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Gizmos A - Z

Accoson Sphygmomanometer

Acoustic Coupler

Advance PP5 Stabilised PSU

Aibo ERS-111 Robotic Pet

Aiwa TP-32A Tape Recorder

Aldis Folding Slide Viewer

Airlite 71 Aviation Headset

AKG K290 Surround 'Phones

Amerex Alpha One Spycorder

AN/PRC-6 Walkie Talkie

Astatic D-104 Desk Microphone

Apple Macintosh SE FDHD

Avia Electronic Watch

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Aiwa TP-60R Tape Recorder

Amstrad CPC 464 Computer

AlphaTantel Prestel

Atari 2600 Video Game

Atari 600XL Home Computer

AVO Multiminor

AVO Model 8 Multimeter

Bambino Challenger Radio

Bandai Solar LCD Game

Bellwood, Bond Spycorder

Betacom BF1 Pianotel Phone

Binatone Digivox Alarm

Binatone Long Ranger 6 CB

Binatone Mk6 Video Game

Bio Activity Translator

Biri-1 Radiation Monitor

Bowmar LED Digital Watch

Boots CRTV-50 TV,Tape, Radio

Brydex Ever Ready Lighter

BSB Squarial

BT Genie Phone

Cambridge Z88 Computer

Candlestick Telephone

Canon Ion RC-260 Camera

Cartex TX-160 Multiband Radio

Casio VL-Tone Keyboard

CD V-700 Geiger Counter

CD V-715 Survey Meter

CD V-742 Pen Dosimeter

Channel Master 6546

Chinon 722-P Super 8 Cine

Citizen ST555 Pocket TV

Clairtone Mini Hi Fi Radio

CocaCola Keychain Camera

Coke Bottle AM Radio

Commodore 64 Home PC

Commodore PET 2001-N

Computer Novelty AM/FM Radio

Concord F20 Sound Camera

Craig 212 Tape Recorder

Craig TR-408 tape recorder

Dansette Richmond Radio

Daiya TV-X Junior  Viewer

Dancing Coke Can

Diamond Rio Media Player

Dictograph Desk Phone

Dokorder PR-4K Mini Tape

Eagle T1-206 Intercom

Electrolysis Cell

Electron 52D Spycorder

Electronicraft Project Kit

Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart Radio

Ericsson Ericofon Cobra Phone

Etalon Luxor Light Meter

Euromarine Radiofix Mk 5

Exactus Mini Add Calculator

Fairylight Morse Set

FEP Microphone & Earphone

Ferguson FC08 Camcorder

Ferguson FHSC 1 Door Cam

Fi-Cord 101 Tape Recorder

Fi-Cord 202 Tape Recorder

Fidelity HF42 Record Player

Fleetwood Globe AM Radio

Franklin LF-390 Guitar Radio

GE 3-5805 AM CB Radio

GEC Transistomatic

GEC Voltmeter

General Radiological NE 029-02

Giant Light Bulbs

Gowlland Auriscope

GPO Headset No. 1

GPO Keysender No 5

GPO RAF Microphone No. 3

GPO Telephone Series 300

GPO Telephone Type 746

GPO 12B/1 Test Meter

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GPO Ring Microphone No 2

Gramdeck Tape Recorder

Grandstand Video Console

Grundig EN3 Dictation

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H&G Crystal Radio

Hacker Radio Hunter RP38A

Hacker Radio Mini Herald

Hanimex Disc Camera

Harvard Batalion Radio

Henica H-138 Radio Lighter

Hitachi MP-EG-1A Camcorder

Hitachi WH-638 Radio

Hitachi VM-C1 Camcorder

HMV 2210 Tape Recorder

Homey HR-408 Recorder

Ingersoll XK505 TV, Radio

International HP-1000 Radio

Internet Radio S-11

James Bond TV Watch

Jasa AM Wristwatch Radio

Juliette LT-44 Tape Recorder

Jupiter FC60 Radio

JVC GR-C1 Camcorder

JVC GX-N7E Video Camera



King Folding Binoculars

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Kvarts DRSB-01 Dosimeter

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Kyoto S600 8-Track Player

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McArthur Microscope OU

Memo Call Tape Recorder

Microphax Case II Fiche

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Mohawk Chief Tape Recorder

Motorola 5000X Bag Phone

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MPMan MP-F20 MP3 Player

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Nagra SN Tape Recorder

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NatWest 24 Hour Cashcard

