In the final years of the 20th century I decided to diversify
the activities of Radiocraft and develop several exciting
new ideas. Some of these had an application in the vintage
radio field, some did not. Several were developed with the
generous support of Tim Fraser, owner of the Fraser Label
Company Ltd., a specialist printing firm based in Richmond,
London. The Retrovisor (tv) was developed in partnership with
Bryan Webb of Wizard Solutions, now sadly deceased.
Apart from the enormous expense of patenting,
the biggest problem with all these projects lay in the marketing.
Often, what seemed like brilliant ideas would wither and die
when exposed to the cold commercial reality of the marketplace.
In general I found that people are very conservative in what
they are prepared to invest in - or buy for themselves. Any
dramatically new idea meets a wall of inertia.
Here's a brief description of these projects.
Many now have a dated look to them. Most resulted in products
which were taken to market but some remained simply as ideas
and one (NBTV) is really a hobby. Click on the links below
and enjoy !
The year 1988 saw a continuing economic boom
in the UK. Designer objects were in great demand for decorating
people's rooms, particularly by the so-called 'yuppies' whose
values had become fashionable.
Developed to fill this need, the Harmony
was inspired by the round-topped 'cathedral' look sought after
by radio collectors. This compact receiver was available in
a choice of four colours.
Special features included 'Tailored Tone'
for excellent sound quality and 'Artificial Warm-up' on this
transistorised set - for mimicking the valve radio experience
! Harmony's colourful dial was screen printed and back-lit
by three lamps.
Three alternative approaches were developed
to make this ''one-time'' valve, intended for sealing in the
necks of whisky bottles - to prevent refilling with counterfeit
This project never progressed beyond the
design stage, since the original promises of commercial interest
never materialised once I had actually come up with a design.
Copycoder, an optical encryption panel, was always my favourite
product, since it incorporated some entirely new optical technology
which I had independently developed in response to a request
from industry. Before the Copycoder, nobody knew if such a
device was possible.
The Copycoder was a flat plastic panel (containing patented
lens elements) which was placed between a document and a photocopier.
From the photocopier an encrypted version of the document would
The Copycoder would also work in reverse,
ie. viewing the encrypted copy through it would enable this
to be instantly decoded and read.
Today, a redeveloped version of the Copycoder
is selling as a secret messaging accessory for greetings cards
and as an accessory in 'escape rooms'. More at www.copycoder.com
Detinnitiser III illustrated
In April 2003, following an ill-advised course
of intensive neck massage, I suddenly started suffering from
tinnitus, a distressing condition which causes a phantom 'sound'
to be heard continuously. In my case this was a high-pitched
shrieking whistle in both ears. Although it would vary throughout
the day, there seemed to be no escape from it. My quality
of life seemed to have gone. For a while I even considered
doing myself in.
I then started to develop various ideas
in an attempt to relieve this condition. Two lines of inquiry
met with success. The first was to wear a small amplifier
which only amplified sound around the tinnitus frequencies.
This replaced the tinnitus 'noise' with information-bearing
sound and the brain then couldn't hear the tinnitus. The second
method involved generating a special signal which exploits
a natural effect in the hearing system called 'residual inhibition'.
This was taken much further and a fifth version
of the 'Detinnitiser' reached small-scale production.
Click here for more information: Detinnitiser
These crystal-controlled VHF modulators were
available for a time. Placed between a video recorder playing
a 405-line tape - and a vintage tv - they made possible the
viewing of programmes on early television sets using the now-obsolete
British transmission standard. For more on vintage television,
One of my more unusual hobbies. I spent untold
hours constructing these television devices which used various
low definition 'narrow-band' (thus NBTV) technical standards,
involving mechanical (rather than electronic) scanning of
left you see my 'Grosvenor' constructed in 1997 - the first
30-line colour television set produced since 1928 ! And
on the far right, there's a full-colour camera and monitor
working on 45-lines and using coloured fluorescent tubes to
produce the modulated light. In between, we see a 60-line
mirror screw - the world's largest - built in 2012 (out of
its cabinet) - and the resulting picture. This has since been
upgraded to 120-lines, giving four times the pictured definition.
See it working on YouTube HERE.
There's an annual Narrow Band Television
Association convention, formerly at Loughborough University,
where such things are demonstrated. The NBTVA is a thriving
club devoted to NBTV. Click HERE
to take a look. Lastly you can click HERE
to see a 240-line test card as it would appear if transmitted
in frame-sequential colour (127KB .avi). Be sure to have your
movie viewer set to 'repeat forever' or it won't work.
This - almost literally "blue
sky" - project dates from 2016.
The idea was to broadcast a complete
(old style analogue) vision-and-sound television channel
by modulating its radio spectrum onto a beam of light.
There is lots of potential - and a
lot of problems - with this idea. A working test rig
has been successfully completed.
The system's bandwidth is huge, but
since it will only work in good weather conditions,
it's felt that its potential lies with providing a service
for vintage television enthusiasts rather than mainstream
Click HERE for the project notes.
was an automatic 'invisible ink' ticket reader.
On inserting a ticket into the slot bearing
an invisible message printed in photochromic ink, there would
be an internal 'flash'. On removing the ticket - lo-and-behold
- you could read the message.
was the second in my line of FM converters intended to enable
reception of FM programmes on AM-only vintage radios, and
this model used self seeking FM tuning.
The first product, called the 'Magic Box'
had been a unit containing a car radio as the FM tuner and
included an AM modulator built up on Veroboard.
Realaxator (yes, the spelling is correct) generated an artificial
sound which resembled ocean waves breaking on an exotic shore.
It actually was very effective, and on many occasions it put
me to sleep before I could switch it off - running down the
lovely product was the world's only 'retro' tv - namely a
modern colour chassis housed in a high quality TV22-style
fibreglass cabinet. It went through three generations and
today these sets are out of production and very rare and valuable.
Occasionally a reconditioned/guaranteed as-new example becomes
available again through Radiocraft. Please email
me if you want to be kept briefed.
You can read the whole story of the project HERE.
and take a look at the brochure HERE.
There is also more information on the Retrovisor HERE.
last in the line of my 'FM converters', this model did not
incorporate a tuner, instead you plugged it into the small
ancillary radio provided. This feature also made it easy to
connect to any other audio source. SpeedyFM used a high-quality
in 1998, Selectamatic was my very own 'dot-com' which featured
visitors could easily build their own web sites by selecting
from a large range of templates and add-ons.
part of a group that has built the first new 405-line television
transmitter since 1970. The first licensed test transmissions
have taken place. We are now looking for a suitable long-term
As of January 2024, this is still very new.
years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. This
is a progressive neuro-degenerative disorder. In my case,
it meant I was finding it more and more challenging to look
after myself... from getting dressed in the morning and holding
eating utensils to having enough stamina to do anything for
more than a few minutes before collapsing in a heap. Life
seemed to be closing in and so I decided to try inventing
my way out of the situation.
it's looking like I've met with success! The "Deparkiniser"
is currently just a proof-of-concept rig but does seem to
work. I can now move and stand almost normally and I have
lots of energy again. A routine visit to my neurologist recently
confirmed something is definitely 'going on' here. A four-month
test period has now commenced, after which I will return to
see him and we'll see if my progress has continued.
is that one day this invention might be able to help with
other 'motor' disorders, such as Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
But it is only a dream.