DST100 Military Communications Receiver

The DST100 was a military communications receiver covering from 50kHz to just over 30MHz. I think it was made by Murphy for use in tanks - it was certainly built like one.

Very few were/are seen on the surplus market, unlike the CR100 and the AR88 which were plentiful in the late 1950s and early 1960s. I don't know how many were made or for how long.

The DST100 was the first communications receiver I ever owned. It was bought in 1962 from the garage in Modbury, Devon for £7. My father managed to get it into his van although it weighed a LOT!

When taken home and fired up it was on the deaf side, so we took it to Roger, G3CHN, at the Decca Navigator station on Bolberry Down. He gave it the once over, changed some valves and it came back working really well. For the first time I started listening to DX in a big way listening all the way from 50kHz right up to 30MHz. The rig pulled in some impressive DX with a random wire.

To house the radio my dad had to build a special shelf in the bedroom - it had to be very strong as it was impossible to lift the radio single handed. The radio stayed with me until university days, but was sold in the late 1960s when I left to move to Cambridge: it was too big to take anywhere.

What do I recall about the radio?

  • The enormous turret tuner (bottom LHS in picture) which clunked around a whole set of coils and caps when changing bands.
  • The slow motion drive which consisted of concentric diecast wheels tuned by the small knob to the bottom middle of the picture. This clicked into position to fine tune and out so the dial could be spun.
  • Lots of controls on the RHS to adjust RF, IF and AF gain.
  • The size and weight- it was about 10 times the size of an AR88 as I recall and impossible to move.
  • The apparent lack of selectivity on the lowest band (50-150kHz or there abouts). I did not realise that this was VLF/LF and so tuning the dial several inches would only move the tuning a few kHz. I recall hearing stations like NSS, Cutler Maine (?) on the LF shipping band around 110kHz. The local Decca Navigator station around 80kHz was an enormous signal where I lived just a few miles away.