mockingly referred to Health & Safety Executive (H&SE) as Health & Efficiency (H&E) for quite some time now, precipited mainly by a rather sassy lass who moved into such a role at work. H&E was what I perceived as a rather seedy naturist magazine from my formative years that was found on the top shelves of newsagents (& often in litter bins in parks as well). I don't actually recall ever buying one, although they certainly went the rounds of the 70s horny Geordie youth, mainly shoplifted by the paper boys. Surprisingly, a quick look on 'tinternet reveals that it is still going, as H&E Naturist.

The bizarre thing about H&E was that it wasn't actually erotic at all, it was full of naked people sunbathing, playing tennis and generally enjoying themselves in a non-sexual way sans garb, but it was heavily airbrushed to remove anything at all hairy, crinkly, dangly, wrinkly or flappy. The arrival of Whitehouse & similar magazines when I was 18 (when the Hall of Residence used to purchase them on our behalf) ushered away that era of top shelf innocence with content that Billy Connolly once described all too graphically as "looking in a Turkish Butcher's shop window.".

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Pruning the sidebar

I've updated the links slightly, as two of my favouritely named blogs have died the death, My hovercraft is full of eels (a Monty Pythonism) and My Boyfriend is a Twat (a definite non-euthamism).

I didn't actually read them that often, but they were worth listing just for the titles. Of course, they may not have actually given up, it may be a case of deferred success.

Car Parking problems...

Morley has the benefit of free parking in the Town Centre, the signs on the approach roads advise us that we are a historic market town with 1020 parking spaces. The sign always struck me as a bit misleading. We are historic, in that we have a couple of listed buildings and a conservation area of mostly late 19th Century stock, a lot of which is unremarkable. We do indeed have an indoor market but it isn't like the Halifax Piece Hall or the sort of thing you see in a market town, it is stalls selling assorted stuff but comparatively unremarkable. We may well have 1020 free spaces but I can't be bothered to count them. I did see a conservation map recently that showed how many spaces there were and I rather sadly did add up the numbers to see if they came to 1020 (which they did).

Our biggest car park is next to Morrisons and there has been a bit of a kerfuffle. Policing parking misbehaviour has recently moved from traffic wardens (the mustard men) to the local authority. It seems that Leeds City Council has been going round and putting tickets on cars improperly parked and the improper parkers are up in arms about it. They have lobbied Cllr Finnigan who is trying to arrange an amnesty for them. Where the ambiguity comes is that there is this stonking great big church in the middle of the car park and some of the sides are not clearly marked as no parking. However, anyone parking in most of the spaces around it are making it more difficult for the people who do park in the proper bays. Indeed, on a Saturday, a minority of selfish motorists are perfectly happy to invent bays at the end of rows, park on grass verges, double yellows etc. That then knackers up traffic flow through the area, as well as making some spaces a right pig to get into and out of.

There are lots of letters on the subject in this week's Obtiser and the anti-parkers outweigh the pros, both in style and substance. One writer points out that another smaller car park is much more of a problem and that should be focussed on instead.

Sod the amnesty. If someone feels they have a case, let them appeal. Having got away with it for years is not a reasonable excuse. Nor is the fact that everyone else does it. People have done it because it hasn't previously been policed enough. As an alternative to the £30 fine, they could have an hour in the stocks with wet sponges thrown at them which would be much more entertaining than playing giant chess.

Something else I'd like to see is giant A4 stickers saying "I am a selfish Bastard" that other annoyed motorists could stick on the windscreen of offenders, much like the "you have been clamped" warning signs. They should have special glue so that they don't peel off easily without a scraper and they stain the glass slightly with the IASB mantra for several weeks even after being attacked by a scraper. The police would ask us not to take the law into our own hands, but lets face it, they aren't going to do anything...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005



I was always under the impression that the word “defenestration” meant removing the twiddly bits of ornamental architecture, in the spirit of “modernisation”. It turns out that it really means throwing someone or something out of a window, particularly as a means of political dissent. (Note to self; The Morley Town Council meets upstairs in the Town Hall but the windows don’t open at defenestrating level, however I digress).

Another definition is the act of discarding something under the assumption that it will improve matters, which is probably where the architectural reference was derived. Re-fenestration is my made-up word in the context of putting twiddly bits onto buildings, also with the assumption that it will improve matters...

I work in central Bradford and most mornings I drive up the Manchester Road, which is the southern approach into the City. Apart from having special guided bus lanes, windmill powered heated bus stops and a rather disproportionate number of traffic lights, it also passes a large housing estate that is undergoing major refurbishment. Three large tower blocks have been shrouded in scaffolding for quite some time but what was of particular interest was the change in roofline. Steel structures started to appear that I found somewhat puzzling as they looked somewhat like angled platforms for solar panels of some sort. This was further compounded by the installation of what looked like stylised versions of those spinning signs you see outside of garages, although in this case there were no adverts for tyres or service. The structures were seen to spin (rather slowly) and I did wonder whether they may have been to operate pumps in order to circulate water over the panels, or to charge up batteries. However, the flaw in this logic was that the roof panels were facing due north which is a duff direction to catch the sun, as anyone with a north facing garden will tell you.

