Charlie Preston, K4LJH

Charlie Preston, K4LJH, of Purcellville, VA and his recently-completed (2016) replica WWll Spy Radio.

Radio Transmitter/Receiver sets of this type were standard issue to WWll Allied spies who were parachuted into Nazi-occupied countries.  The receiver is a two-tube regenerative type that covered approximately 3-10 Megacycles. (now MegaHertz (MHz)). Operators from the SIS (British Secret Intelligence Service) were the major users of this type of set.

The single tube transmitter uses a 6V6 and is crystal controlled.  It puts out 5 watts, usually enough to be heard at highly sensitive listening stations of the SOE (Special Operations Executive) in England.

Charlie and his spy radio.

Charlie’s radio uses a vibrator power supply utilizing a six volt battery.

Sadly, the life expectancy of Allied radio spies dropped behind enemy lines was less than two months.  Many radio nets were infiltrated by the SS to the point that Allied radio operators’ parachute jumps ended with quick capture by waiting Nazi squads.  Other German SS radio direction finding (RDF) teams were adept at homing in on spy stations.

K4LJH’s home brewing skills allow him to create equipment in the “works-of-art” category.

Preston made the front panel from sturdy aluminum and lined the wooden flip-top case with aluminum foil to eliminate the detuning effects of an operator’s hand close-by.

He reports the receiver is extremely sensitive and that the CW signal is “T9” and stable.  K4LJH said it took a year to complete his working WWll spy radio set.

Charlie’s 1929 Radio – Charlie Preston – CW or BUST!

Check out the audio from this radio transmission recorded on one of our Thursday nets.

Our friend Charlie is now SK. He left this space the afternoon of August 11, 2017. His friendship and contributions to all of us will be missed.

Contributors: W4AAW – photo and caption, K4LJH – photos, W5ODJ – Audio