The Wallis's ~ The Complete Story
machines I had built in the past, this time the tape speed was increase dramatically. It took some time to sort out the carrier oscillator frequency and buffer connections. Feeding in the “Test card signal” I was able to make a reasonably steady recording. The 7-inch spool of Tape was used up very quickly and on my later model I used home made very large spools which held a lot more tape. These first attempts indicated to me such a recorder would work.
One of my big problems was the high speed of the tape and the size of the tape spools. They took time to speed up and settle to the running speed. Then the splicing I required every three minutes did not enjoy these high speeds. What a mess there was when things went wrong!
Sony were to bring to the market a half inch Video recorder. This machine they hoped to offer at a reasonable price for the retail market. This machine used a helical scanning head and the tape speed was one I could handle. About this time I had got to know a number of engineers who worked at the Teddington Television studios. They told about the scrap and discarded materials and gave me the opportunity to examine the scrap skips, I soon found many useful discarded monitor units, cameras, and all types of electronic television units. I became a regular visitor to the studios and purchased a great deal of “Junk” for pennies this equipment was cheap but very useful equipment. Soon I had a 405-line camera
From two monitors I was able to use parts for the recording circuits of my new half inch video recorder best of all a helical scanner, recording and erasing
heads. So started my first workable portable video recorder. By 1968 I was recording transmitted television programmes. I also started recording our own children in black and white. For my earlier recording I used surplus computer tape but soon realised they did not have the required format and that the drop out was bad and clogged the heads. I found that Teddington were scrapping loads of top standard 2”video tape which had been rejected due to it’s high drop out readings upon inspected.
I bought a number of these huge reels for a couple of pounds each and set to work making a machine to splice the 2” tape. The machine used three razor blades. With guild pulleys before and after the cutters. A drive cylinder takings it’s power from a large third HP electric motor to take up the cut tapes and feed them onto four 7”dia take up spools. Once set up I could splice 4 tapes from the 2” spool very quickly but I found due to the stretch during cutting only 3 of these could be cut accurately but the forth tape was always slightly over-width.
All would go well provided the blades did their job but they would pick up dust at high speed and sometimes, more often than I would have liked, the tape sometimes jumped the blade and without a cut could not be taken up by the awaiting spool. The take up would lock and would become a large ball of mixed up tape and broken take up spools.
Never the less I was able to produce plenty of half inch recording tape which I filled with TV recordings and our home movies of the family. As referred to within other chapters of this book. An amusing instance occurred in 1970 when Clark Equipment sent me to the States to bring myself up to date with the latest company products I took my recorder with me for everything I was shown or taught about I took television pictures and recorded these on half inch tape. Again I found most of those who saw me recording these thought I was either making photos or dictating notes for
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