From 2SZ to Z-4AA October 18/19th by John Heys G3BDQ

The receiver, part 1.

Mill Hill School in North London had an enthusiastic group of boys and a staff member who were very keen on amateur wireless, and from April 1923 they were able to use a powerful (250 watt) transmitter using the call 2SZ.

Cecil Goyder was a leading light in the club and his operating expertise allowed the station to be heard by or contacted by 130 American stations. Goyder when 18 years of age left the school to study at the City and Guilds of London College, but occasionally returned to Mill Hill at night to operate the amateur station. On October 16th 1924 Ernest Simmonds (20D) located in Gerrards Cross was heard by the New Zealand station of Frank Bell with the call sign Z-4AA who was located in Palmerston South. At that time no European station had worked New Zealand, and stirred by this news Cecil Goyder returned to operate the Mill Hill station late on the night of October 18th. Goyder had a fine QSO with Bell which lasted into October 19th. He became the first Amateur in Europe to contact New Zealand, a feat which stirred many other DXers to also contact the Antipodes. Through the following weeks and in the following year a considerable number of British and other European amateurs had contacts with “Zedders”.

g3bdq-the-reciever-part1 g3bdq-the-reciever-part2The circuit shown is a copy of Goyders original diagram and was used to build the receiver at 2SZ. It is actually quite similar to the detector circuits that were widely used in the late 1920s by transmitting amateurs and short wave listeners. The detector circuit were later modified into a version devised by Reinartz which controlled the regeneration with a variable capacitor. I myself used the “Reinartz” in my pre-WW2 receivers. The coils in the original 2SZ receiver  were flat and similar to my sketch, and were wound with DCC (double cotton covered) wire. They were very efficient and had a very low self capacitance.

The hole in the disc centre allowed mounting on an insulated rod and allowed easy adjustments to the coupling between them. The coils at 2SZ had eleven vertical pegs. (If you wish to experiment with similar coils try a diameter of about 70mm).

Part 2 of this article will concern the transmitter and antenna system at Mill Hill. When Goyder was not at the school the station was operated by one of the masters.

By John Heys G3BDQ – Vital Spark November 2012.

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