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Invasion receiver - not in collection

PCR was a valve-based broadcast receiver, developed by Pye Radio Works Ltd in Cambridge (UK) and produced from April 1944 onwards by Pye, Philips Lamps Ltd in London and Invicta Radio. 1 It was meant as an invasion receiver. 2 During the war, a small number was supplied to resistance groups in Norway, France and the Netherlands, probably for the reception of coded messages that were broadcast via the BBC. 3 After the war it was also used as an Army welfare receiver.

Although the device was officially known as the Portable Communications Receiver (PCR), it was far from portable. It is housed in a 19" metal enclosure and is 4U high. Furthermore it needs an external mains power supply unit (PSU). At least three different PCR models were produced.

A piece of 10 - 30 metres of wire is used as an antenna, and the sensitivity is approx. 2µV. The receiver is built around five valves (tubes) and has an intermediate frequency (IF) of 465 kHz. The LW and MW scale is calibrated in metres, but the Short Wave band (SW) has a MHz scale.
Portable Communications Receiver (PCR). Photograph by Jan Poortman (PA3ESY) [2].

The PCR is housed in the cabinet of a Wireless Set No. 19 (WS-19), and is constructed with many common parts of the WS-19 and WS-22 sets. Two different power supply units (PSUs) were used: one for connection to AC mains networks (100-250V, 40-100 Hz), and one with a vibrator-based inverter, allowing the receiver to be powered from a 12V DC source, such as the battery of a car.

During World War II, 5,000 PCR1 units and 12,000 PCR2 and PCR3 units were produced by Pye Radio Works in Cambridge at a rate of 800 units per month, mainly on an out-work basis. It is unknown how many units were made by Philips Lamps at their Mitcham Works 4 facilities in South London, but from the observed serial numbers it is estimated that between 15,000 and 17,000 units were produced [3]. The receiver was in production until December 1945. After the war, between 1958 and 1960, some units were refurbished by the REME Newark Depot and by Racal.

  1. Invicta was another company run by the Stanley family, who also owned Pye.
  2. Intended for the reception of military broadcasts after the D-Day landings.
  3. BBC = British Broadcasting Corporation.
  4. These units are internally stamped MW, which stands for Mitcham Works.

  • PCR
  • PCR2
  • PCR3
Frequency bands
  1. 2100 - 850 m
  2. 570 - 190 m
  3. 5.8 - 18 MHz
  • EF39 (2x)
  • ECH35
  • EBC33
  • EL32
  1. Reception Sets PCR 1, 2 and 3, Technical Handbook
    Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Regulations (EMER),
    E 849 Miscellaneous Instructions No. 1.
  1. Louis Meulstee, Wireless for the Warrior, volume 4
    ISBN 0952063-36-0, September 2004

  2. Jan Poortman (PA3ESY), Portable Communications Receiver Type PCR ZA 26707
    Retrieved May 2017.

  3. Virtual Pye Museum, Portable Communications Receiver PCR
    Retrieved May 2017.
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 28 May 2017. Last changed: Monday, 23 August 2021 - 05:45 CET.
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