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In message <Pine.A126.96.36.1990513030109.93274Afirstname.lastname@example.org> Robert W Obrien writes:
> I give up. You must be the only benevolent Audi God (the rest blow
> radiators and make Pentosin drip), I didn't even think of things in such a
> technical manner. What I meant was, did 200/5000t come with such a short
> aerial? I came away from this one awed by your tech knowledge (physics
> class never seemed so practically applied!) and also by the German ethic
> of servicing (my Audi has, post-export, never gone east of Chicago)- an
> answer I never even thought of!
It gets better.
The experimental vehicle at the time was the ur-quattro. Audi
themselves were surprised by the relatively eager acceptance of the
quattro principle. At the time, the chosen vehicle for the quattro
"consumer push" was the Audi 80 (4000), much as the A4 sees the sporty
emphasis today. In about late 1980, Audi decided to try and turn the
ur-quattro's principle into a consumer package - expanding the idea of
technology (or rather design) into all aspects of the finished vehicle.
Good sense choices (Sinnvolle Auswahl) was an early motto that competed
with the more famous "Vorsprung durch Technik". Everything on the 80
quattro was to be designed for the serious but responsible and mature
driver - special tyres from Conti with coloured stripes embedded as wear
Radios were a special issue. A professor in Munich had done some
research into the "ideal" car radio. This was a radio that would make
as many decisions as possible itself - freeing the driver from
distracting "button pushing". The design was built by Philips Autoradio
- a division of the Dutch company, based in Wetzlar, where Leica cameras
were built at the time. The MCC had six "programme selector" buttons -
ten frequencies were stored under each, and the radio simply selected
the strongest. In Germany, which is geographically small and hilly
(relative to, e.g., France or most of the USA) this was ideal. The
cassette player detected the type of tape in the cassette, etc.
In the UK, they're wonderful radios. I can press one of five buttons
for the five nationwide VHF/FM services (Radios 1,2,3,4 and Classic FM)
and drive anywhere in the UK without touching the radio. With the
advent of more modern technology, especially station signs transmitted
with the signal, this is no special trick - but I could do it in an
Audi in 1980!
To go with this radio, Philips developed electronic antennae. They're
active, but they provide 0db amplification - they're just a matching
device between the 1/4 wave stub and the cable.
When it came to the rest of the world, the only country besides Germany
in which the MCC is really useful is the UK - although I have frequency
maps and tables for nine countries. In the USA, the approach is simply
inapplicable. Plus the Philips brand is not well thought of in many
markets - people knee-jerk to the Blaupunkt name (like BMWs are almost
universally considered better cars than Audis) and so it was deleted for
export markets. Also, in line with the Munich University findings, it
was remarkably deficient in external controls. It seems that people
(especially in the English-speaking countries) think that a car radio
isn't up to the job unless it has _lots_ of buttons - and the MCC's
entire design philosophy was the exact opposite. Switch it on, press
the programme button, forget it.
But the active non-amplifying aerial was retained - it simplified
production. You can no longer buy it from Philips - I suspect that
Audi is shipping old stock, or having them manufactured elsewhere.
(The top car radio brand in Germany, BTW, is "Becker". Hardly ever
seen outside Germany, but standard in all Mercedes. Blaupunkt
is regarded as tolerable, if you can't afford anything better.)
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