Watkins - Johnson WJ-8888
Watkins - Johnson, Gaithersburg, MA

Swiss Army Communication Sets
Synoptic Table
Army Receiving Sets
Exxx Designations
E-600 / Autophon E39
E-601 / Zellweger E41
E-602 / Autophon E44
E-603 / Autophon E45
E-604 / Autophon E46
E-606 / Velectra
E-627 / Autophon
E-628 / Autophon
E-629 / Collins 51J-4
E-645 / Siemens E311
E-646 / Zellweger
E-649 / Watkins-J.
E-655 / Racal RA1217
E-656 / Racal RA1772
E-657 / Telefunken
E-658 / R&S EK070
E-659 / Watkins-J. WJ-8888
Equipment List
Army Manuals
varia / copyright
about / contact

überarbeitet am 19.4.2012

The surveillance receiver Watkins - Johnson WJ-8888 has been acquired in small numbers to be used in the Swiss Army, it was used for "special purposes".
According to my informations, 23 sets WJ-8888-5 with the matching rack speaker unit S-9903E and the external tuning conrol box WJ-9588 (8 sets) as well as 7 receivers WJ-8888-7 with 16 memories and with the master - slave control unit WJ-9526 have been bought for the Swiss Army.
Further informations about the use of these receivers are required and very welcome.

Watkins - Johnson WJ-8888
Double conversion, 1st I.F. 82,805 MHz, 2nd I.F. 10,7 MHz and 3rd I.F. 455 kHz

Digital frequency display, LED, 10 Hz


10 kHz - 30 MHz

Selectivity -6 dB
8 / 4 / 2 / 1 (optional) / 0,5 kHz

< 1 uV SSB

RF Gain, four (optional 16) frequency memory channels

The professional grade communications receiver WJ-8888 is a 19" rack unit with an optional steel desktop cabinet, the receiver itself has a size of 483 x 133 x 495 mm and a weight of 18 kg, with a total weight of over 20 kg, you will be happy to find some handles at the sides of the receiver to carry it around easier...

Because the basic receiver provides audio only from a headphones jack and a 600 ohme line out connector, you might find an external speaker unit useful. Watkins - Johnson's recommendation is the rack mount Speaker Unit S-9903E (dimensions 483 x 92 x 160 mm), an additional very useful accessory is the Tuning Control Box WJ-9588 which acts like a wire bound tuning "joggle" control similar to the one found on video recorders. It's an external tuning control and not a second VFO as You might exspect.
The WJ-8888 has an electronic flywheel effect to increase tuning speed, the later variant WJ-8888B comes with four pushbuttons to select the tuning speed located next to the main tuning knob.
In the rith lower corner of the front panel, you find the main power switch, the tuning knob und the big sized LED frequency display with a resolution of 10 Hz.
Most controls consist of semi-transparent backlit pushbuttons, active function buttons are backlit.
The two pushbuttons of the top row in the left upper row set the meter to display the signal strength or the AF level. The pushbuttons at the right select the receptions modes, the WJ-8888 has detectos for AM, CW with fixed or variable frequency of the BFO, USB, LSB and as special mode ISB - in the "independant side band" modes, both sidebands of a signal carry two different voice or a voice and a radioteletype / data channel. Last butnot least, the receiver can detect narrow band FM transmissions.
The pushbuttons in the middle select manual or automatic RF gain control, when you depress the button "Hold AGC", the receiver keeps the RF gain in the current setting. The six pushbuttons at the right select one out of the six IF bandwidths available.
In the bottom row, you find the headphones jack, the volume control for the line out connector whick acts as volume control. A switch is used to select one of both sidebands for monitoring in ISB mode, it's very useful for ECSS reception, to select the less disturbed sideband of an AM signal under poor conditions with adjacent channel interference. Further controls are the squelch control active even in AM mode, the RF gain and the BFO control.
The remaining controls are used to handle the memories. The standard WJ-8888 model comes with four memory channels which will store the frequency and all reception parameters as reception mode, AGC and bandwidth filter settings. While "Receiver Control Local" is active, the set is controlled locally. When You press the ENTER button, this will start flashing. Select a memory number with the BCD switch, and press EXECUTE to store all parameters in the active memory channel. In REMOTE mode, the WJ-8888 can be fully remote control. This makes the restriction to four memory channels a relative one. There has been an option for sixteen memory channels, in the years when thje WJ-8888 was new, memory chips were expensive and something to save money even in "highest end" receivers.

The Swiss Army used the Watkins - Johnson WJ-8888 with the Army Signals designation E-659 with the signals intelligence

© Martin Bösch 20.4.2012