Not WW11 Walkie Talkies

The following short text has been written to clarify a few points that came up on the web and is derived from contemporaneous emails.

At the time (2009) the photographs were taken those "walkie-talkies" were currently in use by HM forces, although about to be superseded. They are Clansman UK/PRC320 to give them their proper title. The WW11 walkie-talkie (see WS46, WS38, WS88, BC611, German “little Dora”) can be smaller and easier to operate on the move as they tended to be carried on the front hence the antenna tuning could be set by the operator. UK/PRC320 is carried on the back and hence the tuning controls are on the back and have to be adjusted by the "communications officer". The poor squaddie just carries the Sterling SMG, in addition to the 'rig' and is a target for snipers. The ‘320 is actually a “patrol” radio and while useable in a “manpack” role is often used in vehicles in what is called a “clip in” configuration which means that it can be picked up and run with should the need arise. On patrol the ‘320 would be set up static with a larger fixed antenna and in this configuration is capable of global communications, especially on CW.  

The later Bowman system, just coming into full service (2011) is a clumsy parody of a system, apparently intended for the “close” battlefield of northern Europe. The replacement for the ‘320 is bigger than a WW11 WS No. 18 and a lot heavier than a '320. It is known as "Better Off With Map And Nokia.

  PHOTOS P6240169, P6240163 and P6240160. Pictures of Henry and myself at our HERC 'bring your rig' BBQ. We wandered about the Fairlight area (nature reserve about three miles east of Hastings on the cliff-top) exchanging inanities on fifteen metres on low power after upsetting some Italians on twenty metres.

 FROM 2009: PHOTO P6240129 Out and about with Clansman (Clansmen?) The tuning up problem has been solved. I now have a 'buddy', Henry. We had been walking about the nature reserve at Fairlight, a couple of miles east of Hastings to enjoy using the 'kit' as a diversion from the burning burgers and singed sausages at the club BBQ. The Hastings Club held a 'Bring Your Rig' BBQ on Wednesday, the twenty forth of June 2009 and we had six stations running, including our two UK/PRC320 outfits. It was a real treat to meet up with Henry; it meant that we could wander about the site using our '320s to chat, a real 'fun thing to do' as we both have a touch of the green stuff. 

 Henry has worked a bit of 'DX' using the whip but I have never made a DX contact except when operating portable with a decent antenna, the QRM is terminal at the home QTH. Mind you, we started on twenty Metres and upset some Italians; this was on low power. Fifteen Metres was quiet at the time so we moved to there. When we tired of wandering about a few of the Hastings Club members gathered round Photo 169 I think, [Some of the Hastings group,]

 It still surprises me the interest that is shown in green kit. At least one of our members, who works for General Dynamics who make Bowman, is now a convert! I did manage to rig an OCFD (off centre fed dipole) more than thirty feet high, supported by a tree, 132ft long, for Eighty early enough in the morning to check into the AM net at 0730A. The monster also tuned well enough on Five Megs using the KW107 ATU and apparently it worked well on Twenty when G3JKY gave it a work out using the key (CW is his first language). One end of the antenna was supported by a Clansman mast and the mast was at the limit, [I think Photo 129 with this email] We need an even stronger mast... PHOTOS P6240148, SSR&KLF, P6240169, G8CMK&M3IJJ, and JohnG8BQX The captioned pix as sent for the club VS Magazine By the way the '320 puts out 30W PEP of sideband. And on a good day you can "work the world". The frequency range is just below two Megs to twenty nine point nine nine nine nine. That is 100c/s steps across the whole HF band.

Here are the BBQ photos:P6240148 is G3JKY.

I was wondering how to point out to people that I have come to using "green kit" from the Radio Amateur side, because of the way things were in my youth. We used to modify everything. These days it works 'off the shelf. Using our 'Clansman' kit has brought us into contact with 're-enactors’. Some of them have come into amateur radio so as to be able to use the 'kit' that we so love to play with.

By the way, the re-enactment scene is very active down here in Sussex (England). There are Naval, Airborne and Infantry participants. The only one I have not seen is a “stomach battalion” of the WW11 German home guard. They do use radio but it is an incidental activity. Most of the WW11 radio kit tends to be American but the British WS19 seems as common as the Ford motor car!   

A different world; we live and learn.   73 for now, William, G8CMK.