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“The best British sports car the Brits didn’t build”.

The Mazda MX-5 Miata has always had a split personality. On the one hand, it's a great convertible for all ages and stages, providing inexpensive fun in the sun along with excellent long-term reliability. On the other hand, it's a legend on the amateur racing circuit, revered by weekend track warriors for its superb balance and classic rear-wheel-drive dynamics. Whichever side you're on (or perhaps you can't decide), the Miata (new or used) is a valuable choice for car shoppers.
Speaking of new Miatas, there's an all-new model for 2016, but we don't know much about that one just yet. We are, however, very familiar with the first three generations of Mazda's iconic roadster. From the model featuring pop-up headlights that started it all to the outgoing third-generation model with its flared wheel arches and available power hardtop, we remember them all. Don't forget about the second-generation car either, which boasted a turbocharged MAZDASPEED version with the best Miata engine to date.

How do you know which Miata's right for you? Let's take a closer look at what each of the first three generations has to offer.

First Generation: NA (1990-1997)
Inspired by classic British roadsters such as the MG MGB and Triumph Spitfire but engineered to be as reliable as a Toyota Corolla, the original MX-5 Miata took the market by storm when it debuted in 1989 for the 1990 model year. Mazda really went out on a limb with this car, building it from scratch as a rear-wheel-drive roadster that shared few components with existing Mazda vehicles. The company's efforts were handsomely rewarded, as it quickly became clear that the Miata was a uniquely appealing proposition. No other drop-top sports car was as cheap to buy and maintain, and no other affordable car of any type was as much fun.

All first-gen Miatas were 2-seat roadsters with manually retractable fabric roofs. A color-matched hardtop was available from the factory but rarely specified. Today, you can expect to pay $800-$1,000 for a used hardtop, depending on condition. The standard transmission was a 5-speed manual with exceptionally precise throws. It was easily one of the best stick-shift vehicles ever built. Until 1994, it was hooked to a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that made just 116 horsepower and struggled to move the car with much authority. At least it sounded appropriately sporty, Thanksgiving ks to painstaking efforts by Mazda engineers in tuning the factory exhaust system.

For the 1994 model year, a 1.8-liter engine supplanted the 1.6, but output remained modest at 128 hp (133 hp for 1996-97), so the new motor only knocked a few tenths off the Miata's zero-to-60 time, taking it from about 9 seconds flat to the mid-8-second range -- that's with the manual, of course. Although a 4-speed automatic had joined the options list in 1991, it certainly didn't do the car any favors in terms of acceleration. Corners, not straights, were -- and are -- the Miata's natural habitat.

Also noteworthy is the braking system, which offered anti-lock technology (but only as an option) beginning in 1991, so if you want anti-lock brakes, make sure that they're present on the car you're considering or find someone who can check it out for you. Also, if you plan on putting in some track time, look for the optional limited-slip differential, which makes the MX-5 much more capable in hot corners.

Second Generation: NB (1999-2005)
After taking a year off, the Miata returned in second-gen guise with fixed headlights, a glass rear window and a more stylish (albeit slightly more cramped) interior with nicer materials. The sequel didn't initially solve the power problem under the hood, as the 1.8-liter engine mostly carried over, yielding an even 140 hp. 0-to-60 miles per hour now required roughly 8 seconds with the 5-speed manual -- faster, but hardly fast. The NB also largely retained the first-generation model's dimensions and chassis, adopting a few tweaks to the latter which made the car feel even more stable in the bends. Meanwhile, the introduction of an optional 6-speed manual helped make the most of the engine's narrow powerband.

This Miata had additional creature comforts too, including standard power steering and an available Bose sound system. For driving enthusiasts, though, the big news was the arrival of the MAZDASPEED Miata for the 2004-05 model years. Blessed with a turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine capable of 178 hp and sub-7-second sprints to 60 mph, the MAZDASPEED finally provided the serious sports-car kick that many Miata fans had always wanted. A 6-speed manual was the sole transmission offered, and a slew of performance modifications came standard, including 17-inch wheels, a limited-slip differential and a sport suspension with a lower ride height.

