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  #1  
Old 27-11-13, 18:35
David Dunlop David Dunlop is offline
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Default The "C" Prefix on Canadian Wireless Equipment

Has anyone ever wondered about this prefix? Frankly, for years I never gave it a second thought, assuming it was some bureaucrats idea at some distant time to distinguish Canadian wireless equipment from everyone else's.

Recently, however, (and quite likely for a lack of better things to think about) I have realized this "C" prefix is definitely NOT a standard for Canadian made or used wireless equipment from the Second World War. It is beginning to look more and more like an RCA invention for some sort of internal production control usage. I took a closer look at my 27-Set and 58-Set, both Canadian made but not by RCA and there is no "C" prefix to the serial number. My RCA 19-Set components are all "C" prefixed, as are some Northern Electric items (but they took over 19-Set production from RCA later in the war). Crystal Calibrators are Marconi Canada. I have not seem many at all with a surviving serial number if the case is original and not repainted. They seem to fall into three categories: a blank white spot where a serial number should have been, one or two with a "C" prefix to the serial number, or lastly a large gob of black paint had been applied to the serial number field making it unreadable. Was this item designed by RCA but manufactured by Marconi?

Same thing with Wireless Remote Control Units. They were made by RCA, Northern Electric and Dominion Electric. Original cases for RCA units have a "C"prefix if the number was applied, but most sets are missing the serial number where it was supposed to be applied or it was painted over with a gob of black paint.

RCA AR88LF receivers, built in Montreal, were assigned serial numbers prefixed by a "C". Sets made in Camden, New Jersey are pure numbers.

Seems like a numbering system that could get hopelessly confusing with duplicate numbers for different products if one wasn't very careful.


David

Last edited by David Dunlop; 27-11-13 at 23:13.
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  #2  
Old 27-11-13, 21:09
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Jon Skagfeld Jon Skagfeld is offline
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Just to muddy the water a little bit...

The British company Plessey made the C-42.

Used by the Canadian Army as replacement for the WS N0 19.
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Last edited by Jon Skagfeld; 28-11-13 at 21:42.
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  #3  
Old 28-11-13, 08:58
Bruce MacMillan Bruce MacMillan is offline
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I had two WS11s made by Canadian Marconi. Both s/n's began with "C".
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  #4  
Old 29-11-13, 18:27
David Dunlop David Dunlop is offline
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Jon:

That production had crossed my mind but when I checked my set, found they kept the "C" with the model and the serials were delightfully numeric.

Bruce:

Intereesting. Any indications that RCA might have been involved with their production at any time?


David
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  #5  
Old 30-11-13, 11:52
Bruce MacMillan Bruce MacMillan is offline
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The WS11s were dated 1941. I believe this was the last year these sets were made. There's no indication of RCA involvement.

One thought crossed my mind was that Northern Electric, Marconi & RCA were big into manufacturing comm equipment before the war. Addison Industries (WS58) and Rogers-Majestic (WS27) built only home entertainment radios.

Documentation I have between Ottawa & the Canadian Army Overseas HQ in London refers to the WS19 as "Wireless Set C-19). Perhaps the three manufacturers made note of this and put the "C" in front of the S/N.
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  #6  
Old 01-12-13, 06:49
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servicepub (RIP) servicepub (RIP) is offline
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Admission - I am not a radio expert.
That said, the 'C' prefix was normally applied to items that were made for Canadian use - not necessarily in Canada, and not everything in Canada was made for Canadians as we manufactured to supply many allies.
In addition, the Canadian Army had a policy known as 'Continuing Canadian Supply' which identified Canadian-made goods which were for the use of the Canadian Army. This list included uniforms, insignia, helmets, small arms and vehicles. Other items were wholly dependent on both the London and Washington Munitions Allocation Boards (LMAB and WMAB). These groups would re-direct munitions and materiel to whatever part of the globe needed them the most. As radios (and many other items) were not subject to the 'CCS' policy, Canada could be equipped with radios from anywhere.
Finally, at times a 'Canadian' serial number would be applied at the factory but the item was actually shipped elsewhere.
Clear as mud?
Clive
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  #7  
Old 01-12-13, 14:03
Johnny Canuck Johnny Canuck is offline
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Yes clear as mud!
It always amuses me to look at the acronym for Canadian Army Overseas is.......... CAOS.

Geoff
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  #8  
Old 14-12-13, 00:32
Chris Suslowicz Chris Suslowicz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce MacMillan View Post
The WS11s were dated 1941. I believe this was the last year these sets were made. There's no indication of RCA involvement.

One thought crossed my mind was that Northern Electric, Marconi & RCA were big into manufacturing comm equipment before the war. Addison Industries (WS58) and Rogers-Majestic (WS27) built only home entertainment radios.

Documentation I have between Ottawa & the Canadian Army Overseas HQ in London refers to the WS19 as "Wireless Set C-19). Perhaps the three manufacturers made note of this and put the "C" in front of the S/N.
I think the "C" prefix was to distinguish the Canadian built sets from the British ones, simply because of internal component differences that meant spare parts from one country would not fit sets built in another (although the complete unit would be interchangeable). The WS11 was built in the UK and Canada, Australia was (I think) supplied from the UK. The Canadian redesigned Wireless Set No.9 was very considerably different from the British one (it used sensible valves for a start), and eventually got redesignated as WS52.