A quick sniff on ‘tinternet came up with the answer:

Wind turbines are being fitted to high rise blocks of flats on Manchester Road to help power their lighting as part of the latest phase of a multi million pound improvement programme.

Five blocks form the first phase of the environmentally friendly scheme and this week a roof wind turbine is being erected on Tudor Court. The first one was put up on top of Stuart Court and they are also being fitted to Bolingbrooke, Windsor and Hapsburgh Courts.

Futuristic steel roofing is also being installed which will turn the blocks into striking city centre landmarks.

Ian Simpson, Executive Director of Bradford West City CHT said: “The wind turbines will provide enough power to light up the communal areas in the blocks and they are an important element of the improvements we are carrying out.

“The roof top design promises to be a visually stunning addition to the city’s skyline.”

It seems the turbines can generate up to 3kW of power, which will presumably happily light up a decent number of compact fluorescent fittings in hallways and staircases. However, the duty cycle of wind power is apparently only 30% (the wind doesn’t blow all of the time) so I imagine the generated power will be stored in a sort of maintained power supply system which only draws on the mains when the batteries are flat. I did unearth a feasibility document by ESD Ltd which pointed out that the benefits were marginal and the model eventually chosen had a payback of 56 years! It also seems that recommendations to mount the turbine over the lift shaft were not followed, I wouldn’t like to live in the flats directly below it on the top floor to the south, they could get some very strange vibration noises as it ages and wears out. The design originally suggested a 6kW larger model and the use of a smaller device may well mean that turbulent airflow will further dampen the capability.

As for the “futuristic steel roofing”, I can’t see it having any benefit whatsoever for the people who live there, although it does look rather less dull than the plain roof with hoist room that preceded it. If they introduce decorative lighting (which the report suggests) that will totally knacker the wind turbine payback as well.

The Flats aren’t run by the Council, they are run by a Trust, as so often seems to be the way these days so that accusations of wasting public money are defused. Where that argument falls down, of course, is that the Trusts tap up local and central government for all sorts of grants, so it is out of our pockets after all. The roof & turbine aspects appear to be intended to make a visual statement, although it would be a lot cheaper for them to put up a flagpole and a banner saying “we are good at wasting money despite sound engineering advice” which is what the solution says to me.

I don’t want to totally scoff at the scheme, however, they are going to be improving the actual flats themselves considerably but the tenants are hardly going to be impressed with spinning turbines and coloured uplighting making the roof “interesting” when there are better things to get concerned about, like why the Council has moved in the noisy family of anti-social scratters upstairs who seem to live nocturnal lives accompanied by the latest in tediously load and repetitive House/Garage/thrash shed music.

The term “Social Housing” is the PC term for what we used to call “Council Housing”, presumably to shake off the stigma of being particularly associated with the underclass underachievers. I’ve lived in a Council House as a child for a couple of years, a socialist utopian dream of T Dan Smith in the 60s. The house was a very good design, well thought out & pleasant to live in but I can’t say the same for some of the neighbours It started off as “selected tenants” but it didn’t help that we were physically a couple of hundred yards from large numbers of unselected ones! A more accurate term might be “Social Security Housing”, “Giro Housing” or even “ASBO Housing”. The reality of course is that scum make up maybe 5% of the population and they come from all walks of life but the numpty-density on a Council estate is inevitably higher (as more will eventually get re-housed there) and they are the ones causing trouble for the other 95% of decent folk.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Back to normal... that the two major distractions are attended to, I can now return to normal blogging activity. In case you haven't worked it out, they were Morley FM and Harry potter 6!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

There but for the grace of (your) god...

Well, it started with the Olympic win, waves of indifference rippled over me when i heard London had won it. The photo of Red Ken looking bemused whilst all around him were a whoopin' & a hollerin' struck me as strangely sinister.

Then, on the train to London this morning. Departed from Peterborough, next stop Stevenage. The phones started ringing & the buzz grew in the carriage. Karen called and warned me that the Underground was closed due to a "power surge". The announcement came on that the Tube was suspended but that Kings Cross was still open. From there it rapidly deteriorated & people started picking up messages from the Web & Blackberries about bombs on buses. This was no ordinary incident.

Today was meant to be the AGM for the CMA. I rang the office, who said they were still hoping it would go ahead. I advised them I had a hunch that this was something big.

The bloke in front of me had been talking to an MP who said there had been six serious incidents, it had all the hallmarks of terrorism. Meanwhile, I worked out how to use WAP on my new mobile and checked out the Blair Broadcorpsing Castration- still towing the party line about power surges. Arriving at Stevenage, the guard advised that the train would be returning north and by now, most of us didn't want to go any further anyway.

The cracks were starting to appar on the WAP news, the story was the same but there were a lot of words in quote marks- the journalists were obviously getting restless.

The lady next to me turned white- she had missed her normal train due to the time on her mobile being wrong & she could have been in the thick of it.