If you're looking at NB Miatas, you really can't go wrong. The base engine changed slightly from 2001 onward, adding variable valve timing, but the difference is barely noticeable, so don't let it affect your decision. In other words, folks interested in the non-MAZDASPEED models are advised to consider the entire production run, making buying decisions based on condition and maintenance history rather than a specific range of years. As for the limited-production MAZDASPEED, plan on paying twice as much as you would for a regular Miata, but it's totally worth it. Even compared to the newer third-generation model, the MAZDASPEED is a highly desirable car, and it's likely to enjoy strong resale values well into the future.

Third Generation: NC (2006-2015)
Figuring that the original Miata's underpinnings had run their course after a decade and a half of service spanning two generations, Mazda started from scratch this time. Out went the previous double-wishbone suspension, replaced by a front-wishbone/rear-multilink setup, with standard anti-lock brakes thrown in for good measure. The stylists took a different tack too, adding flared fenders and a more assertive front end. Inside, the NC had more hard surfaces than its predecessors, but it was also more spacious, with a comparable options list augmented by new xenon headlights (and, later on, automatic climate control). For 2007, an optional power retractable hardtop (PRHT) debuted and provided unprecedented security and year-round drivability -- plus 70 pounds.

Otherwise, NA Miata options were limited to knick-knacks such as a wooden steering wheel and shift knob, power accessories, power steering and headrest speakers. The point was simply to get in and drive, ideally with the wind in your hair after retracting the amazingly user-friendly soft-top from the comfort of your seat. NA Miatas weren't fast, but they were definitely balanced with telepathic controls and an incredible degree of driver engagement. Should you buy one? Absolutely. They go for a song these days, and despite their advancing age, well-maintained examples should be good for many more years of low-maintenance motoring.

In the engine room, a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder took over, bringing a relatively robust 166 hp to the table. The sprint to 60 mph consumed about 7.5 seconds, a decently quick result but definitely not MAZDASPEED-quick. The base manual transmission continued to be a 5-speed, with a 6-speed available on certain trims. The old 4-speed automatic, meanwhile, was canned in favor of a modern 6-speed auto.

On the road, the third-gen Miata carried on the family tradition of sublime handling despite its moderately larger dimensions and heft. Fun fact: The famous Skip Barber Racing School has a fleet of NC Miatas, so you know this car has the goods. As usual, Mazda permits a bit more body roll than you might expect; this is so that the driver can feel the cornering forces rather than be isolated from them. Once you get used to that, the NC Miata is arguably the most fun that you can have anywhere near its modest price range.

If you're considering a third-gen Miata, keep the year 2009 in mind: That's when the engine received a handful of updates, expanding its redline to 7,200 rpm in the process. Output barely changed, moving up a tick to 167 hp, but acceleration feels much more lively, with a 0-to-60 time of 6.7 seconds. You still don't get the midrange rush of the MAZDASPEED, but it's never been this fun to drive a Miata.

In other respects, though, the NC Miata has remained pretty much the same for nearly a decade, so you can feel free to shop around until you find a nicely kept vehicle that fits your budget. Do try to drive a pre-2009 car and compare it to one from 2009 or later, though, just so you can see what we're talking about.
The standard “Schiffswanduhr” (ship’s wall clock) or simply “Wanduhr” of the German Kriegsmarine was made by Kieninger & Obergfell (today Kundo) of St. Georgen in the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) region of Germany.  There were some Kriegsmarine clocks manufactured by Junghans but differ significantly and are beyond the scope of this discussion.

The clock features an eight-day key-wound movement that drives the hour, minute and second hands.  The silvered dial also features the Kriegsmarine “Hoheitszeichen” (eagle and swastika German national emblem) with the letter “M" that stands for “Marine” (Navy) on the left side of the face.  The right side is usually serial numbered "3911" with a letter under the number; most commonly “N” for “Nordsee” that was based in Wilhelmshaven.   Other clocks may show “O” for “Ostsee” (Baltic), based in Kiel, or “N/G “ for Nordgruppe. 

