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Bundesrepublik Deutschland · BRD 1

During WWII, the intelligence agencies of the German Nazi apparatus, and the general intelligence service the Abwehr in particular, developed, produced and deployed a wide variety of spy radio sets, most of which were used to send intelligence from foreign countries back to Germany.

After the war, the newly established Organisation Gehlen (OG), which consisted of a number former Nazi spies, also developed and deployed a range of spy radio sets that were used alongside US-supplied radio sets. This continued after 1956, when the OG was transformed into the current German intelligence service — Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND).
Current German Coat of Arms. Image via Wikipedia [1].

  1. English: Federal Republic of Germany (FRG).

German spy radio sets on this website
Abwehr 20W base station transmitter S-87/20
Abwehr 5W transmitter
Abwehr base station transmitter S-90/40
Abwehr spy radio set SE-98/3
Abwehr spy radio set SE-108/10 and SE-100/11
Abwehr spy radio set SE-109/3
Radione R3 receiver
Radione RS-20/M transmitter
Siemens R-IV (R4) wartime intercept receiver
Telefunken B2M, clone of the British B2
ESK-52 (similar to the Type-41)
Telefunken ESK-52 (made the French intelligence services)
Telefunken ESK-632 (made the French intelligence services)
4-piece (or 2-piece) valve-based spy radio set
FS-8 (KSG-Sender) (transmitter) developed by the BND in 1957
BND short-wave converter
German spy set SP-15
RR-49 receiver
BN-48 (UHU) backup receiver
German spy set SP-20
AEG Telefunken SE-6861 (LAPR)
Telefunken spy set FS-5000
German sets up to 1945
Of the early German spy radio sets that were developed prior to WWII, the official designators (if they existed at all) are often unknown. In such cases we will use the 'invented names' from Louis Meulstee's book Wireless for the Warrior Volume 4 [2]. The later Abwehr spy radio sets generally have names in the format SE 98/3, in which 'S' stands for Sender (transmitter) and 'E' stands for Empfänger (receiver). The part before the '/' is a number that identifies the set. These numbers were issued sequentially. The part behind the '/' specifies the transmitter's output power in Watts.

Note that not all Abwehr spy radio sets were built in large quantities and that some were no more than a circuit diagram that was given to the agent. In such cases, the agent had to source the components locally in a foreign country, and build the set from scratch. As a result, many of the (sequentially numbered) designs are missing from the above list. Also note that some of the later Abwehr radios were also used by the Abwehr's successors RSHA/VI F, RSHA/Amt Mil 2 and FHO 3 and even after WWII by the Organisation Gehlen (OG) and the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND).

  1. The SE108/10 and the SE 100/11 are more or less identical.
  2. RSHA = Reichssicherheidshauptamt.  More
  3. FHO = Oberkommando des Heeres / Fremde Heere Ost.  More
  4. SD = Sicherheitsdienst (security service).  More

German sets after 1945
The clandestine radio sets below were developed by or for Organisation Gehlen (OG) [3] — from 1956 onwards: the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) — and for the various German Stay-Behind Organisations. For some of the early radio sets the official designator is not known, in which case we follow the suggestions of Louis Meulstee in [2]. Note that in the early years of the OG/BND a number of the wartime radio sets listed above were reused as well.

S 87/20
The S-87/20 was a 20 Watt transmitter for use in fixed (head-end) Abwehr radio stations. It was also used in temporary (mobile) stations.

The S-87/20 was commonly used with an existing receiver, such as the Siemens R-IV, the Radione R3 or the E-75.

 More information
S-87/20 transmitter

S 90/40
The S-90/40 was a 40 Watt transmitter for use in fixed (head-end) Abwehr radio stations. It was also used as part of a suitcase radio set.

The S-90/40 was commonly used with an existing receiver, such as the Siemens R-IV, the Radione R3 or the dedicated E-90.

 More information
S-90/40 transmitter with Italian front panel

SE 98/3
The SE 98/3 was a 3 Watt radio station, released by the Abwehr in 1941. It consists of a separate receiver and a small transmitter and is powered by batteries that last for one full year.

The sets were supplied in a suitcase, or in the metal container shown in the image on the right.

 More information
SE-98/3 in container with accessories

SE 109/3
The SE-109/3 was a complete radio station, housed in a tin box. It was the last one released by the Abwehr in 1943 and is also known as the Keksdose (biscuit tin). It is powered by a battery pack or by an (optional) power supply unit.

The transmitter produces an output power of 3 Watts and the sensitive receiver is built around three DF11 valves. The set was also used after WWII by the Organisation Gehlen (OG).

 More information
SE 109/3 with crystal

Siemens R-IV
The R-IV was an intercept receiver, developed during WWII by Siemens. It was modelled after the pre-war R-II, that in turn was modelled after the American HRO-5 receiver. Its frequency dial is nearly identical to that of the HRO-5.

The Siemens R-IV was commonly used in the intercept stations of the German Security Service, the Abwehr.

 More information
Siemens R-IV with coil pack installed and spare coil pack on top

FS-8   KSG
The FS-8, also known as KSG, was a small 7.5 Watt transmitter, built by Wandel & Goltermann for the BND. It was the successor to the 12WG and was intended for use by Stay-Behind Organisations.

The FS-8 was commonly supplied with a mechanical burst transmitter known as the Kurzsignalgeber (KSG).

 More information
Interior of the KSG-Sender

In the early 1960s, Wandel & Goltermann and Heinrich Pfitzner developed the SP-15 spy radio set for use by the BND. It consists of a transmitter, receiver, power supply unit and many accessories.

 More information
SP-15 spy radio set

The SP-15 was succeeded around 1970 by the SP-20 that was jointly developed by Heinrich Pfitzner and AEG Telefunken. It consists of a transmitter, antenna tuner, synthesizer and the same receiver that was used with the SP-15.

 More information
SP-20 military version

FS-5000   Harpoon
The FS-5000 was a fully digital pan-European spy radio system, developed by AEG Telefunken for nearly all West-European Stay-Behind Organisations. It was introduced in the late 1980s and had built-in high-end encryption.

The FS-5000 is also known by its codename HARPOON.

 More information
Complete FS-5000 radio station

  1. Wikipedia, Germany
    Retrieved May 2016.

  2. Louis Meulstee, Wireless for the Warrior, volume 4
    Chapters Germany up to 1945 and Germany after 1945.
    ISBN 0952063-36-0, September 2004

  3. Wikipedia, Gehlen Organisation
    Retrieved September 2016.
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Friday 20 May 2016. Last changed: Wednesday, 12 April 2023 - 12:27 CET.
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