These rebuilds amount to no less
than a rescue from oblivion . . . YOUR DAVEY SETS
This page features sets built by contributors, according to or substantially inspired by any of Gilbert Davey's designs.   The first five are by Hugh Castellan, an experienced constructor.   They include two "lost" designs that he has reconstructed from a combination of memory, experience, research, and some help from Gilbert Davey himself.   Downloads for these two designs are now available on this page - see below.   We follow these with a one-valver by a newbie, David Green (who was thrilled at his success), and a splendid Davey shortwave two-valver from Down Under, built by Dan Bedford.   I would be pleased to receive details of any Davey sets for consideration for this page, and especially for any of the early Boy's Own Paper designs which were not re-published later.


Welcome and introduction,
contact details, disclaimer,
rights notice, BVWS link,
site map.
The man who introduced radio
construction to several generations
of boys, many of whom became radio
or communications professionals.
The history of the famous
one-valve circuit, 1948-78.
The Studio 'E' 1-valver and
the Focus Transistor radio:
downloads for these famous
designs, and lots more!
A growing resource for those who
built Davey designs years ago, or who
simply wish to know more about them.
(This page)
Davey sets built by contributors -
including designs that could have been
lost but for some prolonged detective work.
Two home-made coils to use in place of the all-too-scarce
commercial types, suppliers for other components, and
other sources of useful information.
Latest news, links to other sites of interest,
and news archive.
Hover your mouse over the
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Pages marked  >  give access to
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see also Site Map at bottom
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Please note:
If you decide to construct any of the sets described or referred to on this page, it is your own responsibility to ensure that you work safely and that equipment (especially mains-operated sets or power supplies for battery sets) is soundly built and adequately housed.   Whilst considered safe by the standards of their day, some designs may not be considered safe by modern standards.   If you are in any doubt about your understanding of the information given or referred to on this page or about your ability to work safely, you should seek the help of a qualified person.


Hugh Castellan's sets

Hugh Castellan recalls building radio sets from the Boy's Own Paper during the 1950s while at school; these sets were lost over the years.   From the 1980s onwards he started again and, with some initial help from Gilbert Davey himself some years ago, and much detective work of his own, he has built five Davey designs altogether.

The original sources for the first two sets are long out of print, but can be found occasionally on internet auctions and bookseller sites, or by recourse to the British Library.   For the second two sets - the Holiday Radio and the Simple Three-valve set - the full original details are now almost certainly irretrievable.   Because of post-war paper shortages, Davey's designs were often published with incomplete details; the BOP only sent the remaining information out as duplicated sheets to intending builders.   It is extremely unlikely that any of these sheets have survived.   These rebuilds thus amount to no less than a rescue from oblivion.   Downloads compiled from Hugh's design details, and including the original BOP articles, are now available on this page - see below.

1: A modern Davey one-valver with a flavour of the past
First, his Davey one-valver.   Whilst the circuit is based on the original triode design as published (with reasonably full details) in the Boy's Own Paper in February 1948, it uses Davey's later long- and medium-wave coil as published in the January 1961 BOP (see CONSTRUCTION RESOURCES page for a download of the January 1961 article).   Also, Hugh has departed from Gilbert Davey's 1948 layout; instead his radio has a distinctive retro feel of its own.   He writes:

Hugh Castellan's one-valver, top view. Hugh Castellan's one-valver, bottom view.
    Hugh Castellan's one-valver, built on a
    Perspex panel; top view.


    Reproduced by kind permission.

    Hugh Castellan's one-valver, bottom view,
    showing the beautifully made coil.


    Reproduced by kind permission.

My one-valve radio is designed to go into a wooden case of suitable size.   The layout is based on a genuine Burndept crystal set which I own - the valve replaces the Cat's Whisker.   It was designed to look as old fashioned as possible, hence the black Perspex base to simulate Vulcanite.

The old balloon valve is a triode which seems to be very close to the HL2 in characteristics; it is numbered 542 on the base, but otherwise has no ID.   The valveholder is just four turned parts screwed into the panel.

