On 1 June 2017 I celebrated 51 years in an industry that has seen great change and that has provided me with a great deal of joy and interest. I have travelled near and far, met global industry leaders and been part of every new industry development.
I had the good fortune to travel to England as a 10 year old on board a P&O luxury liner. As it was the time of the Suez crisis we had to sail around South Africa. I still remember seeing the warships as we approached the Canary Islands. (What has changed?) During six months spent in England, I was fascinated with my first experience of television. It was the beginning of a lifelong interest.
On my return home I started to build crystal sets, experiment with antennas for AM radio and to try and understand what ‘signal’ was. I am still trying to understand exactly what it is. Those early experiences also opened my eyes to how much there was to understand about cable and connections. I made tuners out of Kool Mints tins and copper wire, and worked out how a small change can make a big difference to the listening choices.
Within 10 years of my English experience I owned Skybeam Antennas. During the 26 years of owning Skybeam, I supplied and installed antennas for black-and-white television sets — well crafted sets, just like their cabinets.
In 1973, when colour television brought a jump in the technical standards of antennas and cable, I was the first to import the foil cables in common use today. My early experience had taught me – the importance of cable and connections. I installed the first F connectors in a multi-point development. They are the standard today. I recognise the Skybeam jobs still in use around the city.
Next came the UHF frequencies, which were accompanied by lots of misinformation. I quickly learned that ‘authorities’ knew little.
A casualty of the 1990 credit crunch and high interest rates, I lost the lot but came back. I named Deeper Image after the Australian-made AWA Deep Image TV set, in my opinion one of the best products ever made. They were still in use at Melbourne Airport some 28 years on.
The present digital age was predicted at a symposium I attended in Switzerland in the 1980s. In this new era of rapid but unpredictable industry change, I remain interested and active in a field that has given me great opportunity to be creative and effective.