Transistor Radio 原子粒收音機
“Wave and Frequency”, “Q and Line” and “Hitting the Night”: A Short Vocabulary of the Radio Manufacturing Industry
「波與頻」、「Q與Line」和「落night」- 收音機製造業的幾個用詞 

Listen 來聽 / / Feature: Sound Professionals 聲音職人系列

Wave and Frequency
Uncle Ho: Inside the industry we call it ’wave‘, but the proper term is ’frequency‘. It’s the same thing. Different countries have different ranges; America uses 170. European FM and the United States use the same, Japan is different. Hong Kong starts at 88, Japan’s is from 94 to 108, and some start from even 76 to 108. If the range is 76-108, you’re able to watch television. The frequency usually used is 94-108.

The Library: If you buy a radio in Japan, can you use it back in Hong Kong?

Uncle Ho: You won’t be able to receive frequencies under 94, but usually Japanese manufactured sets are made more flexibly. On the one hand, they’re convenient for domestic use, and on the other hand, they’re convenient to export. If you go to Japan and buy a radio you have to check and make sure it’s in the 76-108 range before you buy it.

Q and Line
Uncle Ho: Q refers to the ’quality control‘ procedure on the production line. Radios typically have three Q checks. Q1 is mainly to check internal parts and mechanisms. If a problem is discovered it’s immediately sent for repair. Q2 and Q3 are both for checking the signal and whether or not there is any distortion. Usually Q2 and Q3 focus on details, especially on the exterior. For example, whether or not the dial has any scratches, if the antenna extends smoothly or not, and whether or not the knobs are stable and turn well in the hand.

Sau Ping: Back in the old days, factories would be split into several production lines—line A, line B and line C, each making different models of radios. The person in charge of the whole line was called the ’line manager‘, and the female worker in charge of big tasks was called the ’line woman‘. Each production line was basically divided into four parts: the first part was ’assembly‘, the second was ’tuning‘. Both of these parts were automated, so you couldn’t slow down for even one second. The remaining two parts were housing and casing. Attaching the transformer, electricity cables and speakers were all part of the housing section. Casing was just putting the quality control-checked circuit board together, afterwards mounting the front and back casing and finally moving on to the last inspection.

Hitting the Night
Uncle Ho: ’Hitting the Night‘ means going to nightclubs. The clubs at that time were different than they are now; they were proper. People would sing songs, and the men and women would go for a little drink and dance. This was before the 1980s, and it was usually at Christmas or New Year’s that the boss would put out the money to treat us; we’d rarely go to those places by ourselves. There was one time that my wife and I went to the nightclub in the Pearl City restaurant on Paterson Street in Causeway Bay and spent over $100 in one night. In 1981, seeing a movie didn’t cost more than a few bucks and a newspaper was only 50 cents, so over $100 was like spending over $1,000 today.

Johnnie (Sau Ping’s friend) grew up from when he was young on Hong Kong Island and seldom went across the harbour to Kowloon Peninsula. He thought Kowloon was a bit ’rough‘. His English name comes from the Scottish whiskey brand Johnnie Walker and was chosen by his mother, who ran a shop. When Johnnie went to the Star Ferry pier in 2006 to support Chu Hoi-dick’s movement to protect the pier, he met a few young people, and because he looks young for his age, the young people refused to call him the customary uncle’, so his western name stuck.

Johnnie: Normal people like us rarely went to the high-class nightclubs. Those were for the big bosses to talk business. The Tonnochy nightclub in Wanchai was the most classic. Two to three people would rack up a minimum bill of over $1000. At that time the Luen Bong Apartment in Sai Wan, the first residential building in Hong Kong to have coal gas, cost about $30,000 per apartment, which was totally extravagant. It used to be very popular to use words like “baa bai” (extravagant) and “sai lei” (awesome). 1970s Hong Kong had everything: girls, gambling and drugs. Legal or not, everything could be exchanged in the nightclubs. Usually the high-class nightclubs would have a six- to eight-member Filipino band singing love songs with a huge dance floor in front. The mama-san [2] would call people ‘boss’. You know that kind of ’gold nest‘ [1]. They’d be talking business and ask a hostess to accompany them on their side to pour the wine. The discussion would run all over the place sometimes, so the hostess’s role was not only to keep you company, she’d have to know some current events and politics. She would even know which stocks were up or down.

The Library: These kinds of places weren’t the ones that factory workers would go to, were they?

Johnnie: They would go to those Chinese restaurant-clubs, the brightly lit, proper ones. Even little kids could go. Families would order a huge feast; couples and work colleagues would go for fun after work. There were all kinds of parties, mostly for birthdays and celebrations. Every time you went to a restaurant club, you would for sure hear the birthday song, every night. It was like, “Hey! Whoever at whichever table has a birthday, raise your hand!” Restaurant clubs usually only charged for the food, so generally, normal people could afford it.

