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Intercept receivers

This section deals with receivers that have been used (or are being used) to intercept and monitor radio traffic. Please note that there are overlaps with other sections, as some of these receivers are also used for radio direction finding, or for finding the nature and source of an interference.

Intercept receivers on this website
National HRO receivers
RCA AR-88 receiver
Hallicrafters SX-28 Super Skyrider receiver
Siemens R-II (R2) Abwehr receiver
Siemens R-IV (R4) Abwehr receiver
OSS (CIA) aperiodic receiver SSR-201
CIA VHF intercept receiver SRR-4
CIA VHF intercept receiver SRR-5
SRR-8 surveillance receiver 30-1000 MHz (1963)
EM-038-B French binaural aperiodic intercept receiver in suitcase
ACL SR-209 HF/VHF/UHF/SHF surveillance receiver
SRR-52 listening post receiver
SRR-56 listening post receiver
Improved modular surveillance receiver (vertical model)
Improved modular surveillance receiver (horizontal model)
Modular surveillance receiver for RP and DP masked bugs
CIA surveillance receiver SSR-100
Panasonic RF-015 AM/FM pocket radio
SRR-145 down-converter
SRR-153 surveillance receiver
Pristroj UHF 465 MHz intercept receiver, used for monitoring French counter-espionage
2170 Intercept Receiver as used by the Stasi in the former DDR
Minilock 6900 Programmable Precision Measurement Receiver
Minilock 6910 Programmable Precision Measurement Receiver
Rohde & Schwarz EB-100 portable surveillance receiver
Rohde & Schwarz EB-200 Monitoring Receiver 10 kHz - 3 GHz
Czechoslovakian VHF or UHF bug receiver
Special receiver for BODIL B1 carrier bug
General coverage panoramic intercept receiver
General coverage panoramic intercept receiver (2 GHz)
Dutch intercept receiver for 1st generation car phones
USSR (Russia)
ICOM IC-R9000 communications receiver
Telemetry receivers on this website
Microdyne 1100-AR telemetry receiver (also used as intercept and surveillance receiver)
National HRO
The National HRO was a valve-based (tube) shortwave general coverage communications receiver, manufactured by the National Radio Company (National) in Malden (Massachusetts, USA) from 1935 onwards.

The receiver was intended for military and amateur use and became very popular for intercept work during WWII. Different versions of the radio were in production until the 1950s.

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National HRO-5

The AR-88 was a valve-based shortwave general coverage communications receiver, developed and built by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in the early 1940s.

Although the receiver was initially intended as the successor to the AR-77 amateur receiver, the outbreak of WWII made it evolve into a professional high-end military-grade intercept receiver for which cost was not an issue.

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RCA AR-88 receiver

Hallicrafters SX-28
The SX-28 and the later SX-28A were AM/CW communication receivers, developed and built by Hallicrafters Inc. in Chicago (USA) in 1940, a few years before the US got involved in WWII.

It is one of the most popular receivers every built by Hallicrafters, and was used heavily for intercept work during the war. The receiver is also known as Super Skyrider.

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Hallicrafters SX-28A

SSR-201 was an aperiodic or non-selective receiver, developed during WWII for use by the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA. It was used for finding clandestine radio stations, operated by – mainly German – spies in the US and in the UK.

After the war, the device was also used by the Radio Monitoring Services of several European countries.

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SSR-201 aperiodic receiver

This valve-based surveillance receiver was developed by the CIA in 1958 and covers 50 - 200 MHz. It was used for monitoring and for the reception of covert listening devices (bugs).

The receiver is based on the military R-744, which as a similar front panel.

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Telescopic antenna mounted on the SRR-4

The SRR-5 was a solid-state VHF surveillance receiver, developed in the early 1960s. It covers 50 to 400 MHz and is suitable for AM, FM, CW and modulated CW signals.

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The SRR-8 was a countermeasures receiver, developed by the CIA between 1961 and 1963. It covers 30-1000 MHz in FM/AM and PM, and was suitable for stationary as well as mobile use.

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XRR-8 (SRR-8) CIA surveillance receiver

The SR-209 (CIA designator: SRR-23) was a high-end surveillance receiver, developed in the mid-1960s by ACL in Gaithersburg (Maryland, USA). It is suitable for frequencies between 2 MHz and 12 GHZ, divided over several bands, each of which required a separate plug-in tuner.

The receiver is suitable for AM, FM, CW and Pulse, and has three IF bandwidths, selectable from a wide range of IF-plug-ins.

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SR-209 surveillance receiver

The SRR-52 was a surveillance receiver, used by the CIA, that was developed especially for the reception of bugs that used the Triple Pulse (TP) audio masking scheme.

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SRR-52 surveillance receiver

The SRR-56 was a surveillance receiver, used by the CIA, that was developed especially for the reception of bugs that used Rejected Pulse (RP) and Dirty Pulse (DP) audio masking schemes.

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Modular receiver for the 260-400 MHz VHF/UHF frequency range, introduced in 1974 by the NRP for use by the American CIA. Intended for the reception of pulse-based transmitters (bugs).

