About 1985 onwards. Then all or
most ART177 synthesized 500 channel boot mounted sets were scrapped.
With thanks to DAVE G1JWG for these ART177
In fact A.R.T. was just Dymar,
operating under a pseudonym. The set was designed and manufactured entirely
by Dymar. Most of the work predated the time I worked in R&D, but I was
involved in some of the productionization work on this set. Its designer was
Alan Hudson, Dymar's Technical Director, who went on to head up Motorola's
cellphone division though I have no idea where he went after that. If the
actual sets have any manufacturer's labels on them, they probably say
"Advanced Radiotelephones Limited, Grayshott, Hants." In fact this was Alan
Hudson's home address.
Close comparison between the ART
and other Dymar equipment of the era should reveal very similar construction
techniques, materials, components, circuit track layout style and so on. I'm
not sure if the ART had its own range of drawing numbers - Dymar's were
always of the form Ax-123456-yyyy where x is 0, 1, 2, 3 etc indicating the
drawing paper size, and yyyy was the revision number. Circuit boards have
the drawing number etched into the track pattern somewhere.
I think I have a technical
manual for the ART177 somewhere, including circuit schematics, etc. Would
you be interested in a copy? (I can't promise I still have it, it's been
The RC675 aspect came later - I
know nothing about that as I left Dymar in '84.
Incidentally Alan Hudson was
also responsible for the design decisions (if not the actual circuitry) for
the Lynx 2000 range. These represent a very different approach from the
previous 830/850 mobiles, which are far better constructed. The Lynx 2000
was built down to a cost, whereas the previous models were built to a
specification (and were very costly to make). Not that the 2000s are bad
sets, but the unitary rx/tx circuit board and much cheaper chassis are
obviously not as high quality as the others. The main problems with the
2000s are a) very early models are not reverse-polarity proof, b)
transmitter instability is very easy to induce especially if retuning a set
down to a lower band from its normal one, and c) they will rapidly overheat
if left on transmit for too long. I did much work on all types of 2000s when
I worked at Dymar. I even built a version for CB27/81 that had a built-in
scanner and digital channel display (This wasn't an official project, and in
my defence I will say I was young - just 18 actually.) I would hazard a
guess that is was probably one of the finest CB sets ever built - there
aren't many with 7-pole crystal filters and 25W of unboosted power.
An interesting set to look out
for is another special design commission called the 1995, which we built for
British Gas. This is a bit like a mini-ART, with AM and FM operation,
EPROM-programmed channel synthesiser, and a physical design that looks a bit
like a big 2000, only with a cast metal chassis instead of a folded/extruded
one. The control head either slots directly into the main unit, or can be
remotely connected for boot-mounting the main unit. Channel selection is via
thumbwheel switches. These sets have fabulous performance and are highly
customisable for amateur use, etc. The '1995' refers to the expected
retirement date of the sets, which when we designed them was 15 years away.
Assuming BG stuck to this I would have though there were quite a few on the
second-hand market now. Note that while these were designed and prototyped
by Dymar, the actual manufacturing was done by another company (some
underhand shenanigans went on there) which was actually one of the reasons
that Dymar crumbled into a state where it got bought out and asset-stripped.
That and cellphones of course.
The Dymar prototype on your site
is unknown to me. It looks like it was probably built in the mid-to-late 70s
at the latest, as its construction appears similar to the 830 series. It's
possible that it was tendered for the same contract that went to the ART177.
This might seem odd as the ART177 was built by Dymar but I seem to recall
that the situation was that the ART177 was designed by Alan Hudson as an
independent design and then Dymar was brought in to manufacture it -
probably some deal was done that also put AH on the board of Dymar as Tech
Director as part of the deal... it seems convoluted and may not be accurate,
but this sort of thing goes on all the time.
Certainly the original designer
of the ART177 was Alan Hudson. What isn't clear to me is whether the older
R/T company Hudson Radiotelephones was anything to do with him or whether
the name is just a coincidence.
AH submitted his design to the
Home Office in response to an HO invitation to tender along with other
company's designs, possibly including the Dymar prototype on your site. AH
submitted under the company name "Advanced Radiotelephones", but as far as I
know, this wasn't a manufacturing company, just a company set up by AH for
the sole purpose of submitting the design to the HO. When AH received the HO
contract, the actual development, productionisation and manufacturing was
all done by Dymar. Now I have no idea what deal was done between Dymar and
AH for this - given that the sets were all labelled with "Advanced
Radiotelephones, Grayshott, Hants" and that Dymar's name never appeared on
them (perhaps for reasons of secrecy or simply legal reasons) - it's likely
that unless AH himself contacts you the full story will never be known. The
designation ART177 comes from "Advanced Radio Telephone", Mark 1, 1977.
What I do know is that Dymar
basically developed and manufactured the set completely as part of its
normal processes once the contract was awarded in 1978. That's why I wonder
if there are telltale drawing numbers etched on the PCBs which will follow
Dymar's format. On the other hand it's possible that a separate sequence of
drawing numbers were issued for the ART. (Incidentally Dymar often
manufactured equipment for other companies - for example the PCBs in the
Quad 44 Hi-Fi
amplifier were all made by Dymar!
AH himself was on Dymar's board
of directors as Technical Director, and under that role he also led the
design of the entire Lynx 2000 series and the 1995 Norgas mobile (which is
what I was mostly involved in myself as an R&D engineer). None of these
designs had anything to do with Advanced Radiotelephones the company, though
shared much technology with the ART177.
Regarding publishing of my
letter, or parts of it. I'm not concerned about a knock on the door from
MI5, at this stage ;-) And I guess that whatever deals were done between AH
and Dymar are ancient history now, so there are probably no legal issues
there (which is what I suppose I was most concerned about). So yeah, why not
go ahead? If you get any responses that contradict anything though I'd be
happy to comment, since naturally a very great deal of time has passed and
my memory may be hazy. There are others who are probably much more aware of
the nuts and bolts of the company dealings as well as the sets themselves (I
personally never worked on the ART, only its spinoffs) who can fill in
and/or correct any misinformation. If you get letters from Alan Hudson, Alan
Braby, Bob Johnson, Stuart Pile... well, tell them I said Hi and I defer to
their much better informed positions within the company!
On another note, I see that
while the original Dymar buildings where the manufacturing, testing and the
R&D took place are all still standing (occupied by a pharmaceuticals
company), the HQ building has sadly been demolished and replaced with a
steel and glass office block.