The two terminals at top left are alternative aerial terminals, and the one at top right is the earth terminal.   The bottom terminals are for the headphones (S G Brown high impedance).

The coil is wound on a piece of Tufnol SRBP tube.   The small switch is the wavechange switch.   The variable condensers are genuine Jackson originals; otherwise the components are modern.

For the HT supply, I use seven PP9 equivalent batteries (i.e 63v).   I use a 2v 8AH sealed-for-life accumulator for the LT, which I charge with a modern electronic charger made in Germany.


The coil windings are long-wave, reaction (these two pile-wound within retaining rings), aerial, and medium-wave.   This coil, with lacquered windings, appears to have been beautifully made, as indeed does the whole set.



2: The Cycle Radio,
Boy's Own Paper, March 1952,
reprinted in Fun with Radio,
1st edition, 1957,
2nd edition, 1959,
and 3rd edition, 1961.
Hugh Castellan's Cycle Radio    
Front, rear and bottom views.    

Reproduced by kind permission.    

Hugh Castellan's Cycle Radio,
front view.
Hugh Castellan's Cycle Radio,
rear view.
Hugh Castellan's Cycle Radio,
bottom view.
The original BOP notes were only a written script with no diagrams, but fortunately Gilbert Davey included the Cycle Radio in the first three editions of Fun With Radio.   The simple design has detector and two LF stages, and is intended to receive local stations with a short aerial.

The design nearly didn't make it into the second and third editions, as Davey considered it out-of-date and the valves were unobtainable.   But, as his Author's Note in the second edition tells us, on the very day he had decided to exclude it, he received a letter from a New Zealand reader thanking him for the pleasure it had given him.   It brought home to him the realisation that in many parts of the world the set's relatively poor selectivity was no problem, and that its dependence upon batteries was a positive advantage where mains supplies were unavailable.   As a compromise, he gave alternative 1.4-volt valve types to use, with substitute connections.

Hugh's set was made to the original design (he had not made this set as a boy).   He writes:

The valve line up is HL2K, PM2HL and PM22A.   The coil is homemade, or you could originally use the specified alternative of the Wearite PHF7 coil.   Both coils are for medium waves only.   The front panel has the usual tuning and reaction controls.

The aerial I used is an extending radio control aerial, but I imagine that builders would have used some surplus "38 set" aerial which was commonly available then.   The socket on the left is the earth connection - the set works without an earth but is much better with one.   Gilbert told his clients to use the set only when stationary, so a length of brass curtain or stair rod with a wire would have made a good earth.

The two sockets on the right are for the separate loudspeaker which was mounted on the handlebars.   The set itself was mounted on the crossbar, and the batteries were in your saddle bag.


I wonder how many of these sets were actually mounted to bicycles - a box of the suggested size on the crossbar would surely have been a nuisance if mounted above it and a knee hazard if hung below.   I asked Hugh if he had tried mounting his set on a bicycle.   His reply:

No, I haven't tried it on a bicycle as I don't have one - far too old at 72 for bikes I'm afraid!

If you built one of these sets and fitted it to a bike way back in the 1950s, please tell me about it.

 

3: The Holiday Radio,
Boy's Own Paper, July 1950 -
reconstruction of a
"lost" Davey design.
Download with
full details available
on this page
Hugh Castellan's Holiday Radio    
Front, rear and bottom views.    

Reproduced by kind permission.    

Hugh Castellan's Holiday Radio, front view.
Hugh Castellan's Holiday Radio, rear view.
Hugh Castellan's Holiday Radio, bottom view.
Hugh Castellan's Holiday Radio rebuild was finally completed quite recently, and is the result of detective work and brain-cudgelling over many years.   This Davey design was published in the July 1950 Boy's Own Paper, but readers had to send for a separate leaflet containing the circuit diagram and components list.   The intention was that this small lightweight radio without internal battery storage space should be taken on holiday, and powered by batteries bought while there.   A 30-foot length of wire thrown over a tree branch served as an aerial.

