Psst, Buddy! Wanna Buy a Spy Radio?

This unusual Ebay posting is one of the most interesting I’ve seen in a long time: a genuine, new spy radio transceiver!

Given its rarity and new condition, the $1,900 asking price seems reasonable to me for what a well-heeled collector might pay. The set is referred to as a “FIELD SET MODEL FS-5000 SHORT WAVE SPY RADIO”.

It comes as one carton containing four larger fiber boxes and three smaller fiber boxes, all containing modules that are combined to make a digital radio transceiver system.



The seller says that the equipment (complete with shock-absorbing transit containers) bears no manufacturer marks, but was likely made in Germany by Telefunken. The various components look to be extremely well made, and the seller has provided these links for more information on this unusual 0.5-30 MHz transceiver:

Be sure to check out all the clear photos provided by the Ebay seller of this fascinating transceiver.

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

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5 thoughts on “Psst, Buddy! Wanna Buy a Spy Radio?

  1. Chris Lumsden

    These are very well made radios, I had a fully complete one myself, with the original controller unit.
    Made by Telefunken, introduced in 1985.
    They were used by the German BND, and various other Western spy agencies.
    My one came housed in a Samsonite briefcase. When fully assembled, it fits perfectly into a briefcase.
    Pity I sold mine, will most likely never be able to own a complete one of these radios again….

  2. Pingback: eBay find: The Mark 328 British Spy Radio | The SWLing Post

  3. Michael Black

    Isn’t some of this negated by recent advances? During the first Iraq war, reporters were using satellite terminals to keep in touch, and I realized this would get around a lot of direction finding and surveillance. A tight beam up into the sky is a lot les likely to be found than some shortwave transmitter. In WWII, there were no satellites, so they had to use shortwave for distant communication.

    There re now sat phones, expensive, but useful where cellphones won’t work. No local infrastructure needed, just bypass the local.

    It’s not perfect, but should work for a lot of places where “spy radios” were once needed.


    1. Guy Atkins Post author

      Quite true, Michael. I agree with all your comments.

      Practicality and functionality vanish like fog on a summer morning though when an item is rare and collectible!

      This FS-5000 set is from the mid-1980s according to the Crypto Museum web site, and just before the decline of shortwave and the start of some of the advancements you mention. I can only imagine what sort of high tech, highly encrypted messaging devices may be in use now.

    2. Keith Perron

      I have an Ericsson R190 satellite phone that I bought in 2004. It also comes with an adapter so you can connect your laptop to it.

      Using a transceiver is no longer practical. Using a satellite phone is nearly impossible to track. Just like using data it also can not be blocked.

      My provider is Globalstar. Prices have dropped dramatically since 2004. At the time I was paying 3600 USD a year for 2400 minutes of voice and data. If you went above the 2400 minutes then it was 2.40 USD for each additional minute.

      Now I pay 1800 USD unlimited voice and data. Last year I spent 3 weeks in the Hulunbuir grasslands of Inner Mongolia. My regular mobile service was just awful. And Internet was even worse, due to the Great Firewall of China. But with the sat phone no problems.


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