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Old November 17th 03, 05:46 AM
Peter Stickney
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In article ,
"Gord Beaman" ) writes:
(Peter Stickney) wrote:

I was able to make out the serial on the aft fuselage. It's
definitely a Lanc. (Although if it _were_ a Manchester, that would
explain the lack of engine noise.

Sure...two engines vice four...

I have to agree with you, Gord. While I don't have any flights in a
Lancaster, I've seen and heard one, and I've flown/ridden in teh C-47,
C-123, C-131 (Recip Cosmo), and C-118 (DC-6), and the one common
denominator is the constant noise and vibration. Even when the noise
is cut back by the headsets, the vibration's always there. I can't
see any sort of the disk-cutters they used back then being isolated
from that. While the Germans had made an early form of tape recorder,
it wasn't a practical or portable system, using what were essentially
bandsaw blades moved at high speed as the recording medium.

Quite true, and here's another possibility(?) for a recording
medium...The Lancs that we had in the early/mid fifties were
equipped with a 'magnetic wire recorder'. They were used to
record the sonobuoys audio output of underwater sounds. Do you
suppose they may have had those during the war years?...Ours was
a cute lil guy about 1,5 feet long, 8 inches high by 4 inches
wide. You could see the two wire spools through the glass in the
front loading door, The wire looked very thin and looked like
shiny steel. (be aware that the memory of those measurements etc
is some 50 years old!)

Sorry for taking so long, but...
I did some checking, and I'd be very surprised if any airborne audio
recordings from that era were made on Wire Recorders. While the basic
idea of Wire Recorders had been around since the 1920s, the recorders
were refrigerator-sized monstrosities that had really lousy frequency
bandwidth, and horrible signal/noise ratios. Some were built and sold
as telephone messaging systems, and some were used for dictation.
None were remotely portable. In mid 1943, advances in low-noise
amplifiers, and miniaturized vacuum tubes (valves) allowed Marvin
Camras, of the Armour Research Foundation to build a portable,
reliable wire recorder. The U.S. Navy ordered 1,000 ARF Wire
Recorders, to be lisence-built by G.E.
is a good place to start. It seems that wire recorders had one
advantage over tapes - splicing was done with a square knot.

These military recorders were used as audio and analog data recirders
in large ASW and ELINT (Ferret) aircraft, and are, no doubt, the
direct ancestor of teh unit in your P2V. I'm willing to bet Local
Currency vs. Local Breakfast Pastry that there wasn't one used in a
Bomber Command Lancaster to record a Night Raid for the BBC.

As to the comment from another post in this thread, yes, lip mikes
existed, but that theory falls down on two points. If I'm remembering
things correctly, you can't just plug one into a system intended for
Carbon mikes - As I Seem To Recall, there are impedance matching
issues that require some manner of additional circuitry. It wouldn't
have been impossible, but I can't imagine the RAF restringing the
interphone system on a single Lancaster just to accomodate the
Propaganda Campaign. The other factor is that lip mikes and Oxygen
Masks don't mix. Bomber Command Lancs spent their missions at night
up past 18,000', and supplemental Oxygen is necessary t those heights,
and very useful at much lower altitudes. (The extra O2 increases night
vision). There should be 8 or 9 guys on that airplane, all waring
Oxygen masks, and all, at som epoint, talking on the intercom, with
the mask microphones. We ought to hear _somebody_ breathing,

Pete Stickney
A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many
bad measures. -- Daniel Webster