All the WS19 variants are different (in various ways) and there's a manual of which parts are interchangeable between UK, US and Canadian built sets, plus modifications needed (different bias resistor if E1148 is used in the 'B' set instead of DET24/CV6), etc.

The VAOS prefix was also changed, with various permutations of ZA, ZA/C, ZA/CAN, ZA/US/BR and ZAA (the latter being Australia).

Chris.
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  #9  
Old 14-12-13, 01:06
Chris Suslowicz Chris Suslowicz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Skagfeld View Post
Just to muddy the water a little bit...

The British company Plessey made the C-42.

Used by the Canadian Army as replacement for the WS N0 19.
That doesn't muddy the water at all: it's the "New Range" of radio sets introduced after WW2 and the letter denotes the power supply/consumption, with the next digit specifying the frequency range and the final digit the set design/model type:

A - low power portable, man portable sets usually primary battery supply.
B - low power vehicular - secondary battery supply
C - medium power vehicular - secondary battery or AC mains supply
D - high power vehicular or static - AC mains or generator supply
E - very high power static installations (usually) may be transportable in sections.

First digit

1-3 HF (2 - 30 MHz)
4-6 VHF (30 - 400 MHz)
7-9 UHF (over 400 MHz)

Second digit is the "design sequence number" of the equipment, starting at zero (low numbers are unlikely to get past trials unless they were re-designated existing kit, such as the E10 (originally Wireless Set No.15, a long range (2kW low power, up to 30kW on HP)).

So you get a slightly more logical arrangement of:

SR A13 (Station Radio A13) - low power HF for where VHF is unsuitable.
SR A40 - low power infantry VHF (also A41, A42 and A43, all different).
SR B47 - low power vehicular VHF set
SR B70 - UHF (really SHF) radio relay
SR C13 - Vehicular HF
SR C42 - Vehicular VHF
SR C50 - Transportable VHF radio relay
SR C70 - Transportable UHF radio relay
SR D70 - a failed attempt as long range SHF radio relay - they forgot the Fresnel clearance.
T D11 - (Transmitter only) Vehicle/static medium power (350W on CW, 100W DSB)
R 230 - Receiver (these were numbered consecutively in order of development)
T E10 - HF Transmitter (58 - 78 kVA input for 2 -> 30 kW output, mind your fingers!)

Chris
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  #10  
Old 14-12-13, 09:07
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Mike Kelly Mike Kelly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Suslowicz View Post
The WS11 was built in the UK and Canada, Australia was (I think) supplied from the UK.

Chris.
Actually the 11 set was built here , AWA made around 6000 of them . Quite a few of these have been seen in the UK recently , these sets are recent imports by collectors . The AWA set was not suitable for jungle use , the cotton wiring looms were a disaster in the tropics with fungal growth problems .
When the war finished the Govt. surplus them very quickly , many were never issued but kept in storage because of its unsuitable design for tropical areas.

The sets are fairly common here . The other problem with them was they used very low quality zinc based castings for the power supply genemotor frames , these frames crack and distort badly . Mike
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  #11  
Old 16-12-13, 19:50
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Jon Skagfeld Jon Skagfeld is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Suslowicz View Post
That doesn't muddy the water at all: it's the "New Range" of radio sets introduced after WW2 and the letter denotes the power supply/consumption, with the next digit specifying the frequency range and the final digit the set design/model type:

A - low power portable, man portable sets usually primary battery supply.
B - low power vehicular - secondary battery supply
C - medium power vehicular - secondary battery or AC mains supply
D - high power vehicular or static - AC mains or generator supply
E - very high power static installations (usually) may be transportable in sections.

First digit

1-3 HF (2 - 30 MHz)
4-6 VHF (30 - 400 MHz)
7-9 UHF (over 400 MHz)

Second digit is the "design sequence number" of the equipment, starting at zero (low numbers are unlikely to get past trials unless they were re-designated existing kit, such as the E10 (originally Wireless Set No.15, a long range (2kW low power, up to 30kW on HP)).

So you get a slightly more logical arrangement of:

SR A13 (Station Radio A13) - low power HF for where VHF is unsuitable.
SR A40 - low power infantry VHF (also A41, A42 and A43, all different).
SR B47 - low power vehicular VHF set
SR B70 - UHF (really SHF) radio relay
SR C13 - Vehicular HF
SR C42 - Vehicular VHF
SR C50 - Transportable VHF radio relay
SR C70 - Transportable UHF radio relay
SR D70 - a failed attempt as long range SHF radio relay - they forgot the Fresnel clearance.
T D11 - (Transmitter only) Vehicle/static medium power (350W on CW, 100W DSB)
R 230 - Receiver (these were numbered consecutively in order of development)
T E10 - HF Transmitter (58 - 78 kVA input for 2 -> 30 kW output, mind your fingers!)

Chris
Chris: Thanks for that explanation and clarification.
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