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Blue Silk,Green Satin and Orange Harvest.

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Blue Silk,Green Satin and Orange Harvest.

Old 16th Dec 2013, 12:38
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It must have been some other coded piece of equip that I dealt with at Scampton
Orange Putty? Named by a comedian with a passing knowledge of the Malay language.

I remember the Top Secret NBS Bay at Waddington.
On the cinema at the time we had James Bond with all sorts of fancy gear on show at SMERSH HQ. The real thing was a more British "shambolic, but it works" sort of arrangement.. . .

One had to press the buttons on the numeric pad outside the door to gain access. If you got the code sequence right, a green light came on inside the bay and someone would wander over to unlock the door and let you in. Get it wrong and you were in for a long stand.

The real security was at the "Special Weapons" section across the other side of the Sleaford Road. If the gate guard knew you he'd let you in. If he didn't he'd get an RAF Police dog handler to chase you away. Simples.
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Old 16th Dec 2013, 14:06
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The Grey Rexine in the Belfast wasn't all that effective either.
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Old 17th Dec 2013, 00:45
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blacksheep,

Orange Putty? Named by a comedian with a passing knowledge of the Malay language.
I suppose you worked on the Kambing Hitam equipment?
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Old 17th Dec 2013, 03:10
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Green Satin was definitely fitted to the Victor K2s up to the end of their life in 1993. The control box you see in the picture of Lusty Lindy is actually the GPI Mk4 - a Doppler resolver which gave drift, speed and a fairly inaccurate guestimate of Lat/Long produced on a analogue cogs and gears mechanism which was powered by a hamster running around a wheel and fed by information from Green Satin. I can vouch it was next to useless over a clam sea.

The Victor B2s (bombers) had the GPI Mk6 which was powered by two hamsters and I gather - much more accurate. It was probably fed by the previously mentioned Decca Doppler. When the Victor B2s were converted to K2s, they got their Mk4s and Green Satins back - probably because they were used to keep the Vulcan fleet suitably equipped and because someone decided that tanker crews didn't need to know where they were. (I rarely did - and wasn't overly concerned!)

I can vouch for the fact the system was next to friggin' useless and a massive waste of money, time and resources. The Navigators hardly referred to it, particularly as the tankers spent most of their working life over water. I remember one flight in particular from Marham to Goose Bay where the GPI was confidently informing us we had arrived in Ougadougou.
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Old 17th Dec 2013, 09:16
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The commonest 'real' problem with a Tx/Rx that was 'unlocking' was the Magnetron was shot.
Trying to remember was it Green Satin where you had to use a long copper bladed screwdriver to tweak the Klystron. If you used one with a normal steel blade the moment you got close to the Klyston the magnet on the maggie would pull it over on to it's EHT, and zap you found yourself on the other side of the room. Happy times.
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Old 17th Dec 2013, 09:50
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Trying to remember was it Green Satin where you had to use a long copper bladed screwdriver to tweak the Klystron. If you used one with a normal steel blade the moment you got close to the Klyston the magnet on the maggie would pull it over on to it's EHT, and zap you found yourself on the other side of the room.
Remember it well. We had the Command Heavyweight Boxing champion on my Fitters' Course. He achieved the above rather spectacularly, bounced off the opposite wall and came out fighting. The rest of the room moved out of his way even faster than NAAFI van call.

By the way, the little (and pretty useless) tail warning kit was Orange Putter (any other examples of golf related nomenclature?)
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Old 17th Dec 2013, 10:05
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Trying to remember was it Green Satin where you had to use a long copper bladed screwdriver to tweak the Klystron.
My memory says tuning the Klystron was a delicate fingers job.

But it was half a century ago so my memory could be shot.
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Old 17th Dec 2013, 10:10
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By the way, the little (and pretty useless) tail warning kit was Orange Putter
A driving mirror would have been a better bet in most conditions.

When on detachment to Karachi, I had to admit to a driver (airframe) that it was beyond my capabillity to adjust the 'Wings Range', to something none standard, while the kit was fitted to the rear end of his Canberra.
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Old 2nd Jan 2014, 07:30
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Blue Shadow, the sideways looking, bog roll display, mapping radar that was fitted to 51 Sqdn Canberra's and Comets.
Ah, ARI 5888 IIRC , the bane of my life when the bl**dy Nav's wouldn't change the writing bar and insisted on adjusting the thing, which then cut the paper, so they adjusted it some more then snagged it upon landing.

pmills575
Breton 1 and 3 qtrs
Not heard that designation for a long time, brings back memories
Regards, Den.
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Old 2nd Jan 2014, 08:46
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Trying to remember was it Green Satin where you had to use a long copper bladed screwdriver to tweak the Klystron
I suggest it was Blue Silk which had a klystron transmitter and Green Satin was driven by a magnetron
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Old 2nd Jan 2014, 09:05
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ColinB
I suggest it was Blue Silk which had a klystron transmitter and Green Satin was driven by a magnetron
I think the klystron was the LO for the magnetron in G/Satin.
Regards, Den.
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Old 2nd Jan 2014, 09:23
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A fascinating thread from the dim and distant.
I recollect Blue Silk and Green Satin from my days flying the Scimitar (early sixties) and the inadequacies with smooth water surfaces. Early Radalts had a similar problem I seem to remember.
Nav then was still easier track crawling over a Half Mil. at just less than a thumb a minute !

