a website collaboration between Science Service and the Smithsonian Institution

1949 - exhibits of this year's British Industries Fair show its cloud and collision warning radar equipment, and X-band radar system designed primarily for the detction of cumulo nimbus clouds


E&MP 103.060

Radar - equipment

March 1949


Among the radio and electronics exhibits of this year's British Industries Fair (London and Birmingham, May 2nd to 13th) the firm of E.K. Cole, Limited, Ekco Works, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England, will show its cloud and collision warning radar equipment, and X-band radar system designed primarily for the detection of cumulo nimbus clouds.

These clouds are always associated with storm areas, and a warning of them 40 miles away is invaluable to pilots of aircraft.

The equipment can also be used for selecting a route through dangerous clouds at night or in poor visibility.

A high coast-line can be "seen" at a distance of 40 miles and a low sandy beach at 20 miles, providing good "map pointing" facilities for navigation.

The range for detection of other aircraft varies from five miles for smaller to ten or 12 miles for larger types.

The equipment consists of six units: scanner, transmitter/receiver, synchronizing unit, indicating unit, control unit and servo unit.

The scanner produces a cone of radio frequency energy about six degrees wide, scanning 80 degrees on either side of the line of flight, and above or below the horizontal plane so that the vertical extent of a cloud formation may be ascertained.

The scanner is stabilized in both roll and pitch, so that regardless of the altitude of the aircraft, within certain limits the scanner beam is horizontal.

The transmitter/receiver unit includes a three centimeter magnetron producing a peak power of about ten kilowatts.


Original Caption by Science Service
© British Information Services

Additional Information

. . . before the start of the Second World War the Government decided to disperse certain production to locations away from obvious bombing targets. This led to a shadow factory at Cowbridge House, Malmesbury, Wiltshire being established by Ekco. This was followed by other shadow factories at Aylesbury, Woking, Preston, and Rutherglen. The wartime headquarters of Ekco was based at Aston Clinton House in Buckinghamshire. Following the outbreak of war, the Southend-on-Sea factory was evacuated apart from the bakelite moulding shop whose large moulding presses could not be moved easily. Less than a year later, the empty factory was re-equipped to make wiring looms for aircraft such as the Avro Lancaster.

Malmesbury specialised in the top secret development and production of the new radar systems as part of the "Western Development Unit". Radar equipment produced at Malmesbury during the war included the AI Mark IV and AI Mark VIII air interception radars, and the ASV Mark II air to surface vessel radar . . .

Courtesy: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EKCO

National Museum of American History


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