DAVEY SOURCE PAGES
Gilbert Davey is best known for his articles for the Boy's Own Paper (1948-1967), and for his books for young constructors that appeared from 1957 onwards as a direct result of the popularity of his BOP articles. What has been quite forgotten is his writing for Practical Wireless and other radio journals before World War 2. This section now carries a developing page devoted to this work.
On these pages, Davey's designs are listed as fully as possible, under the
publications in which they appeared. The lists for his post-war work have
been much expanded to show brief details of the key components of every design seen
so far. They are chiefly intended to help those who remember building the
designs when first published and who wish to identify them again. They should
also help those who have come upon Davey's work more recently, and perhaps
want to look out for his books and articles. The Pre-War page will undergo
progressive development as time allows.
If you decide to construct any of the sets described or referred to on these pages, it is your own responsibility to ensure that you work safely and that equipment (especially mains-operated sets or power supplies for battery sets) is soundly built and adequately housed. Whilst considered safe by the standards of their day, some designs may not be considered safe by modern standards. If you are in any doubt about your understanding of the information given or referred to on this page or about your ability to work safely, you should seek the help of a qualified person.
For the Boy's Own Paper, Practical Wireless and other journals, page numbers are given. For all the other books listed, including those in which Davey was one of several contributors, I have listed chapter or article titles only.
Some books and journal editions are listed as missing from the British Library's collection. Each of these is additionally annotated in one of three ways:
Not checked - any information will be welcomed;
Checked (by me after purchase, or by others) - no relevant content;
Relevant content is noted (after purchase).
Cross-references are given where it has been found that a design has been re-published elsewhere. For Davey's own books, where chapters or designs are carried over from edition to edition, the details are repeated for completeness, and to assist those who are sure or fairly sure as to where a design can be found. Changes between editions are noted where known. However, this cross-referencing is not yet complete. Although I am gradually collecting a complete set of Davey's books and articles, I am partly reliant on the British Library's collection (itself incomplete).
For each design, the chassis construction or other support is briefly noted, then key components are listed. These include inductors, valves or semiconductors, phones or speaker, but generally not capacitors, resistors or switches. It will usually be clear whether the design is battery- or mains-powered. Your attention is drawn to the cautionary note above.
When searching for a half-remembered design, it might help to bear the following points in mind:
* Was the design from an edition of Boy's Own Paper, or was it from a book?
* If you remember when you built the set, were you working from a new publication, or might you have been working from something published some time before?
* Sometimes the only way to identify a likely design may be by trawling through the lists for the best match to what you remember, in terms of construction and components used.
Inevitably, there were some errors in published designs, and these are noted where known. For his BOP articles and his books, Davey relied upon Jack Cox (who did not pretend to be a technical editor) to oversee preparation of his designs for printing, and remarkably few errors crept through. In most cases, corrections were published in the next edition of the magazine or book. Before digital techniques for preparing illustrations became available, it was costly to amend drawings, and written corrections were often relied upon.
It goes without saying that the details of manufacturers and suppliers, and sources of information mentioned in the publications listed here are now completely out-of-date. Some publishers have gone out of business or have been taken over; those that remain are no longer geared to answering technical queries. In almost all cases when seeking a supplier or information for a component, the Internet must be searched and the findings carefully weighed. One indispensible pool of expertise is the UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum, where an answer to almost any technical query on radio and electronics can be found.
Not covered in the main source pages (links below), these "loose ends" are worth mentioning:
BBC television broadcasts:
The leaflets published with these two series, together with correspondence, press reports and other documents connected with them, are covered fully in THE BBC SETS section.
