Valve Developments for Naval Radar Applications, 1935–45

  • F. M. Foley


Formation of Signal School’s Valve Laboratory in 1917 — early history — particular contribution to technology of transmitting valves. Application of high-power valves in Watson-Watt’s first radar experiments — subsequent adoption of these valves for the RAF CH Early-Warning Chain — also for the first Naval metric wavelength radars. Later wartime valve developments that proved essential in radar equipment — silica output-power valves not suitable for mass-production, and limited in operation to an upper frequency of about 200 MHz. Introduction of metal-to-glass valve technology — decimetric-wave triodes for Naval 600 MHz gunnery radars. Invention of resonant-cavity magnetron at Birmingham University — subsequent development by GEC Research Laboratories as a very-high-power oscillator. Pulse modulators — hard valves, thyratrons and spark-gaps — limitations. Low-power RF valve developments. Duplexer valves for metre and microwavelengths. Crystal-mixer developments. General-purpose valve developments. Cathode-ray tubes, including PPI and Skiatron developments.


Oxide Cathode Valve Development Valve Technology Signal School Defence Research Agency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    B. S. Gossling, ‘Thermionic Valves for Naval Uses’, Journal IEE (1920), p. 670–97; B. S. Gossling and M. Thompson ‘Development of Valves for Wireless’, World Power (April 1925); Sir B. A. Surtees Paget, ‘History, Development and Commercial Uses of Fused Silica’, Jour Roy Soc Arts (January 1924); PRO File ADM 220/171, Includes very early photographs of silica valves.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ibid PRO Files AVIA 7/352, 353, 430, 431, 433, 434 and 435. Included much information and correspondence on the development of early radar valves for AMRE, Bawdsey; PRO File AVIA 7/715 Gives data on the unsuccessful attempt to make a silica valve to operate at 240 MHz.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    S. R. Mullard, ‘Thermionic Valve with Cylindrical Anode mounted in a Silica Bulb’, Patent 149076, May. 1919; ‘conductors in a Lead-Seal System’, Patent 170096, July 1920; ‘Electrode Mounting System’, Patent 170097, July 1920. A. K. Macrorie ‘Electrode Support systems in Silica Envelope’, Patent 170955, August 1920; ‘The Molybdenum Basket-Anode’, Patent 170953, August 1920; ‘Electrode Mounting on a Frame in a Silica Envelop’, Patent 170954, August 1920. H. Morris-Airey et al., ‘Connections from the Anode to a Seal’, Patent 170955, August 1920. L. G. Preston et al., ‘Assembly Method allowing a Silica Valve to cut open for Repair’, patent 178898, December 1920; ‘A filament Tension Spring’, Patent 177270, December 1920; H. J. S. Sand and F. Reynolds, ‘Improvements in Production of Gas-Tight Seals between metal and Vitreous Materials’, Patent 23854, October 1913.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    J. Bell et al. ‘Triodes for Very Short Waves’, Jour. IEE, vol. 93, Part 3A (1946), p. 833.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    E. G. Bowen, Radar Days (Adam Hilger Ltd, 1987), p. 29.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    J. T. Randall and H. A. H. Boot, ‘The Cavity Magnetron’, Jour. IEE, loc. cit., p. 928 et seq.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    E. C. S. Megaw, ‘High-Power Pulsed Magnetron: A Review of Early Developments’, Jour. IEE, loc. cit., p. 977 et seq.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    W. E. Willshaw et al., ‘The High-Power Pulsed Magnetron: Development and Design for Radar Applications’, Jour. IEE, loc. cit., p. 985 et seq.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    O. L. Ratsey, ‘Radar Transmitters. A Survey of Developments’, Jour. IEE, loc. cit., p. 245 et seq.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    H. de B. Knight, ‘The Development of Mercury Vapour Thyratrons for Radar Modulator Service’, Jour. IEE, loc. cit., p. 189 et seq.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    E. B. Callick, Metres to Microwaves (Peter Peregrinus Ltd, 1991), p. 91.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sir B. Lovell, Echoes of War. The Story of H2S Radar (Adam Hilger Ltd, 1991), p. 38.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    B. Bleaney, ‘The Crystal Valves’, Jour. IEE, loc. cit., p. 184 et seq.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    G. F. J. Garlick, ‘Cathode-Ray Tube Screens for Radar; their Development and Measurement for Intensity Modulated Displays, especially H2S’, Jour. IEE, loc. cit., p. 167 et seq.’ ‘Cathode-Ray Tube Screens for Radar’, Jour. IEE, loc. cit., p. 815 et seq.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    P. G. R. King, ‘The Skiatron or Dark-Trace Tube’, Jour. IEE, loc. cit., p. 171 et seq.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Naval Radar Trust 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. M. Foley

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations