Audiotel International Ltd
Audiotel International is a leading European manufacturer of
equipment, used for the effective detection of
electronic eavesdropping devices,
also known as bugs.
Audiotel TSCM equipment is generally sold
world-wide under the Scanlock brand name.
The company was established in 1978 and is commonly recognised as one of
the major players in this field.
On 3 September 2015, Audiotel International was
acquired by Tioga Limited .
Audiotel equipment on this website
By mapping several smaller sections of the
frequency spectrum on top of each other, the entire spectrum could be
scanned for nearby radio transmitters (bugs) in less than a second.
As MI6 had no interest in developing it further,
Tracey started marketing it himself in 1975 through Technical Security Ltd.
in London, at the time a front operation of MI6 .
In New Scientist of July 1975, it was announced that Technical Security
would launch the Scanlock at a price of GBP 940 .
Audiotel International Ltd
A few years later, in 1978, Tracey left MI6 and founded his own company:
Audiotel International Ltd., with its initial address at City Road
in London. His first product was the Scanlock Mark I, soon followed
by the Scanlock Mark 2 and the
Scanlock Mark 3,
Eventually this evolved into the now legendary
Scanlock Mark VB.
It instantly settled Audiotel's name as international
experts in the field of countermeasures,
and the Scanlock would soon be copied by other manufacturers .
For many years, the company used the silhouette of an eavesdropping man
as the company logo.
In the US, Audiotel was represented by
Technical Services Agency (TSA),
founded by former CIA expert Glenn Whidden,
With his technical expertise, Whidden enhanced the
Scanlock Mark VB with an automatic
scanning feature and signal memory, named
It basically converted the
Scanlock Mark VB
into a correlator, a technique
the CIA has researched since the early 1960s.
As Lee Tracey was more of an engineer than
a business manager, he teamed up with Lansing Bagnall in Basingstoke
who took a major interest in the company by taking 70% of its shares.
Tracey would concentrate on the development of the Scanlock and a
new range of products, whilst Lansing Bagnall would look after
product marketing and management of the company.
In the early 1980s, Audiotel started the development of the next generation
of bug detectors, resulting in the improved (partly digital)
Scanlock 2000. In Europe it was an
instant succes and it soon replaced the Scanlock Mark VB.
In the US however,
the Scanlock Mark VB
(enhanced with TSA's
COMPUSCAN expansion unit)
kept dominating the marked for several more years.
After a conflict between
Tracey and Lansing Bagnall, Tracey
gradually began loosing interest and fell out with the major shareholder.
Finally, Lansing Bagnall decided to sell off Audiotel altogether
and found a new owner in Andrew Martin, who led the
company until his untimely death in 1997.
In 1987, Martin moved Audiotel to a new premises in Corby
(Northamptonshire, UK). There, the successor to the
was developed, resulting in the digitally-controlled versatile
In the meantime, Audiotel had added a number of additional devices
to their product range, such as the hand-held
Delta-V and a range of
covert communication devices.
In 1989, Audiotel got access to the latest developments in
Non-Linear Junction Detectors (NLJD)
by acquiring Security Research Ltd.
from Cray Defence Group. Security Research was founded by
a WWII SOE veteran and long-term friend of
who had been developing and improving his
since the 1970s.
Bovill developed the idea of the
during WWII, whilst
working on other inventions like Eureka, Rebecca and
. At the time it was used to detect corrosion below an
airplaine's painted surfaces.
In the early 1980s the Broom
appeared on the market and was actively being advertised in the
security magazines of the days.
➤ More about Charles Bovill
The acquisition of Charles Bovill's
NLJD technology, resulted in the release of the
Broom ECM in 1990,
soon followed by updates of existing products, such as the
Scanlock ECM Plus in 1992,
the Delta-V ECM in 1995,
the SuperBroom in 1996
and finally the PC-driven
Scanlock M2 in 2000.
After company director Andrew Martin's untimely death in 1997,
Audiotel was acquired from the trustees of the estate
on 31 January 2003 by London & Boston Investments plc (L&B)
for a total amount of GBP 1,800,000.
A year later (2004) Audiotel became a full
subsidary of PSG Solutions, another L&B acquisition.
In 2004, Audiotel reported a turnover of nearly GBP 3 million .
Today, the company is still based in Corby (Northamptonshire, UK)
and supplies TSCM equipment to governments, law enforcement agencies,
companies and private individuals world-wide.
Early in 2013, Audiotel moved to a new premises, about 2 miles from
the old one, and replaced the old familiar logo with the eavesdropping
silhouette, by the red/blue one shown above .
On 3 September 2015, it was announced that Audiotel International
had been acquired by Tioga Limited, with whom the company already
had a good business relationship . Tioga is one of the leading
privately-owned contract electronics manufacturers (CEM) in the UK.
After the merger of Tioga and Telemisis in 2017, Audiotel became part
of the Simpatica Group, but kep trading under the old familiar name
Audiotel International .
On the first Audiotel website that was published in 1999, it was stated
that the company was supplying products since 1977, the same year that
was mentioned in the 1996 sales brochure . A year later however,
the website claimed Audiotel was established in 1978 .
We assume the latter to be correct.
- Audiotel International Ltd.
Corby Road, Weldon
Corby, Northamptonshire NN17 3AR
Phone: +44 (0)1536-464888
Fax: +44 (0)1536-268363
- Initial Audiotel website: www.audiotel-int.com
October 1990 - 8 September 2012. Retrieved via WayBack Machine. May 2013.
- Second Audiotel website: www.audiotel-support.com
October 2007- August 2012. Retrieved via Wayback Machine. May 2013.
- Current Audiotel website: www.audiotel-international.com
Retrieved May 2013 1.
- London & Boston Investments plc, Acquisition of PSG Solutions
8 June 2004.
- Audiotel International Ltd., Full colour sales brochure
March 1996. 16 pages, full colour. © Copyright Audiotel.
- Audiotel International Ltd., Audiotel International has moved
Audiotel Newsletter, February 2013.
- Crypto Museum, Interview and correspondence with Lee Tracey
23 May 2013.
- New Scientist, Boardroom electronic warfare
Volume 67, Number 957. 10 July 1975, p. 66.
- New Scientist, Personal surveillance devices
Volume 80, Number 1130. 23 November 1978, p. 601.
- The Telegraph, Charles Bovill Obituary
9 May 2001. Retrieved May 2013.
- Audiotel, Audiotel International acquired by Tioga Limited
Audiotel website. Retrieved November 2015.
- Audiotel, Website homepage, COMPANY
Retrieved Octiber 2020.
Although this website has been active since October 2000, it used to
be redirected to audiotel-support . Since the beginning of 2013,
it is used as the main web address, whilst the others have been discontinued.
Any links shown in red are currently unavailable.
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Monday 13 December 2010. Last changed: Thursday, 01 October 2020 - 10:16 CET.