The Library: So many people were eating and singing songs. It must have been really noisy, right?

Johnnie: Yes, it was, but at that time the restaurant clubs were completely popular. He would be singing over there, I would be chatting over here, we all just liked it the way they were lively.

[1] Mama-san comes from the Japanese ‘ママさん’, referring to the madam of the nightclub.
[2] ’Gold nest‘ refers to a place of big spending.

何叔: 我們內行講波,正確的說法是頻率 “frequency” , 是同一樣的東西。不同國家會有不同的幅度(range),美國是170。FM歐洲與美國一樣,日本就不一樣,香港是由88開始,日本是94至108, 有些甚至是76至108, 如果76至108可以收看電視 ,一般的正常頻率是94至108。

聲音圖書館: 如果在日本買一部收音機,返港後能否使用?

何叔: 94以下的會收不到, 但通常日本製的都會做闊一點, 一方面方便本地人用,另一方面又方便出口。如果你去日本買收音機一定要看清楚是76至108 才可購買。

何叔: Q是生產線上一個叫「品質檢查」的工序,收音機的生產線通常有三個Q,Q1主要注意內部的東西,測試機件,如果發現有問題便立即修理。Q2與Q3同樣是聽信號,有沒有失真。一般而言,Q2與Q3會相對著重細節的東西,特別是外觀。例如收音機的「尺」(刻度盤)有沒有刮花、天線暢順不暢順、旋鈕穩不穩妥和手感好不好。

秀屏: 以前的工廠會分幾條生產線(Line),做不同款式的收音機就要分A線、B線、C線。管理整條生產線的人叫「Line長」,而在生產線上擔綱的女工叫「Line女」。每條生產線基本上會分四個部分: 第一個部份是「插機」, 第二個部份是「較機」, 兩個部分都是自動線做慢一點都不行。其餘二個工序就是Housing 和Casing,上火牛、電源線或喇叭都屬於Housing的部份。Casing就是把這些通過品質檢查的底板裝上,然後將前後機殼嵌好進行品質檢定。

何叔: 落NIGHT是指去夜總會,那時候的夜總會跟現在不同,是正經的。有人唱歌,男男女女去「飲下野,跳下舞」。那是八十年代中以前的事,一般都是聖誕、新年老闆出錢請我們去,我們甚少自己去那些地方。有一次我和太太去銅鑼灣百德新街的珠城酒樓夜總會, 一九八一年一晚都花上百多元,那時候看電影不過幾元,一份報紙賣五毫,百多元相等於現在的千元。

Johnnie(秀屏朋友),自小在香港島長大,甚少過海去九龍半島,認為九龍區比較「雜」。英文名源自蘇格蘭威士忌品牌Johnnie Walker,由經營士多的母親所取。2006年因為支持朱凱迪的保衛天星碼頭運動而認識了一班年青人。由於其相貌較實際年齡年輕,年青人不願稱其為「阿伯」, Johnnie便重用此洋名。


聲音圖書館: 這些應該不是做工廠那個階層的人去的?

Johnnie: 他們去那些叫酒樓夜總會,燈光火著,很正經的,小朋友都可以去。有一家人叫一圍菜,也有一雙雙的情侶,亦有放工後一班同事去消遣。各種形形式式的聚會,最多的是生日會和大食會。每次去酒樓夜總會,你一定會聽到生日歌,每一晚都會聽到生日歌,「呀! 邊台邊個生日請舉手!」。 酒樓夜總會一般只收取食物的錢,算是一般人可以負擔。

聲音圖書館: 這麼多人,又食飯又唱歌會不會十分嘈吵?

Johnnie: 會呀,但那時候十分流行酒樓夜總會,他有他唱,我有我們聊天,就是喜歡熱鬧。

[1] 媽媽桑是日文「ママさん」的音譯,這裡是指夜總會小姐的领班。
[2] 指大量花費金錢的處所。


“The Buckingham was the most famous place in Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui area at the end of the 70s. Every night several stars would show up—even child star Cheung Yuen-yuen (who would later change her name to Teresa Cheung Tak-lan) took the stage. Yuen-yuen would go to several clubs in one night, while still having time to appear on TVB’s Entertainment Tonight!” [Image/text courtesy of the Facebook page of Wu Hou (Old Bifocals)]
「七十年代末九龍尖沙咀之金漢最為出名, 每晚都有多位歌星壓陣腳, 而天才童星張圓圓 (後來改名張德蘭) 亦登場了, 圓圓一晚走幾間夜總會, 還有時間上 TVB 《歡樂今宵 》呢 !」(圖片/文字來源: 吳昊(老花鏡) 臉書專頁 )