Radio-4-Matic - part 4 - Radio 4

posted in Electronics by Cargo Cult on Saturday January 12 2013

So, it seems someone at Radio 4 spotted this thing, and one thing led to another and I ended up being interviewed on PM. Yes, me on national radio! On a proper news programme! Blinking heck.

Like a friendly eye of Sauron.

Not sure how long it'll stay up, so listen now. There's a mention at the beginning, then my bit's at the end.

It got edited down a fair bit (a mention of the Raspberry Pi itself got lost, along with a mention of non-Pi alternatives) - but it most definitely brings across the heart of why I did it. A couple of observations:

  • Talking to a Radio 4 presenter is really weird. Perfect diction.
  • Not helped by Skype being wired into the studio microphones. Incredibly clear.
  • It's like talking to a radio. And the radio's talking back. Fantastic!

Article comments (now closed)

loadfactor's gravatar

1. Thank heavens for PM

Posted by loadfactor at 1:22PM, Saturday January 12 2013

Been living in the Vancouver area with the Roberts iStream virtually permanently tuned to R4 - stealing myself occasionally to listen to local news on CBC - and desperately wishing for this as the wife and I go to sleep listening to today. Happened to be sick in bedwith the 'flu otherwise I would have mised it.

Even the highly 'bowdlerised' PM item was enough to locate this Blog and all the wealth of tech detail you have put up. Brilliant!

Possibly even worth patenting the idea - lessons available from Cupertino - though maybe not now it's in the public arena.

Anyway many thanks for really brightening my day. The family have an old Hacker Sovereign which I could get shipped across to allow me to spend endless antisocial hours playing with.

parm's gravatar

2. Amaze

Posted by parm at 2:27PM, Saturday January 12 2013

That's just excellent. Does this mean that get_iplayer is now Officially Sanctioned by Auntie? :)

Cargo Cult's gravatar

3. Re: Thank heavens for PM​

Posted by Cargo Cult at 7:13PM, Saturday January 12 2013

loadfactor: right at the end of the interview, I realised I'd never actually given the name 'Radio-4-Matic'. Really glad you found your way here!

I discovered after building the thing that there's already an online service that'll do the time-delay thing, so it's not a new idea - but I think I'm the first to combine it with a vintage radio.

As for the Hacker radio, do it! I'm proud of the fact the modifications are so easily reversible - plus you get those lovely '70s transistors doing their stuff...

parm: Heh. Transatlantic SSH tunnels, too. (*Optional*, of course.)

Mike's gravatar

4. Thank heavens for PM

Posted by Mike at 1:39AM, Sunday January 13 2013

Really an interesting project. I remember when to listen BBC Radio 4 on 198 kHz I hooked a capacitor to a wire of the phone line an another wire to a rod in the groud. It worked: was before DSL and my phone line is still on wooden poles. Then I found satellite radio. Unfortunately seems to me that the British Broadcasting corporation isn't really interested in broadcasting anymore, so both LW and Ku band reception is becoming more and more difficult.

Anyway most 70s radio have a record player in connector that is a easy and official way to use them as amplifiers. German-made radios are fond of this option. So, if you're lucky, even if you lack soldering skills, or you have a vacuum tube radio and are afraid of the high voltages inside, it's possible to make a radio-4-matic, finding a suitable cable.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

5. Re: 4. Thank heavens for PM

Posted by Cargo Cult at 10:10PM, Monday January 14 2013

Mike: I was reading up about Radio 4 LW, wondering about the maximum range (my dad used to listen to it in Belgium, for example). Apparently the main transmitter is running out of spare parts - metre-high glass valves with an increasingly limited supply.

(Of note: the LW range is terribly quiet here in the USA.)

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