Whilst a boy at school, Hugh sent for the plans and built the set.   The specified valve line-up was W21 7-pin (RF), HL2K (detector) and PM22A (output).   Hugh remembers:

In my original set, I used a 7-pin VP2 instead of the W21 - this was the Mullard equivalent which a radio shop man in Burton-on-Trent said would do the job.   I was only 12 years old and not very knowledgeable at the time, so had to hope he was right.   I used a standard HL2 instead of an HL2K.

This set - and the plans - were lost over the years.   And there it rested until the 1980s when he started again.

I wanted to build a new Holiday Radio, so my wife wrote to Practical Wireless on my behalf asking if anybody still had the plans.   I did get a phone call from Gilbert Davey himself but he was unable to help me with the Holiday Radio.   He sent me one of his books and some data on that big 2" diameter coil.   [See the 1-valver above.]

I went to the British Library and obtained prints of the Holiday Radio, the Simple Three Valve Radio, and the Cycle Radio, plus some info on the One-Valve Radio and the Crystal Set.   But of course there were no circuit diagrams with some of the notes as you know.

I drew out circuit diagrams and sent those off to Mr Davey who kindly marked them up for me as far as he could go.   I partly built the Holiday Radio, but did not have all the circuit details.   And there things stood until recent times.

Certain components stuck in memory - 10k anode resistor for the VP2 and 100k anode resistor for the HL2 were remembered purely because of the colours - and the 8μF bypass capacitor in the cathode circuit of the PM22A output valve.

The Holiday Radio rebuild is as near to the original as possible with what I had to make it with.   The line-up is W21 4-pin, HL2K and PM22A.   Gilbert Davey originally specified a 7-pin W21, but I have never found one yet although they were made according to some data I found recently.   The W21 was always upside down because it only fits that way given the case size.   The coils are homemade to the original specification written in BOP.   However I used Litz wire for the tuning windings and solid wire for the reaction winding.   I placed the battery socket slightly differently as it was not very secure as designed.   The case should be covered with Rexine, but I have not got round to using something like this.   I rather like seeing the inner works.


Later, Hugh found a 7-pin W21, so his Holiday Radio now has the authentic line-up.   The output transformer seen in the photo has also since been replaced with a special transformer made to suit the PM22A output valve.

By kind permission of Lutterworth Press and Hugh Castellan, the PDF download below carries extensive details of the reconstructed Holiday Radio, and is available for your personal non-commercial use.   Please also read the copyright notice on the WELCOME page.   If you wish to pass it on to a friend, please send a link to this web page.   He will then have access to the viewing and printing suggestions as below.

The download contains:

* the full July 1950 BOP article;
* circuit diagram, components list, construction notes;
* annotated high-resolution photos of the set.
Minor corrections have been made to the leaflet (1.1.2014).   A drawing for constructing the cabinet is in preparation.   A new PDF will be uploaded when this is ready.


Holiday Radio, A4 PDF file PDF file:   (You need Acrobat Reader installed on your PC.)   File size is 1.6Mb, and a broadband connection is recommended.

Click the icon to download the PDF file.   If Acrobat Reader opens within your browser, use the "Back" button to return to this page when download is complete.   If Acrobat Reader opens in a separate window, close that window to return to this page.

Images and text are positioned so that when printed on two sheets of A4 paper, the sheets can be folded to form an 8-page A5 leaflet.   Print odd pages first.   Turn the two sheets over, and print even pages.




4: The Simple Three-valve Radio
Boy's Own Paper,
November 1949 -
another "lost" Davey design.
Download with
full details available
on this page
Hugh Castellan's    
Simple Three-valve Radio    
Front, rear and bottom views.    

Reproduced by kind permission.    

Hugh Castellan's Simple Three-valve Radio,
front view.
Hugh Castellan's Simple Three-valve Radio,
rear view.
Hugh Castellan's Simple Three-valve Radio,
bottom view.
The November 1949 edition of BOP carried fairly full instructions for the Simple Three-valve Radio, including a circuit diagram and practical layouts.   Tantalisingly though, values were not shown for all components, and would-be builders had to send for the full list.   It was an "up-to-date" design with RF, detector and pentode output stages, simple enough for the relative beginner, but sophisticated enough to attract more experienced constructors.

