WB1400 HANDEL Page 2 of 2

This topic describes the second incarnation of the HANDEL Nuclear Attack Warning equipment known as Wire Broadcast System WB1400. It replaced both the Verbal Warning WB400 and Siren Control WB600, in areas with a flood warning system it also replaced the WB601.

This second of two parts of this topic describes the distribution of carrier to the receivers, the receivers themselves and operating procedures. There is a section on BT test equipment used to maintain the system. Part one described, the control unit at A.D.O.C., the Carrier Control Point and distribution of the carrier through the exchange network.

Local Distribution to Warning Points

Wiring of Warning Points

WB1400 Warning Point Wiring Diagram

To provide a customer with WB1400 their exchange line circuit is routed via the trickle charge feed and monitor unit, then out to line. A carrier supply from the one of fifteen outputs from the three distribution amplifiers is wired across these same line connections. A filter within the monitor and trickle feed unit prevents the carrier being shunted by the customers exchange equipment.

At the customers premises, a Filter 3A is used to block the carrier from the telephone instrument. The RECR terminals on the filter that were used for the earlier system's receiver are left disconnected. The WB1400 Carrier Receiver is connected directly to the line so it may receive the carrier and trickle charge its battery.

Filter Unit 15A

Filter Unit 15A

For new installations at premises not already having a WB receiver, the Filter Unit 15A pictured here without its case, supersedes the older 3A. The new design gives better sidetone performance on the associated telephone.

A special filter is required to handle the four wire circuit found at ROC Posts.

At the ROC Post, the Teletalk employs two pairs of wires, the first pair carries the speech from the Teletalk. The second pair is intercepted via a Filter Unit WB 1410 to separate the carrier from the speech and power sent towards the Teletalk. The filter reintroduces the receiver trickle charge derived from the terminating unit. The complete wiring can be found in the documentation library diagrams, WB29670 sheets 5 & 10.

WB1400 and WB1401 Warning Receiver

The two models of speech receiver are essentially the same, the only difference being an internal strap to control how many 'W' signals are required to turn the speaker on. The Carrier Control Point (CCP) described in Part 1, can choose to broadcast an 'Alarm' or 'Call' message to 'ALL' users or just the 'SELECT' group of users. Discrimination is made by preceding the message with either Four pulses of 'W' signal to turn on only the select group or Eight pulses to turn on every receiver in the area. A 'W' tone pulse is 115mS of 605Hz tone separated by a 115mS interval.

Receiver Speech WB1401 [Select Group]

The ROC & UKWMO locations were fitted a Receiver Speech WB1401 forming a 'SELECT' group which enabled the police to broadcast peacetime exercise messages without affecting the general users. As this responds to four or more pulses of 'W' tone it will receive messages sent to either the 'SELECT' and 'ALL' groups of user.

Receiver Speech WB1400 [General User]

All other locations had a Receiver Speech WB1400 fitted which require eight pulses of 'W' tone to enable the speaker and therefore only received messages sent to 'ALL' users. This is the most commonly found version of the carrier receiver.

Battery Secondary No32

Battery Secondary No.32

Power Supply

With reference to the speech receiver's photo gallery, The lower printed wiring board contains the power amplifier and 'W' signal detection logic. The upper circuit board demodulates the 72KHz amplitude modulated carrier and controls the trickle charging. When the host telephone line is not in use, a small current trickle charges the receiver's internal battery, a 12 Volt 1 Ah, rechargeable NiCad (a Battery Secondary No 32) this blue canister (50mm Dia. 95mm Long) sits in the lower section of the receiver casing.

Message Format and Monitor Tone

Once the receiver speaker is activated by the appropriate number of 'W' signals, the user will hear a 6.4 second blast of 'Alarm' or 'Call' signal preceding the spoken message. The speaker remains active during the 'Alarm' or 'Call' signal and the voice message then mutes after a 20 seconds delay. As the CCP turns off the 'Speak Now' light and reconnects the monitor tone 7s after the speak button is released, monitor tone will be heard during the 20s delay before the speaker is muted. The user would not normally hear the 'W' signals unless a subsequent message is initiated before the speaker is muted.

