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Duxford Radio Society


Imperial War Museum, Duxford, England 


 
Equipment Summary

Status:
Project completed              
Updated 07-05-2009
Representation of the Lancaster Wireless Operator's Crew Position

Representation of Lancaster Wireless Operator's position
Replica of Lancaster Wireless Operator's crew position February 2009

 Wireless Operator's position in IWM Lancaster
The real Wireless Operator's position in the IWM Duxford Lancaster

Lancaster Wireless Operator's Position (UK)

This exhibit, located in Duxford Building 177,  is a life-like representation of the section of the Avro Lancaster bomber fuselage which contains the Wireless Operator's crew position.

A more complete version which also contains the Navigator's position is located in the Duxford Airspace building near the site entrance.

While the framework of this exhibit is constructed from modern materials, the main equipment units are original WWII issue (the
bench seat shown is not an original Lancaster fitment).

The exhibit features a working R1155 HF receiver which enables visitors to tune the airwaves and experience the 'feel' of a 1940s RAF airborne communications receiver via either headphones or a loudspeaker.  Visitors can also practice their Morse code using a key just as the Wireless Operator would have done. 
Younger visitors are able to obtain a Morse code certificate after sending their name in Morse code.

A replica of the Fishpond radar warning indicator unit gives a rotating blue trace which the Wireless Operator would have monitored to detect approaching enemy fighters.

The station consists of the following equipment units:-

Receiver R1155 (working condition)
Transmitter T1154
Crew Intercommunication Amplifier A1134
Aerial Switch Type J
Morse key Type F
Oxygen Flow Meter
Aerial Ammeter
Aerial Capacitor
Fishpond Indicator Unit Type 182A (modified)
Crystal Monitor (calibrator)

This exhibit was originally constructed by DRS member Phil Racher.  For 8 years or so it was a major display item in the Radar & Communications Museum section at Bletchley Park, (along with the Winbolt collection) until that facility was closed.  It was then donated to DRS and has been in storage until work started to rebuild it in late 2007.

The refurbishment of this complete Wireless Operator's station has included shortening, rebuilding and strengthening parts of the outer framework and the construction of a new wooden base frame to carry the complete exhibit.

The individual items of electronic equipment have received  conservation treatment, and the R1155 communications receiver has been returned to working condition.  Mains operated power supplies have been constructed which meet the modern health and safety regulations.
Original exhibit at Bletchley Park
Base of original exhibit with various power supplies
The original exhibit as displayed at Bletchley Park
Close-up of the lower deck containing various power supplies
Exhibit in storage at Duxford 1
Exhibit in storage at Duxford 2
At Duxford being appraised after removal of the main equipment-1
At Duxford being appraised after removal of the main equipment-2



The original intention was to display this item to the public at IWM Duxford largely as it was.  Although containing the Wireless Operator's equipment the exhibit was found to be not long enough to mount the full complement of Navigator's equipment and so the IWM asked DRS to help construct a larger replica which could house both of these crew stations.  The Bletchley Park exhibit was then placed into storage for several years while the IWM project was successfully implemented and installed in the new Airspace Hanger.  See link to IWM Lancaster replica page


Duxford Building 177 already had an operational R1155 receiver and Morse code practice oscillator and key available for the public to use, and it was resolved to use the Bletchley Park replica to up-date and improve that facility.  After careful evaluation of the structure of the replica, it was clear that to be robust enough to be moved and operated regularly by the public it would need to be significantly strengthened.  Certain changes were also dictated by a Health and Safety evaluation.

It was also concluded that to be most effective as an exhibit it would need to be either rebuilt to be longer and include the Navigator's equipment or shortened to only include the Wireless Operator's position.  Due to the small size of Duxford Buildings 177 and 178 the decision was taken to shorten and strengthen the item, and to rebuild it to represent only the Wireless Operator's position.

Preparing to shorten and rebuild the exhibit
The first cut is the deepest
Preparing to shorten and rebuild the exhibit in a Duxford WW2 Nissen Hut
The first cut is the deepest - shortening the exhibit body

Evaluating the progress
Shortening nearly complete
Evaluating the progress
Shortening nearly complete
A new base support is being constructed
The shortened exhibit now on its new base plate
A new base support framework is being constructed with concealed castors The shortened exhibit temporarily mounted on its new base plate
Front view of the revised assembly
Just getting things true again
Front view of the revised assembly Just getting things 'true' again
Painting the unit
Using the correct aircraft interior paint
Painting the unit Using the correct aircraft interior paint
Evaluating the progress
Soon be time for the electronics fit
Evaluating the results and planning the next stage Soon be time to mount the the electronics
Trial fitting the main equipment cases
Three quarter view
Trial fitting the equipment cases A three quarter view of the exhibit
Starting to wire up the equipment
The aircraft accumulator conceals a mains PSU
Starting to wire up the equipment The dummy aircraft accumulator conceals a mains PSU
Bench testing the individual units
R1155 receiver being bench tested
Each item of equipment has been carefully restored The R1155 receiver being bench tested after restoration
The Fishpond radar warning indicator
Starting to fit the main equipment units in
A simulated rotating display on the Fishpond radar warning indicator Starting to fit the main equipment units in
Time to run up the complete station
The subdued lighting is now working
Time to test the complete station The subdued lighting to simulate the dim interior of a bomber aircraft
The Fishpond Indicator Unit in situ
Close-up of the intercom amplifier and crystal calibrator
The simulation of the Fishpond Indicator Unit is now operational Close-up of the Intercom Amplifier and Crystal Monitor (calibrator)
The final exhibit before leaving the workshop
A new home in Building 177
The final exhibit before leaving the workshop for public display A new home in IWM Duxford Building 177
Final installation


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V2.00
Updated 07-05-2009