Please note that the number on the dial is not the serial number of the movement or the case.  The movement number is normally found stamped in the back plate and on the back of the case.  The last two digits of this number is usually stamped into the case hinge and the front bezel lock as well.

Some of these clocks were also used by the Luftwaffe.  They were identical except for the dial which bore the Luftwaffe eagle instead of the Hoheitszeichen.  I do not know of any examples that were used by the German “HEER” (Army) or the SS.

Cases are usually painted black or natural brass.  It is said that the clocks were delivered from the factory with the cases painted semi-flat black but some were stripped and kept highly polished by the crews.  Clocks painted beige have been reported, most likely from U-boats, having been painted by the crew.

Outside diameter of the bezel cover is roughly 6-5/8" (16cm) while the diameter of the base is 8" (20cm); depth is about 3-11/16" (10cm).

This clock is often called a “U-boat Clock” but in fact this type was used on all surface ships, shore-based installations as well as submarines.  A battleship could be equipped with up to 64 clocks of this type but U-boats were issued 8.

This one was probably manufactured between 1938 and 1942.  Unfortunately all records relative to these clocks were destroyed in an air raid on Bremerhaven and so it is not possible to know which clocks were assigned to which vessels or duty station.

Kriegsmarine clocks are quite rare in the United States.  They are more easily found in the United Kingdom.  After the German surrender in May 1945 large number of captured U-boats were towed to Northern Ireland and Scotland and stored there  while the authorities decided what to do with them.  Many of the sailors whose job was to guard the U-Boats were able to strip them of their clocks and other souvenirs with impunity.  Most were sold at the local pub for as little as £5 which paid for the round of drinks that night.  Eventually it was decided to scuttle the U-boats or use them for target practice but by that time most of the clocks and other removable items had been stripped and were long gone.

Values range from $500 to $3500 with many being sold at auction.  Although technically banned from eBay some do show up on the site from time to time.  I bought a very nice example for around $900.   Fakes exist but they are easy to spot if you know what to look for.
Technical Stuff / Arthur Collins W0CXX Voice
« Last post by W1RC on December 03, 2017, 05:09:34 PM »
Arthur A. Collins was, and still is, an enigma. He was a man who had many facets. There are many anecdotes about him that tell us much about his personality and his penchant for leading the way in providing quality technical solutions to problems that he saw coming.The story of how, as a young man of just 15, he aided in the communication with the United States MacMillan expedition is the stuff of legends. The stories about his visions of the future of aviation and his technical quality solution are well known and part of the fabric of the success of his company.What is not well known is that he was a humble, and even shy, man that avoided public recognition and public speaking. Therein lies part of the enigma. While he was known for his penchant for expressing his opinion and guiding the technical direction of the company, he rarely – almost never – spoke in public.The result was that until very recently there were no known recordings of Art, and those of us that never had the privilege of meeting him have never heard him speak.This has recently changed. While doing some excellent detective work, John Dilks, past column editor of QST Magazine, discovered a recording of Arthur speaking at a testimonial dinner honoring John Reinartz. Reinartz, among other accomplishments, had been the radio operator on the Bowdoin – the ship that carried McMillian and his expedition company to the Arctic. Reinartz was at the opposite end of that legendary round of communication between Art and the MacMillan party in 1927. This testimonial dinner was held February 1, 1960 and was hosted by the Eitel MacCullough Company – later to become Eimac.Listen now and you will hear the man that made Collins Radio what it is today, and you will learn a little about his personality.

Technical Stuff / WA3KEY Virtual Collins Radio Museum
« Last post by W1RC on December 03, 2017, 05:03:09 PM »
Norm’s outstanding Collins Radio virtual museum....

Mister Mike's "Mishigoss" Board / What Are They Worth?
« Last post by W1RC on December 01, 2017, 09:55:08 AM »
Ever wonder how much money our elected officials have?  Check this site out:

It is true: we have the best politicians money can buy. >:(

Just look at the Trump administration people......”disclosures”:

Since most of them are known liars so you think these are accurate?

