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Raycom Ex Employees Club

Raycom was a company run by Raymond Christopher Steven Withers (G4KZH) that sold amateur radio equipment and pirate radio transmitters originally on the Hagley Road in Quinton, Birmingham.

The FM pirate radio transmitters were very good and pushed out 35 Watts, from a simple dipole the signal could be heard over 100 miles away, and even on a car radio a good 35 miles. Considering they cost 150.00 it was good value for money. I know Ray sold one to George G1MTT for his "Tower Radio" that used to broadcast from the site of a water tower in Redditch on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Raymond is no longer with us, but his exploits are legendary. In LPWS's opinion, his takeover of the Beacon Radio 303 medium wave transmitter was an absolute triumph. They beamed the signal into the transmitter site, and Ray used one of his transmitters to send an even stronger signal in, swamping the original one and taking complete control of the medium wave transmitter!

Much of his activities in this regard were obviously illegal and considering the DTI Radio Investigations office was less than a mile away from the shop, a little foolhardy, although we don't know of any DTI action being taken against him.

He expanded the business and moved up the Wolverhampton Road a couple of miles away, and developed the mail order side of the business. This was in the 1980s when there were many more people on the air and the hobby was booming.

Raymond expanded into more legitimate areas of radio with radio microphones and other commercial devices which required the cooperation of the DTI with regard to issuing both temporary and permanent licences, we imagine if the DTI had known who he really was and what he had been up to, they may not have been so helpful.

In the late 1980s he moved his business to an Industrial Estate in Alcester where he concentrated on commercial sales of legitimate radio equipment and virtually washed his hands of amateur radio equipment all together.

These business transitions were not altogether smoothly achieved though, far from it in fact, he went into liquidation several times and phoenix like - raised himself from the ashes, with a minor change to the Limited company name, leaving the debtors unpaid and presumably buying the assets from the official receiver for a pittance, to start up again debt free.
Sadly these incidents had an unfortunate side effect for the employees who found themselves out of a job and without their salary, causing obvious hardship to those paying mortgages or with families to feed.
Needless to say, this brought about a little resentment, and the Raycom Ex Employees Club was formed.

They produced humorous news letters etc. and "spilled the beans" on some of his antics. I remember going to the Whythall Radio Rally one year and almost every lamppost had a laminated poster attached by nylon wiring straps. Various comments were on these and there were so many that it was impossible to miss them.

Here in the LPWS we had dealings with Raymond Christopher Steven Withers G4KZH, sometimes as a supporter, and sometimes as an opponent, in fact he befriended George G1MTT and used to visit his house regularly. He eventually tried to get him to invest in the failing Alcester business. Elsewhere on this website are details of this, and withers eventually turned up at George's trial as a witness for the DTI, but as George had made a secret recording of the visit asking for funds and the judge decided Withers was therefore a "hostile witness" and instructed the jury to disregard his evidence.

The late Raymond Christopher Steven Withers G4KZHRaymond Christopher Steven Withers G4KZH, manufacturer of pirate radio transmitters, serial repeater abuser, radio frequency vandal, master at going bankrupt and arising phoenix-like from the ashes to continue trading from the same premises and with the same stock, wiping out former debts.
Apart from this dubious CV, he also played on both sides of the fence with the LPWS sometimes, and other times as a comrade in arms with the Radio Investigation Service of the DTI.
Greatest achievement in our eyes was when he "pirated" the Beacon Radio medium wave transmitter by overriding the link with a more powerful signal.
Ray used to live in what his Ex Employees Club referred to as "Tumbledown Ghetto" in Spernal Ash, midway between Studley and Alcester in Warwickshire, he was married to a Japanese tart called Akemi, who used to fly into a rage when you called the house on the number printed in the magazine!

From his testimony in Hereford Crown Court he claimed to have a radio direction finding device which was, in his own words "More or less 100% accurate".

Sadly, the best the DTI could do was to use one with a circle of 30 leds, giving the professionals an accuracy of only + or - 12! (Quoting the words of Roy "walnut features" Ratcliffe.)

Some of Wither's antics in relation to various business interests and companies can be found HERE

Interesting detail from QRZ.com:-

"Tumbledown Ghetto" former lair of Withers G4KZH

 

It should be noted that no one in the LPWS was a member of the Raycom Ex Employees Club or ever worked there, and the above, whilst believed to be correct, is based on hearsay only.

Until now, October 2015, we only had fairly crude versions of the club news letters that had been copied on a thermal fax machine, a very kind person has supplied much better scans of these documents which we now share with you as a historical record.

We extend our greatest thanks to the contributor who asks to remain anonymous.

Raycom Ex Employees Club Newsletters

Click for full sized images

This is funny, a Ray Withers Halloween mask!

We think the reference to Mrs Pearl Harbour means Raymond's Japanese wife Akemi.

 

More promised soon!

Disclaimer:- It should be noted that the above references to Raycom Limited refer only to companies that had Raymond Christopher Steven Withers as a director, and no other company or companies with similar names incorporated after 31st December 1999.

 
 
      "Wicked" Willy Bodwen ex Sgt. 3116 (forced to retire & not a laughing policeman!)

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