Wireless Remote Control Unit E

The WS19 set radio was widely used during the Second World War in both vehicular and ground mounted roles, and we will be coming back to the main radio set in the coming months to look at that more closely. In the meantime, today we are looking at one of the accessories for this radio, the Wireless Remote Control Unit E. This was a piece of equipment that allowed the radio to be connected to a telephone exchange and for people to speak over the wireless net away from the main receiver unit itself. A 1944 manual described it thus:

The ”E” unit enables the W.S.19 to be connected to a telephone exchange system-

  1. Via a telephone exchange to another wireless remote control unit “E”;
  2. Direct via a line to another wireless remote control unit “E”

An operator is required at the set to switch from receive to send. A high-low modulation switch is fitted on the conversion unit. The remote operator can use the key for sending CW. Detailed instructions for connection and operation are given on the printed labels attached to units.

A film covering the set up and use of these receivers can be found here if you are interested in further details. To return to my unit, the Control Unit is housed in a stout metal tin to protect it in transit:

The lid is hinged in two places and opens up to allow access to the control unit itself:

The unit has provision for both a more code key:

And a snatch plug to allow a headset to be fitted if required:

In the unit is a bell and switches to allow it to be used as part of a telephone exchange:

Along with a winding handle to operate a dynamo and send a signal down the line to ring a bell on a partner set:

The manual noted:

Intercommunication between the local and remote units is provided. A ringer and bell circuit enable the local operator to call and to receive calls from either the remote operator or from an exchange operator. The set may be operated on R/T and CW via the remote unit using up to three miles of line.

Under the lid is a full set of instructions on the use of the control unit:

And a wiring diagram:

This was one of numerous remote control units used with British radios during and after the Second World War, indeed the lettering eventually reached at least as far as ‘Q’! They were produced in England, Canada and Australia, although this is an English example. I do not know if this unit still works, however as my accompanying 19 Set is pretty much knackered, its an academic point! We will be returning to the 19 Set and some of the numerous accessories for it in the coming months.

One comment

  1. The original Remote Control Unit ‘E’ was a rework of the earlier Remote Control Unit ‘B’ (intended for use with Wireless Sets 2, 3 or 9) and the Mk.1 was simply the wooden cased unit with the addition of the extra box at top right. The snatch plug is for connection to the WS19 via a suitable control unit (in place of a headset) and the operator uses a hand microphone (No.3) and pair of DLR headphones instead of the combined AFV type.

    The “Low/High” switch to control the microphone level was added because an AFV is a very noisy environment and the WS19 was intended for that – you need to raise your voice when speaking because of the background noise in a tank, but on the remote control unit the operator might well be in an office and not wanting to shout.

    (WS19 Control Unit No.10 – the “high modulation box” was designed to use the intercom amplifier in the set as a similar microphone amplifier for use in quieter locations: wireless trucks and command vehicles.)

    The Mk.II remote unit was built in a pressed steel case because they needed a considerable number of them (compared to the earlier “B” unit – there were not a lot of Wireless Sets 2 and 3 built and they didn’t last long in WW2).

    The units will work as a standard field telephone (using the “Exchange” terminals), and allow the WS19 (or WS52 which replaced the WS9) to be used over the telephone network when required. They need four “X” or “S” cells for operation, two for the carbon microphone and all of them for the relay. (More cells can be added in series if the circuit resistance is too high for reliable operation of the relay – and you do need a metallic pair for remote control, a single wire and an earth pin is unlikely to be successful.)


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