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PRC-319
MF/HF/VHF manpack radio · BA-1302

Clansman UK/PRC-319 was a military manpack radio, introduced in 1985 by Philips subsidary MEL in Crawley (UK). The radio was intended for use by the Special Forces (SF) of the UK, the US, Australia and New Zealand. It is known that 350 units were made for the British Special Forces. The radio can be fitted with an Electronic Message Unit (EMU) for burst transmissions (ECCM).

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 device operates on the HF bands from 1.5 to 40 MHz 1 in USB, CW and Data mode. Transmit and receive frequency can be set independently, allowing split-frequency (duplex) operation. The 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.
  

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 went into production in 1985 or 1986 at MEL (Mullard Equipment Ltd) in Crawley (UK). In 1988 it was confirmed that the British Ministry of Defense had ordered the radio for use by its Special Forces (SF). MEL was a Philips subsidary and was later sold to Thales. Support for MEL equipment has meanwhile been discontinued. The base price for a unit was USD 21,000. A number of UK/PRC-319 transceivers appeared on the European surplus market around 2010.

  1. As the HF band officially runs from 3-30 MHz, the PRC-319 also covers part of the MF band (1.5-3 MHz) and the VHF band (30-40 MHz).

Back pack
PRC-319 in green backpack
The complete PRC-319 with EMU, TURF and TURF Extender, outside the back pack
PRC-319 with detached battery
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
A
×
A
1 / 8
Back pack
A
2 / 8
PRC-319 in green backpack
A
3 / 8
The complete PRC-319 with EMU, TURF and TURF Extender, outside the back pack
A
4 / 8
PRC-319 with detached battery
A
5 / 8
The complete PRC-319 inside the back pack
A
6 / 8
Close-up of the two control units: the EMU (left) and the frequency control unit (right)
A
7 / 8
Connections
A
8 / 8
Connections

Setup




Accessories

 List of accessories
Ancillaries (headset not shown)
Back pack
Rechargeable battery detached from radio set
Charging socket at the bottom of the battery
Handset with straight cable
Headset with boom microphone and PTT button
Wire antenna
Segmented rod antenna
Two aluminium bag-lock rods
Mounting bracket
Battery charger (28V)
Charging cable
Power cable
Power extension cable
Power cable
Ground wire
BALUN
RF co-axial adapter
B
×
B
1 / 19
Ancillaries (headset not shown)
B
2 / 19
Back pack
B
3 / 19
Rechargeable battery detached from radio set
B
4 / 19
Charging socket at the bottom of the battery
B
5 / 19
Handset with straight cable
B
6 / 19
Headset with boom microphone and PTT button
B
7 / 19
7 / 19
B
8 / 19
Wire antenna
B
9 / 19
Segmented rod antenna
B
10 / 19
Two aluminium bag-lock rods
B
11 / 19
Mounting bracket
B
12 / 19
Battery charger (28V)
B
13 / 19
Charging cable
B
14 / 19
Power cable
B
15 / 19
Power extension cable
B
16 / 19
Power cable
B
17 / 19
Ground wire
B
18 / 19
BALUN
B
19 / 19
RF co-axial adapter

Burst transmitters
The PRC-319 was used with various short-burst message terminals, also known as burst transmitters, to minimise the on-air time and reduced the chance of interception and discovery. The following units are known to have been used in combination with the PRC-319:

  • BA-1304
    Electronic Message Unit (EMU), fitted on the PRC-319
  • EMU Alpha (alphanumerical version with crypto), fitted on the PRC-319
  • Digital Message Handing Device (DMHD), used in the US
  • CGT-1052 made by Cossor (UK)
EMU   Electronic Message Unit BA-1304
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 Alpha
This is the alphanumeric alternative to the standard EMU (shown above). It features an alphanumeric keyboard, a 2000 character message buffer and built-in encryption.

The EMU Alpha fits into the same space as the standard EMU.

 More information

  

Bravo Two Zero
For many years, the PRC-319 was standard issue for the SAS, 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 in Iraq.

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 Radio Direction Finding (RDF) 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.

 Bravo Two Zero mission on Wikipedia


Specifications
  • Device
    Portable manpack military HF radio
  • Purpose
    Special forces communication
  • Designator
    PRC-319
  • Manufacturer
    MEL
  • Years
    1988-199?
  • Country
    UK
  • Frequency
    1.5 - 40 MHz
  • Modes
    USB, CW, FSK (data)
  • Output
    50W PEP (2-5W low power)
  • Impedance
    50Ω
  • Range
    20 km with rod antenna, ≤ 5000 km with long wire or dipole antenna
  • Dimensions
    380 x 228 x 100 mm (with TURF and battery)
  • Weight
    14.8 kg (with TURF, TUF ext. and battery)
  • Unit price
    US$ 21,000 (1988)
Ancillaries
Documentation
  1. User/Unit and Field Repair Manual for PRC-319
    Army Equipment Support Publication, December 1986 (draft).
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Wednesday 07 April 2010. Last changed: Friday, 10 May 2024 - 16:53 CET.
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