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I've just downloaded the "collected correspondence" files from the server, and
started going through them for pearls of wisdom. There is a LOT of useful
information in there, and it would be impractical to thank everyone AGAIN for
their contributions. I think it's quite surprising how useful practical
experience proves, in contrast to dry manuals.
Several times I've had to suppress the urge to reply to four month old messages
- one subject that seems to come up frequently is radios.
In Germany, when the ur-quattro was first appearing in the early 80s, car audio
was taking off in a big way. The "car radio parallel" to the quattro was the
Philips MCC. This curious beast was developed by a division of the Dutch
electronics giant based in Wetzlar (where Leicas were made) and was
specifically designed "for high performance vehicles".
Dr. Ing. F. Porsche once said that the best definition of a sports car was "a
car in which it is pointless to fit a radio." A professor at Munich University
designed an "ultimate car radio", which Philips (Wetzlar) implemented in the
At first, there were two models (914 & 917) - they had a common successor in a
The idea was to produce a full-specification radio that:
a) required little human intervention and
b) was logically laid out so as to be easy to handle at 240kph
The MCC has six programme buttons. Each selects ten stored frequencies. There
are two identical sets of RF circuitry - one receives and the other scans the
other nine freqencies. If it finds a "better" one, the two RF functions swap
This system works superbly in Germany, where stations like HR3, SWF3, etc.,
have ten frequencies each. You programme the radio when you buy it, and "when
in Bayern, press button three". You can then drive round the mountains all day
without ever touching the radio. It switches frequencies as it feels
like it, usually without you even noticing. Almost all cars equipped with this
radio had a Phillips electronic antenna (0db amplification -just impedance
matching and filtering).
It works fine in the UK too, because most of our radio stations are national
and re-use a restricted set of frequencies. BBC Radio 4 from Dover is the same
frequency as from Oxford, for example.
Unfortunately the MCC was never a commercial success. People wanted flash,
glamour and lots of little buttons and LED equaliser displays. I have one of
each of the MCCs, however, and would never put anything else into a quattro.
My favourite is the first, the 914.
Sievers Consulting UK
Vice Chair, UK Computer Measurement Group
+44 385 302803 Fido 2:2503/415 CIS 100012,1660