WS88 Radio Set

Following Tuesday’s post on the WS38 radio set, tonight we move on to look at its successor the WS88 set, introduced in 1947. This set was a major move forward from its predecessor and included many new features based of experience in the Second World War and American practice. The radio comes with a webbing pouch that is compatible with the 44 pattern set (we will look at the pouch tomorrow night):imageThe radio itself uses a VHF signal for the first time, overcoming congestion in the low HF band that had caused problems with the WS38 set and the unit is entirely sealed helping keep moisture out, a problem that had plagued the WS38 set in the tropics:imageThe use of this particular radio in the tropics is confirmed by a sticker on the base:imageThis is the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) who inspected the radio as part of Far East Land Forces (FARELF). The WS88 set weighs around 10 pounds, could achieve a range of 1 mile and its battery lasted for up to 24 hours. The top of the radio has a connection point for the headphones:imageAlso visible is the on/off switch and the switch for choosing one of four pre-set frequencies. The radio stayed on preset frequencies for up to 5 weeks, a major improvement on its predecessor which needed constant adjustment to stop it drifting off frequencies. The following diagram illustrates the controls:imageOn the side of the radio are two fastening points allowing it to be attached to the battery and a microswitch to control the microphone:imageThe interior of the radio uses miniature glass valves and the controls are very simple compared to earlier models, the battery however was still separate and carried in a pouch on the right, the WS88 set on the left:SKMBT_C36416010411190_0001As well as being used as an infantry set, it was also available with a different set of frequencies for use with mortar teams and was used in vehicles. It remained in use by cadets into the 1980s and they do not seem particularly rare, as with the WS38 set, it’s the spares I need now, the headsets and aerials come up for sale- the batteries are much harder to find…


  1. I remember using these sets with the army cadets in 1970. Ours were carried on your back in a canvas bag, which housed both the radio and the battery side by side. The battery was the same dimensions as the radio. The huge aerial was in sections and pulled together with a central wire. I remember falling flat on my back, on manouevers, when I went into a low tunnel and forgot about the antenna.

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