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Ecolex 20
Data encryption device - wanted item

Ecolex 20 was a data encryption/decryption device developed by Philips Usfa BV in Eindhoven (Netherlands) in the mid-1980s. It was aimed as the successor to the Ecolex-X, but according to some reports it was never taken into production. Nevertheless, it was listed in the 1986 edition of Jane's Military Communication [2] as the Dacolex 15.

The image on the right shows one of the rarest pictures ever taken of the Ecolex 20. The device is shown here aside the UA-8293 Line Interface Unit. It is probably one of the early prototypes.

The unit has a numerical keypad at the front and a red alpha-numerical display immediately above it. Below the keypad is the power switch and the standard NATO U-229 socket for connecting a key-fill device, such as the KOI-18 or the KYK-13. All keys can be wiped from memory by pressing the ZEROIZE key that is hidden behind a red flap at the top left.

The Jane's catalog contains the following description: [2] Dacolex 15 is an automatic data encryption/decryption equipment for on-line use in full-duplex, half-duplex and simplex data and telex links, including cable, microwave, troposcatter, satellite, HF/VHF/UHF radio and TDM circuits. It can be used with terminal equipment which accepts and presents asynchronous data (ITA 2, 50 to 300 bits/s or ITA 5, 100 to 9600 bits/s) or synchronous data (up to 32 kbits/s).

Remote control
Apparently, the Ecolex 20 could also be used in combination with a remote control panel. The image on the right shows the keyboard of such a control panel, that has recently surfaced. It has keys for the selection of the appropriate key and for switching between crypto and plain.   

  1. Philips Usfa BV, Ecolex 20 stock photograph
    Crypto Museum Archive.

  2. Jane's Military Communication 1986
    ISBN: 0-1706-0824-1
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Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 16 January 2011. Last changed: Friday, 17 February 2023 - 12:32 CET.
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