Thursday, December 22, 2011

Preserving the past - Australian built broadcast transmitters

Arguably some of the best looking radio equipment was produced in the 50's and 60's when art-deco motifs, streamlining and other elements of design made their way onto consumer and even industrial electronics.
Unlike modern times, when cost is the only consideration, designers and engineers took the time to ensure that their creations looked good as well as being functional and long lasting. It was worth taking time over the placement of meters, switches & panels, even if it did mean that the final product cost a few dollars more to manufacture.
Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) or AWA produced an extensive range of home and commercial equipment in the 60s and many vintage radio collectors have examples of AWA radio receivers in their collections. The larger equipment like broadcast transmitters takes an extra special effort to preserve as their large size, demanding power requirements and the specialized knowledge required to maintain them presents a barrier for all but the most dedicated enthusiasts.
We are fortunate then that Don Bainbridge has taken up the challenge and preserved a remarkable collection of Australian built broadcasting equipment and maintains much of this equipment in operational order. The YouTube video below and his website linked here offer a rare glimpse into the world of vintage high powered broadcast equipment before plastic took over and economical design stripped away the chrome and pinstripes.