At the beginning of this year I received an email from Larry Odham in the US with an enquiry:-
“I have been trying to find a equipment manual to get a copy from for a Ampex 1012 universal colortec.
The 1012 was used on the Ampex VR-1200 and VR-2000 quad machines.
I have several Ampex VR 1200s here operational and I use them to transfer NTSC quad tapes for preservation. I want to make one of the machines here PAL-capable.
I was very happy to find a 1012 spec sheet on your website that I was able to print out.
Is there anyone on your site or e-mail list that may have access to a 1012 manual, or know where one might be found?
I read an interesting passage in one of the history tabs,might have been under the hardware tab?, about the first Ampex VR 2000 VTRs using a standard NTSC colortec that had been modified by the BBC fellows with a “box” in order to use for PAL. I sure would like to know more about how that worked.
thanks for any help, or suggestions, or leads.”
Clive McCarthy took on the challenge and Larry has just sent me some photographs of his set-up and a brief description.
Clive McCarthy has been a real help at every turn, supplying me with important information about how the early Ampex quad VTRs did PAL before the 1012 colortec. I doubt I could have gotten very far at all without him, or you and the vtoldboys website! Thanks very much!
To bring you up on the project, What I built is exactly what Clive had written me about in his detailed circuitry analysis – and it works beautifully!
What I basically did was to place a rack next to the VR-1200 with the two NTSC 1011 colortecs to be PAL-modified. Then, added a patch bay with all the signals to and from the VR-1200 making it possible to patch the 1011 NTSC colortec out of the machine and patch a PAL modified 1011 colortec into its place. A Tektronix 1411 sync generator was added to supply the correct PAL syncs.
The actual delaying, burst switching and error detecting circuitry is breadboarded on the small table in front of the rack. I was able to go one more step beyond and found a complete 1012 colortec manual at the Stanford University archive that they were willing to photocopy for me. That was more help in filling in some of the technical gaps.
Well done Clive! Oldboys to the rescue. Mark you, I’m amazed he can still remember it all!
Larry has sent a link to his own website advertising his conversion business – some nostalgic pictures here(!):-
And here is a link to the Tennesse Archive of Moving Image & S0und where it all started!
First of all, to all those of you of a ‘certain’ age…… MERRY CHRISTMAS VT! and, to everyone who doesn’t know the phrase, Happy Christmas and the very best for 2009! The picture opposite is from the “Blue Peter Book of Television”. It is part of a photograph of the Blue Peter presenters queuing for a cuppa in the Tea Bar outside TC3 (Red?). However, the face in the back of the queue is also very familiar – it’s Doug (Parsons). Quite a surprise and rather nice to have a shot of him – even if it is a bit grainy. The only other picture of him is a blurred frame in Alan Edgington’s 8mm filmof the area.
The Direct Television from Alexandra Palace web site that I mentioned below has now been relocated to its own domain. I managed to get www.bbctv-ap.co.uk which mimics fairly well its original home with Freeserve. I have tidied up the formatting and navigation and found a few of the missing pictures from our own archives. I have already received offers of more information and, possibly, some of the pictures that are missing. The link from here is as before in Links, but I have renamed it to Direct Television from Alexandra Palace. There are a lot of familiar names (and experiences) that VT Oldboys will recall.
Ed Wooden has just reminded me that, for several of us, today marks the 45th Anniversary of joining the BBC at Wood Norton……
Also, I have just posted a new link in Links – doesn’t sound that exciting, but it marks the successful conclusion of a search that has taken Howard and I a couple of years or so! Visitors may remember that we had a link to a fascinating site by Arthur Dungate which chronicled his BBC career at AP and Lime Grove in TK and Film Dubbing. Some time ago I received emails reporting the link to his site as broken and, after emails and much searching, realised it had disappeared and all those memories with it.
A week ago John Dickenson passed onto Neil Pittaway the URL of an organisation who have been “archiving the internet”. A search there discovered the majority of Arthur’s website which I have downloaded and re-assembled as best I can.
Visit the link Memories of Alexandra Palace and have a look. Apologies for missing images, broken links and random formatting, but I felt the site was too valuable not to publish as it is. I shall return to tidying it up later on …… honest, Geoff….:-)
The Martin family(!), who organise the annual Christmas Lunch at Surbiton and other events for Radio, now have a dedicated website at www.40sand50sreunion.co.uk which has contact details and information on forthcoming events. Do pop over and have a look as their contribution to the continuing contact between ‘us oldies’ (and the newer retirees) is enormous. Do come to an event – you never know who you might meet!