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Dodge OB truck


In 2004 I bought an ex-BBC outside broadcast vehicle, actually a links truck based on a 1985 Dodge G100, out of service with BBC Wales. This originally carried the microwave transmitters and receivers used to beam signals from an OB site to fixed sites with access to PO lines.

It had never been a production vehicle, but I thought it was worth converting it into a small 4 camera unit with VT editing facilities.

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The Dodge had no MOT test and the brakes made it unsafe to drive. It was delivered on a low-loader. The links equipment had been stripped out, leaving empty racks, jackfields and cabling. Much of the inside was fitted with useless lockers and even a place for tea-making equipment.

We set about modifying the interior to make a production desk and monitor bay.

 

The equipment to go in comprised 4 Ikegami 323 camera channels, (3 tube) which are a mixture of heads and CCUs from Granada TV and BBC (Glasgow/Leeds).

The vision mixer was a Grass Valley 200 (originally ex Barcud Facilities, but now with bits of BBC), 20 input composite, up to 4 VTRs, Quantel Picturebox (dual, ex BBC), Abekas A53D DVE and an Aston Caption ex- BBC cap gen. The vision monitors were sourced from various places including Carlton (Nottingham).

The sound area was luxuriously appointed with a Neve 12 channel desk, sources including DAT, quarter inch (Studer A810), Minidisc, CD etc. There was a Sony BVH2000 1" C format installed, and a further 4 VTR bays.

The pictures show some of the equipment in operation.

 

However when North 3 arrived in 2009, it became very much a 'back burner' project, and unfortunately nothing much further was done, although a heater has been left on permanently to keep the equipment dry.

With the purchase of Unit 23, the project was totally redundant- U23 is just what I was trying to achieve, but done properly, and with it's own history. Some of the equipment will be transferred to U23, and the vehicle is currently available for sale.

It has not been driven anywhere since 2004, but mechanically it is good, the Perkins 6.354 starts and runs beautifully. The cab is quite rotten and needs a lot of work or replacing, the Smiths built body is very good. It is insulated, has a built in 4KVA generator, Webasto diesel heater (not working). Ideal for conversion to living accomodation.