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SPITFIRE R/T Sets
Early war, and presumably pre-war, the RAF was using
TR9D sets in fighter aircraft including the Spitfire to provide an air-ground
and air-air R/T communications. The TR9D was an AM (i.e. not FM) set. On
a Spitfire containing a TR9 set the aerial would be strung between the aerial
mast and the tail plane. There was an electro-mechanical controller in the
cockpit to operate the set using Teleflex type cables.
Some time during the Battle of Britain the RAF
introduced a VHF set into Spitfire. I believe this to be the TR1133. When a VHF
set was fitted the aerial was removed leaving the aerial mast alone to transmit
and receive signals. I have never seen a TR1133, or a picture of one, but I
believe they used the push-button type controller with a ‘Jones Plug’ type
connector at the back. In fact I think ‘Jones’ connectors were used throughout
I understand that Spitfire Mod 385 introduced the TR1143
in lieu of the TR1133. This was in the middle of 1941.
The TR1143 was also a VHF set but the controller,
although of the pushbutton type had the round type plug on the reverse. I
understand that when the USA entered the war there came a need for common R/T
between American bombers and their RAF escorts. I suspect that at this point the
USAAF was introduced to the TR1143. They took this and created the SCR-522 (24v)
and the SCR-542 (12v).
Externally the TR1143 and the SCR-522 /542 were the same
and used common connecting plugs, fittings and leads. The internals were
slightly different though and I have heard that the build quality on the US sets
was superior - perhaps due to the materials and components available to them. At
some point the US supplied the SCR-522 back to the RAF on lend-lease under the
designation of TR5043. Air Ministry items produced on a lend-lease basis seem to
have both a items US & AM label on them.
The TR5043 (SCR-522/542) was used in later Marks of
Spitfire, Mosquitoes and both the P47 and P51 when the latter took over the
USAAF bomber escort from the RAF.
TR1133 controller fitted LHS of cockpit
TR1196 and R1147
The Seafire also had different and additional R/T sets
presumably to allow ship-air communications and perhaps also some form of
homing device. These were the TR1196 and R1147 respectively.
R 1147 B
What is clear about all of these sets is that they are
scarce and normally command high prices if you can find them at all. Happy