Tag Archives: manpack radios

The Yaesu FT-70G: Where the FT line met Milcom

Earlier today, I stumbled upon a very unique transceiver in Universal Radio archives: the Yaesu FT-70G.

Here’s the description from Universal:

The Yaesu FT-70G is a portable HF transceiver covering 2 to 30 MHz transmit. Receive is from 500 kHz to 30 MHz. Frequency selection is via BCD switches to 100 Hz. There is a clarifier for fine tuning. Optional FNB-70 NiCad Battery. Please note that the optional 10F-2.4DL filter is required for LSB opeation.

The Yaesu FT-70F is similar, but is a channelized fixed version offering up to 11 frequencies.

Two hours ago, I was not aware that the FT-70G existed.  Now? I want one!

I’m a real sucker for vintage rugged field radio gear, so I never discovered the FT-70G until today. Turns out, they’re relatively rare. A little light research reveals that it’s a highly-desired transceiver in the world of HF Packers–those radio enthusiast who like “manpack” commercial and military gear.

The FT-70G has a distinct military look and feel with the BCD switches to change frequency, rugged toggle switches, chassis extensions to protect the front panel, and attached screw-on connector caps.

What’s really surprising is that the FT-70G has a general coverage receiver (500 kHz to 30 MHz). Admittedly, it would not be fun band-scanning with those BCD switches…but still!

This website has a number of photos. They also have a product description likely from the original Yaesu/Vertex Standard FT-70G description:

“The FT-70 series HF field portable manpack transceivers are designed to provide reliable communications under rugged conditions in the military and commercial environment. The frequency synthesized, all solid-state circuitry and die-cast anodized aluminum enclosure and battery pack make a highly portable, weatherproof station. Flexible operation for optimum communications under a wide range of propagation conditions are assured by SSB (USB, LSB), semi break-in CW, AM, or audio interfaced Data modes. All controls, antenna, and interface ports are available and selectable via the front panel for maximum effectiveness and ergonomics in field, base, and manpack applications. The companion antenna tuner FC-70 is compatible with walking manpack, field portable, or base configurations. The highly effective vertical tripod mount antenna system YA-70 is deployed and stowed easily and quickly, pulling double duty by converting to manpack whip while on manuevers. High quality handset YH-70 provides communications privacy and clarity.”

Again, check out the excellent photos of the full manpack kit.

As I researched pricing, I discovered this FT-70R with accompanying FC-70M antenna tuner on eBay right now with only 6 hours left of bidding:

At time of posting, the bids are at $520. I fear this will soar well above my comfort level before bidding ends. (Like I need another field radio anyway, right?)

Post readers: Please comment if you’re familiar with the FT-70G and especially if you’ve ever owned one.  I’d love to hear about your experience with this unique rig.

Spread the radio love

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.

Spread the radio love