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30 years since end of 405

 
AidanLunn
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I would have thought this would be marked in some way, it's 30 years to the day that 405 transmissions ended in the UK (in Scotland -o ne day later than the rest of the country due to a bank holiday).

It's 30 years since it was thought all those 405-line TVs were doomed to never show another TV picture again.

But, on the other side of the argument it's 30 years since the 405-line standards converters and transmitters, which were getting increasingly difficult to maintain, were finally retired after many years hard work.

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Topic starter Posted : 03/01/2015 3:33 am
Till Eulenspiegel
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And of course thanks to the Aurora converter 405 is still very much still alive. Before the first Aurora came along a number of excellent converters were developed by designers and engineers in this Country and Germany.
Read Jeffery's appraisal of one of those early converters here: http://www.borinsky.plus.com/pineapple_ ... review.htm

I've written about this before. I was my plan to have a prototype standards converter ready by the end of 1984 but due to a number problems, not technical, it was not until August 1985 that the simple converter was ready to demonstrate at the BVWS meeting later that year.
That converter is alive and well thanks to forum member 405fan.

Till Eulenspiegel.

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Posted : 03/01/2015 11:56 am
Till Eulenspiegel
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A follow up to my last post. It is worth bearing in mind that the concept of the 405 line system is actually over eighty years old!
The history of the system is well known and how the parameters of 405 line television were finalised in May 1934.

Till Eulenspiegel.

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Posted : 04/01/2015 12:44 am
Cathovisor
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I really do think the 30th anniversary of the last day of 405 should have been remembered in greater detail. Quite dissappointing actually.

But by whom, Trevor? We remembered, and really that's all that counts. Why would - or indeed, should - the pax and the broadcasters care for the passing of a long-obsolete system? It lasted pretty well past its sell-by date.

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Posted : 04/01/2015 1:14 pm
AidanLunn
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I really do think the 30th anniversary of the last day of 405 should have been remembered in greater detail. Quite dissappointing actually.

But by whom, Trevor? We remembered, and really that's all that counts. Why would - or indeed, should - the pax and the broadcasters care for the passing of a long-obsolete system? It lasted pretty well past its sell-by date.

I did mean acknowledged by the forum in some way, not by people outside of the vintage collector's circle.

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Topic starter Posted : 04/01/2015 1:51 pm
Focus Diode
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A sad time even though we knew the day would come. To most 405-lines was already dead, most I knew locally with dual std push button UHF sets used their sets on UHF only with a suitable aerial erected from the very early '70s.

My last sighting of Tyne Tees Television Ch8 was "First Tuesday" with Jonathan Dimbelby. I took an off screen photo I have unfortunately since lost. The signal was strong but they were clearly problems with the transmitter with black vertical lines, some stationary with others that appeared to move up the picture. I've seen similar thin stationary black vertical lines on some episodes of "Callan" on the excellent Network "Monochrome Years" DVD set converted from the original 405-line videotape to 625-lines in the early '70s. Appears something to do with the standards conversion.

The next morning Burnhope ch8 had finally gone but Pontop Pike ch5 continued though the signals were weak. It appeared to gradually fade away during the day to nothing, horse racing I recall. Tyne Tees Television's contiunity announcer Neville Wandless paid tribute to Burnhope during "Lookaround" mentioning the farewell to an old friend who was getting rather old.

Not long afterwards BBC North East and Cumbria split with Cumbria taking the North West (Manchester) news. I seem to remember on "Look North" a letter was read out from a disgruntled viewer mentioning he was prepared to rig up a large aerial to catch the VHF transmissions in order to continue to receive the Newcastle version which the presenter reported was no longer operating. Eventually Cumbria/Cumberland got its wish with the former Westmorland county retaining the Manchester programmes.

I thought I'd never see a 405-line picture again so removed the system switch and hard wired the main domestic set, a 23" HMV 2640 (BRC 1400), to 625-lines with the ill intended idea to improve reliability. Then comes 1990, "405 Alive" was born. A scrap 1400 chassis was obtained to re-fit the system switch in the HMV set! The rest is history.

I can go on for pages but await with great interest others recollections of their final days of 405-line viewing.
Cheers,
Brian

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Posted : 05/01/2015 12:07 am
ianj
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I don't recall the ending of 405 as it seemed to pass without a fanfare. I don't recall it being on the news at six at the time thought it may well have been. I do recall watching it though on our pye dual standard. That packed up in 1976 and we got a secondhand colour set then. That was 625. I only recall one family I knew who were very poor who did have a 405 tv , and that was dual standard , ferguson I think, this would be 1979 by now.
I suspect, especially in the london area, they could have witched 405 off by 1980/1 really, you could buy a secondhand colour tv then for £35/40 and probably only a small handful of viewers were still on 405 only, if any ( apart from enthusiasts)

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Posted : 05/01/2015 1:35 pm
Panrock
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In 1981 when I moved here to Sedgeberrow, one of the first things I did was to have a Channel 4 'X' aerial made by South-West Aerials. On to the chimney it went, pointing at Sutton Coldfield. The set was a 1953 Peto-Scott 1412T.

I got excellent results at first - a 'creamy smooth picture' I recall - but over the next few years light noise started to appear. After I had repeatedly complained about this, the BBC gave me the direct number for the Sutton Coldfield transmitter, where I soon became known as 'the viewer'.

