Development Engineer, Queensbury, London NW1, 1957-1959
Mike O’Hanlon joined Pamphonic to make the huge amplifiers for “shakers”, used to vibration-test tanks and rockets. These amplifiers were often rated at 10,000 Watts or more.
He also helped develop developed a device using a disk about the size of a LP made of recording material, which used one recording head and several playback heads to eliminate echoes in public address systems. It was used in places like St Paul’s Cathedral. He was also involved at the demonstration in Aldwich of the first ever stereo record players (about 1957).
He remembers working on a Brian Savage amplifier. “The 12volt pilot light kept blowing as it had been wired up wrongly, I got a 5000 volt shock that threw me about 3 feet”. The valves for these amplifiers came in a crate about 12 inches square and 36 inches high with 8 springs holding the valves in suspension to protect them from damage. He also remembers the first transistors arriving, probably Mullard OC72s.
He also recalls one Saturday wiring a turntable and playing Elvis Presley’s “You ain’t nothing but a hound dog” through the 10kw amplifier, using the massive 1 ton moving coil vibrator as the speaker. It was very loud
He was involved in the Farnborough Air Show stall for “Shakers” where the exhibit was nearly blown of the back of the low loader by the jet-wash from a Vulcan Bomber as it turned around on the runway. That was the show where Brian Trubshaw, Concorde test pilot only just missed the control tower when doing his display.
As for people he worked with, he fondly recalls Dave Roffey who owned a motorbike, but also bought a Reliant Robin three-wheeler car which he rolled over at the first corner. There was also an Asian guy called Sammy who later had a radio and TV repair shop in Greenford. There was also a Mr Henderson, and someone called Phil, who tested the line-source loudspeakers.
Mike O’Hanlon left Pamphonic in April 1959 when he was called up to do National Service in the Army.
(email exchanges in 2014-2015)