So whats this all about I hear you ask, well over the years I’ve often been asked “How did this all start for you and why the website”?  The following tale is my attempt to answer that question. As with all stories there’s a tapestry of threads that make up the path. There’s a little about me, a little on the 1970’s, our first colour television ( the catalyst), finally a little about this site, its forums and the journey.

Where Do I Begin?

Like all good stories, where it all started. My story starts back in the 70’s, 1972/73  to be precise. I was a 9/10 year old lad, I can’t be certain of the exact year but its certainly one of those two. For me the 1970’s was a magical decade, well it would be, everyone thinks their childhood decade was the best. After all life was simple for a kid, less so for the adults but our parents protect us from all that no matter what decade our childhood falls in. For those interested in my childhood take on the 70’s then read here.

Setting The Context

1972/73 as I say was the year where it all started for me, because that’s the year we obtained our first colour television. Of course like most families of the 1970’s we did not buy our set, they were far too expensive let alone taking into account the inherent repair costs. No, at this time for many it made far more sense to rent especially as the TV’s servicing requirements were all part of that weekly rental price. It might seem daft to folk now but remember this was a time when not many people even had a phone or if you did it might be a party line. One car per family and few could afford overseas holidays, trips to Benidorm, Spain were just starting to take off. You could buy a three bedroom house where we lived on the South Coast for £7,000, a new Mini for around £600, a pint of beer for 14p and the average weekly wage was around £32. A TV at about £300 was a luxury most could not justify or afford so the only choice was simple, rental.

You’re Digressing…

Well only a little, lets get back to this television.

My dad unbeknown to the rest of the family had secretly ordered our new rental. There I was sitting at home after school watching children’s TV, probably “The Tomorrow People” or “Ace of Wands” on our black & white set,  no idea what model that was.

A knock at the door and mum lets in the  telly man from Smiths the rental company which was just down the road from us. Smiths was in a curved building sited on the corner of two roads. Many an hour was spent with my nose pressed up against the window ogling the TV’s, I loved the smell of the shop once inside. My workshop has taken on the same distinct aroma, warm droppers and old dusty TV’s. Certainly TV’s of this period were being deeply cemented in my subconscious to return at some time later in the distant future.

Smiths Rentals Building: Now an estate agents

So what was going on with the TV chap? Why was the telly man at our door? Nothing wrong with the B&W TV, to my/our surprise and delight he proclaimed whilst returning to his van, he had our new colour TV and had come to install it. Colour-tastic!

The set was a newly released model for 1972, a Decca CS1830 in a Teak cabinet. It must have been a Thursday as my overriding memory of that evening was watching “Tomorrows World” followed by Top of the pops, all in glorious colour!! The amazing thing is I cannot recall any other TV in great detail before or even after, the Decca however was burned into my memory. I guess it had such an impact due to the world of colour television being delivered to my young eyes.

Oh the joy of seeing Star Trek before bedtime, all those bright colours.

A Useful Skill Taught

Around this time for some reason my mum decided to teach me how to solder. She was one of the girls on the production line at an electronics factory, so was a dab hand at it. I still remember the soldering Iron we had at home, a Bakelite handled ADCOLA. Many years later I managed to acquire the exact iron, mainly for nostalgia. The art of soldering was never visited again until around 1997 when I got interested in vintage valve radio repair but only as an on/off interest. Thankfully the soldering lessons remained with me. When I did pick up an iron all those years later, it all came flooding back, I never had a problem with correct application.

Adcola Soldering Iron

How Did You Get here?

Thirty five years after getting that first colour TV in 1973, I found myself in 2007 retiring from an IT career,  I started looking for a hobby. I decided to retake up vintage electronics but this time television repair. As mentioned above I had dabbled with vintage radios  some ten years prior but it just didn’t really interest me that much, TV’s however fired my passion but what a huge learning curve to tackle.

With tutelage from a number of ex TV engineers and many years collecting, I gained experience and amassed a number of early colour TV’s for the collection including a great deal of spares. I very much enjoy repairing these old telly’s back to working order and subsequently maintaining them. All of which can be followed on the television collection repair logs. I also spend a lot of time refurbishing spare PCB’s for these TV’s that I find at boot fairs, auctions and other such places. These too can be followed in my fully kitted out vintage TV repair workshop via the PCB repair section on this site.

The Radios-TV workshop

Why The Website and Forum?

