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Ideas For Sourcing Components
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Electronic Components

On this page you'll find some useful contacts for both modern components and those that are more vintage in nature.   [ Jump to electronic component suppliers ]

Some of the components used in older radio and crystal set designs can sometimes be quite difficult to obtain, but you should still be able to get hem from some suppliers

Tuning capacitors can be of any type or style as long as the value is is in the region of 500pF or thereabouts.  Capacitors with a value of around 300pF will certainly work, but the tuning range may be very slightly limited and the tuning coil may need to be adjusted accordingly to compensate, by adding a few additional turns of wire.

Larger air-spaced or the more compact solid dielectric tuning capacitors are equally suitable for any of these circuits. 

The OC71 and OC45 transistors are germanium types (as opposed to the modern silicon types found today).  They were made by the Mullard company, and you may find that the word Mullard is printed on the casing, which was, incidentally a black painted glass encapsulation. You will need to search vintage and surplus suppliers for these devices. EBay is a useful place to look.

The OA81 diodes should still be fairly readily available.  Other Small Signal Germanium diodes could also be tried in these circuits, e.g. the OA90 and OA91. The OA47 will be of particular interest since it has the lowest forward bias voltage of any of these diode which will make the crystal set somewhat more sensitive and therefore louder. The US equivalent of the British OA47 is the 1N34.

Any modern electrolytic and ceramic capacitors, as long as they are of the correct value, will work in these circuits.

Any modern resistors, again so long as they are of the correct value, will be perfectly suitable. In simple crystal set and TRF radio circuits 1/4 watt, 1/2 watt and 0.6 watt resistors will be fine.

The LT700 transformer should also be readily available from many suppliers.  The LT700 was often sold under the "Eagle" brand name.

The 450pF or 500pF compression trimmer used for tuning in the 'matchbox' style radio are not now widely available but, once again, a search of Ebay, the internet and surplus component suppliers may be rewarded with some success.  If not then see the notes on the matchbox radio page for other tuning ideas.

Crystal Earphones are still widely available.  When I checked in 2007 both Bowood Electronics and Maplin listed them as in stock.

++++++ Please Tell Me if you have a favourite supplier or know of any other good electronic component suppliers.  Thank you. ++++++

Sources For Older Electronic Components

If any of the parts that you require are not  readily available from your usual electronics component supplier then a search of E-Bay may be a good place to start a search of the internet.  Also search the internet using a search engine like Yahoo or Google for 'vintage' or 'surplus' component suppliers.  A look through the advertisements in popular Electronics and Radio hobby magazines that you will find in W H Smith's may also provide some good leads.

Some of vintage and surplus component suppliers that come to mind are:

J BIRKETT Radio Components - 25 THE STRAIT, LINCOLN, LN2 1JD. Telephone (uk) 01522 520767 
Birkett's often have rare and so called 'surplus' components in stock, particularly surplus air-spaced tuning capacitors.

6V6 - Electronic Nostalgia and Vintage Components. Visit

VINTAGE COMPONENTS - Another possible source of components, TRF valve radio kits and (most excitingly) low power AM Medium Wave transmitters for listeners and experimenters who no longer have a local AM broadcast station within range:

Suppliers of
                            Electronic Components - Bowood Electronics

Suppliers of Modern Components

BOWOOD ELECTRONICS: A very good source for general everyday modern components:  Telephone: 01246 200 222
A friendly, helpful and very speedy source for many of your electronic components at prices that won't frighten your wallet!   - Will Outram, the proprietor, is very very helpful. Highly recommended.

CRICKLEWOOD Electronics: A very reliable supplier with a good range at competitive prices with quick delivery:

RAPID Electronics: A comprehensive range of components with efficient delivery:

ESR Electronic Components:     Unidirectional electret & dynamic microphone elements / inserts:

W.H. Westlake Electronics: A very helpful and reliable supplier of parts, wires and cables which will be of particular interest to antenna constructors and Radio Amateurs.

