Short wave tuner Mark III, 1917-1918


Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Short wave tuner Mk III, c. 1917
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Short wave tuner Mark III, c. 1917. The Short-Wave Tuner Mark III covered the 100–700m band (429 kHz–3MHz). Either a Perikon or carborundum crystal was used for the detector. The carborundum crystal required two 3-volt dry-cell batteries and the usual potentiometer adjusted for optimum sensitivity. There was also a buzzer for calibrating and testing the tuner. The aerial was125ft long laid close to the ground as a single inverted L.

Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company first developed the Short-Wave Tuner Mark III in 1915. From 1916 on, several variations of this tuner were manufactured by a number of companies, including Robert W. Paul, the W/T Factory, A.T.M. Company, and Johnson and Phillips. The original short wave tuner Mk III was first introduced in 1916 with a variant, the Mk III*, being introduced in 1918.

The Short-Wave Tuner Mark III was primarily used for wireless telegraphy (Morse code wireless communication) by ground stations (mostly artillery batteries) to communicate with British aircraft during the First World War. The tuner was used for communication with night bombers and in training bomber pilots in the UK and was used for reconnaissance aircraft and artillery spotting duties over the trenches in France. The Mark III* was retained in service by the RAF in the immediate post-war years.

By November 1918, the newly established Royal Air Force (RAF) had over 600 wireless-equipped aircraft operating in conjunction with 1,000 ground stations and manned by over 18,000 wireless operators. According to Louis Meulstee’s “Wireless for the Warrior Compendium 1 ‘Spark to Larkspur’ (Wireless Sets 1910-1948)”, 766 transmitters and 6595 receivers were produced.


Radio Communication
Object Number:
Ministry of Defence (WC2N 6BB)

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.