To help promote, preserve and document our Radio & Television heritage, with particular emphasis towards promoting early colour but not to the exclusion of Black & White or radio. I noticed there was a distinct lack of UK sites promoting early colour TV’s, but plenty covering Black & White 405-line. Also to provide extensive servicing guides, tips and advice including access for members to my large service data library to assist with their own repairs. Should you care to read it, the “mission statement” is pretty much covered on the main homepage. The idea of a forum is to build a community of like minded individuals to share common interests and help others to learn.

Website & Forum: A Timeline History Since 2001

This covers almost seventeen years, my how the time fly’s

  • In 2001 I started my first website Valve-radios.co.uk.  This served its purpose for the first decade before launching Radios-TV. The old website is now closed and just redirects to here.
  • Around 2011 I launched a forum called Vintage Radio & Television, which became known as VRAT. This closed in Sept 2016 and served as an information archive.
  • This website Radios-TV launched in 2012 taking on many guises until settling on the final current style and format.
  • Finally the New integrated forum took over from the closed VRAT in Sept 2016 and finally in Sept 2018 all the original data of VRAT 1 forum was migrated to here. VRAT was whole again.

How The Website Changed Over The Years

To reveal more detail, click on the picture to see how we looked

The website Valve-Radios.co.uk launched in 2001. Also repairing/selling old clocks, radios and other 1930’s-1940’s ephemera.
Where it all started in 2001 Re-branded around 2008 Last incarnation around 2010
2011/2012 the website Valve-Radios.co.uk closes, its set to redirect to the newly launched Radios-TV.co.uk
Radios-TV launches in 2012: A history from then to now.

How The Forum Changed Over The Years

I started  the V.R.A.T forum in July 2011 on the PHPBB ‘Myff’ forum hosts, it remained there for one year. I then moved it over to my own hosted server where it remained for the next five years. Finally VRAT was closed in 2016. The new forum launched as an integral part of Radios-TV in 2016. September 2018 the closed VRAT data was migrated here, now everything is under one roof and on one server.

No examples exist from 2011 of the V.R.A.T. forum on MYFF,Just the redirect

Xmas at V.R.A.T. first year after moving to my own server in 2012

From 2015

The final V.R.A.T, closed 2016

The New forum in 2016

2018 Reunification


You’ve Waffled On, So What Does This Old TV Look Like?

As for the Decca CS1830 that all those years started me off on this journey, well sadly all I can offer is a brochure photo. Its a TV that to this very day still eludes me. Maybe, just maybe one day, I might find one for the collection. That will be a day I feel a full circle has been traveled,

The set that started us off on the road to colour TV : DECCA CS1830


Who would have thought all these years later after that first TV back in 73,  I would be involved in television preservation and repair, certainly not that young lad who’s eyes were out on stalks at the prospect of seeing colour TV for the first time.

Come with me on a journey of rediscovery at Radios-TV, back to the days of  the cathode ray tube television. Its over to all of you now, comment here or on any other article you find. You might even consider joining.


12 thoughts on “About

  1. We did not get a colour TV until very late, the main financial consideration was not cost of purchase (or rental) rather the cost of the colour licence relative to that of the black & white. Eventually my father gave in and we rented a 20” colour TV from Rediffusion, this arrived in the summer of 1983, it was delivered by an engineer and hooked up to the HF cable network, irritatingly with the wall selector switch in the other room ! The first thing I remember watching on it was cricket, followed by the news, for a while I just watched anything for the novelty of watching colour TV at home.

    I was 13 at the time and already very interested in electronics, radio and television and had read Gordon J Kings “Colour Television Servicing” from my local library. The TV we had was a rediffusion Mark IV chassis, which seemed very modern in comparison with the sets described in the book.

    As it happened some ten years later I became very familiar with this particular chassis as I was repairing a large number of them used as video monitors, they were pretty much at the end of their life and suffered all sorts of odd problems caused by the many ribbon cable interconnects.

  2. Well perhaps we had an unfair advantage. My brother was also a TV engineer and our first taste of colour (apart from being given a VIP tour of a Trade Show in 1967 when I was 14) was in 1969 when my brother brought home a Baird 701 (he worked at Radio Rentals). It was an ex-demo from the local R-R showroom and was being updated. BBC2 was the only channel that ran regular colour programs at the time and I remember watching some rather up-market (to me) costume plays just for the point of seeing them in colour….

    Some years later I remember him bringing an HMV set home that had the HMV logo light up on the front when a colour transmission was received….I found that most annoying and rather pointless seeing as you couldn’t mistake a colour transmission….!