Nife NC10 Miner's Lamp

Nimslo 3D Camera

NOA FM Wireless Intercom

Novelty AM Radio Piano

Olympia DG 15 S Recorder

Optikon Binocular Magnifier

Oric Atmos Home PC

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Panasonic AG-6124 CCTV VCR

Panasonic EB-2601 Cellphone

Panasonic RS-600US

Parrot RSR-423 Recorder

Pentax Asahi Spotmatic SLR

Philatector Watermark Detector

PH Ltd Spinthariscope

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Philips EL3586 Reel to Reel

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Pion TC-601 Tape Recorder

PL802/T Semconductor Valve

Plessey PDRM-82 Dosimeter

Polaroid Land Camera 330

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Prinz 110 Auto Camera

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Raytheon Raystar 198 GPS

Realistic TRC 209 CB

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Roberts R200 MW/LW Radio

Rolling Ball Clock

Ronco Record Vacuum

Sanyo G2001 Music Centre

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Satvrn TDM-1200 Sat Box

Science Fair 65 Project Kit

Seiko EF302 Voicememo

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Sharp CT-660 Talking Clock

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Simpson 389 Ohmmeter

Sinclair Calculator

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Sinclair Z-30 Amplifier

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Speak & Spell

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Speedex Hit Spy Camera

Standard Slide Rule

Starlite Pocket Mate Tape

Staticmaster Static Brush

Steepletone MBR7 Radio

Stuzzi 304B Memocorder


Talkboy Tape Recorder

Taylor Barograph

Tasco SE 600 Microscope

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Telephone 280 1960

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Tokai TR-45 Tape Recorder

Tomy Electronic Soccer

Toshiba HX-10 MSX Computer

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TTC C1001 Multimeter

Uher 400 RM Report Monitor

Vanity Fair Electron Blaster

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VideoPlus+ VP-181 Remote

Vidor Battery Radio

View-Master Stereo Viewer

Vivalith 301 Heart Pacemaker

VTC-200 Video Tape Cleaner

Waco Criuser AM Radio

Waco TV Slide Lighter

Wallac Oy RD-5 Geiger Counter

W E Co Folding Phone

White Display Ammeter

Wittner Taktell Metronome


Yamaha Portasound PC-10

Yashica AF Motor 35mm

Yupiteru MVT-8000 Scanner


Widget Of The Week

Hero HP-101 All Transistor Handy Phone, 1966

In my ongoing quest to re-acquire the long lost electronic gadgets of my youth this has been one of the most elusive but now, thanks to ebay, the search is over. The Hero Handy Phone is a 2-station intercom and it played a key role in my understanding of electronics, communications technology, and remote surveillance, but more about that in a moment. I cannot recall if the one I had was badged ‘Hero’; it probably wasn’t, early 60s Japanese electronic products like this often appeared under a dozen or more different band names but that doesn’t matter, in all other respects it is identical to the one that I once owned.


Although devices like these were sold in Exchange And Mart and wonderful shops, like Headquarters and General, as intercoms, they were more realistically baby alarms, and little more than toys. To qualify as a properly serious  Intercom it really needs at least two ‘sub’ stations in addition to the ‘master’ unit, but that really didn’t matter to pre-teenage kids; in the early 1960s being able to hold a private two-way conversation with a sibling or friend over distances of up to 60 feet -- the length of the connecting cable -- was nothing short of a miracle.     


