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.
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
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
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
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.
Raymond 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
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
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
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
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
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.