Monday, 8 August 2011

Wave goodbye to my wavemeter

    I'll be saying goodbye to a little piece of my past on Saturday. My friend Paula who I know through the Swindon TG Group and who performed her mother-hen dutes on my first ever public outing is a radio amateur with a special interest in microwaves. I'll be taking my microwave wavemeter down to Swindon to give to her, as she has far more use for it than I do.
    For an electronic engineer, pieces of test equipment like the wavemeter form part of the tools of the trade. They are to us what hammers and tongs are to a blacksmith or brushes are to an artist. You build up your collection of instruments over your career and they are what gives you a window into whatever device you are working on. Without them you are relegated to simply being an end user, the electronic device is simply a black box with wires that either works or doesn't work.
    So it feels a bit of a wrench to find myself giving away what was at one time a highly prized and rather useful piece of kit. It's almost as though a piece of my identity has been removed. But I last held a radio licence over a decade ago, haven't touched a transmitter in years and certainly have no use for a wavemeter calibrated to 10 GHz. Paula by comparison has regular need for such a device and I hope will find this one - a former US Navy unit and a very high quality piece of kit - to be very useful indeed.
    It will no doubt be a rather amusing sight. Me turned out in full-on seven foot girl mode, manhandling a huge grey flight case from one car to the other. Where's a bloke when you need one eh!

7 comments:

  1. Lucky Paula! I'm still only beginning to put together a new collection of instruments... on an as-needed basis of course. Well, unless a sweet deal comes along, like if I run into a real bargain at a hamfest. ;)

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  2. Feel the same way, selling off a few cars, very hard mentally.

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  3. It is hard to part with loved and much used test equipment, but it was good to know my Heathkit 'scope and AVO-8 went to a good home when I parted with them and made space for the new generation - the PIC programmer and laptop. Just need to find a home for a 42U Ritter rack now, a home server farm is not that big anymore!

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  4. Wow Did it have valves inside? Only on the outside eh? Just kidding! I think old pieces of kit like these are priceless works of art, not only nice to look at but having a valued practical use too! Technotranny reminded me of my Avo 8 Mark 6 complete with leather carrying case both in pristine condition as the instrument never left the workbench when it was used for carrying out calibrations of electronic control equipment. It is languishing on a shelf in one of my bedroom wardrobes gathering dust. Gosh it must be worth a fortune now if these things appreciate with age. It cost £400 new in 1984.

    Shirley Anne xxx

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  5. Don't worry, I'm not giving away everything, still got my 'scope and my Avo (S/H in my case, £50 from Stewarts of Reading). Though I tend to use a Maplin digital multimeter these days, more convenient. (For Angel's benefit, the Avo 8 is a legendary British analogue multimeter, very high quality but quite large)

    And I ain't getting rid of my cars just yet, still got the Wreck. But then I trimmed my fleet of projects about 10 years ago. I wonder if the bloke ever got my rusty-as-hell TR7 DHC on the road.

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  6. I think that it is a change in mindset as we transition to our true gender and no longer need to pretend that we are blokes. I am selling bicycles and getting rid of other pieces of motorised technology too.

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  7. Paula is indeed a lucky girl!

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