Homepage
Crypto
Index
Glossary
Enigma
Hagelin
Fialka
Nema
AT&T
Datotek
Gretag
HELL
ITT
Motorola
Mils
OMI
Philips
Racal
Siemens
STK
Tadiran
Telsy
Teltron
Transvertex
TST
USA
USSR
UK
Yugoslavia
Voice
Hand
OTP
EMU
Mixers
Phones
FILL
Codebooks
Algorithms
Spy radio
Burst encoders
Intercept
Covert
Radio
PC
Telex
People
Agencies
Manufacturers
• • • Donate • • •
Kits
Shop
News
Events
Wanted
Contact
About
Links
   Logo (click for homepage)
Nokia PARSA   Partiosanomalaite
Electronic Message Unit

The Partiosanomalaite (PARSA) is a secure portable military Electronic Messaging Unit (EMU) 1 for use with telephone and radio equipment, developed by Nokia (Finland). It allows digital messages to be coded and decoded with the DES encryption algorithm, and sent via Audio Frequency Shift Keying (AFSK), over standard voice channels. The same device was also sold by Philips Usfa (NL) as the UA-8296 and by MEL (UK) as the BA-1403 albeit with a different cryptographic algorithm.

The PARSA is the smaller 'brother' of the Nokia Sanomalaite (SANLA) M/90 originally released in 1983. Together with the Keskussanomalaite (KESANLA) these units are part of an integrated reconnaissance and command messaging system (Sanomalaitejärestelmä), that is in use by all branches of the Finnish Defence Forces.

The image on the right shows a typical PARSA unit, but it should be noted that there have been many minor manufacturing differences over the years, especially with respect to the keyboard.
  

This particular unit has circular keys that are part of a rubber key pad. It has 33 buttons that hold the letters of the alphabet and some special functions. Some keys, e.g. on the upper row, have double or even tripple functions. The button at the bottom left is used to turn the unit ON.

The PARSA has an alphanumeric red LED display with a single row of 16 characters and weights approx. 1 kg. It is powered by 6 AA-size batteries or by an external 10-30 V DC source, usually supplied by the radio. It interfaces with voice-grade 150 to 600 baud equipment and is suitable for HF, VHF and UHF radio circuits. It and has a 200 character transmit (TX) memory and a 2000 character receive (RX) memory that can hold up to 8 messages. The terminal is fully shock- and water-proof [1].

Messages are encrypted with the embedded DES algorithm (implemented in software), which was thought to be sufficiently secure at the time. The secret encryption key can be entered directly on the keyboard. Capture of a terminal cannot jeopardise the security of a current software key in use by other terminals, nor can it compromise security of the system at a future date.
 
  1. As the PARSA sends its messages as a short data burst, the device can also be classed as a Burst Encoder.


 
Philips UA-8296
The Nokia Parsa was also sold as a re-batched device by Philips Usfa in The Netherlands as the UA-8296, in which case the DES encryption algorithm was replaced by a proprietary one. The UA-8296 was sold alongside the much larger UA-8295, which was based on the Nokia SANLA.

The image on the right shows the front cover of the Philips brochure for the UA-8295 and the UA-8296, as it was released in 1984. The front page of the brochure carries the title 'Short Burst Terminals', (i.e. Burst Encoder) [2].

According to the brochure, the unit is intended for short burst messages, in order to minimize the chance of interception and radio direction finding. It also states that it uses encryption for secure communication, but nothing is said about the cryptographic strength of the unit.

The UA-8295 and the UA-8296 are also featured as Philips devices in the 1986 editions of Jane's Military Communication catalogue [1], but Philips never actually built any burst encoders.

 More equipment from Philips
  
Brochure of the Philips UA-8295 and UA-8296. Click here to download.

 
MEL BA-1403
The Nokia Parsa was also sold by MEL in the UK, which was in fact a rebatched Philips UA-8296 (see above). The unit is mechanically and electronically identical to the Nokia Parsa, but like with the Philips UA-8296, the DES encryption algorithm is replaced by a proprietary one.

 More equipment from MEL
 
Help required
At present, no further information about this unit is available. If you know more about the use of this unit, or if you have a user manual, please contact us.
 
References
  1. Jane's Military Communication 1986
    Netherlands, Philips Usfa BV, UA 8296 Hand-held Patrol Terminal. p. 445.
    ISBN: 0-7106-0824-1

  2. Philips Usfa BV, UA 8295 and UA 8296 Short Burst Terminals
    8-page full-colour brochure. Document No. 20.0058/E/0984, 1984.

Further information

Any links shown in red are currently unavailable. If you like the information on this website, why not make a donation?
Crypto Museum. Created: Thursday 15 October 2009. Last changed: Friday, 20 May 2016 - 08:03 CET.
Click for homepage