Nevertheless it is a fully functional Intercom and with the master unit switched off both units can ‘call’ each other by pressing the button on the top; this generates a tone or rather a buzz on the other unit’s speaker. When the sub calls the master the procedure is to use the volume thumbwheel to switch it on and the sub’s speaker becomes a microphone allowing whoever is using the master to hear the caller. To reply they press the button on the top and the master unit’s speaker now becomes a microphone. Leaving the master unit switched on puts the Handy Phone into monitor mode, allowing the master user to hear whatever is going on in the vicinity of the sub unit. This feature was one of the Handy Phone’s, and similar models, biggest attractions. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how it can be used for spot of discrete eavesdropping. Probably fortunately for my juvenile ears, my parents were sufficiently tech-savvy to know about this feature and my attempts to covertly listen in to what they were saying after I had gone to bed were thwarted, either by the cable being unplugged, or it being ‘accidentally’ sucked up in the vacuum cleaner.


The circuit is a brilliant piece of minimalist design with very clever use of (then) expensive components. Using the speakers as microphones is one example and the call function tone, which  is derived by forcing the simple two-transistor push-pull amplifier to oscillate, shows considerable ingenuity. It also helped keep the cost down, which, for the record was typically forty-seven shillings and sixpence (£2.37), plus another four and sixpence (22 pence) for postage, if bought by mail order.


I have been on the lookout for one of these for a while and although they do occasionally pop up on ebay but they are either long past help or stupidly expensive. This one ticked all the right boxes, though; it was clearly in pretty good shape cosmetically and the description made it clear that it was complete, but a non-runner. There were no other bidders and was all mine for just 99p (19 shillings and 10 pence), though postage prices have risen somewhat in the past 50 or so years (£3.50…). It came in its original box, with a full reel of cable, which made it even more of a bargain. It had two relatively simple faults; the first one was the cable, which was open circuit. This turned out to be a broken joint on one of the jack plugs, and took about two minutes to fix. The other fault was a dicky electrolytic capacitor. This is very common on 60’s electronic devices and rather than mess around trying to find which one(s) are responsible I replaced them all with modern components for the simple reason that if they haven’t gone yet, they will eventually. Since there were only three of them to contend with this was another quick and easy job.  Apart from that all the two units needed was a quick clean up and it was working, and looking almost as good as new.


What Happened To It?

Looking back through my collection of old electronics mags (Practical Wireless & Practical Electronics etc.), basic 2-station intercoms like this made regular appearances in the small ads from the mid 1960s, for the best part of ten years. They didn’t suddenly disappear, though, and they continue to this day in the shape of baby monitors and door entry systems, though nowadays often without the connecting cables. However, for simple two-way communications they were somewhat overshadowed by cheap walkie-talkies, which by that time were coming out of the woodwork. On paper at least, to a budding young electronic enthusiast walkie-talkies seemed a lot more exciting though the vast majority of them had a range of around 20 metres, or around as far as you could shout…


You probably won’t be surprised to learn that collecting old intercoms is a fairly specialised hobby. There is a clear overlap into the much more lively telephone collecting market, though, where elegant vintage brass and bakelite models, and wacky looking designs, can command quite respectable prices on ebay. On the other hand cheap little mass-produced plastic jobbies like the Hero Handy Phone are never going to excite much interest or investment potential but like all 60’s electronic gadgets, good examples, especially if they come with their original box, will have some value to collectors of late 20th century ephemera and if he price is right, a really clean one might even make you a few bob one day.  


First seen                1966

Original Price         47/6 (£2.37)

Value Today           £10 (0715)

Features                  2-transistor (2SB221), push-pull audio amplifier, ‘call’ master/sub function, push-to-talk button, volume on/off thumbwheel, 2 x 55mm speakers, folding stand, 2.5mm mono jack sockets, 18 metres (approx 60 feet) connecting cable

Power req.                    9V PP3 battery

Dimensions:                  111 x 33 x 68mm (both units)

Weight:                         133g (Master) 110g (Sub)

Made (assembled) in:    Japan

Hen's Teeth (10 rarest):  7




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