Loudspeaker Unit WB1401

Loudspeaker Unit WB1401

Monitor Tone (Confidence Tone) is a slow, soft pip tone of 1100Hz of 50mS duration repeated every 1600mS, generated while the CCP is idle and not sending speech broadcasts or siren control tone signals, restarting once the message or signal finished. It can be heard by operating the test switch on the Loudspeaker its purpose is to give the recipient confidence they will receive a message if sent. I have had queries from people who incorrectly thought the tone went off after the Attack Warning and came back on after the All Clear. It is always present when the system is functioning an not broadcasting a message or siren control signal.

Loudspeaker Units

Two different types of loudspeaker unit may be connected to a receiver. The left hand design of speaker, the 'Loudspeaker Unit WB1400' was suitable for office type environments. The clip on the top of the speaker retains the user instruction card (Label 585A item code 374170). The ruggedised 'Loudspeaker Unit WB1401' on the right is used in damp and harsh areas such as ROC posts or factories.

WB1400 Warning Point User Instructions

Booklet - PDF

Image depicting P.D.F. File

This 140Kbyte PDF document requires the case sensitive password RingBell on opening.

In Derbyshire, Warning Point operators were provided with a twelve page manual describing the function of the U.K.W.M.O. and giving detailed instructions on testing the receiver and ultimately the war situation. It covers the use of the siren, maroons and radiac monitoring unit.

A close facsimile of the document has been reproduced here, trying to keep the same words on every line, it was created from a scan of the booklet kindly provided by R o d d y   B u x t o n. He was given it by the engineer recovering the WB1400 receiver from Courtaulds in Spondon.

To prevent undesirable indexing of this PDF document by Web Crawlers, it has been encoded and requires the stated password to be used Note: it is case sensitive. I am sorry if this is a nuisance but html allows whole pages to be excluded from search engine indexes but not documents linked from a page.

If you wish to link to the document, please use


to come directly to this subsection.

Power Siren Control Signals

Externally the siren control equipment known as a 'Receiver Signalling' looks almost identical to the 'Receiver Speech'. The receiver demodulates the 72KHz carrier and filters out two control tones known as 'G' the guard signal and 'S' the siren signal. The receiver is unaffected by speech broadcasts as they do not imitate the guard signal. These two control signal frequencies and their duration remained the same as the superseded system.

There are two variants of the receiver only differing by the type of guard signal they respond to, a 'Receiver Signalling WB1400' for Civil Defence sirens requiring a 'G' signal (1500Hz) pulsed 400ms On / 400mS Off twelve times, to prime the logic to accept the 'S' signal (2160Hz) to energise the siren motor. A 'Receiver Signalling WB1401' for Flood Warning Sirens, is primed by a 'G' signal (1500Hz) pulsed 115mS On / 115mS Off twelve times before the 'S' signal.

The duration of the 'S' signal determines for how long the siren motor is be energised by the electricity supply. When the 'S' signal is received after the receiver is properly primed by the guard signal, it sends out a low current mains voltage signal into the Home Office provided Siren Switch Panel. This panel is described in the dedicated 'Power Siren' page on this website.

The siren signalling receiver is designed to be automatically self tested by signals sent by the CCP which alternately generates 'Test On' and 'Test Off' signals at 6 hour intervals. In response the receiver applies a signal to the line which is detected at the exchange. Should the receiver not respond to the self test due to faulty electronics or the connecting phone line has become faulty, a telephone exchange maintenance alarm is raised. This automatic self testing represents a huge improvement on the previous system, that was only tested six monthly and required a police visit to each siren point to check a test lamp was glowing and then reset it.

Special Cases Preventing Fault Monitoring from the Local Exchange

This topic describes the special cases where fault monitoring by the serving telephone exchange is not possible. An extra piece of equipment is necessary to supply the power for the receiver and in the case of a siren, to raise a local alarm should the self test fail.

