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Czechoslovak spy radio sets

During the Cold War, Czechoslovakia, or Czecho-Slovakia, 1 was a federal state behind the Iron Curtain. It was part of the Warsaw Pact and had two major secret services, both of which had strong ties with the Russian KGB: the Státní Bezpečnost (StB), which was the secret state police, and the Zpravodajská Správa Generálního Štábu (ZS GŠ), the military intelligence agency. In addition, there was Správa 1 (Government Dept. 1), the secret intelligence agency. The main task of these three organisations was national and foreign espionage (more...).
Czechoslovak Coat of Arms. Image via Wikipedia.

In most West European countries, the Czechoslovak embassy acted as the cover for their covert espionage activities. Apart from the ambassador and a handful of assistents, one way or another all embassy personnel worked for the StB or the ZS GŠ, often under the cover of being a diplomat, a cultural attaché or a press attaché. Intelligence gathered by those 'diplomats' was reported to the so-called Resident, who would pass it on to Centre at headquarters in Prague.

It is little known that the StB and ZS GŠ were also active outside Europe, in countries such as Australia, the US, Congo, Angola and Iraque. Czechoslovakia was for many years the only Warsaw Pact state with an embassy in Australia, for example, as a result of which they were even carrying out operations on behalf of the Russian KGB. In many cases, clandestine short-wave transmitters, or spy radio sets, were used to pass coded messages onto Control in Czechoslovakia. Below are some examples of such equipment some of which was re-discovered by Crypto Museum in 2015.

  1. Following the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the state of Czechoslovakia was peacefully dissolved into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993.

Czechoslovak spy radio sets
PLUTO spy radio set (1958)
SIRIUS spy radio set (1962)
50W transmitter used in Congo
20W transmitter used in Angola
200W radio station used in Congo and Kurdistan (North Iraque)
FM broadcast propaganda transmitter
Czech version of the Russian R-354 spy radio set (bumblebee), with digital readout
VHF or UHF bug receiver
Wanted items
Sirius III spy radio set
Related equipment
RZ-301 Pospisil (CZ)
PIVOŇKA automatic morse keyer
TI-485 (Davac) Tape-based burst encoder for SIRIUS spy radio set
Mesic tape-based burst encoder for SIRIUS III spy radio set
Czechoslovakian TI-523 (Hvězda) handheld VHF/FM radio (44 MHz)
Czechoslovakian Covert Alarm Transmitter (used for surveillance)
Pristroj UHF 465 MHz intercept receiver, used for monitoring French counter-espionage
Czechoslovakian radio bug
Wireless contact microphone
Czechoslovakian UHER electronic dead letter box (EDLB)
Tesla PR-35 (Faun) covert radio
Tesla PS-31 covert scrambler radio
Zenith Royal 1000 Trans-Oceanic receiver
Fialka cipher machine M-125-3MR3
Red and blue OTP booklets used by Czechoslovakia during the Cold War
Czechoslovak MRP-4 (Barabara) radar locator
E-120 Mini Corder and U-120 Transcriber
In July 2015, Crypto Museum received a large donation from a 'former user'. It consisted of equipment and related documentation of a variety of spy radio sets and other covert equipment that had been used by the intelligence agencies of the former Czechoslovakia. Although all covert equipment was destined to be destroyed, some devices have miraculously escaped demolition.

Although most spy radio equipment has been given a model number and/or a codename, some of the covert equipment of the former Czechoslovakia has so far been unidentified. For this reason we have 'invented' codenames for some of the equipment, often based on the primary target for which the device was used.

Apart from the StB, the radio sets were also used by certain departments of the Czechoslovakian Ministry of Internal Affairs, such as Správa 1 - Rozviedka 1 (department 1 - espionage) and Správa 2 - Kontrarozviedka (counter-espionage). Most radio sets and related equipment were developed and built at Správa 6 - Spojovacia Technika 1 (communication technology).

As it is often difficult to determine whether the equipment was deployed by the StB, the ZS GŠ or Správa 1 (the actual Secret Intelligence Agency), we will commonly refer to all of them here as StB, although we are aware of the fact that this might actually be incorrect in some cases.

  1. In this context Správa refers to a Department of the Czechoslovakian Government.

Known Czechoslovakian equipment
  • Hvězda 5
  • Hvězda 5A
  • Kongo 1
  • Labe
  • Lipan
  • Merkur
  • Mesic
  • Neptun
  • Neptun II
  1. This name is not correct, but is suggested by us, as the device does not have a project name or number. It will be used as a nickname until the true identity of this device is discovered.

Known project numbers
Most devices that were developed by Správa 6, were given a project number starting with 'TI'. The table below shows the currently known numbers as found on the equipment in our collection as well as on the Wireless for the Warrior website [2].

Project Name Year Description
TI-339-0 Plyn 1972 Night vision device
TI-462 Pluto 1956 Spy radio set
TI-466 Sirius 1962 Spy radio set
TI-485 Dávac 1962 Burst encoder
TI-509 Pivonka ±1962 Automatic keyer
TI-519 Neptun ±1963 Minature transmitter (valves)
TI-523 Hvězda IV 1961 Handheld transceiver
TI-526 Sirius III 1966 Radio station, Transmitter
TI-530 Neptun II ±1968 Minature transmitter (transistors)
TI-534 Merkur 1965 Receiver
TI-545-P Hvězda 5 1967 Covert transceiver
TI-545-1 Hvězda 5A 1967 Covert transceiver
TI-574 A Štěnice 1968 Modular 74 MHz transmitter
TI-574 B Přístroj 1968 74 MHz double superheterodyne receiver
TI-575 P Labe ±1969 Intercept receiver
TI-603 Lipan ±1970 Agent's transmitter
TI-627 Otava ±1967 Miniature agent's receiver
TI-640 A Přístroj 1968 465 MHz to 74 MHz downconverter
TI-667 Bodrog ±1972 Radio bug receiver (with descrambler)
TI-671 Echo ±1977 E-120 Mini Corder, covert tape recorder
TI-692 Ural ±1977 U-120 Transcriber, covert tape player
TI-700 Dunaj B 1976 Radio bug receiver
Government Department   Správa
  1. Secret Intelligence Agency (espionage)
  2. Counterintelligence (counter-espionage)
  3. ?
  4. Surveillance
  5. ?
  6. Communications technology
  1. Wikipedia, Czechoslovakia
    Retrieved August 2015.

  2. Louis Meulstee, Wireless for the Warrior, Part 4 Supplement
    Forthcoming. Accessed August 2015.
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Monday 07 September 2015. Last changed: Monday, 11 December 2023 - 10:04 CET.
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