Friday, August 26, 2011

Summer Travels - Las Cruces to South Dakota via Milwaukee

Some of the stuff we did this summer, I've talked about in separate blog entries.  This, as Paul Harvey used to say, is the rest of the story.
This must be where Big Foot is buried.
Located in Hutchinson, Kansas, this may be the largest grain elevator in the US
Dinah with Maxine at the Hallmark Visitor Center in Kansas City, MO
 In the Chicago area, we visited Dinah's sister Pat and husband Dick (no pictures - Pat is camera shy), and with Oliver Witte, Dinah's long time friend and author of a magazine article on our solar system.
We stopped near Milwaukee to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of Dinah's grade school friend Linda, and her husband Warner, Schafer. The pictures Dinah took of the Schafers were lost when Noodle, the dog, chewed her camera's memory chip.
Anniversary pillow from Dinah's Quilts & Embroideries
Also in the Milwaukee area, we visited with Dinah' brother Bob & Ellen Gardiner, their son & his wife, and later met Bob & Ellen at their boat for a brief visit.
Ellen,Steve,Anne, and Bob Gardiner
Keira, Bob, Ellen, and Dinah on Bob & Ellen's sailboat
Allen also had a visit with his old navy buddy Mike Sherman and his wife Martha as they were emptying their apartment in preparation for becoming full time RVers.
Martha & Mike Sherman
WW II Submarine at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum
We visited the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, billed as "The most explosive Museum in the world" where we learned a little about wheat and how it is processed.
A visitor tries on a King Tut mask at the Science Museum of Minnesota
The cockpit of a DC-3 at the Fargo Air Museum
The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD
A mural made of corn on the cob specially grown in multiple colors.
These wild turkeys strolled through our campground in Rapid City, SD
This turkey was on display at the Central States Fair
Next stop, Escapade!  On to Gillette, Wyoming!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Museum of Broadcasting

Today I visited the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting in St. Louis Park, MN near Minneapolis. This is a great place for anyone interested in the history of radio and TV.  Their collection starts with spark generators (as used on the Titanic), then moves on to early tube radios with many varieties on display.
Early Tube Radios

I was fascinated by the first tape recorder in the US, The Magnetophon K4, imported from Germany immediately after WWII by a signal Corp guy, Jack Mullin.

The Magnetophone K4
At that time Bing Crosby had a radio show, the Craft Music Hall, but did not like the inflexibility imposed by performing live, and the sponsors and audience did not like the poor quality of wire or disk recordings. Crosby's technical producer decided to try the K4 which solved the problem. Because there were only 2 of these machines in the US, Mullin encouraged Ampex to develop a machine and the first Ampex 200 recorders went into use in 1948.

The Ampex 200 used by Bing Crosby's Radio Show

Right after I got out of the Navy, I assembled four DynaKits: an FM tuner, preamplifier, power amplifier, and a switching unit.  To my delight I found these four units in the museum's collection.

Dynakits like the ones I built

The last item I'll talk about is the Theremin, a musical instrument played by moving your hands near two antennas. One controlled the volume and the other the pitch of the note being played. The museum has a working original RCA theremin that I was allowed to try to play and I learned it is not easy to do.
1929 RCA Theremin
If you are ever in the Minneapolis area with some time to spare, check out this place!