Tag Archives: Wireless set No. 19

My 19 Set

IMG_1334I sold my Wireless Set no 19 this week. In many ways I was sorry to see it go as it was my first “rig”. I had it as a teenager in the late Sixties. It was my introduction to amateur radio as I had it tune Top Band and 80 metres. I listened to stations working on Top Band a lot. The 19 set did tune down to the medium wave as well with a bit of encouragement. Very possibly it was capable of broadcasting music, in AM of course, but I could not say. It was the era of pirate radio after the Wilson Government had outlawed the offshore pirate radio stations.

I was never a Top Band pirate. There were a few around, pretending to be legal radio amateurs. Because it was not so easy to check (we had no QRZ.com in those days) certain individuals used to “borrow” callsigns that would be new as they were issued in order. I guess new legitimate new licensees might have been accused of being pirates if their call signs had been pirated and already been worked by other amateurs.

My 19 set was made in Canada, and had Cyrillic labelling as well as English to suit our then allies.

The 19 set cost me £12.  That was a lot of pocket money. I had got used to seeing other “boat anchors” as the very heavy ex-military sets, transmitters, receivers and transceivers are called. My school ran an army cadet programme and in the “signals hut” there were a number of these sets. Cadets at various schools used to use this equipment to chat. Although I was not admitted to signals section as it was too much in demand to join, I could watch, and that is how I got the radio bug.

It was six or seven years after leaving school that I got my first amateur ticket, by which time I no longer used the 19 set. I believe it has gone to a good home with a fellow radio amateur who enjoys restoring old military radio gear, and who wants it for a militaria exhibition. I hope he enjoys having it.

How did I get into amateur radio? Part 1

ws19-4

Wireless Set No. 19

I won a scholarship to a posh school. I was very unhappy there, and one of the things which made me unhappy was that when we were around fifteen, we boys all had to join the cadet force. This was split into two main groups; RAF and Army. The RAF group got to play with gliders, so everyone wanted to do that. I was not one of the lucky ones chosen. I had to join the Army group.

Being in the cadet force meant that the school bullies usually got made sergeants, so that they actually had some authority as bullies.

The first year of the cadet force involved a lot of drilling and marching. Also, one stormy March evening we were dropped off in groups of about five all over the Essex countryside, and required to make our way in the dark to an army camp out in the marshes. We could have got lost, but by the middle of the night the clouds and blown away and the rain stopped, and one of our number could navigate by the stars. I could do that myself now, but I knew little of astronomy then. Incidentally, our navigator later became a radio amateur.

At the beginning of the second year in the Army cadet force, we could choose to specialise. Some sections still involved drilling, but the two “skive” sections were perceived as the Signals and the Bearer section, which involved First Aid and stretchers. I wanted to join Signals, but again was “unlucky”. I got Bearer Section. On the plus side, I learned CPR and how to bandage people’s wounds, and it was useful grounding with later refreshers at various work places. I might still be able to be useful if called upon, though I never have been required.

However, back to radio. I and a couple of other lads hung about the Signals hut. It was full of old Army radio equipment. I remember they mostly used a WS C12 to talk to other cadet force teachers and lads around the country. I was most impressed.

That is when I got the radio bug, and I and a couple of my friends each bought a Nineteen Set (Wireless Set No. 19). Mine cost £12 in around 1967. It was a fortune in pocket money.

So, I discovered Top Band AM. I had a huge amount of fun with my Nineteen Set, but more of that later.

Did you start in radio with gear from ancient times?