It seems that the Mobile network may have been set to refuse calls for a while- the CMA office were unable to get hold of many people travelling to the meeting for hours and hours. Was this perhaps a concern about dial-up detonation?

Once the train started to move north again, there was a ragged cheer. There had been a definite comrades in adversity experience, although we didn't go quite as far as singing White cliffs of Dover.

I thought I'd better ring Morley FM as they knew I was in London that day. Danny Mylo answered & it went straight over his head. However, they rang me back a couple of hours later and put me live on the air for a report (by the judicious technique of holding the mobile up to the microphone).

The buffet took a hammering, for the return journey it was beer, red bull, coffee and smarties. I wasn't brave enough to risk a beer, the shelf the cans were on had a loose central bracket and had been bouncing up and down violently all the way. I wonder how many Stella Shampoos there had been that day?

Eventually, I arrived back at Wakefield again, exactly five hours after I had departed, 20' further south. (i.e. on Platform 2 instead of platform 1). We can re-use the tickets on another occasion which was very decent of GNER, it wasn't their fault in the slightest.

I had tried to read other sites via WAP but it was like watching paint dry. After a Coffee and a hug from Karen we watrched telly for a while in the Police Authority members' lounge, although the stories were still rather sketchy.

Seeing reports of the carnage tonight made me feel a little sick. I didn't feel personally threatened but I felt sorrow for the thousands touched by today's events far more painfully than myself. I have only one word for the scum that perpetrated this appalling attack.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Day 2 on the radio...

I'm sitting here at the computer, doing some audio editing, whilst listening to the silky smooth sounds of Morley FM. That is a phrase I jokingly used during our midnight switch-on 48 hours ago whilst the others were out in their cars and it seems to have stuck, especially when our very own "Handy Andy", Jon says it, as it is true. He is on right now, with some entertainer bloke that he met today for the first time & they are doing a cracking show to rival anything on commercial radio. Jon is a PCSO (A "Blunkett's Bobby") and being able to communicate well with people is a key part of the job, although being a slick radio presenter is an unexpected asset.

I can recommend the Morley FM diet- simply organise a radio station from scratch with a constantly changing selection of already busy people, then find yourself on voluntary call for every hiccup, along with an addiction to hear that the transmitter is on, the levels are right and the content is to a high standard.

What a remarkable variety of programmes we have transmitted in 36 hours- from the opening hour (which I had the great pleasure of hosting) through local rock bands, guest presenters, out & about vox pops, talking books, local issue chat & punky stuff. Of particular interest is tomorrow's "Punkumentary" at 5pm by Joey, one of our alternative presenters.

We also played a sneak preview of a 30 minute programme put together by members of the Priestley Society challenging the BBC about their choice of greatest living englishman. The quality of the voices is a bit ropey (one celebrated scientist used a cassette recorder with built in microphone so that needed a lot of work in Cool Edit Pro to lick it into shape) but the content is excellent and could easily form the basis of a professional broadcast.

I've spent the last week interviewing some school Heads about their life and music for a feature called "Six of the best" & that has been a fascinating experience, particularly visiting Head Teacher's offices (without a feeling of dread associated with the experience some 30 years ago!)

More on the Community Radio experience over the next week (although with the buzz from this event there is the risk I won't shut up about it for months!)

The logger bounced a couple of times again today. We now have a VHS recorder on standby (it will capture 6 hours on long play using a 3 hour tape) & I've checked all of the boards are reseated. It might be thermal related, Studo One should be called Sauna One and both times it has happened in the early afternoon.

Friday, July 01, 2005

More radio days...

Morley FM is well and truly on the air, with a grand opening of the Mayor cutting a blue ribbon, an inaugural "this is Morley FM" broadcast (hosted by Myself) & a selection of other presenters doing their thing.

We have reports of a listenable signal 17 miles away, but an unlistenable signal two miles away in a dip.

The star of the show has been Danny Mylo, who was found driving past our door with a loudhailer and fuzzlight. (When I say driving, I mean his Dad, he's only 14!)

It wasn't totally plain sailing however, when presenting we noticed that our output logger decided to reboot, it obviously didn't like our output! It is now on a UPS with another base unit standing by. We have to maintain a logging system by law, with a data retention of 42 days (to give someone a chance to complain).

Radio Ga-Ga

I'm feeling a bit gaga at the moment, elated at the switch-on of Morley FM. The official event is at noon, however, the hardened radioheads from the Morley Community Radio Society gathered in the studios for the application of power to the transmitter at one second past midnight. We then sent foraging parties out to check the signal- better than expected in some areas but rather scratchy in Churwell (where at least two of the team live).

We were so elated by the experience that we then had an inpromptu radio show. Our excuse was getting the levels right, however it is a great feeling seeing "MorleyFm" on the car radio and hearing the relatively inexperienced presenters get more slick and polished by the minute.

This community radio malarkey is a good thing, I'm delighted we have got this far. I have also recorded some great interviews with Head Teachers, now the time consuming part comes- the editing!

Fortunately, it will all be over Sunday week, & we intend to have a bit of a party a few days afterwards.