Stories

How to destroy a new OB Van.

The first DDQ video tape OB Van was in 1967 and was a Mazda “Bongo Van”. Very cramped complete with helical scan (?Sony) video tape and a Vidicon camera plus CCU. Yes boys and girls back in those days a camera came complete with a separate Camera Control Unit that had more knobs than the flight deck of a 747. The cameraman (?person) aimed the camera and a tec supervised the CCU pretending he knew what to do if the picture descended into black or washed out. Maybe he used the “waveform monitor” as a guide and maybe he didn’t. It was an arcane science! (Image orthicon CCU’s were much worse with more knobs than two 747’s but mercifully didn’t ever make it to DDQ OB Vans)……

EDIT  4 Sept. I've posted a photo of the inside of the "Bongo Van" complete with SONY 1 inch helical VTR in the "Equipment" section.

Anyway the first van was such a success that it was replaced by a much larger Ford one ton “Transit Van”. This had a custom designed “Control Room” and was white with Station Logos and sign written sides. It was to be collected from the sign writers the afternoon before its first ever much hyped “performance” at the Carnival of Flowers (memory may have failed me it could have been the Toowoomba Show or some other momentous event). I agreed to pick up the Van and deliver it to work the next day. The pick up was no problem but backing this huge thing out of my drive the next morning was when the gate post moved and tore the side out of the brand new van. Stan Fitzpatrick (GM) and Frank Belfour (Chief Engineer) were not amused and the old “Bongo Van” lived a little longer. To the everlasting credit of the GM and CE so did I.

Tom Mayze.