View Full Version : Old PPI radar at Lossiemouth?

06-01-2010, 12:52
I know a little about radar (the imaging kind), but next to nothing about PPI radar used by ATC :oops:... so can anyone help me identify this PPI radar that used to be at Lossiemouth (centre of photo)? :? The date is 1970. I assume it was painted red and white?

Many thanks in advance.



17-01-2010, 16:08
Hello Airtrooper,:)

the radar in question was the S264, mainly found on FAA airfields. When I was there (86-88) it was green, probably repainted late 70s early 80s. The thing I recall most about it was having to get to the access hatch, unlock it and climb in between sweeps!!:lol::!:


17-01-2010, 17:36
:lol: I can just picture the scene now!

Many, many thanks Pete. ;)

So, this is what we're looking at (below). Quite a monster! :) Does anyone know where I can find drawings/plans, so I can model it?


17-01-2010, 18:30
Thats the one, as you say bit of a monster!! The image in the hunter photo doesnt do its size justice.

Just had peek on GE, think the hunter is on the secondary runway looking NW, to what was the Jaguar OCU (226?) hanger.

Dont know whether the FAA museum at Yeovilton would keep records of ground radars, otherwise you could try Lossies station library.


17-01-2010, 21:24
From Flight 4 December 1959:

"Marconi's 50 cm radar sets combine all the features of the 10 and 25 cm types with outstanding reliability and freedom from the effects of weather and permanent echoes. The latest Type S264A is a 500 kW system developed from the equipment which has been used for some years at London Airport. Crystal-controlled, it can be used simultaneously for long-range surveillance for close control of aircraft within the terminal area, with either fixed-coil or moving-coil P.P.I, displays and video mapping if required. Display units developed for use with these installations offer the latest facilities for target marking, tracking and handover between consoles."

Photo from the same article:


Elsewhere on the web I found this Marconi S264H at Heathrow in the 60s:


17-01-2010, 23:19
You know, its been bugging me for ages... I knew I used to see on of these radars all the time... somewhere. When I saw the Heathrow one I thought that was it, but then I found this shot from Filton. This is the one! :-D


22-01-2010, 14:41
Hi Andy,

I'd never seen or even heard of this type of radar until I was posted (exiled) to Lossiemouth! I remember it being a temperamental beastie so only the old sweats were trusted to work on it, us lowly sacs' did the fetching and carrying!!

Any joy getting hold of the plans for it?


22-01-2010, 19:53
Hi Pete,

Still no plans/drawings here, unfortunately. :cry:

Does anyone know of any kind of Marconi museum/archive?? I think I may need to find and contact such an organisation if I'm to find the details I'm looking for.

Here are links to more 264 pictures. The latter two are from Hack Green, where they are/were restoring one... which could be another source of info?! ;-)

Happy weekend :-P





24-01-2010, 15:04
... then I found this shot from Filton.
I think it's gone now - couldn't spot it in Bing Maps (http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=skkst2gsh4gs&scene=42826535&lvl=2&sty=o). Was certainly there a few years ago and could easily be seen from the B4056 - the hill which leads up to the airfield from Southmead.

It did about 8 rpm. I (and many other people) knew that as it produced a line and an accompanying buzz on your TV every 7.5 seconds-ish. This happened with every VCR which was in ground range of the radar. ( I was 3.5 miles away)

Solution was to retune the VCR from its default output channel 37. I guess about once every few hours some TV dealer in north Bristol (inc. Currys and Comet) would say to a customer, "Ah Sir - Filton Radar is the culprit".


Peter Kirk
24-01-2010, 18:28
Also affects camcorders.

24-01-2010, 21:36
could easily be seen from the B4056 - the hill which leads up to the airfield from Southmead

I used to go past frequently anyway, but memories of driving lessons and the Southmead Test Centre are especially filled with views of Filton and this radar, as were ATC trips (the Cadet kind!)...

It's been a while for me, but I take it you're still local Graham?

Back on topic, still no drawings of a 264 here... :(


25-01-2010, 12:31
... I take it you're still local Graham?
Yes - now live about 1.5 miles south of the airfield. Last summer I heard 'the Arrows' take-off one Sunday afternoon on an airband radio, but there was no sound or sight whatsoever of the ten Hawks. Wind in wrong direction I guess.

Regarding the TV Ch.37, Google stated it's also used by airfield radar, which was why it was originally denied to broadcasters, but allocated to VCR manufacturers :roll:. Yet when 'Channel-5' appeared on the scene it was broadcast on Ch.37 from Mendip - necessitating millions of VCR retunes in the area, and despite interference from radar.

Off topic completely. but the UK TV network was originally planned for an absolute maximum of four channels (at the time there was just BBC1 and it was felt that there would never be even a second channel as there simply wasn't enough material available even for Beeb1). However to cope with 'worst case scenario' we went for four channels - then decades later along came Channel 5. It was a complete disaster necessitating aerial changes to much of the UK, VCR retunes etc. Many people still can't receive it. They should have waited for digital.


01-06-2010, 19:45
Now that must be the reason why terrestrial channel 5 coverage is so patchy. At Leuchars we could only view 5 through a snowstorm!

01-06-2010, 20:33
At Leuchars we could only view 5 through a snowstorm!
Leuchars is served by the Angus Transmitter. According to its web site, it was one of several main transmitters which couldn't even handle CH5, due to lack of frequecies being available. Those that could handle it did so on low power and usually in a different part of the UHF TV spectrum, demanding that most viewers changed their TV aerial if they wanted to receive it. As I mentioned above - a complete disaster.

The digital switchover has gone the same way in a large number of regions. Some European countries did the whole exercise in a few weeks, rather than years. In some countries you entered your postcode into the digibox / TV ensuring that it tuned the correct transmitter, and not low power ones which it just happened to come across during its auto scan. UK gets it wrong again. :cry:

Wait for our big switchover in 2011, when all the analogues have gone !


01-06-2010, 20:40
I thought the big switchover was 2012?? Here in Lancashire we changed over last november.

ted angus
01-06-2010, 21:47
Re Canberra's Ch 5 snowstorm. terrestial TV at Leuchars and here at Balmullo is a nightmare as are some mobile phone services.
We could only see Ch5 through snow before we got Sky. as an aside Under the previous channeling south of the TAY should have been Scottish TV centred on Edin, north of the Tay was Grampian TV centred on Aberdeen with a news sub unit in Dundee.
both at Leuchars & Balmullo we could only get Grampian, whilst many areas in Dundee could only get Scottish. Of course its all change now its all one channel and all our local news is about Aberdeen If it was up to me I would bin the TV I can get important news on the PC. but Mrs A watches the craft on TV as she can rarely make it out.

19-06-2010, 04:30
This was one of more than a few Marconi surveillance radars. The first was installed at Heathrow sometime in 1958 and was the low power
version. The first high power S264A went to Wellington New Zealand the following year but had teething troubles caused by very high winds
the site. If anyone wants more about these, just ask.
Gordon - one of the installation team and then a technical trainer on the S264 and S264A.

19-06-2010, 08:32
If anyone wants more about these, just ask

Do you have any plans/drawings/illustrations/dimensions from manuals etc.?

Many thanks