Note from Peter Rowe on his late boss George Slinn.
George Slinn was in the R.C.A.F. as Sargent George S. Slinn / Can. R-89716. This information is from a book George gave me, "Modern Radio Servicing" 1935. This information is in the front of this book in his handwriting. After the war, George went to Niagra Falls Hydro. Howard Bedford hired him as chief engineer for his new Niagara radio station, CHVC.
Bedford's AM station went to 5KW in the late 40's with an old water-cooled transmitter. Gord (Smith, CFOR) bought Howard's old 1Kw RCA Police/Broadcast transmitter and George moved to Orillia with it. He would tell me stories about that water-cooled transmitter. He was glad to get away from it.
At Orillia in the late 50's, Gord had a program called "Motor Memories" with Pete McGarvey as the announcer. Music came from an Edison Phonograph which Ed Richardson supplied. Ed brought the phonograph to the studio and I would set it up in the recording room, place a mike close to the horn and record the records onto tape. These would be used on the broadcast. Gord, who collected antique cars, had quite a few old car books which he used as his referance.
GEORGE S. SLINN
As I remember him - Peter Rowe
George with his wife Betty and their son Larry came to Orillia in1949 or 50. They lived at West St. N. Later they moved to Lake St. George. Larry was killed in a motorcycle accident when he was 21. They tried to have more children, at least four tries they seemed to give up. George would come to work very dejected an tell me Betty had an other miscarriage. At this time he lived next to John Lawson (announcer) and his wife "Torchey".
Chris and I were married on a Friday, April 29. The next day George and Betty had a
party for us and the staff at his house on West St. At 9:00 PM the phone rang and it was the night announcer saying the transmitter was off the air. George went to the transmitter to make repairs. By 10:00 PM he had not returned, so someone phoned him to see how long he would be. He stated it will be a long session. Someone suggested sandwiches be taken to him. I suggested that as his assistant I should go with the sandwiches and help George fix the transmitter. I did. We got home at 2:00 AM with the house in darkness, everybody was gone home and our wives were in bed.
As we were fixing the transmitter, I remember holding the flashlight for George. He got very frustrated and told me to aim the flashlight so I could see, when I could see, he could see. I never forgot that advice. Shortly after George moved to Lake St. George, the highway was widened to three lanes. The centre lane was for passing. On a Friday night all three lanes were filled, going north. He refused to accept calls from the station, telling the announcer, call Peter.
When C F O R had the authority to go to to 5KW, Gord found a 5KW linear amplifier at C K E Y that was for sale. He bought it and George spent the next two weeks travelling to Toronto to disassemble the linear for the move to Orillia. It was designed and built by Ernie Swan, PE, of C K E Y. Swan had the radio station in Midland, C K P R 1 120, in 1926.
The first thing was for a 2nd electrical service, this one for 600 volts, 3 phase.
2nd, a cement block building with cement floor and roof to be built at the back of the transmitter building with a fire proof door into the building. The garage portion of the building was used for all the motor generator sets and a big 5 HP blower. The cement room housed three large oil filled line transformers connected backwards. The linear contained four 892-R tubes. Probably enough power capability for 20 KW of power. When the DOT inspector came to see the new installation, he asked George where the linear came from. George told him that is was purchased from Jack Kent Cook of CKEY. He condemned the linear, telling Gord that it had been condemned years ago.I'm not sure of what happened to the linear but I believed it was taken back to CKEY. There could have been quite a fight between Cook and Smith, with lawyers. The tubes were shipped in wooden crates, about 2ft square by 3ft high with two barn door handles, one on each side to pick up the crate.
C F O R purchased a 5KW transmitter with the capabilities of going to 10KW from RCA . C F O R went to 5KW and were expecting to go to 10KW in a year. One day the 5KW transmitter's modulation transformer burned out. A new one was ordered and was shipped from Camden, NJ. It arrived on a plane at Malton airport. George, newsman Bob Douglas and myself went to pick it up. We were sitting in our truck on a loading ramp, waiting for the aircraft to unload when we saw a forklift truck come into the building with a big box. A foreman stopped the driver and told him that would not fit in a DC8!. The driver told the foreman, “Where in the hell do you think I got it from"! It was loaded in the truck. Back to Orillia. We got it into the transmitter building, un-crated it, and George told me to find the primary and secondary windings. I started to check the transformer with an ohm meter--- all the leads were black. The next thing I know I was flat on my back against the transmitter. George asked me what happened and I told him. He told me that was a good lesson in back EMF. He explained it.
