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WARTIME CIVILIAN SET

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Front View [22K]

  • Released June 1944
  • MW waveband only.
  • 4 Valves - (ECH35),(W147),BVA266
    plus BVA211 rectifier
  • A.C. Mains
  • Original cost £12 3s 4d.
NOTES A set built during the materials shortages of World War 2. The Government initiated a plan for a receiver simple reciever of a single standard design in 1943, the design itself being undertaken by Dr. G. D. Reynolds of Murphy Radio Ltd. During the War there was a dire shortage of new receivers so despite the basic nature of this set it was eagerly snapped up by the public with over 175,000 of the mains sets being sold in the first year.

Both the price and conditions of supply were rigidly set by the Wireless Receiving Sets (Control of Supply) order, which had come in to operation of the 1st July 1944. This specifically applied to the Civilian Receiver and the order was not revoked until July 1947, so presumably the sets were still in production at that time ?

Closeup of tuning scale [9K]Since the L.W. broadcasts were suspended during the war this set has only the medium wave. The scale is very simple with a simple scale in meters plus markings for the "Home" and "Forces" stations - no foreign stations here ! After the war, various enterprising companies did offer a modification to add L.W., though fortunately this set has escaped such hacking. However the set continued to be produced after the war with manufacturer-added L.W. waveband.

Chassis Label [5K]These sets were built by a total of 44 different manufacturers, although the manufacturer's name does not appear on the set. Well, sort of ... you see each chassis was labeled with a code, the "U9" indicating this set was manufactured by Pye (follow this link for a complete list of manufacturer codes). Each manufacturer used the same basic circuit, though some manufacturers did make some very minor modifications. The code enabled dealers to identify where to obtain spares during the initial 3-month guarentee period. So why not just stamp the manufacturers name then ? I can only guess it was to do with the public perhaps favouring particular manufacturers which would lead to demand for particular versions.

BVA Marked Valve [7K]The circuit uses only four valves, one of which is the mains rectifier. This economy was partly achieved by the use of a metal rectifier ('Westector') as the detector, a method which you don't often encounter until you get to the late 50's. The valves themselves were originally marked with coded numbers although they were equivalent to various standard valves from several manufacturers but again their identy was disguised such that the only markings are BVA ("British Valve Association") and an ID code (e.g. 211 for the mains rectifier shown opposite). The last digit indicates the actual valve manufacture, '1' being Cossor. Follow this link for list of valves and equivalents.

Click here for larger view of surplus advert [72K]As with a lot of wartime electrical equipment, after the war saw a lot of these recievers on the surplus market as illustrated in the advert opposite taken from the June 1950 Wireless World magazine [72k].

A cheaper battery-only model was also released at the same time as this mains version.
SERVICE DATA I have an electronic copy of the "Trader" service sheet #688
CURRENT STATE The cabinet is just right ; has a few dings but nothing bad and thats just the way I'm going to keep it. The chassis looks dusty but original. The seller said it did work "but probably needs a few caps changed". Hmmm .... but the price is right and I'm well chuffed with it.

Only two of the original valves remain, with the oscillator/mixer replaced by a Mullard ECH35 and the I.F. amplifier replaced by a Marconiphone W147.

The set even has a good original back that seems to be missing from many examples. If you wish to make your own replacement back then follow this link for details of the back cover.
WHERE FOUND The Radiophile's Spring 2002 bash at Shifnal for £35.

Rear View [28K]
Note that the mains on-off switch is on the rear of the set (bottom left hand corner). When the rear cover is in place the text "IN THE INTEREST OF WARTIME ECONOMY SWITCH OFF THE SET WHEN NOT IN USE" appears just above the switch.


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J.Evans 2002-2005
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THE 1940 RADIO GALLERY
Last updated
28th May 2005