Home:  Military Comms: WWII PYE No 19 MK 3 WIRELESS SET WS19, 1941


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Made in Britain PYE LTD.
This is the transceiver only, without the 'B' portion.Each WS19 radio unit contains three separate systems. The A set was a High Frequency (HF)
radio transmitter-receiver for communications up to 50 miles.

The B set was Very High Frequency (VHF) transmitter-receiver for short-range line-of-sight communications up to 1 mile.

A separate audio amplifier was provided for intercommunications between members of the crew.

Donated by the R.E.M.E. Museum

Your comments:

  • Memories of Jobstocks in Walhamstow and WS No 19 give me a warm glow! In the early 1960s when I was about 12 years old I'd save up my little bit of pocket money until I could buy a No19 set to 'try and get it working'. They'd receive fine with a long-wire aerial but I wanted to transmit with one. With the help of my dad we built a mains power unit to use in place of the rotary transformer for all the high voltages. One evening, while fiddling around with the radio, my dad called upstairs to ask what I was doing. "Why?" I yelled back. Apparently he'd lost the sound and picture on our 465 line television whilst watching football! I presume I'd created some harmonic frequency with the WS19 transmitter that had swamped the Tv signal. My reaction was "whoopee - it works"! Over several years I managed to wreck about 4 x No19 sets by "pushing my luck too far". Those were grand days and much more fun than using modern, solid state, SSB kit. At least one could check for tranmsission success by blacking out the TV our listening on the medium waves as one of your earlier correspondents seems to have perfected!
    .......... Alan Farrell, Northampton, UK, 16th of October 2020

  • I used a 19 set (complete with dynamotor) as an unlicenced radio amateur in the mid sixties until caught by the GPO's Radio Investigation Branch. Fined 5 plus costs but thankfully no confiscation order which allowed me to carry on as a mobile operator. Got some good results on "Top Band" and never had any problems with the set. Happy days!
    .......... Roger Callow, Bourne, 11th of May 2017

  • None of the pics showed the Variometer, which was used to tune into the 'squelch' of the station you were signing on to, it stood on the top left.
    .......... Joe Watkin, Nanaimo, BC Canada., 6th of February 2016

  • All the same they provided a lot of hams with fun converting them after the war....practical wireless covered mods over a couple of editions in the 1960's. Still an extremely popular set among collectors. The set which replaced them all in terms of performance was the ZC11..a NZ designed and built set. The same general front panel format followed through 19, 22, 62 AND ZC11 SETS (the MK11 had the tank set inclusion...maybe 232 MHz...somewhere around that frequency). These sets were carried also on donkey-back for partisans and they also could be supplied with a linear amplifier to boost transmitted signal power when used as a base or truck station. Still enjoyed by pretty serious collectors for AM transmissions (thank god some hams still remember the traditions now almost lost forever with the lazy mindsets of "no cw...I can't learn Morse", the telephone replacing repeaters and boring digital, echolink ...no home-brew now, a casualty of sterile modernism). Many ZC11's were converted by hams and many were used by NZ post office as 'mobile's...mounted in the boot of the car. I have a feeling some ZC11's went to UK and were never used and a few came to Australia...I have two but one came from NZ only five years ago. Yes all these sets (less the ZC11)were inefficient but they helped in winning WW11. For that we should be grateful and respect them and muse over them..they had a lot of interesting design. The Canadian Mk11 was always the pick of them.
    .......... Tony Clancy, Sydney NSW, 18th of November 2013

  • The Italians did not make 19-sets, they repainted and printed only
    the fronts of Canadian sets. Later they replaced the 0.01 and smaller
    condensers for Italian types. The early Italian types have a wrinkle finish front with printed text.
    The Americans made only MK II models.
    The Canadians MK II and MK III models.

    .......... Gerard Deibel, Hoorn , Holland, 13th of December 2011

  • I was still using these sets in the British Army Cadet Force in 1973! We had them new in the packing cases they were supplied in - so many in fact, that we didn't bother to open them all.

    The Mk.III arrived in time for the D-Day landings. This is probably the "iconic" wireless set for vehicle use during WWII. It was used everywhere - and the Canadians made a version, so did the Yanks (several in fact), so did the Italians, as did the Australians. It was a useful improvement on its predecessors: it was smaller than the WS9 so it would actually fit in the tanks, and it had a wider frequency coverage than the WS11, so it could be used night and day.

    That's not to say it was particularly good in performance or other respects. The B-set (VHF short-range) transceiver was so bad that it was said it was quicker to just lean out the turret and shout to the guy in the next tank.....! The Army agreed with this - since they ran a major programme to strip out all the B-sets (like this example) to stop anyone wasting their time trying to get the things to work.

    The main A-set had a number of serious deficiencies too. Firstly, on speech it produced very weak signals (morse was far better). There was a work-around using a special control unit which used the intercom to boost the signal - but why not just design the thing properly in the first place?!

    The other serious deficiency was that the mechanical design was poor. The multi-way connectors would break, and become unreliable. The components looked as though they had been fitted by just shovelling them into the box - as a result if you need to change a part you often had to strip out another ten parts to get the one you had to change.

    The Army of course shrugged off these problems - the set "soldiered on" for several decades until replaced first by the C12 (around 1955), then by the C13 (early 1960s) - remembering of course that replacements take years to accomplish in the Army.
    .......... Richard Hankins, Ross-on-Wye, 8th of June 2011

  • I was in the royal signals first in Baor then Cyprus and Aden,we has these updated 19 sets,they were particularly useless,in Germany Cyprus and in Aden,they may be of strong construction but that's it!,we used to use the cw key (Morse) if you wanted to get through.My service was through the 1950,s.Thanks John Leigh.
    .......... john LEIGH, gosford NSW australia, 26th of July 2010

  • A real tear jerker. These sets were in use with British Army Forces until the late 50s and early 60s.) They were, as stated, an "A" and "B" set. They were in use with the 8th Army in the desert circa 1941 onwards, as I recall a friend of my late Dad telling me this tale. His troop sergeant told him when he was posted to his new troop., (He was a "Tankie") "Son, when you mount through the turret, don't put your foot on the set!" My Dads pal."Will it hurt the set Sarge?" Reply. "No son! You'll break your foot!" I recall being shown these circa 1963 or 64 when they were still in TA use. The labelling was bilingual, English and RUSSIAN! I asked why, and the reason was that we made so many to supply to the Russians under Lend-Lease, that it made manufacturing easier to do the whole roduction run with bi lingual labels. These sets are still in use today with radio enthusiast. (See Bob Coke's excellent Canadian web site for full details.) The Canadians manufactured 100s of theses sets.
    Thanks again for damp eyes, Gary
    .......... Gary, Cardiff, 28th of November 2009

  • this is one of the radios I should have kept safe along with the remote control box
    .......... Tony Bowers G7NIZ, Northampton, 29th of October 2009

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