Tag Archives: Harris

Nick acquires a Harris RF 505A receiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Nick Booras, who writes:

I just picked up a Harris 505A and I made a couple videos your viewers might like.

This radio is extremely sensitive as you can see in the comparison videos. I am very lucky to have picked it up. I will add that in the comparison to the Kenwood TS890 I didn’t try the 15 kHz filter on video. I did try it afterwards and I was surprised to receive the weak 6.085 signal with similar results to the 505. I thought for sure that that huge width would only let in more noise but I was wrong. I learned something new! But the 505A is still a super sweet machine.

Thank you for sharing this, Nick! What a wonderful addition to your radio collection. I’ve always loved the incredibly simple design of the 505A and have assumed it would have a very low noise floor.

Thanks again!

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Bob recalls working at Harris and putting the RF-505A on the air

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In response to our post mentioning the Harris RF-505ASWLing Post contributor, Bob LaRose (W6ACU), writes:

I know the RF-505A very well. It was introduced in about 1969 while I worked at Harris in Rochester. I started working there as a Co-Op student while at RIT and then after I got my BSEE I joined them full time, initially as a Field Engineer but quickly found my way into Marketing and eventually Sales.

Right after the first version came out, the RF-505, I took one home to my parent’s house for a weekend and did some SWLing with it. It was very neat in one respect – it tuned ISB (Independent Side Band) and in those days there were a number of utility stations using ISB (separate traffic on each sideband). To an SWL some of the most interesting of these were the VOA point-to-point links from the East and West Coast, each carrying two simultaneous program feeds for the overseas relay stations!


While overall a good receiver my personal results on the sensitivity of the original RF-505 were not very positive. On the bench with exactly a 50 ohm source it looked good but on a real world antenna it was pretty numb. Eventually, after a lot of internal arguments, they came out with the RF-505A that included a tunable active preselector as shown in the photos. Problem solved.

For a ham or SWL the RF-505 was a real pain in the butt to tune. You could dial in any exact frequency but the decade switches didn’t roll over (either mechanically or electrically) so you had to do a lot of knob twiddling to do any kind of band scanning. The detents on the switches connected to the knobs were pretty stiff so you could easily take some finger skin off tuning around!

If I remember correctly Harris built them for about a five year period and then replaced them with the RF-550, which was a monster of a receiver with all kinds of advanced features. It included a keyboard with electronic display.

Great memories!

Thanks so much for this RF-505A insight, Bob! I had a hunch that band-scanning wasn’t the RF-505A’s strong suit–it would be incredibly cumbersome to scan with so much “knob twiddling.”

It must have been pretty amazing to work for the legendary Harris corporation. Thanks for sharing!

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The Harris AN/PRC-158 costs the US gov’t roughly $200,000 per radio

Harris AN/PRC-158 multichannel (Source: Harris Corp. via Motley Fool)

Harris AN/PRC-158 multichannel transceiver (Source: Harris Corp. via Motley Fool)

(Source: The Motley Fool)

Is the U.S. Army Really Spending $12.7 Billion on Radios?

The U.S. government spends a lot of money on weapons. So much money, in fact, that sometimes, you see a number and think, “That can’t be right. But then again, maybe.”

I had one of those moments last week, when the Department of Defense reported that it had just awarded three contractors a $12.7 billion contract to supply it with radios. That number couldn’t be right. And in fact, since the exact dollar figure on the contract read “$12,725,724,536,” I thought it was more likely a typo. Someone was data-entering the number for a $12.7 million radio contract, mistyped the “thousands” place, retyped it, and forgot to delete the original entry.

But it wasn’t a typo.

And the Pentagon really is spending $12.7 billion on radios.

$500 toilet seats are so 1980s
That’s a whole lot of moola to spend on what’s likely to work out to about 65,000 radios — roughly $200,000 per set. Granted, the value of the award also includes the cost of “accessories and related services” relevant to the radios.[…]

Continue reading at The Motley Fool online…

What is the Harris Falcon III AN/PRC-158?

Wanting to know a little more about the Harris Falcon III AN/PRC-158 Multi-channel Manpack (MCMP), I checked out Harris’ product page. Here’s the provided description:

TYPE 1 Security in a Versatile Two-Channel Manpack
The Harris Falcon III® AN/PRC-158 Multi-channel Manpack (MCMP) is a modular two-channel manpack radio that covers the full 30-2500 MHz frequency range in a form factor 30% smaller than similar products.

Hosting a wide variety of Software Communications Architecture (SCA) narrowband and wideband waveforms, each of the AN/PRC-158’s two channels can be used to transmit and receive simultaneously. The radio can also connect different nets and sub-nets for both voice and data using its embedded routing and cross-banding capabilities. Plus the AN/PRC-158 incorporates fully integrated MUOS-capable hardware into the standard radio. This eliminates the logistical complexity of Power Amplifier appliqué change-outs, as well as the cost and weight burden of an additional module.

Key Benefits:

  • Covers 30 to 2500 MHz frequency range up to U.S. TOP SECRET level with Harris Sierra™ II software programmable encryption
  • 30% smaller than other 2-channel manpacks
  • Runs narrowband and wideband waveforms
  • Integrated MUOS hardware
  • Embedded routing and cross-banding
  • Optional mission modules for advanced mission capabilities

Key Capabilities:

  • NSA-certified for voice and data communications
  • Supports numerous legacy encryption and keyfill modes, and Type 3 AES keys in VHF/UHF AM and FM mode, storing multiple mission fill files for maximum mission flexibility
  • Embedded SAASM GPS receiver allows local position to be displayed as well as automatic position reporting
  • Advanced capabilities with mission modules for ISR reception, MANET capabilities and SIGINT.

Click here to view the product page on Harris’ website.

As The Motley Fool suggests (and rightly so) this might be a brilliant time to invest in Harris Corp.

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