YEAR OF 1950
- PIANO LESSONS
and 1953 I learned the piano, gaining high scores in the final examinations in 1952 held by the London College of Music.
In 1950, one
of my teachers was Miss Hunter, who lived in nearby Auburn Grove.
Next to the piano
in the teaching room, t here was a large radiogram with a shortwave band. One day, after a lesson, Miss Hunter switched on
this radio and let me hear some shortwave signals, which included the Armed Forces Radio Service!
I had bought several of the radio design booklets published by the Babani Books Company (UK). These had circuits for simple
receivers and I built several crystal sets, using Babani designs – the company started in 1942 in the UK
and is still operating today!
From Auburn reception was limited to the Melbourne
stations, and I was unsuccessful in building a set to give greater range.
I then dispensed
with using cats’ whiskers and galena crystals and built some sets using semiconductor diodes.
I tried building
shortwave crystal sets, but that was a dismal failure!
Then, one day,
my parents gave me a present of a two valve battery operated regenerative receiver, built by a family friend. This used the
recently introduced miniaturised valves, in the series 1T4, 1R5, 3S4 etc.
a source of wonderment, as I was then able to receive MW stations in other Australian states!
the end of our small backyard at Auburn, Pop had built a little
raised wooden woodshed. He added a second level with roof and a power connection. This had a bench in it and served as my
electronics workshop. It was in this shed that I experimented with radios and electronic devices. I had trays with electrical
components – resistors, capacitors, coils, valves, everything!
I continued to use this
little shed until we moved to Mont Albert in 1959.
We would eventually
move away from Auburn in 1959 to a “real” home, built in 1923, in Mont Albert,
15 km from the city, one of thousands of such homes constructed around Melbourne
in the “Californian bungalow” style – front veranda, garage, lawns, large gardens, weatherboard, and terracotta
My father’s paving work
may still be seen here in Mont Albert, having stood the test of time for more than half a century.