The chassis floor serves as screening between the two coils, which are mounted at right-angles as a further safeguard against interaction.   (If a wooden chassis were used, foil covering was advised.)   Space is reserved in front of the output valve for the loudspeaker when built into a cabinet.   Original valve line-up was specified as W21, HL2, PM22A.   Hugh Castellan writes:

Here are three photos of the Simple Three Valve Radio, which was the second radio I built originally as a boy.   My modern one differs in the homemade valveholders and the output transformer mounted under the chassis which I think is safer than having 90 volts floating about outside the set.

The circuit is "pure Gilbert" from the printed article, and Davey himself checked it for Hugh when they were in touch during the 1980s.

With reference to output transformers, as far I can see Gilbert never specified an output transformer precisely.   I looked up the data for the PM22A on the internet. Both 15kΩ and 19kΩ were given in various data sheets.   My transformer gives 15kΩ max. I think 19KΩ is the preferred value.

Hugh has since fitted a new output transformer made specially for him to suit the PM22A.

The coils used on the Simple Radio were the Wearite 'P' coils type PA2 and PHF2 as per the original.   The 2-gang 500pF condenser is a genuine Jackson I bought in the 1980s when they were still in business.   I have long hoped to obtain the long-wave equivalent of PA1 and PHF1 but no luck so far.

By kind permission of Lutterworth Press and Hugh Castellan, the PDF download below carries full details of the Simple Three-valve Radio, and is available for your personal non-commercial use.   Please also read the copyright notice on the WELCOME page.   If you wish to pass it on to a friend, please send a link to this web page.   He will then have access to the viewing and printing suggestions as below.

The download contains:

* the full November 1949 BOP article;
* circuit diagram, components list, construction notes;
* annotated high-resolution photos of the set.
Minor corrections have been made to the leaflet (1.1.2014).


Simple Three-valve Radio, A4 PDF file PDF file:   (You need Acrobat Reader installed on your PC.)   File size is 4Mb, and a broadband connection is recommended.

Click the icon to download the PDF file.   If Acrobat Reader opens within your browser, use the "Back" button to return to this page when download is complete.   If Acrobat Reader opens in a separate window, close that window to return to this page.

Images and text are positioned so that when printed on two sheets of A4 paper, the sheets can be folded to form an 8-page A5 leaflet.   Print odd pages first.   Turn the two sheets over, and print even pages.

I am deeply grateful to Hugh Castellan for making available the information, based on his extended work, that has made possible these two downloads.   These two designs, so nearly lost, can now be enjoyed once more.

 

5: A "pukka" Studio ‘E’
One-valver,
BBC Television,
September - November 1957
Hugh Castellan's    
Studio ‘E’ one-valver.    
Front, rear and bottom views.    

Reproduced by kind permission.    

Hugh Castellan's Studio E one-valver,
front view.
Hugh Castellan's Studio E one-valver,
rear view.
Hugh Castellan's Studio E one-valver,
bottom view.
Hugh Castellan's latest build is a Studio ‘E’ one-valver as near to the design in the leaflet as he could get it.   With its plywood panels and no on-off switch, Hugh's set must look very like many others built during the TV series in 1957.   So this is very much a "pukka" version of Davey's design.

In November 2011, I happened to spot a Teletron D/R coil on the ebay auction site.   Knowing that Hugh wanted to build a Studio ‘E’ set, I gave him the tip-off.   He was lucky enough to win this rare item!   Hugh writes:

Please find enclosed some photos of my version of the Studio ‘E’ Gilbert Davey radio.   It works very well with Radio 5 Live, but it might need an increase in reaction capacitor to 300pF.

Both variable capacitors are modern ones made by the successors to Jacksons.   The wander plug sockets are home-made to look like the original as far as possible.   I use an outdoor aerial and an earth in the ground outside.   Headphones are my S G Brown high impedance ones - 4000Ω as far as I know.

