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Vintage Radio

Despite government opposition, radio communications spread rapidly in Australia following the end of WW2. Released in 1949, the Pye TRP1 was one of the new breed of HF portable transceivers designed to meet the growing demand for suitable equipment.

By Rodney Champness, VK3UG

Following the end of World War 1, many groups pushed for the widespread adoption of radio communications despite strong government resistance. In Australia, these groups initially included people who were remote from telephones and the telegraph systems of the day.

Click for larger image
This view shows the fully restored transceiver. The original brown cabinet was resprayed a hammertone green colour and looks new again.

One pioneer, the Rev. John Flynn oversaw the development of radio communications for what was to become the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The first of his innovative pedal-powered radios came into use in 1929 and used several shortwave frequencies. Fishing trawlers also started using radio communications at about this time.

Early radio transceivers were quite bulky but as World War II approached, a number of "compact" transceivers were developed for the Flying Doctor Service, rural fire brigades, small aircraft, fishing vessels, forestry and farming groups, and surveyors and government departments. However, the number of sets produced during this period was not large as the government was still reluctant to licence radio communications services and placed many obstacles in the way of those wishing to use this medium.

In addition, suitable radio transceivers were expensive to produce, were still relatively bulky and were nowhere near as effective as communications equipment is today.

After being exposed to HF radio communications during WWII, many returned servicemen could see the value of HF communications in peace-
time. As a result, radio communications began to rapidly expand in the civilian sector and a number of companies produced suitable equipment to meet the demand. One such company was Pye-Electronics Pty Ltd, which included Electronic Industries Ltd and Radio Corporation (Astor).

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