In fact, during the early '80s the Sutton Coldfield signal was indeed being reduced. To start with, the reserve transmitter was brought into full-time service (giving a 10dB reduction) and toward the end this was replaced with a S.T & C CG1 transmitter (reducing the signal by a further 10dB). So at the end the vision e.r.p was actually only 1 kilowatt, not the 100 kilowatts being published by the BBC. No wonder my Peto-Scott noticed the difference!

Anyway, the outcome was that the chaps at Sutton Coldfield kindly offered to give me a conducted tour of the site. An engineer there, Phil Marrison (also well known to us in the BVWS) 'swung' it for me so that their digital standards converter would come to me after the close of 405, on long-term loan. It then sat in my airing cupboard, doing duty for a further twenty years. This finally was passed on to the BVWS, being replaced here by an Aurora.

As regards the end of 405 from Crystal Palace, the final view shown at BBC1 closedown was a 1938 Baird T18 picking up the signal from Television Centre. I had previously owned this set but by then had sold it on to Terry Harvey, a Canadian engineer working at the BBC. He carried out a meticulous restoration and this Baird then found its own special place in history. Incidentally, on the final day CP shut down 405 prematurely - if I recall correctly - to fit in with a social event marking the occasion. I phoned them up to find out what had happened and to their credit, they brought the transmitter up again for its final few hours.

Steve

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Posted : 05/01/2015 2:03 pm
AidanLunn
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As regards the end of 405 from Crystal Palace, the final view shown at BBC1 closedown was a 1938 Baird T18 picking up the signal from Television Centre. I had previously owned this set but by then had sold it on to Terry Harvey, a Canadian engineer working at the BBC. He carried out a meticulous restoration and this Baird then found its own special place in history. Incidentally, on the final day CP shut down 405 prematurely - if I recall correctly - to fit in with a social event marking the occasion. I phoned them up to find out what had happened and to their credit, they brought the transmitter up again for its final few hours.

Steve

I've been wondering what happened to that T-18

Here is said T-18, and some shots of that closedown, on my Sobell set, taken on the night of 2nd January 2015

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Topic starter Posted : 07/01/2015 1:23 am
AidanLunn
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And the fade out.

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Topic starter Posted : 07/01/2015 1:24 am
Katie Bush
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I can remember watching the final moments 405 line broadcast on both 405lines, and 625 lines.. What a helpless feeling there was as the 405 screen went blank, and the 625 lines screen went on to something else.

As well as I can remember it, ITV (Yorkshire Television) closedown went rather differently.. The final moments ended in a YTV ident frozen on the 405 lines screen.. The next day saw the same ident still frozen on screen, but with a caption that read "This television service has now ended - Please retune to UHF channel 47 or contact your local TV dealer" - or something to the same effect.. Eventually, that disappeared after a few more days.

Marion

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Posted : 08/01/2015 2:01 am
peterscott
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Although many of us witnessed the end of 405 and were sad at its passing I think part of its charm and fascination today comes from the very fact that it is dead and gone.

Peter

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Posted : 08/01/2015 11:00 am
Till Eulenspiegel
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So in a sense we have to keep 625 alive in order that 405 survives as well. Look after those converters.

Till Eulenspiegel.

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Posted : 08/01/2015 12:23 pm
Cathovisor
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So... when's the first 1125 - 405 converter with an HDMI input going to appear...? There's already kit that converts HDMI inputs to analogue ones...

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Posted : 08/01/2015 2:25 pm
Marc
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So... when's the first 1125 - 405 converter with an HDMI input going to appear...? There's already kit that converts HDMI inputs to analogue ones...

I already use an HDMI to AV converter to connect my laptop to the Aurora, works pretty well too !

Marc.

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Posted : 08/01/2015 2:33 pm
Katie Bush
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Plus of course, if you source your video from a SKY+HD box, you already have HDMI to 625 integrated into the box - moreover, you have both HDMI and 625 analogue CVBS and RGB available to you via the HDMI and SCART outlets respectively.

Freeview, and FreeSat, also follow the same lines, as far as I am aware.. Of course, if you want to use Blu-Ray or up-scaled DVD, then Marc's is the only logical approach at present.

Marion

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Posted : 08/01/2015 11:42 pm
Focus Diode
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ITV (Yorkshire Television) closedown went rather differently.. The final moments ended in a YTV ident frozen on the 405 lines screen.. The next day saw the same ident still frozen on screen, but with a caption that read "This television service has now ended - Please retune to UHF channel 47 or contact your local TV dealer" - or something to the same effect..

Fascinating memories there. I don't recall this from TTT nor mention of this from other ITV regions, I didn't stay up to watch the final ch8 closedown however.

It will be recalled the 405-line service was originally to be phased out between 1982-1986 with the least used relay stations closing first. One of these was Newhaven which was the last to open, thus on the air for only 12 years. Membury ch12 was also earmarked for closure in 1982. It was still transmitting on the day we left Chippenham in late July or early August that year. As we know the closures were accelerated. I think Anglia and perhaps Channel were the first regions to lose all their 405-line transmitters.

Brian

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Posted : 09/01/2015 11:32 am
Cathovisor
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As we know the closures were accelerated. I think Anglia and perhaps Channel were the first regions to lose all their 405-line transmitters.

From memory, my BBC "local" at the time (Morborne, near Peterborough) had lost its 405 by 1980 (I don't recall its disappearance, sadly), it being suggested that it was done to help the transition to Morborne being converted to stereo on FM. It was probably no coincidence that with the new ILR station Hereward Radio promising to bring stereo radio to Peterborough for the first time that the BBC switched on their stereo equipment the day before Hereward launched!

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Posted : 09/01/2015 11:55 am