Junior Pears Encyclopaedia:
Gilbert Davey's friend and colleague Tom Dougall states in his obituary of Davey (*) that he contributed to Junior Pears Encyclopedia. Edited by Edward Blishen and published annually between 1961 and 1991, it contained a Dictionary of Radio and Television. From 1961 to 1978, the "Radio Receiver" entry carried a simple one-valver-with-reaction design, but this differs somewhat from Davey's usual configuration. In the 1979 edition, a simple radio featuring the ZN414 chip was introduced, which is very similar to the Ferranti design featured in Fun with Silicon Chips in Modern Radio (1981). A 2-transistor amplifier for this radio was also shown, replaced in later editions with an amplifier using the TBA820M chip. Unfortunately, none of the articles or sections in the Encyclopedia is attributed, and the writing style of the Dictionary is dry and concise. It is thus impossible to confirm - or rule out - Davey's participation as a contributor of designs, writer, or editorial expert.
* See: www.pearlstaffpensionscheme.co.uk/Members/Documents. Under "Pensions News", click the link "Pension News June 11.pdf", then scroll to pages 14-15.
Practical Wireless, post-war:
Davey had contributed regularly to PW before World War 2 (although often uncredited), but was later seen on its pages on a handful of occasions.
||Article or editorial:||Notes|
No 496, Vol 23
Foreign Valve Data
Having recently returned from service in Germany whwre he had the use of
many foreign valves, Davey describes the characteristics of some German valves.
His German amateur callsign (D2AH) is included in his by-line.
No 573, Vol 30
A Simple Signal Generator
Valve-based unit intended to assist in aligning AM superhet receivers.
110kHz: old I.F. transformer with one trimmer capacitor removed
465kHz: old I.F. transformer with one trimmer capacitor removed, or homebrew and trimmer
Medium/long wave: old dual-range coil with variable capacitor
Short wave: old triple-range coil or homebrew (details given) with variable capacitor
Valves: 2 triodes, or any valves strapped as triodes.
No 641, Vol 36
An AM Feeder Unit (by-line G Davey)
Intended to complement VHF tuner in hi-fi system, to receive
popular stations not transmitted on VHF.
Powered from main amplifier with sufficient power reaerve.
3 x Repanco DRR2 coils
3 x 500pF ganged variable capacitor
Valves: 6K7, 6Q7
Volume control 10kΩ potentiometer
No 12, Vol 50
"Going Back" column
Columnist Colin Riches reported an enquiry by Davey about his "Hezzanith" horn loudspeaker
dating from c.1926, made by Heath & Co, New Eltham, London. Davey wondered if there was any
connection with the firm of scientific instrument makers of that name in the same area.
I have not traced any reply to the query in subsequent editions of PW.
No 7, Vol 66
Un-numbered multiple centre pages:
1,000th edition Special Supplement
Davey's response to the Editor's invitation to veteran readers to write in with memories
of the magazine's early days. Davey comments upon F J Camm's lack of generosity
with by-lines (attributions), and recalls discussions with Camm about Scott-Taggart's
designs in the rival magazine Popular Wireless. Davey recounts how his interest
in radio began, and remarks that he still has some early sets in working order.
See GILBERT DAVEY page, where this letter is reproduced in full.
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On other pages within this section:
Pre-War Writing - A developing resource detailing Davey's forgotten pre-war articles for Practical Wireless and other journals. Includes downloads for seven of Davey's pre-war articles - please read the copyright and usage notes on that page, and the copyright notice on the WELCOME page..
The Boy's Own Paper - Complete listing of designs and articles for BOP, which won Davey a huge following among its readers.
BOP Offshoot Publications - Davey's articles in the compendium books produced by BOP's Editor, Jack Cox.
Fun with Radio - Davey's most well-known book, which ran to six editions.
Other "Fun with . . ." Books - The other titles introduced young constructors to every aspect of the radio and electronics hobby. Now substantially complete.
There are still gaps in the lists on these pages. Most of these represent items missing from the British Library's collection. More research remains to be done on Davey's pre-war writing, and needs to be commenced on his ITV appearances and radio broadcasts. New pages will be added as necessary. If you have information that might help fill in the gaps in the current pages, I would be glad to hear from you.