Transceiver

This is a rare piece of surviving modern technology in the HBC Museum Collection, but exactly where this transceiver was operated remains a mystery.

Written by Cortney Pachet

Posted November 15, 2019

This transceiver, model SB-60, was designed for radio communication across great distances, particularly in remote locations or aboard seafaring vessels.

Manufactured by Spilsbury & Tindall Radio Communications Limited, a Vancouver-based company that operated from 1941 to 1972, the transceiver features a ventilated steel mesh cover with seven dials, including one for switching between channels — B was reserved for HBC communications. The hand-held microphone hooks on to the side of the box.

Exactly where this transceiver was operated remains a mystery, but it was in use by the Hudson’s Bay Company around 1968. Radio communication was a welcome and essential convenience for northern HBC posts, which previously relied on written correspondence to receive and to dispatch information.

This is a rare piece of surviving modern technology in the HBC Museum Collection, as a 1987 memo notes: “Old HBC radio equipment seems to be scarce.”

The same memo states that when Tom Roach — a researcher who also wrote for The Beaver — “was looking into the possibility of the National Museum of Science & Technology doing a display re. early HBC radio network, he was having difficulty finding equipment.”

Cortney Pachet is the assistant curator of the HBC Collection at the Manitoba Museum.

This article as orginally published in the December 2019-January 2020 issue of Canada’s History.

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