Makes me want to throw up.
Mister Mike's "Mishigoss" Board / Great Tuneage on YOUTUBE?
« Last post by W1RC on November 30, 2017, 11:44:20 PM »
Celluloid Heroes byThe Kinks

Won’t Get Fooled Again by The Who

Mister Mike’s Hot Cars / Airstream Trailer Resource Page
« Last post by W1RC on November 30, 2017, 12:17:49 PM »

More to come.
THE NEXT ONE! NEAR-Fest XXIII May 4th and 5th 2018 / NEAR-Fest XXIII Schedule of Events.
« Last post by W1RC on November 23, 2017, 10:06:51 PM »
NEAR-Fest XXIII Schedule of Events   

Friday, May 4th 2018.

6:00 AM: Fairgrounds Gate 'G' opens for Blue (Staff) and Yellow (Commercial Vendors) ONLY.  Commercial buildings open and set up commences. 

8:00 AM: Fairgrounds Gate 'G' opens for Clubs & Associations passholders only to occupy their traditional spaces.  NO "FOR SALE" ITEMS DISPLAYED OR SELLING IS PERMITTED UNTIL 9:00AM!

9:00 AM: Pre-Paid Entry, Gate 'F' opens for advance ticket and passholders only.    Once the Pre-Paid entry line has entered the General Admission line will enter through Gate 'E'.  Flea Market and Tailgating buying and selling commences.  Please note our flea market parking policy:

This is the ENTERTAINMENT BUILDING, see map for location.

10:30 AM:   To Be Announced  (Located in the Entertainment Building, see map)

12:00 PM:  TBA
(Located in the  Entertainment Building, see map)

1:30   TBA
(Located in the  Entertainment Building, see map)

3:00 PM:”Techniques of the Best Operators” with Mitch Stern W1SJ.  This presentation is aimed at the newly "minted" ham.  It's a tutorial of how to get up and running in amateur radio. Please note:  it would be wise to arrive early because thismpresentation is usually very well attended.  (Located in the Entertainment Building, see map)
(Located in the  Entertainment Building, see map)

4:30 PM:  George Rancourt, K1ANX, R-390A Forum.
Topic to be announced.
(Located in the  Entertainment Building, see map)

7:00 PM: NEAR-Fest's Legendary Ad-Hoc "Ham-Jam Session"
(Located in the Entertainment Building, see map).

For full details see: --> Jam Discussion

Saturday, May 5 2018.

9:00 AM: “DMR New England Update and Programming help” moderated by Bill Barber, NE1B New DMR repeaters continue to pop up all over New England.  Now with NEW DUAL-BAND DMR radios available for under $100 and a wide assortment of surplus commercial equipment easily found, more and more people are getting active in this interesting mode.  Bill Barber, NE1B, the contact for New England Digital Emergency Communications Network (NEDECN) will be back this spring, by popular demand, to give us updates… and there is lots of news… on whats going on in the DMR world and what you need to do to get involved. After the Update there will be DMR programming help! (Located in the Entertainment Building, see map)[/size]

10:30 AM: TBA (Located in the Entertainment Building, see map)

10:30 AM:Volunteer Exam Session conducted by Bruce Anderson, W1LUS and the NEAR-Fest VE Team  The exam session is located in the Meeting Room (in the Arts & Crafts Building) right across from the flagpole.  The entrance is around the back of the building, (see map)
The Volunteer Examination session begins at 10:30 sharp.  Be sure to have two forms of identification (one with photo), original and one copy of your Amateur license (if you have one), documentation and $15.00 exam fee ready.  For more information on the Volunteer exams or if you are a ARRL accredited VE wishing to help, please contact the VE Coordinator at  Despite what it says on the ARRL Web site, pre-registration is not required.  Just show up, bring money and give it your best shot. Try the higher level exams even if you don't feel you are ready - you never least you'll know what to expect the next time.  Good luck!

2:00 PM: Closing Ceremony, Awards and Door Prize Drawing (Located in the Relaxation Grove, see map)

More than simply a prize drawing, this is the time we honor individuals, present updates to the NEAR-Fest mission, and provide a little insight as to what lies ahead. See a list of past LIFETIME PASS recipients:

See you all at Deerfield bright and early Friday morning!


Mitch Stern, W1SJ,
Forums Chairman
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