One other that has not been mentioned was Violet Picture IIRC. Can any of you techies fill me in on that ?

Edit : Thanks, ian16th. re: Wikipedia Rainbow Codes. Should pay more attention…….!
Yep, Violet Picture was a form of UHF Homer. Never flew an aircraft so fitted. Can you tell me more ? Thx.

Last edited by Sleeve Wing; 2nd Jan 2014 at 09:39.
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Old 2nd Jan 2014, 10:43
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denatchtenmai

Yes the klystron was the LO on GS, and I honestly belive that it was the same on BS.

I still have my course notes and circuit diagrams from my 1958 GS course! Though since a house move in June, I can't lay hands on them.

WRT Blue Shadow, I never worked on it, but we had a bench at Akrotiri for when 51 came visiting. I remember stories of the heat sensitive paper catching fire on occasions. Were these true or urban myths?
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Old 2nd Jan 2014, 10:56
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ian
As far as I can remember (from 8 years on 51) there was never a case of the paper roll igniting, it was impregnated with a heat sensitive liquid and quite damp when in use, but it couldn't be used again after opening, so if the trip was a short one then any remaining had to be thrown away and it dried out quite quickly, especially in a hot climate.
Regards, Den.
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Old 2nd Jan 2014, 11:01
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I still have my course notes and circuit diagrams from my 1958 GS course! Though since a house move in June, I can't lay hands on them.
Perhaps they're in your anorak pocket but seriously I do recall Blue Silk being mounted on gimbals about 3 feet off the floor at Yatesbury. This led some students occasionally to discharge the 8KV Klystron PS through their thigh when they reached across it. Legend has it that a neat hole was drilled through the flesh of the thigh.
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Old 2nd Jan 2014, 14:52
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Violet Picture:

We had it in the Argosy; if you wanted to meet up with your buddy then you got hime to transmit on UHF (or hold down the 1,000 kc/s tone spring loaded switch provided) and then you could find him by following what looked like an old zero reader instrument (up/down - left/right). It worked very well.
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Old 2nd Jan 2014, 17:50
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My most prevalent memory of GS was constantly having to refasten the Dzus fasteners on the Vulcan aerial cover. They were always popping out.

A Crew Chief would wander passed and "suggest" that the Dzus's fasteners that were hanging needed to be done up. Invariably this involved standing on the starboard undercarriage wheels, hanging on to the undercarriage itself with one hand whilst stretching out with the other hand grasping a funny "penny washer" Dzus tool and turn the fastener whilst pushing upwards.

What made this so much fun was as often as not, the donks were running, the chocks may have been removed and the Captain would be holding the aircraft on the brakes, occasionally easing the aircraft forward, whilst yours truly was standing on the tyres.

Last edited by alisoncc; 2nd Jan 2014 at 18:30. Reason: Spelling correction
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Old 3rd Jan 2014, 12:11
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Known as "wheel dancing" - common order when disconnecting Simstart cables on QRA with B.Mk1As.

I think the Green Satin was on the port side. The AAPU was on the right.
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Old 3rd Jan 2014, 12:44
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Violet Picture

Hey Sleevey -

If you had UHF in your Scimitar, you probably had Violet Picture - The standard Collins UHF AN/ARC-52 controller (the bit of the wireless that pilots were allowed to fiddle with) had a switch which read from L to R - "OFF - T/R - TR+G - ADF" When selected to ADF it activated a left right thingy somewhere in the cockpit that allowed a crude form of D/F on the UHF comms frequency in use. If it was centred, the aircraft was assumed to be pointing directly at (or directly away from) the transmitter you were trying to D/F.

If you'd lost the nav plot it was useful for finding Mother (or your tanker) unless they were in radio silence.

I don't know what D/F facility the Yanks had attached to their ARC-52. I assume us Brits were not permitted to fiddle with the basic radio kit and therefore our controllers looked exactly the same as theirs. However Plessey was allowed to make the Brit D/F component, called Violet Picture. It might have been a standalone kit attachable to any radio fit. In our case the relevant aerials were a pair of UHF blades side by side under the forward fuselage. In the case of the Buccaneer, in front of the nosewheel, and for the Scimitar, behind the nosewheel door.

The cockpit display for the Buccaneer used the L/R cross wire on the OR946 attitude indicator. No knowledge of the cockpit fit for the Scimitar, Vixen or Gannet but I imagine something suitable was used.

You did need to look in the cockpit. Didn't think you Day Fighter blokes did much of that.


LFH
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Old 3rd Jan 2014, 20:37
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Blacksheep,
I think the Green Satin was on the port side.
Thanks for that.

I only ever worked on 1 Vulcan, on 1 occasion, to change the GS, and my memory said it was in the port wing. But it was just the once and so long ago,this thread raised doubts.
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