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Military Surplus QRP equipment

Welcome to column #59 of QRP With K3WWP. Some time ago I received some interesting info about using military surplus equipment for operating QRP. I had my columns planned out at the time and was unable to get to that topic until now, so here goes.

The information was supplied by WD8MGO, Fred Lehman, who wrote: "Good Morning John, I just wanted to tell you that I look forward to reading your column in every issue. You mention about using full-band radios for QRP work but what about Military Surplus? I have used the GRC-109, which is a transmitter/receiver and power supply combination once in my apartment. Very good receiver with Collins Mechanical Filters."

"Military Surplus friends of mine have also used the PRC-64A which was built by Delco and came in two versions. The first being crystal the second being synthesized."

"Another radio was the TRC-77 which by QRP standards was ahead of its time for the early 1960's. Using tubes and transistors this radio had a very low power consumption (used by forward units)."

"Also Military Manpacks such as the Datron/Transworld PRC-1099 can be used on CW, as well as the Commercial Vertex 1200 and 1210. Other commercial sets include the Q-MAC, Barret and Tadiran. Many of these sets cross over into the HF Pack category (which many of collector friends hang out). I would be very interested to know how many FISTS members are using Military/Commercial equipment?"

"Maybe food for thought or an article?"

Yes, it was good food and I wrote back to Fred asking him to list some sources of military surplus gear for those who read this and may be interested in trying it themselves. I only knew offhand of Fair Radio in Ohio which I had dealt with in the past. Fred replied with the following list:
ARMY RADIOS SALES-UK - http://www.armyradio.co.uk/
Columbia Electronics International, Inc - http://www.columbiaelectronics.com/
Combat Radio-UK - http://www.combatradio.org.uk/
Helmut Singer Elektronik - http://www.helmut-singer.de/
SURPLUS MILITARY RADIO - http://home.hetnet.nl/~angrynine/
TORONTO SURPLUS & SCIENTIFIC INC - http://www.torontosurplus.com/
MILRADIO - http://www.milradio.com/

Fred also added, "In addition I shop for Military Surplus at the hamfests I attend. At HAMVENTION a group of us collectors have two nets: The 3885 Net (3885Khz) using BC-611s (similar radios seen in the movie Wind Talkers). And The Cold War Net where operators check in with such radios as PRC-10, PRC-25, PRC-77, PRC-68, PRC-68A (Primary mode is WBFM on 51MHz). I hope I was of some help?"

That is an intriguing way to go the QRP route. It brought back some memories for me when a lot more surplus gear was being used on the ham bands. That was back in the early 1960's when I first got my ham ticket as KN3WWP. While I never used military surplus gear myself, I did buy some surplus parts for projects I built. That was from Fair Radio I mentioned earlier. Their website is http://www.fairradio.com/ and they take email requests for a free hard copy catalog.

Since Fred is the expert on the material contained in this column, any questions should be directed to him at lehman_fred@hotmail.com or Fred Lehman, 5911 Lake Ave., Greenville, OH 45331.

As usual, you can contact me for any non-Military surplus comments or questions via email, my website at home.windstream.net/johnshan/ or John H. Shannon - K3WWP, 478 E. High St., Kittanning, PA 16201. Till next time, 73. -30-