I mentioned in another thread that I'd post a couple of stories that my late father told relating to technical matters.

#1. Like myself, my father became interested in electricity and radio at a young age, and experimented widely over the years. By the time he was growing up as a teenager in early 1930s London, he was building radios and apparently one day decided to construct a low-power broadcast-band transmitter. As a source of modulation, he'd acquired a old microphone and suitable amplifier, and instructed his younger brother to stand in front of it and sing while he went to the radio in another room in the house to listen.

The transmitter clearly functioned fairly well, as the next day his mother was stopped by neighbors in the street to tell her that they were sure they had heard her youngest son's voice on their radios!

She obviously denied that he had been anywhere near the BBC for such a thing to have been possible, and I understand the transmitter was hastily dismantled and the parts used for the next project! Luckily, the Radio Regulatory Dept. (similar in function to the FCC) never got wind of the unauthorized broadcasts.

#2. Fast forward to the 1940s and my father was a young sergeant during the war, stationed with an anti-aircraft unit in Wiltshire.

The direction-finding equipment and radio gear on the searchlights had a problem with leaking seals letting in water, and replacement seals were just not available at the time. After a few days of heavy rain put several units out of action, my father decided to make a temporary solution by drilling a few small-diameter holes along the lower edge of the equipment to allow trapped water to escape.

The commanding officer blew his top on seeing this unofficial modification, and threatened my father with charges -- Damaging Army property, etc.

Next day it rained so heavily that by nightfall every unit on the site was out of action, except my father's. Apparently the C/O then made it known to my father that if more holes just "happened to appear" in the other equipment on site he wouldn't notice them.....

Anybody like to add some more stories from the past?

[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 12-10-2003).]