I am using a DAF91 valve, and the HT is 63 volts.   However the resistor in series with the phones is 4.7kΩ, as 5kΩ is not a preferred value any more.


Hugh has used turned parts for the wander sockets - he found them impossible to buy as I did.   He has used the two inboard wander socket fixings, as I did, to secure a clamp for the battery lead.

Hugh's experience with the set's reaction accords with my own - my "conjectural" set was a little deficient on reaction at the LF end of medium wave, and so is my new rebuild.

By the way, I have turned the bottom-view photo upside-down, so that you can compare it more easily with the leaflet's layout - see The Studio ‘E’ Leaflet (open another tab in your browser and switch between tabs, or open a second browser session and see both at the same time).   You'll see that Hugh has "squared-up" the wiring a little, but it still follows the leaflet's layout closely.

My thanks to Hugh for sending me these pictures and notes.   I have now caught up with him, and have rebuilt my Studio ‘E’ largely in accordance with the leaflet, but I have incorporated once again the changes my father built into the original.   Compare our two sets - see My Rebuilt Studio ‘E’ Set

 

6: David Green's "conjectural"
Studio ‘E’ one-valver
In February 2011, David Green was looking for a simple beginner's project to introduce him to valve technology, and stumbled upon my site.   This was before the Studio ‘E’ leaflet had come to light, and the site then carried details of my "conjectural" Studio ‘E’ set (now replaced by details of my re-build according mostly with the leaflet).   With just a very few tips from me along the way, David has surmounted every obstacle that Murphy's Law could put in his path, including duff headphones (he re-wound faulty coils!), doubts about component choices, and dry joints.   At the end of September 2011, I received this message from David:

David Green's Studio ‘E’ set,    
built to my "conjectural" design.    

Reproduced by kind permission.    

David Green's 'conjectural'
Studio 'E' radio, front view.
David Green's 'conjectural'
Studio 'E' radio, rear view.
Just to let you know that I got around to setting up the aerial, earth etc.   I re-checked the headphones and to my surprise found one ear-piece seemed to be fully functioning so shorted out the other, plugged everything in and waited - nothing!   I thought maybe the valve was duff or I was wrong about the headphones, so today I went through checking everything.   Tried again and lo and behold there was the voice of Ed Balls speaking at the Labour Party conference!   Magic!   (The radio that is, not Ed Balls.)   I needed to re-solder a couple of joints but other than that it works fine.   I have to keep switching it on and twiddling the dials.   It's fantastic - I am absolutely thrilled.   Picture attached.   I would like to say very many thanks for your time giving advice and guidance - it is very much appreciated.   I would have made a lot of mistakes otherwise.
Best wishes, David.


Congratulations to David on his first one-valver!   It really is a lovely looking build, and I'm glad his patience through the various setbacks paid off.   Don't know about Ed Balls, but Gilbert Davey's magic still works for radio beginners of all ages!   As can be seen, David has made a coil as specified on the CONSTRUCTION RESOURCES page, and has made up a repilca HT/LT battery pack.   He has even copied the aluminium brackets that feature in my own Studio ‘E’ set!

 

7: Dan Bedford's
Shortwave Two-valver,
Fun with Short Waves
1st edition, 1960,
Chapter 4
Dan Bedford's Shortwave 2-valver.    
Front, rear and bottom views.    
Note the manufacturer's badge!    

Reproduced by kind permission.    

Dan Bedford's shortwave 2-valver,
front view.
Dan Bedford's shortwave 2-valver,
rear view.
Dan Bedford's shortwave 2-valver,
bottom view.
Dan Bedford, from Queensland, Australia, told me he intended to build a Davey one-valver.   Well, he's gone one better - he's built a two-valver instead!  It is based on Chapter 4 of Fun with Short Waves, 1st edition, 1960.   Dan writes:
It was this book, more than anything else, that set me off on a path of no return in radio and electronics.   It took me from the world of crystal sets into the wonderful world of valve radios.

