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Man pack radio BA-1302

The Clansman AN/PRC-319 was a ruggedized man pack radio build by MEL (Philips) in the UK in the late 1980s. It was used for Special Operations by the UK, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Only 350 units were built for use by the British Armed Forces. Secure communication was possible by using an Electronic Message Unit (EMU) or a Digital Message Handling Device (DMHD).
The image on the right shows the typical two keypads of a PRC-319 unit that has been taken out of its canvas back pack. The keypad on the right is used to control the transceiver, whilst the leftmost unit the removable EMU (see below).

The PRC-319 operates from 1.5 to 40 MHz in USB, CW and Data mode. Transmitter and receiver frequency can be set independently, allowing split-frequency (half-duplex) operation. Maximum power output is selectable between 5W and 50W. The ruggedized case is watertight and can be submerged in up to 6 feet of water.
Close-up of the two control units: the EMU (left) and the frequency control unit (right)

The set is specified for a range of 20 km when using the whip antenna or 1000 km when using a wire antenna. An automatic antenna tuner (TURF) allows most types of antennas to be used. For frequencies below 4 MHz an additional antenna unit (the so-called TURF Extender) is required.

The PRC-319 was built by MEL (Mullard Electronics Ltd) for the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) around 1988. MEL was a Philips subsidary and was later sold to Thales. Support for MEL equipment has been discontinued. The original base price for a PRC-319 was USD 21,000. A number of AN/PRC-319 transceivers appeared on the European surplus market around 2010.
Back pack The complete PRC-319 with EMU, TURF and TURF Extender, outside the back pack The complete PRC-319 inside the back pack Close-up of the two control units: the EMU (left) and the frequency control unit (right) Connections Connections


EMU - Electronic Message Unit
The PRC-319 was used by Special Forces and for Special Operation Tasks. In situations where secure non-voice communication was required, the optional BA-1304 Electronic Message Unit (EMU) was used. The EMU can be inserted into an empty slot on the body of the radio, to the left of the main control unit.

 More information
EMU with display open

Bravo Two Zero
For many years, the PRC-319 was standard issue for the S.A.S., the British Special Forces. It was used for behind-enemy-lines missions in Iraq during the First Gulf War in 1991. A good example of the use of a PRC-319 is given in the book Bravo Two Zero, written by SAS Sergeant Andy McNab (pseudonym), in which he gives a detailed account of a (failed) infiltration mission.

The book is based on a real mission in Iraq lead by McNab in January 1991. The eight-member team had one PRC-319 radio for emergency use. It was equiped with the EMU and had to be used in burst mode (i.e. no voice calls) in order to avoid interception and Direction Finding (DF) by the enemy. The team also carried four TACBE (Tactical Beacon) units for emergency distress calls in case the PRC-319 got lost or damaged.
Further information

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