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Did the BBC 2 Test Card ever have the 1986 "TWO" ident?

MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
13th March 1981, apparently


Very likely Zweikanalton then
MA
Matt7924 Central (West) Midlands Today
I'm sure this will sound completely irrational, but when I was very young the Test Card used to scare me somewhat. Not because of the clown, but because from my perspective I saw a "green skull, with 2 yellow eyes and a pink tongue" staring up at the girl. Shocked
*

Perhaps I had a disturbed childhood. Confused


I had never noticed that illusion before!
MA
Matt7924 Central (West) Midlands Today

and yes there were means in the VBI to ident the source so the transmitter would accept the signal ...... very useful for RBS at main stations
as well as The normal RBL at main relays ..
and it told Douglas to take Manchester not Carlisle / Newcastle for the regional opt ... Caldbeck was a better signal than Winter Hill so was used for Network programmes


Wasn't there a similar arrangement for Sutton Coldfield to be able to signal Oxford to switch from RBL of SC to it's RBS source so that Sutton could then take Oxford as it's RBS? I think that was done with inaudible tones rather than VBI.


This and my u link pulling is BBC as it owned it’s distribution..
Under normal conditions Oxford Was fed by microwave from wipsnade which took CP .... under “all uk RBS “. Sutton Coldfield RBS from Oxford...
And it may be that Oxford if it had lost the microwave would RBS from HAnnington ..
But that had to change itself round to RBS feed from CP rather than RBL Rowridge ... so that Hannington was Rowridges RBS source ... that was a commonly known situation...

Itv if course had it easy as the only link required to broadcast
was from The contractor to the IBA transmitter site ..
..and that was the IBAs problem I think !

I remember being phoned in the office by Plymouth saying that they had been putting out pulse and bar on BBC2 as that is what was in the incoming feed from BT .... they had phoned Bristol and CAR who had no advice !!!
I just said pull the output U links ..that took all SW transmitters RBS until some one could sort it all out .....
so I phoned the Duty Engineer to tell him a)what seemed to have occurred and would he tell transmitters etc and EID .
b) what I told PY to do and c) I would walk down the road to CAR to help them out ..but a BS-PY reverse contribution circuit seemed a good idea and opt out in PY (or over plug at the BT bays )
...which had been done by the time I got there !


A very interesting account. I remmeber the pulse and bar signal before the test card, but not usually anything else, although I do remember seeing a greyscale bar pattern after closedown once in the early 90s. Now the transmitter sites are maintained by external companies such as Arqiva, I wonder if they use a test card or just colour bars?
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today

Wasn't there a similar arrangement for Sutton Coldfield to be able to signal Oxford to switch from RBL of SC to it's RBS source so that Sutton could then take Oxford as it's RBS? I think that was done with inaudible tones rather than VBI.


This and my u link pulling is BBC as it owned it’s distribution..
Under normal conditions Oxford Was fed by microwave from wipsnade which took CP .... under “all uk RBS “. Sutton Coldfield RBS from Oxford...
And it may be that Oxford if it had lost the microwave would RBS from HAnnington ..
But that had to change itself round to RBS feed from CP rather than RBL Rowridge ... so that Hannington was Rowridges RBS source ... that was a commonly known situation...

Itv if course had it easy as the only link required to broadcast
was from The contractor to the IBA transmitter site ..
..and that was the IBAs problem I think !

I remember being phoned in the office by Plymouth saying that they had been putting out pulse and bar on BBC2 as that is what was in the incoming feed from BT .... they had phoned Bristol and CAR who had no advice !!!
I just said pull the output U links ..that took all SW transmitters RBS until some one could sort it all out .....
so I phoned the Duty Engineer to tell him a)what seemed to have occurred and would he tell transmitters etc and EID .
b) what I told PY to do and c) I would walk down the road to CAR to help them out ..but a BS-PY reverse contribution circuit seemed a good idea and opt out in PY (or over plug at the BT bays )
...which had been done by the time I got there !


A very interesting account. I remmeber the pulse and bar signal before the test card, but not usually anything else, although I do remember seeing a greyscale bar pattern after closedown once in the early 90s. Now the transmitter sites are maintained by external companies such as Arqiva, I wonder if they use a test card or just colour bars?


Test cards were primarily to aid the TV repair trade, and aerial riggers, they were of limited use for the broadcasters. Colour bars, pulse and bar, and the linearity ramps and staircases were of little use to the trade, but of use by the broadcasters, (and BT and the transmitter engineers)

All the test signals mentioned above were broadcast in the VBI on a continuous basis, but to have full field versions was useful.

Today, with everything becoming digits at the camera, and staying digits until your flat screen at home, all that stuff is mostly irrelevant . Any test patterns now really need to have movement in them, in order to be sure you're not just looking at a frozen signal. There are digital test signals that are injected to deliberately push the coding and decoding ti its limits. I notice Mr Geek of this parish has the pathological test signal as his forum avitar.

There is not much point transmitting test signals in down time now, better to just run a holding caption, or 'barker'.

I think BBC2 HD still carries a snatch of test card W overnight which is handy for the 5.1 audio channel IDs, and an audio sync test, for getting lip sync right on home cinema systems.
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
It does, which gave the wonderful Al Dupres an opportunity to have a bit of fun with the BBC2 Wales closedown

Write that down in your copybook now.
GE
thegeek Founding member London London
I notice Mr Geek of this parish has the pathological test signal as his forum avitar.

My first choice was taken already! Smile

I spent quite a bit of time looking at colour bars on waveform monitors when I first started in telly, but that was a job that involved a lot of BetaSP tapes. In the intervening years, I've mostly been dealing with stuff that's been digits all the way, but that's where other features of test patterns have been useful - as you say, motion, or geometric shapes to check for correct aspect ratio. VALID, and its successor Hitomi Matchbox, make checking lipsync fairly trivial. And now we're in the world of HDR, colour bars are useful again for checking colour space conversions haven't gone awry.
MA
Matt7924 Central (West) Midlands Today
I have heard that some test patterns do have moving images now and there is a version of the PM5544/5644 that has a moving feature. I know the BBC test card has a moving part now across the bottom, I'm not sure of the technical name.
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
If you mean on the version shown on BBC Two overnight that's a sync test so you can check your pictures and sound are in sync.

The actual moving parts are subtle flashing dots.
Write that down in your copybook now.
IS
Inspector Sands
Apparently it's not shown overnight any more which is a bit of a shame. That was a hangover from the barker on the BBC HD channel which incorporated a more complicated surround sound test.
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
Apparently it's not shown overnight any more which is a bit of a shame. That was a hangover from the barker on the BBC HD channel which incorporated a more complicated surround sound test.


I've still got a recording of that (from about 10 years ago) on my Freesat PVR !
MM
MMcG198 UTV Newsline
I have heard that some test patterns do have moving images now and there is a version of the PM5544/5644 that has a moving feature. I know the BBC test card has a moving part now across the bottom, I'm not sure of the technical name.


I'll get round to finishing this article at some point - but for now, it includes two test patterns that are broadcast on the Irish DTT network: https://wp.me/p9MuId-1ti.
IS
Inspector Sands
I have heard that some test patterns do have moving images now and there is a version of the PM5544/5644 that has a moving feature. I know the BBC test card has a moving part now across the bottom, I'm not sure of the technical name.

Testcards J and W have a moving element - the little square at the top of the right hand grey scale column blinks on and off.

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