For this set, Gilbert Davey specified his simple split-floor chassis as he used for the Studio ‘E’ set (see above) and for a shortwave one-valver in the first edition of Fun with Radio.   For shortwave work, the wooden chassis is covered in aluminium foil.   But Dan had trouble making the plywood panels:

This should have been very straightforward, but I found that the quality of the plywood left a lot to be desired and I had difficulty cutting and drilling it without splintering.   I had to score both sides of the ply with a Stanley knife before cutting, and clean holes could only be made by drilling tiny pilot holes and then carefully enlarging them from both sides.

It was my intention to be as faithful as possible to the original 1960 design.   To this end I used suitable British components, including Teletron valve sockets, Jackson and Ormond solid dielectric capacitors, and Bulgin switches, phone jacks and terminals.   I didn't have the Osmor coils that Davey specified, but I do have a collection of Denco coils of a slightly later vintage.   They had to suffice.

The detector is a 1T4, and the audio amplifier is a 3V4 wired for 1.4 Volts on the paralleled filament.
  [We show the parallel arrangement for the filament of this valve on the circuit diagram below.   Beware!   Pin connections for 1.4v valves vary between types, so check carefully before applying power to them.]

For wiring up, I needed to restrain myself!   My natural tendency is to use the correct wiring colour codes and appropriate passive components from the sixties.   I doubt that Davey would have been that pedantic.

The pictures show:
Top: the simple front panel, with neat legends, and complete with manufacturer's badge;
Centre: rear view, showing the foil-covered chassis and major components;
Bottom: underside view.   The coil socket is on the left; the output valve is on the right.

The Shortwave 2-valver:    
In red: Dan Bedford's changes and    
corrections to the published design.    

The shortwave 2-valver,
circuit diagram.


By using plug-in Denco coils, Dan eliminated the coil switch that featured in Davey's design.   The "front end" is thus very simple (see A above).   The pictures show the set fitted with a green Denco DP Range 2 coil.   Dan continues:

My first trials were not encouraging.   RF was bleeding through to the audio stage and causing distortion.   Improved decoupling was in order.   A 1000pF capacitor to ground from the detector anode load resistor (B) cured this problem.   I also decoupled the screen dropping resistor from the output stage (C).

Yet another problem!   Perhaps my Denco coil had a much higher 'Q' than the 1950s-60s coils that Davey used.   The regeneration was way too fierce.   The answer was to reduce the high screen voltage by increasing the value of the screen dropping resistor R5 (D) to 470kΩ.   Davey may have discovered the same, because he used a higher value for the corresponding component in the three-valve set later in the book.

Regeneration was still way too active, but a 4.7kΩ damping resistor (E) across the feedback winding tamed it.

Davey designed his set to use back bias on the HT+ supply to provide a source of negative grid bias for the output valve.
  [The circuit diagram in Chapter 4 is incorrect, but there is a footnote giving the correction.   We show the corrected arrangement here (F).]

Dan Bedford's Shortwave 2-valver:    
HT and LT batteries.    

Reproduced by kind permission.    

Dan Bedford's shortwave 2-valver,
HT battery.
Dan Bedford's shortwave 2-valver,
LT battery.
Dan needed high- and low-tension batteries for his set.   While in the UK, he took a trip down London's Edgware Road.   It was a wasted journey:

Of all the wonderful radio shops that were once there, I could only find Henry’s Radio (now Henrys Electronics).   The young man behind the counter had no idea what a high-tension battery was.   I would have to make one!

Having encased modern batteries in period packaging, Dan decided that they looked too new - he wanted batteries from the 1960s!   So they have been carefully distressed.

Dan says that the set's performance is limited at present as there is no bandspread provision, and no slow-motion gear on the tuning capacitor, which itself has a worn shaft.   (I also wonder if Dan has overdamped that reaction coil.)

However, he has gained much pleasure in building the set, and in December 2013, it was entered in the Two Valve Device Competition held by the Historical Wireless Society of South East Queensland, his local club.   Dan was awarded joint First Prize with the only other entrant!

My thanks to Dan for sending me his pictures and text, and for allowing me to reproduce them here.

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I would be delighted to hear about YOUR Davey projects, whether constructed recently or long ago.