Recovery of an RCA ET4336 HF Transmitter from a UK Cold War Nuclear Bunker


The Bunker (above ground)

The Bunker as it was - above ground...  See below for the same view now.

A couple of years ago I was offered a WWII vintage RCA transmitter which was "surplus to requirements" and was located underground in a disused Cold War nuclear bunker in the West Midlands. It was not known at the time whether the transmitter was an RCA ET4332 (MF) or an ET4336 (HF) variety.  If it was the HF version, the ET4336, it would be the most useful since it could be used 'on the air' on the amateur radio bands after restoration.

At that time the plan was to recover the transmitter and add it to my small vintage military radio collection. However, as time passed, it was decided that the transmitter would not be best placed here, and should go to a new home where it would be refurbished a little quicker, and used again 'on the air'.  So here is where Richard G7RVI, Mike G1EDP and Stuart G0TBI, step in.

Stuart has an RCA ET4336 transmitter, much coveted by Richard. Time to even the books.

So, on a Friday in January 2000, Richard, Stuart, Mike and myself met Bob, the bunker custodian, and down we went into the bowels of the bunker to identify and liberate this fine piece of WWII equipment.

After a most interesting underground tour, Bob took us to the old radio comms room, and there was the beast. An ET4336!   Excellent!!    A pic of it in it's original location is here.

Now these things are HEAVY, and after a quick inspection it was decided that it could not be easily dismantled, so it was gently lowered onto a wheeled trolley and manoeuvred to the bottom of the exit staircase.  The team, less Stuart who took the photo, ready for the lift.

The only way to get it out was by the Armstrong method, so out came the ropes and planks, and after much grunting and the occasional expletive it was heaved to the top of the stairs. Another few grunts later, and it had gently moved along another two planks (forming a bridge) and was secured in the back of Richard's Galaxy.

After saying our "thank-yous" to Bob, and handshakes all round, the transmitter set of on the next part of its journey to south Herefordshire and restoration.

More internal views of the bunker are here.


During 2001 the Wylde Green bunker was demolished and new houses were built on the site. I revisited the site on 5 December 2001 and, for comparison purposes, took the photo below from approximately the same position as the earlier photo.

The Bunker (above ground)            




Go back to G4NCE's Vintage Military Wireless Collection