    One thing I particularly remember in these early days of colour were that most news items were black-and-white and on ITV when that moved over to 625 and colour, most of the adverts were in B-W so a mix of colour and B-W was the norm.

    Happy days!

  3. My first memory of seeing a colour television was at primary school of all places.

    It would have been 1974 and I was 5 years old. All I can remember, and it is still clear in my mind today, was a tall trolley being wheeled into class and this massive television was on it.

    We were told that it was “coloured” and we sat and waited in silence as it was switched on. After a while, we saw three coloured balls on the screen that merged into each other with some writing below it.(This would probably have been “ITV FOR SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES”).

    I can remember all the class counting down as the “television clock” ticked away the last few seconds before the program.I can’t remember the program of course, but to see anything in colour was amazing and I ran all the way home to tell Mum at lunchtime.

    My parents got a colour set in 1977 for the silver jubilee, and Dr who, Blakes 7 and Blue Peter took on a whole new meaning lol.

  4. The first colour television I viewed was at the 1961 Earls Court Radio Show in London. The BBC on their large ground floor stand (that dominated the whole show I might add) were demonstrating colour television I believe for the first time. Also I think I’m correct in saying that the demonstration used 405-lines. My father and I attended two or three more later shows during the early 1960s, which like the former were dominated by the BBC stand. At these later shows the BBC colour signal was relayed to the various other stands as a programme source to enable the set manufacturers to demonstrate their colour TVs which were being developed at that time.

  5. First memory was a Baird dual standard at the local Technical college viewing a test transmission, late 1966 early 1967. It was a still photo being displayed, the transmitter was Winter Hill.

  6. We got our first colour TV in 1973, just in time for Christmas. My Dad ( a farmer at the time ) got a tax rebate and told us we could have a new TV. It was bought from, I think a shop called Trident, in Workington and was an Ekco CT262. We (the kids) were allowed to choose the set and I thought this was the best picture and of course, fully solid state!! There were one or two arguments over who wanted to watch what, but I do remember Christmas TOTP that year in full glorious colour. Over the years the set did have several faults and I remember well, waiting for a new tripler for it, for several weeks. However, it lasted until well into the 80s, so overall not bad for an early colour set.

  7. I remember our 1st set when I was a toddler, it was either BAIRD or HMV set and it was black and white. One day I got hold of my dads tools and took all the valves out, thankfully the set was disconnected from the mains. It took this poor Radio Rentals guy a while to put it back together, he did say well we have a beginnings of a very young telly man. I got to watch him, Mum and I mum nodded, dad moved the set in the corner shelf so high up so I cannot reach it.

    It was after new year 1977, I came home and saw a different telly, I said to mum why is it on legs on the floor? “Watch Rob”, she turned it on and wow colour!! My 1st programme was playschool, I was stunned It took me days to realise its a colorful world

  8. First colour telly, 1974-ish RGD CR20. Here’s a picture of one someone took earlier: (Blue Peter fans will almost get that).

    Now, I wonder if I can find one of our previous b/w sets ???

    • One memory involving that set was when we moved house with it. Two families into one house, six of us in total me, my brother two parents, Mum’s mum and aunt. Them two were avid Archers ‘watchers’ and much more into mangles than TVs. Grandma was keen on gardening and used to come through to our room to watch Gardener’s World (Thursdays), (Gotta mention Percy Thrower!)

      One summer we took the caravan for a week’s holiday but told Grandma she could still watch Gardeners World and explained the power push-button to turn the set on. We got back on the Saturday and the telly was still on, Grandma didn’t know how to turn it off again so had just turned the sound down!

      It was a good set and lasted us into the 80s with minor repairs. The colours went a bit out of sync but having found all the adjustments in the back, I spent an hour or so with it to get a cracking image back again.

  9. The first CTV I saw was the dual standard Baird, noted elsewhere on the site, date late 1966
    The first CTV’s we sold ( summer 1967)were the Ekco CT102 and the Bush CTV 25, I think that was model, the burning Bush as was once written, luckily I never had the problem but did fit the davy lamp mod.

    I cannot remember where the Ekco went but the Bush went to a tiny terraced house, the room was about 10ft square, the set was far to big for the room. The owner worked hard, enjoyed TV so good luck to him if that’s what he wanted.
    Sets were scarce, but the price of dual standard CTV’s was high so not many in the scheme were sold, just BBC 2 in colour perhaps did not help sales.

    My first CTV was a 19 inch Hitachi CNP192 bought around 1974, fixing the things but had to wait to afford one but it was new and lasted around 10 years before passed on to the father in law for another number of years.

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