2013-The Cheshire Run -April 28th
This year we took part in the Cheshire Run, an annual road rally of classic commercials starting from the Lymm Truckstop by the M6, and going through Knutsford, Congleton, Crewe, Nantwich, Whitchurch and back via a different route. We left the route at Beeston on the return leg. It was a fair day, and at over 110 miles the longest trip yet.
She ran beautifully, the new injector pump has made all the difference and she now cruises happily at 40-45 MPH, but I pity the drivers who had to take her to places like Glencoe and Troon! The noise is deafening, and when you come to a hill, it still feels like you are pushing her up it yourself. Still, lorry drivers in those days were tough guys and that was what all heavy vehicles were like.
We stopped for luch at the raven Cafe by Whitchurch, and had plenty of interest shown including from some photographers- a picture later appeared in Heritage Commercials. It was a great day out, we enjoyed it immensely.
Kelsall Steam and Vintage Fair- June 22nd/23rd
The weather was not great but nothing like 2012 which was cancelled on the Sunday- we didn't go anyway as N3 was still in the paint shop. This year there were a fair number of visitors on the Saturday but the Sunday was not so good, due to the rain presumably. It is a good show though, with more and more lorries each year.
The Wilmslow Show -July 14th
Again we were invited to the Wilmslow Show, and had a special position next to the show ring. We were inundated with visitors all day, including several former BBC and Granada staff. Some visitors had seen us there in 2011 and were suitably impressed with our progress. Note the roof flap open, for the first time, albeit propped with a piece of wood. The siezed opening mechanism is another job on the list.
We even had a visit from the Mayoress of East Cheshire, who had the conducted tour and signed the Visitors Book.
This is a very popular venue and on such a lovely day there was a great turnout of visitors. The organisers had provided us with a 45KVA generator, without which we would have been in trouble due to the hot weather. At last, we could have the air conditioning running. There are 3 systems, two have the units over the cab and feed cooled air through vents in each area, and the third unit provides extra cooling in the production gallery. (At present this system is not usable as the fan motor bearings have gone.) We thought only one system worked, but the main problem with the second unit was a piece of rubbish jammed in the fan blades, once removed, it seems to work, but there are some serious problems up there, not least with rain or condensate finding it's way inside the cab.
Without the air conditioning, in anything like warm weather the heat soon builds up inside and equipment starts to fail. We don't have the original camera channels working, which draw about 500W each, but with the equipment and air conditioning on we were drawing about 32 amps from the supply. The 6.5KVA genny we have been using is no longer up to the job, as even without the aircon, although the load is within the rated capacity, it is not stable enough and things start to misbehave. We think that at least 20KVA will be needed, and more headroom would be better, so if you know of a reasonably priced 20-50KVA generator...
Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts' Club meeting at the Northop Hall Hotel, 22nd July
This was an evening presentation and display for the local R-REC 'Noggin and Natter'. It is only a couple of miles from base, so we took N3 over and rigged in the afternoon. We set up a monitor in the hotel with live pictures from the scanner and a DVD presentation on the history and restoration. There were not a great many people there, but it was an enjoyable evening, warm enough to have our meals outside.
The Shropshire Steam and Vintage Rally, Onslow Park, August 2013
This is a fantastic show, and the weather was good, but fortunately not as hot as Wilmslow- we only had the small generator and could not have run the aircon. There was a lot of interest as usual, some former BBC staff (some having come a long way especially to see N3) and many families who were fascinated to see it in action. We had two cameras (Ikegami 323 and HL79) running and synchronous so the mixer could be used, showing much improved mixing and even some of it's trademark raggy-edge wipes.
New facilities were working- the sound desk was now partly working, so an outside microphone and tape sources could be faded up, while a soundtrack of genuine BBC talkback was patched into the reverse talkback speakers in Production. Any problems were almost entirely down to the poor mains supply.
It was a very good show, exhausting as usual, but next year, we will need a proper generator.
Salford University -Manchester Science Festival 19th & 20th October
The Manchester Science Festival was held at Salford University, Media City, Salford.
This was a display of old and new technology for the public and potential students, covering computers, telephony, amateur radio, video and multi-media technology. The public could interact with many different aspects of science and technology.
We provided a display of TV sets and equipment from 1950 to the 1980s, with a display of working TV sets showing video material in both 405 and 625 lines. North 3 was parked on the piazza outside one of the BBCs studios, and on the Saturday we were accompanied by a current BBC satellite uplink van. The BBC set up a wireless linked camera in the exhibition hall, showing our display stand, and ran us a feed (which they kindly converted to 4:3 ratio) which gave us an extra source.
We had hundreds of visitors over the two days, including lots of current BBC and ITV staff, and many members of the public who were fascinated to see inside N3, and in turn we were able to direct them to the exhibition inside. We were ably assisted by some of the very keen students, which helped to spread the load for our volunteers who were all getting rather hoarse by the end of the day.
We were offered a tour of the BBC Media City studios technical facilities which proved very interesting.
The event was a great success which we hope to repeat.
North 3 arrives at Media City on the evening before the exhibition.
Our TV display inside the university building.
North 3 and BBC uplink van outside the Media City studios
Setting up the link from new to old technology