JAB Electronic Components: A good range of components for the amateur radio enthusiast and excellent customer service:

J.H. Components Limited:
An extensive range of Vintage and Components - supplying many people and companies world wide:
Contact details: No 1 The Thorn Tree, Elmurst Business Park, Park Lane , Elmhurst, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 8EX  -  Tel: +44 (0) 1543 417471  -  look for jhcomp25 on ebay  -  Download Example Stock List October 2014

Sellweb Ltd is a low cost electronic component supplier.                          -      Repair website:

RSH Electronic Components:
A useful range of electronic components:

JAYCAR Electronics: Have proved very useful with a good range of components, very good pricing & surprisingly quick delivery:

QUASAR Electronics:  Components; Kits; Controllers; Educational and fun projects and more:

VELLEMAN Kits: Lots of useful, interesting and educational kits and modules:

RS - Radio Spares:  A huge range from a well known name.

FARNELL: A huge range from a well known name.

CPC: A huge range from a well known name.

J BIRKETT Radio Components - 25 THE STRAIT, LINCOLN, LN2 1JD. Telephone (uk) 01522 520767 
Birkett's often have rare and so called 'surplus' components in stock, particularly surplus air-spaced tuning capacitors.

SATCURE: Very good for satellite related equipment.

Nikko Electronics: Good for obscure Japanese transistor radios.  

GranData: Good for TV repairs.

Maplin Electronics:  Have an ever contracting range of project components, no where near as good as good as they used to be and are often more expensive. Worth a look if you have a shop nearby: :  For sourcing components uses by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) : Founded in 2010 and based in the United Kingdom, is a free comparison site for electronic parts and components. We are proud to have launched the first comparison platform of its kind in the electronics distribution industry. We are committed to not only saving you time and money, but to also provide you with value so you can make an informed purchase. Subsequently, thousands of engineers every day use to compare prices and order online from leading electronics distributors. We also have affiliations directly with manufacturers who list their product feeds on the website. This gives the buyer the option of buying through distribution or purchasing directly from the manufacturer. There is no membership or log in required to compare and buy electronic parts on, it's free.

Elsewhere in the World:

FUTURLEC:  Stockist and supplier of electronic components. Futurlec, 1133 Broadway, Suite 706, New York, NY 10010  USA

Transmitters / Transmitter Components:

TRANSMITTERS 'R' US : Transmitters 'R' Us aim to keep alive many older AM, FM & Shortwave broadcast transmitters and are able to supply many parts for both valve and early solid-state AM, FM and Shortwave transmitter models. Transmitters R Us also supply complete AM & FM transmission systems. Contact David Shapiro at:

++++++ Please Tell Me if you have a favourite supplier or know of any other good electronic component suppliers.  Thank you. ++++++

Sycom Components:  * Very sadly closed due to the illness of Robin, the owner, in May 2011 *

No AM radio stations or transmitters in your locality or country? AM Medium Wave
                          Transmitter from Vintage Components

Has your local medium wave broadcast station closed or been moved to VHF/FM or Digital? Don't worry. You can still build and experiment with crystal sets and TRF radios by also buying or even building a simple low power AM transmitter. So, not only can you use your crystal sets but you can also run your own radio station that can be heard in and around your home - playing the music or programmes that you want to hear!

Spitfire  - A complete, high quality ready built medium wave AM Transmitter, available from Vintage Components: :

SPITFIRE AM Medium Wave Transmitter with 100 milliwatt RF output power:
Spitfire AM transmitter from
                                  Vintage Components

Metzo AM Transmitter fromVintage

SSTRAN AMT3000 The AMT3000 is a really superb high fidelity medium wave AM transmitter kit from SSTRAN. Versions available for 10kHz spacing in the Americas (AMT3000 or AMT3000-SM) and 9kHz spacing in Europe and other areas (AMT3000-9 and AMT3000-9SM). Superb audio quality and a great and well designed little kit to build:

AM88 LP  A basic AM transmitter kit from North County Radio.

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Suppliers of Electronic Components - Bowood