Radar Ancillary Equipment, Valve Type CV1481 Magnetron, British

Catalogue number
  • COM 707
  • whole: metal
Alternative names
  • full name: Radar Ancillary Equipment, Valve Type CV1481 Magnetron, British
  • simple name: Radar, British

© IWM (COM 707)

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Object description

British Magnetron CV1481 radar valve . Nominal 3000MHz 450kW peak output. Stores reference CV1481. Serial number 1759. Made by MOV for the RAF in 1959. The CV1481 is part of a series of four WWII radar magnetrons operating on different frequencies. The CV1479 (3.045 GHz), CV1480 (3.018 GHz), CV1481 (2.993 GHz) and CV1482 (2.965 GHz) are improved versions of the CV76A, CV76B, CV76C and CV76D respectively. The values for voltage and current given are maximum peak values. These magnetrons were designed for pulse operation not for continuous RF production. The pulse repitition frequency was 500 pulses per second and the pulse duration ranged from 0.7 to 2 μs. The total anode dissipation was 600 W. The CV76, and its successor cavity magnetrons, formed the basis of centimetric radar used for A I, ASV, EW, GL, and LORAN centimetric radar and navigational systems.


The cavity magnetron was developed from the work of J T Randall and H A Boot at Birmingham University in early 1940. It became the preferred source of very high frequency radio waves in various radars and communication devices, and led to a massive growth in microwave radar technology. Today it is best known as the essential part of the microwave oven. In particular, the cavity magnetron formed the core of centimetric radar with its high definition image on the presentation screen. This is a post Second World War example of the magnetron. In September 1940, at a time when Great Britain faced a Nazi invasion, the Tizard Mission, composed of eminent British scientists, arrived in America. The Mission carried the latest British researches on jet engines, the uranium (atomic) bomb, predictors, proximity fuses, rockets, radar, and the cavity magnetron. The magnetron was shown to an impressed American National Defence Research Committee on 28 September 1940. This technological revelation galvanised the Americans in to action. Manufacture quickly followed of both American systems, and copies of British systems.There was close cooperation between British and American scientists at the Radiation Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ultimately, A I, ASV, EW, GL, and LORAN centimetric radar and navigational systems had a profound influence on the successful prosecution of the war.

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