About the Ambitune



The New Scientist piece below says it all pretty well. In an earlier life, William Poel (MD of USP Networks), ran an an electronics business called Ambit International, and this company specialised in all things wireless - it supplied just about every business and research organisation in the UK with speciality parts that were hard to get - notably Toko coils and ceramic filters, exotic RF transistors and RF components. Ambit undertook custom design and development work. (It was Ambit that Alan Sugar contracted to manage the design the original Amstrad CPC464 computer way back in 1982)

The Ambitune was a simple one-transistor application that was designed and built in an evening when the Radio 4 Long Wave controversy was raging - and it worked. Possibly uniquely for those times, the BBC happily promoted it since it dug them out of a hole with listeners. It was so famous at the time, that the science museum asked for one and put it on public display - although now it is probably filed away in a warehouse on a remote airfield. If anyone knows someone with one, or has one, we'd love to hear from you!



 The Science Museum Record ...




Radio sufferers find a new tune (unknown 1979 source)



The BBC Is taking the unusual step of recommending a commercially available electronic gadget to help radio listeners, The gadget achieves the seemingly impossible by enabling the owner of a medium wave-only radio to receive Radio 4 on long waves.

Despite the extensive publicity campaign the BBC mounted at the end of last year to tell people about the wavelength change - supplemented by the efforts of Boy Scout troops deployed to Inform pensioners – many people still wonder why Radio4 can no longer be received on a medium wave set. The answer is that is now transmitted only on the long wave and VHF. Correspondence in the national press has revealed the unfortunate effect of the wavelength changes, which were forced on the BBC. The new Radio 4 long wave Frequency is inconveniently pitched to coincide with a harmonic of the line n frequency of a domestic TV set. Although modern TV sets are well screened, older sets "leak" sufficient signal 1 to cause a whistle on a long wave set tuned to Radio 4. In some this whistle can go as far as 10 metres and



between houses. Radio 4 on long wave is also more susceptible than on medium wave to the rasping interference sound create by the thyristors inside dimmer switches. Fluorescent lights also cause problems on LW. Listeners who own a MW set can however, seek salvation from Brentwood- based Ambit International.

Ambit has designed and now markets (for £6 plus 25p post) a simple "black box” converter, called "Ambitune". This receives Radio 4 on the long wave frequency transmitted by the BBC (200kHz) and converts it down to a spare medium wave frequency of around 850kHz. No wired connections are necessary. When the converter is placed within 30 cms of a medium wave set, the transponded signal leaks out and couples with the radio - rather like a loosely wound transformer. The MW receiver thus reproduces Radio 4 from the long wave. The Ambitune runs for 1500 hours on two pen battery sells . Already 4000 have been sold while orders from disgruntled Radio 4 listeners continue to roll in by the sack full.




Headline news for the New Scientist






The rarer early model with a PP3 9v battery



  In the BBC Tomorrow's World studio - where the Ambitune had its 15 minutes of fame with Kieran Prendiville and Michael Rodd