Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Hawkins, who writes:
Operation Chromite (2016) is a South Korean film about the invasion of Inchon by UN forces in September, 1950. This film began streaming on Netflix in the USA on January 15, 2018 and is in the Korean and English languages. The English language subtitles run automatically. This story is inspired by actual events during the Korean War. Under the command of General Douglas MacArthur UN Forces, CIA, the South Korean military and the covert Korean Liaison Office infiltrate Inchon a week before the invasion. Their mission is intel, reconnaissance and disruption. They will operate behind enemy lines in North Korean uniforms.
I gave this movie a try for several reasons. I enjoy Korean movies. The role of General MacArthur is played by Liam Neeson (of all people) and this looked like a good bet for spotting some vintage military radios. I was right about the radios.
Captain Jang Hak-Soo and his seven infiltrators arrive for their first night in Inchon. Remember, they are posing as North Koreans. The radio they have packed along is a Russian RBM. This transceiver has distinctive dual magnifying lenses over the dials.
Click to enlarge.
General MacArthur is in the radio room at his Tokyo headquarters. He issues orders for the KLO to locate any naval mines placed in Inchon harbor. The radio in this scene is a complete AN/GRC-3. I am surprised to see this as it is a 24VDC vehicular radio set (a 115VAC power supply was available). I expected to see some brand spanking-new Collins R-390s or Hammarlund SP-600s for the General. Maybe he has another radio room at HQ. I could be wrong about this.
Click to enlarge.
The final radio is seen behind enemy lines and is the same AN/GRC-3 seen in Tokyo. This time a KLO operative is using it.
Click to enlarge.
Operation Chromite held my attention for the reasons given above. The historical accuracy is more dramatic than documentary but is not too far off the mark.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who writes:
I like to note appearances by shortwave receivers in TV programs…here’s the latest…at the 14 minute mark of the new season of NARCOS (one of the best TV series there is by the way) a ICOM IC-R71A makes an appearance. At the point in the show, a key character is listening to reel-to-reel tapes, so it’s not quite clear why they stuck in a 71A tuning to a shortwave frequency….ah, the drama! Another show, The Americans, features numerous shots of various receivers, including Zenith Transoceanics and Hallicrafters…
I saw that David posted a comment on your blog where he wondered what radio the guy in that “Shortwave” film might be using. Well, watched a couple trailers and discovered that the movie featured a few receivers.
So I took screen shots, and I thought some of your readers might be curious about this as well, and I’m sure some will ID all of them.
I had hoped the movie might feature Gene Scott or Pete Peters broadcasting from the underworld, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Anyway, here are some stills from the trailers[…]
Thanks, Prof! There are some classics here–Heathkit, Hammarlund, Hallicrafters and more.
Perhaps Post readers can comment with makes and models!
Directed by Ryan Gregory Phillips.
Starring Juanita Ringeling, Cristobal Tapia Montt, and Kyle Davis.
Isabel and Josh, a young couple dealing with the recent loss of their child, move to a remote home that Josh’s work has can study mysterious radio signals. As Josh hones in on the origin of the signals, Isabel begins to exhibit strange behavior, which leads to the pair confronting their painful past as well as their bizarre present circumstances.
Though it is a smaller, more intimate film, writer-director Ryan Gregory Phillips’s Shortwave will evoke inevitable comparisons to this year’s It Comes at Night. The two films both feature small groups of characters in isolated forest settings being terrorized both by mysterious forces and each other. And both share a fondness for dream sequences and ominous red lighting. But where It Comes at Night was frustrating in its evasiveness and its refusal to embrace most of the tenets of its genre, Shortwave is mysterious yet forthright about its science fiction and horror DNA.
The plot is set into motion when Josh and his wife Isabel (Cristobal Tapia Montt and Juanita Ringeling) are sent by his employer to live in a remote home, where he can continue to study the origins of mysterious radio signals. Their relationship is under extreme pressure for a multitude of reasons, most significantly their disappearance of their child. As Josh gets closer to discovering the origins of the radio signals, Isabel begins to act very strangely.
There is no doubt that Shortwave is a low-budget film, but it uses that to its advantage. It’s setting feels like a real home in an isolated forest, and the fact that most scenes feature Isabel and/or Matt and no other actors allows the viewer to focus on their relationship, which is really the epicenter of the film. Ringeling and Montt both give excellent performances in roles that require a full range of emotion, and Phillips wisely gives them room to operate, even within the film’s slim 85-minute runtime. The two actors have excellent chemistry as well, making them believable as a couple even when the script has them at odds with one another.
Shortwave also has some commonalities with this year’s excellent indie A Dark Song in that while it is unapologetically a genre effort, it isn’t afraid to really dig into the foundation in which is plot is based. In the case of both films, the foundation is two damaged people dealing with loss and grief under extraordinary, partially otherworldly pressures. Given the grim subject matter, Phillips wisely keeps the pacing brisk and the runtime short. As a result, Shortwave, while serious, doesn’t overuse its ability to raise questions about loss and grief. Instead, it balances them in with solid scares and creative mysteries that seem to have a lot more backstory than what is explained here.
There should be more films like Shortwave, as its successes come as a result of sharp ideas and well-executed direction and performances rather than a huge budget. It manages to carve out a unique perspective in a saturated genre, and triggers the heart and mind in addition to the adrenal glands. Though it ends a bit abruptly, it still manages to feel like a complete experience, and has some genuinely scary moments. Shortwave is definitely worth watching as horror film, as a domestic drama, and as a showcase for the talents of its stars and its director.
The AR-88 was a valve-based shortwave general coverage communications receiver, developed and built by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in the early 1940s. Although the receiver was initially intended as the successor to the AR-77 amateur receiver, the outbreak of WWII made it evolve into a professional high-end military-grade receiver for which cost was no object.
The AR-88 is a 14-valve (tube) receiver, which covers a frequency range of 535 kHz to 32 MHz. Unlike the National HRO receiver, which had pluggable coil packs for each frequency band, the AR-88 uses a six-position band selector. A special version of the receiver, the AR-88LF, was suitable for LF and MF, covering 70 to 550 kHz (continuously) and 1.5 to 30 MHz (continuously).