Radio Rag engineers and the medium wave transmitter in 1979.
Left to right: Andrew, Unidentified, Pete Mann.
Radio Rag medium wave transmitter in 1979.
The antenna is fed through a cable riser duct in the student kitchen.
Pete Mann came to Radio Rag through a slightly different route, whilst working as a part time student at one of the colleges in central Manchester.
Unfortunately for Pete, his voice would have been easily recognised by most radio hams living around the Manchester area, so he had to adopt a rather strange strangled pseudo Mancunian mid-Atlantic gargle for the duration of his show.
He was also responsible for production of many of the early jingles (if you play the Paul Kinell 'baby' to half speed you can almost hear his genuine voice), the UHF links, ex Home Office Band II and Shortwave transmitters.
Pete eventually moved on to work for a national organisation which operated TV and radio transmitters. He now lives in Southern England and works for a leading company who develop digital broadcasting equipment and associated services.
Pete remembers the early days:
"At the start of my involvement we had one medium wave transmitter at Owens Park."
"This was a much modified home built 1.8 MHz AM amateur radio rig (complete with Dymo labels and gouged holes on the front panel), which was used to feed a very dangerous open chassis linear amplifier using a ring of four 807 valves and delivering a peak power of about 100 watts."
"The transmitter was located in a riser cupboard in one of the communal kitchen areas of the Owens Park student village tower block in South Manchester."
"A large open frame Antenna Tuning Unit was also used. This had to sit very precariously on top of a radiator near a partially open window from which the antenna wire emerged, the radiator and building pipe work acting as the ground counterpoise. The look of astonishment from students who casually went in to use the kitchen (pictured) and were met with the sparks and ozone produced by this Frankenstein device had to be seen to be believed."
"The audio was provided by a cassette tape player in another kitchen at the base of the tower, the cables being run down the riser shaft which took the waste and service pipes between floors."
"At this time the studio was located in another part of the Owens Park complex and the tapes had to be swapped at half hour intervals."
"This was my first and only attempt at presenting. It was so bad that for the rest of my time with Radio Rag I was only allowed to produce jingles, help with security and improve the general level of engineering."
I'm not sure if the shows were that bad, but in any case, you can now enjoy them online for the first time in 25 years:
|Pete Mann Show 1||46.40|
|Pete Mann Show 2||46.28|
|Pete Mann Show 3||46.43|