Transistors Used In Radar

‘Transistor techniques used in navaids and radars’

runs a headline, 54 years ago, in Electronics Weekly’s first edition dated September 7th 1960.

The story continues:

Greater safety in the air is accented by the electronic exhibits at the SBAC Farnborough Air Show which opened on Monday. More reliable equipment, leading to overall system safety, receives greater emphasis than ever.

In airborne equipment the almost universal adoption of the transistor has increased reliability enormously with no loss of efficiency and has also effected considerable economy in weight and size of ‘black boxes’, at the same time lessening the problem of heat dissipation.

Typical of the advanced techniques now emerging is the new series of communications and navigation equipments by Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Co Ltd.

These are fully transistorised and some of the units incorporate sealed modules filled with a dry inert gas.

By isolating the components from their environment a much greater reliability is claimed.

Marconi’s state that units on test have accumulated over 20,000 hours continuous operation under temperature cycled conditions without a single transistor failure.



  1. Sounds idyllic Fred what a great way to learn electronics engineering

  2. Took quite a long time for them to replace Klystrons as the transmitter of choice though..
    Some happy childhood memories, back in Stornoway where the fishing boats had to park over on the Sabbath, when my dad, sometimes with me in tow used to jump from boat to boat fixing broken radar and echo sounders. Replacing a Klystron was a big prize as they were so damn expensive. The skippers, often Spanish and Portugese were usually grateful for the Sunday service and we often scored a fine fish or a bottle of wine in the process.
    Ah, those were the days ..

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