Modular construction, designed for transport and operation in a standard Samsonite briefcase. Succeeded by the SRR-90.

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SRR-91 surveillance receiver

SRR-90 A
Improved successor to the SRR-91, intended for the reception of a wide variety of transmitters (bugs) with various audio masking techniques. Developed by the NRP for the American CIA and introduced in 1975.

The SRR-90A is intended for desktop use and in the vertical version of the SRR-90B (below).

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SRR-90A receiver (upright model)

SRR-90 B
Horizontal variant of the SRR-90A receiver shown above. Highly modular design, developed by the NRP and introduced with the CIA in 1975. Intended for installation inside a regular executive style Samsonite briefcase.

Suitable for the reception of a wide variety of transmitters (bugs) with different audio masking schemes, including pulse-based transmissions, and subcarrier modulated signals.

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SRR-90B receiver

The SRR-100 is a covert intercept receiver, sometimes referred to as a scanner, that was used by CIA operatives to check whether they were under Soviet surveillance, by intercepting the KGB's communication channels.

The receiver was body-worn and was usually hidden under the operative's clothing. It was complemented by a Phonac wireless earpiece.

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The SRR-145 is a so-called down-converter that is used to make existing UHF intercept receivers, such as the SRR-52 and SRR-90, suitable for the reception of bugs that operate in the 1500 MHz band, such as the SRT-107.

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SRR-145 down-converter

Special receiver for the 260 to 320 MHz band, suitable for the reception of transmitters (bugs) with subcarrier (SC) audio masking.

Developed around 1981 as part of the SRS-153 surveillance system, that was (partly) a 'chinese copy' of a bug that had been found in the desk of a US Ambassador.

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SRR-153 surveillance receiver

Kolibrie (hummingbird) was an intercept receiver for car phones (cell phones) developed by the Police Signals Service in The Netherlands in the early 1990s. It was intended for intercepting criminal conversations on the analogue ATF-3 (NMT-900) car phone networks.

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Front panel of the Kolibrie, with the unique ID plug

In the 1980s and 1990s, Schlumberger GmbH developed a series of high performance digital programmable precision receivers, under the name Minilock. The receivers were used by many agencies for intercepting, measuring and fingerprinting radio signals.

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Operating the Minilock 6900 Control Unit

The EB-100 is a small portable surveillance receiver build in the 1980s by Rohde & Schwarz in Munich (Germany). It was intended for a variety of jobs, including frequency monitoring, radio surveillance, radio intercept, EMC measurements and direction finding.

Due to its small size and wide frequency range, it is extremely useful for bug tracing. EB-100 is also known as MINIPORT.

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EB-100 at the desktop

The EB-200 is the successor to the EB-100. It is a portable receiver that covers all frequencies between 10 kHz and 3 GHz, with a wide variety of modulation types: AM, FM, CW, LSB, USB, Pulse and I/Q. It is one of the first receivers that has a fully digital IF-stage with DSP technology.

The radio was intended for monitoring of the frequency spectrum and for locating sources of transmission, including covert listening devices.

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EB-200 receiver in operation

Bodrog was a series of wideband VHF and UHF receivers, developed and built in Czechoslovakia, especially for the reception of FM radio bugs.

The version shown here is the A-variant that was used for the VHF-H band. It was supplied with a mains PSU and a removable battery pack.

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Bodrog bug receiver

2170 Stasi Receiver
During the days of the Cold War, the secret service of the former DDR (East Germany), also known as the Stasi, used this receiver to monitor domestic and foreign radio traffic.

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Controls of the 2170 Stasi Receiver

PAN-1000 was a high-end general coverage panoramic receiver, developed by the Dutch Radar Laboratory (NRP) for the Dutch Radio Monitoring Service (RCD) in the early 1980s.

The receiver covers a frequency range from 0.1 to 1000 MHz and could be fitted inside a car. It was intended for locating clandestine radio stations (pirates).

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Complete PAN-1000 set

USSR (Russia)
During the Cold War, the USSR (Russia) developed a series of highly portable intercept receivers that were deployed in most Warsaw Pact countries. Such receivers where generally carried around the operator's waist, hidden under his clothing.

They also developed stationary and mobile intercept radios and other direction finding equipment.

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Soyka intercept receiver

The IC-R9000 is a universal communications receiver, introduced around 1989 by ICOM in Japan. It covers the full 100 kHz to 2 GHz frequency range, and is suitable for AM, FM, WFM, LSB, USB, CW and FSK reception.

In a modified form, the receiver was also used by the Dutch Radio Monitoring Service (RCD), as part of the PAN-2000 intercept system.

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ICOM IC-R9000 communications receiver

Microdyne 1100-AR
1100-AR is a telemetry receiver for aerospace applications, made by Microdyne in the USA. Although it was produced in the l1960s and 1970s, many of them were still in use in 2019.

Because of the modular design of the receiver, it was also used as a surveillance and intercept receiver, by intelligence agencies like the CIA.

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Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Saturday 24 December 2016. Last changed: Tuesday, 17 August 2021 - 06:23 CET.
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