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Author Topic: R1155 Beautiful!  (Read 9341 times)
GW3OQK
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« on: January 10, 2014, 01:04:33 PM »

There is an R1155 for auction http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/WW2-R1155-N-RECEIVER-HT-LT-PSU-MODIFIED-BY-BOB-G2MJ-/321291871875?pt=UK_Mobile_Phones_Communication_Ham_Radio_Receivers_Transceivers&hash=item4ace7ce683

Have you ever seen such a beautiful radio?

OR is this the REAL THING that we love? http://www.vk2bv.org/radio/r1155.htm How far do you like to go with modifying a set. In the 1950s I modified the R1155 with Q Mult and 6V6 amp to make it useable; it was all I could afford as a skoolboy.


I have an R1155/T1154 QRV and would like to make some trans Atlantic QSOs with it on 7 or 3.5.

73 Andrew
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G3RZP
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2014, 02:19:10 PM »

Let's be honest, in terms of performance or even ergonomics, the R1155 didn't hold a candle to the US equivalent, the BC348.

It was almost certainly much cheaper to make, though....and although many thousands were made, those in Bomber Command (like the aircraft they were fitted in) rarely lasted  a tour of 30 missions.
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KB1WSY
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2014, 02:38:26 PM »

Many thanks for this post. I thought I knew nothing about the R1155 but looking at your second link (the unmodified "real thing") I realize that's the radio my Elmer had on his workbench at the school Electronics Lab back in the late 1960s when I was at school in England. By the time I knew him, he wasn't using it anymore (he had homebrewed his own HF receiver), but I remember thinking it was a beautiful thing.

BTW he was Geoffrey/G3PNV (QTH Amersham, Bucks). His license is listed as active on QRZ but the last time I saw him was 40 years ago when he left the school to "go back into industry." His mailing address is there and I will write to him as soon as I actually "get on the air" for the first time!

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: January 10, 2014, 02:47:43 PM by KB1WSY » Logged
G3RZP
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2014, 03:11:53 PM »

The team that designed the R1155 (actually, originally it was a commercial Marconi design for aircraft) included one E. E. Zepler. He worked in receiver development at Telefunken and designed some radios used by the Luftwaffe, but being a Jew, fled Germany in about 1934. So he had the distinction of designing radios use by both sides in WW2! He left Marconi to be the first Professor of Electronic Engineering at the University of Southampton, and the Engineering block there is called the Zepler Building in his memory. He was also well known for his skill at setting and solving chess problems too, and he wrote a very good book on receiver design. His nephew followed him into radio engineering at Plessey.

But I still think that the American BC348 was a far better receiver in terms of performance! OK, it didn't have the D/F facility - but that was what the Bendix MN26 D/F receiver was for!
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N3DT
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2014, 05:39:52 PM »

I had a BC348 for quite a while.  I played with it but never used it for contacts, but it did work and not bad for the way it looked.  I don't even know where I got it, probably someone gave it to me.  I probably sold it at some hamfest for $5.
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AC5UP
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2014, 05:49:08 PM »

From the eBay advert:

...and he added a Q multiplier circuit which in other words is similar to DSP and this is run by an ECC83 triode, this works extremely well and gets rid of most of the interference on the bands

Translation:

...and he added a Q multiplier circuit which in bullshit is similar to DSP and this is run by an ECC83 triode, this works extremely well and gets rid of most of the interference on the bands

Caveat Emptor !  Tongue
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G3RZP
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2014, 12:47:37 AM »

In any case, it's been hacked enough that it's not really a R1155 anymore.
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KAPT4560
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2014, 04:50:35 AM »

 I have a R1155A and a BC-348L. The Marconi performs OK and I do like the large colorful vernier dial. It came in a large wooden shipping chest with paperwork.
 There was a matched transmitter (T1154) for these which I don't have.
 Wartime Britain probably struggled more with material and resource acquisition, manufacturing and production than the wartime US electronics industry did. My dear mum told me all about the hardships and hell of war while I grew up.
 Construction, design and materials aren't bad for what it is. Lots of aluminum and wax. I am impressed that they were able to build something so cheap and simple that worked so well. I am always leery about operating it with the original, but still functioning components like capacitors, etc. and always carefully watch the milliammeter.
 I did build an outboard 6X4 power supply and 6V6 power amplifier for it so it could drive a speaker.
 The D/F tubes were removed from mine, leaving it a fairly basic multi-band superhet receiver. The eye tube still works.
http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~hilpert/e/radio/MarconiR1155/
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K0OD
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2014, 06:31:48 AM »

Fascinating. Plus a chuckle: "he added a Q multiplier ... similar to DSP "

Original R1155A/direction finder indicator. Doubt many Americans are familiar with it.

« Last Edit: January 11, 2014, 06:34:10 AM by K0OD » Logged
K8AXW
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2014, 09:11:51 AM »

All of my life I've always heard, "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."  The guy that hacked this pizza sheet military radio came pretty close to doing it! 

I thought it hardly looked "beautiful" until I saw what he started with.  Under the circumstances, it is indeed a beautiful hack.

As for it's usefulness; that's somewhat irrelevant.

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K0OD
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2014, 09:32:17 AM »

Beautiful? Turn down the lights and look.

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GW3OQK
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2014, 10:22:54 AM »

While we are showing off our beautiful wireless sets...

The R1155 is modified. On left is an RF25 HF converter unit ex GEE R1335. The T1154 PSU is underneath it, and a harmonic filter on top.

I saved for a year to buy an R1155 in 1958 for £5. I showed it to a school friend and he said "its very unsightly isn't it!" WHAT! It was beautiful to me, its front panel needs no cosmetic surgery. The Q multiplier was the only way to narrow its IF for CW use and with its help in 1960 I got my licence and used the R1155 until I acquired an HRO.

73
Andrew 
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G3RZP
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2014, 02:57:24 PM »

In terms of performance, the R1155 was pretty crap.. My father (G8ON) taught radio at RAF Cranwell in WW2: he said the R1155 was crap, and he had had the advantage of using an HRO as a member of the Radio Security Service (MI8) before he was drafted....

But it was relatively cheap to make and could be turned out in its thousands, and with the attrition in Bomber Command, that was what was needed.
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AC5UP
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2014, 03:27:39 PM »

We often associate military gear with the highest quality materials and construction techniques as much of it does have the industrial look and was expensive back in the day - but - not everything built to milspec was intended to last. Case in point: THE LIBERTY SHIP

Remarkable example of manufacturing ingenuity and adaptation of design for a specific purpose. In a war of attrition it's advantageous to be able to crank out weaponry faster than the enemy can destroy it, and I've heard that one of the time saving ideas involved not painting much of the interior metalwork above the primer level (this story could be pure urban legend). On one hand it's incredibly shoddy to send an iron boat to sea without complete rust prevention, on the other when Liberty Ships had a life expectancy of less than a year during the peak of the war for the North Atlantic anything above primer was a waste of time and paint.

I realize the R1155 wasn't the same as a Liberty Ship, but from what I see in the pictures it damn sure was a boatanker.   Tongue
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G3RZP
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« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2014, 12:38:45 AM »

'5UP,

You're right. It is recorded that Hitler seeing a captured Russian tank said that it was badly made because some castings hadn't been fettled, and so they would lose the war. They didn't need to be, though so why waste the effort? A lot of WW2 German equipment was beautifully made - but expensive. Thus the saying that "Perfection is the enemy of good enough".

Same with the US Army Transportation Corps S160 and British 'Austerity' steam locomotives...
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