George and family would go to Florida for a vacation. ln 1957 the transmitter burned down. They were coming back from vacation and staying at relatives in Niagra Falls when he heard on the 8 o'clock news that C F O R's transmitter burned to the ground. They had a quick breakfast and hurried back to Orillia. For months we both worked night and day. GE supplied the new transmitters, Frank Flood, salesman. What happened to RCA is another story. Both transmitters were prototypes. The GE engineers spent many nights getting them to run properly. Finally the transmitters were working and George was offered a job as the electrical and electronic teacher at ODCVI, across the road. Gord gave me the engineer's job.
Sometime in the late 50's, Gord bought the Beaverton Express Newspaper and Printing. Harry, George and myself were kept busy at Beaverton. The first thing was to install new lights and a new led pot. Gord bought a Heildberg(?) press. Harry made a crib for a cement foundation for the press. The power the press needed required a new electrical service, 3 phase 208/120 volt. This is where George's time at Niagra falls Hydro came in handy. He knew how to connect this type of power and when Ontario Hydro came to put the three transformers on the pole outside of the building--it was George who stood on the ground and told the line crew how to connect the transformers together. On many a dark winter night, heading back to Orillia, we were glad to see the tower lights, were almost home.
Gord liked base. George's favourite saying was “If it's base he wants, it's base he'll get".
One evening, in the early 50's (1951?) I was working nights, when a friend of mine came to visit and after sign-off we tore the program amplifier apart. We had no idea what we were doing. When the morning man came in, here is the main console torn apart. Fortunately' in the small studio there was a small console that George had made with two turntables. The morning man called George, got him out of bed and told him what I was up to. He came in and by 10:00 he had the console put back together.
At the transmitter sight, in the early 50's, George built a small console for two mikes and two turntables. This could be used when there was a power failure at the studio. There was a gas driven generator for power. It would accommodate the lKW transmitter, tower lights and a few building lights. On accession, we would be at the transmitter working, and as a joke we would put a record on the turntable and when the night announcer would announce a record we would switch from studio to local console and play a record. This frustrated the announcer no end.
The Queen's Visit. There were four or five remote sights along the Queen's route from the train station to the park. It would mean that someone would have to switch sights at the jack strip fromthe cue feed to the console remote input. This would be impossible to do in a smooth manor. Geoige devised a switch system and installed it on the upper left side of the console. Remember the 6 push-button switches? When the switches were out, every remote location had an off-air feed. When a button was pushed in, that location lost it's on-air feed and went straight to the remote input and on the air. Let’s say #1 was the train station. When the announcer at that location was finished he would say, "We take you now to location so-and-so”. That button would be pushed in and that location was on the air and location #1 had its on-air feed back, as did all the other locations that were waiting their turn. Without George's switching circuit, the program would not have gone smoothly. George taught night school for electronics for some years. One of his students he told me it wasn't hard to get George reminiscing about the war or C F O R. That finished the period.
George saved CFOR and Gord many thousands of dollars. He changed the tower feed from floating to D.C. ground. Every time there was a lightning storm in the vicinity, especially when it was close, it played havoc with the transmitter and limiting amp. George designed a tuner to couple the transmission line to the tower when he grounded it. He made the match from war surplus capacitors which only cost a few dollars each. He also made a dummy load out of 60 watt light bulbs. There were 9 banks of lamps. Each bank contained 30 lamps for a total of 27A 60 watt light bulbs for a total of 16,200 watts. The l0KW transmitter at full modulation would put out 15KW. The 16,200 watts of lights was sufficient to handle the full load.
One day, George felt sick at school and went home. When Betty arrived at home and opened the front door she was shocked to find George lying dead on the floor. That was one of the worst days in my memory of radio. I lost a good friend and a mentor.