The speech receiver is normally powered from the telephone line but under some circumstances this was not possible, such as when a signalling receiver shares the same phone line, or in rarer cases such as a high voltage substation or power station. In these situations the receiver battery is charged from the mains supply using a Power Unit WB1401A pictured here. The power unit incorporates a carrier filter too. The exchange does not supply the receiver power and cannot monitor for faults, it is known in BT terminology as a 'Locally Powered Speech Receiver'. Faults would only become apparent during police routine test broadcasts from the CCP.

When circumstances dictate that the signalling receiver cannot be directly connected to an external telephone line the fault monitoring must be carried out locally. The Monitor Unit WB1400 checks the signalling receiver responds to the CCP's 6 hourly test signals and incorporates a carrier filter too. In BT terminology this is a 'Locally Monitored Signalling Receiver'.

If the monitor unit detects a fault, it sounds a buzzer and the red LED glows, the buzzer can be stopped with the 'REC ATTN' key (Receiving Attention) and the fault is reported to BT. But this requires the unit to be in a manned office.

If the monitor unit cannot be sited in a manned office, it can be wired to extend the alarm some distance into the building's telephone switchboard room, so the operator can report the siren receiver faulty to BT.

Test Equipment

Tester WB1401A

Tester WB1401A

Tester WB1401A, diagram WB29754 Click to Zoom

Roy has kindly sent this photograph of a Tester WB1401A from the Belfast ROC Museum. This multi function test box can simulate the Carrier Control Point ( CCP ) and also monitor the actual WB1400 carrier as it passes through the various parts of the network from the CCP to the Receiver.

In simulation mode, it generates a carrier modulated by the control signals 'call all' 'call select' 'attack' 'flood' generated by a CCP to alert speech receivers and sound both air raid and flood sirens, allowing the receivers to be functionally tested. It will also simulate the exchange power feed to the receiver battery. In monitor mode, it serves as a Level Measuring Set ( LMS ) for both audio and 72KHz carrier in the range of -60 to +20 dB. It will also monitor the demodulated audio on the carrier being received by the LMS and the test signals generated by the CCP simulator. This actual unit was manufactured in 1984 to diagram WB 29754, its dimensions are 45 x 26 cm.

Test Unit WB1401A

Test Unit WB1401A

Test Unit WB1401A, diagram WB29821 Click to Zoom

This test unit is a cut down version of the Tester WB1401A, providing only a modulated carrier output for testing both Civil Defence and Flood Warning (FW) Receiver Signalling. Monitoring and Level Testing is performed with the old Tester WB400A. I'm indebted to Gavin for sending the photograph on the left.

Tester WB1403A

Tester WB1403A

Tester WB1403A, diagram WB29817

In the lid of the Tester WB1401A and in the carrying case of a Test Unit WB1401A is a further small test unit used when testing Signalling Receivers so a functional test can be performed without sounding the siren. The Tester WB1403A is connected into the mains wiring of the signalling receiver and has lights to indicate mains is present and when the siren would operate. The tester prevents the actual operation of the contactor relay that applies the Three Phase mains supply to the siren motor. Adrian has kindly supplied the photograph on the right.

Carrier Control Point Tester / Simulator

Tester WB1402A, diagram WB29755 Click to Zoom

Adrian's picture shows the Tester WB1402A used for various tests in the Control Point Exchange and Carrier Control Point. The tester is in four sections, an Audio Monitor allows the engineer to listen to the speaking clock on the incoming HANDEL lines at both the exchange and CCP.

The section below is a peak program meter which displays the maximum level of the audio. This is used in set up the correct level of the speaking clock so it neither too loud or too quiet. The audio of the person giving the attack warning message was set at the A.D.O.C. in relationship to the level of the speaking clock thereby ensuring the message was clearly received at the Police station.

At the bottom right is an audio frequency generator with four preset output tones P, Q, P+Q and 180Hz with five differing durations to check the equipment at the CPE and CCP only responds to the correct length of the appropriate tone signal. The P tone is 1200Hz and Q tone 1440Hz which are in the normal audio spectrum. To prevent misoperation from the speaking clock or test messages the duration of the combined tones has to be 1 second.

The lower centre section allows the 180Hz signal sent from the CPE to the CCP to be checked for the correct level, duration and frequency tolerance.