PYE Museum Homepage The Story of Pye
1896 to
The history of the Pye Group of Companies in scientific & analytical instruments, radio & line communications, broadcasting, domestic radio & TV and industrial electronics from 1896 to the present day
The virtual museum of the Pye History Trust - Celebrating Britain’s Scientific & Industrial Heritage
Philips Radio Communications Systems (PRCS)
* Part of the information on this page is adapted from an original manuscript by Mr. D. B. Delanoy, with the permission of the Author
Philips Radio Communications Systems

From January 1986 Pye Telecommunications Ltd. began to transform into Philips Radio Communications Systems, a new Business Unit within the Telecommunications and Data Systems Product Division of N.V. Philips BV.

A new Managing Director, Ian MacKenzie, was brought in from Philips Australia to run the new Business Unit, and the organisation also came under the full influence of Philips matrix management methods and multi-level budgeting (transfer pricing) systems.

The organisational structure of the Philips Concern was fundamentally based on two types of activity; the ‘National Organisation’ (NO) and the ‘Product Division’ (PD).

The National Organisation in each country was essentially a sales organisation, divided up into separate sections or National Sales Organisations (NSO) broadly aligned to the different Product Division categories. The NSO would sell Philips group products to Agents, Dealers and major customers.

The major Product Divisions at the time were Lighting, Electronic Components, Telecommunications and Data Systems, Industrial, Scientific & Medical, Major Domestic Appliances, etc. etc.

Each Product Division was divided up into Business Units responsible for the design and manufacture of products within a certain sub-category. The operating companies within a Product Division were International Product Supply Centres (IPSC). These were not based in every country, but strategically located around the world, and their role was to feed products at an agreed transfer price level to the various National Sales Organisations which required them.

To further complicate things, some National Organisations were also responsible for local Product Supply Centres which only designed and manufactured products for the local market.

Major Changes

In the UK, Philips Electronics UK was the NO, and so the Pye Telecommunications UK Sales Department, and 23 UK Service Depots were transfered into this organisation as an NSO and given the name of ‘Pye Telecom’.

The design and manufacturing side of Pye Telecom based at Cambridge and Haverhill became the UK International Product Supply Centre of the new PRCS Business Unit.

Elsewhere around the world, the various other Philips radio communications companies were slowly and reluctantly drawn into PRCS as International Product Supply Centres; AP Radio Copenhagen Denmark, TRT Paris France, Philips Communications Systems Melbourne Australia, Telecommunications Dublin Ireland, PKI Nuremburg Germany, Philips Bilbao Spain, and later Indelec Brazil.

The existing network of Pye Telecom Agents and Dealers were now obliged to obtain their product supplies from the local Philips NSO in their country. Some NSO were interested and capable of efficiently handling professional-industrial radio communications products - and some were less so.

The corporate headquarters of the PRCS Business Unit was to be located at the main Pye Telecommunications premises in St. Andrews Road Cambridge, and so various departments were separated from the design and production side (the Cambridge IPSC) and grouped together to form the PRCS Corporate Headquarters. The PRCS corporate departments were located in the 1950s Pye Limited wavy-roof building in St. Andrews Road, and the IPSC occupied the 1979 factory and laboratory buildings known as Site 1.

The role of the PRCS Corporate Headquarters was to indirectly administer product, marketing and financial policy to the various Radio Communications IPSC and NSO and supervise their activities. However, the amount of direct authority under the Philips matrix management system was limited, which made for ‘interesting corporate relationships’!

Over a period of time and with a lot of struggling and protesting, PRCS re-grouped to become a £200 Million company employing a workforce of over 4,500 staff, with manufacturing plants in UK, Germany, France, Brazil, Denmark, Australia and the Republic of Ireland, all (more or less) controlled and co-ordinated from St. Andrews Road, Cambridge.

To be continued......................

Back to the Products

This period saw a large increase in the product range as the activities of the various Philips radio communications organisations were gradually co-ordinated and harnessed into a coherent product portfolio.

The second half of the 1980s saw the introduction of the first PRCS cellular carphones for operation on the U.K. "TACS" system, the SPCX 1000 automatic telephone interconnect unit, the FM1000 and PRM80 mobiles, and the PRF10 low cost fixed station.

The PFX portable, launched in 1985, became available in quantity production. This was an exceptionally versatile, rugged and compact VHF or UHF portable with up to 99 synthesized channels and many options covering power output, battery systems, signalling modules, and digital encryption systems and is still in use in today in 2008.

Also of particular note was the introduction of the FR5000/FX5000 series of modular high performance VHF or UHF base station transmitters and receivers.

The new generation of FM1100 mobile transceivers developed out of the NCM and CM42 projects finally began production in 1989. These software controlled radios possessed many important features which made them suitable for normal PMR use with analogue signalling and also for trunked radio applications, employing digital signalling. They could be programmed in the field with a portable hand-held programmer or for more involved customisation, in the workshops by means of a PC based programmer.

The DX2000, "Touchscreen" workstation was quite revolutionary - all normal operating functions were performed by simply touching the monitor screen of the computer based equipment, at the appropriate place. Each position of a multi-operator radio control system could be customised from the screen, including the setting up of unique user channels and facilities.

To be continued......................

other new products:

  • PRM80 mobile series
  • PRF10 low cost fixed station series
  • PRP70 portable series
  • Cellular radio
  • PG32A/32B/32N Paging receivers
  • E31 radio system
  • FM710/715 mobiles
  • PF752/762 portables
  • PR710 portable series
  • FM814/815 fixed station
  • TN10/20/100/200 MPT1227 trunking systems
  • PR720 trunking portable
  • FM860/865 trunking mobiles
  • FM1200/FM1300 trunking mobiles
  • PF890 trunking portable
  • TSC10 trunking controller

Sources: 1. Mr. D. B. Delanoy 2003,   2. The Story of Pye, Pye Limited, 1956   3. Bowen E. G., Radar Days, 1987, Adam Hilger, Bristol

  The original WG Pye factory (circa 1913)
The original WG Pye factory, at the junction of Haig Road and Montague Road, Chesterton, Cambridge (circa 1920)