Machines of War - Communications

 
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The following radio memories are reprinted on the Korean War Educator from the Military Collector Group Post, an international email magazine dedicated to the preservation of history and the equipment that made it. Permission to reprint was granted by Dennis Starks, Collector/Historian, Midwest Military Communications Museum, Box 95, Cross Timbers, MO 65634. Starks is the editor and sponsor of the Military Collector Group Post.


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Radio Memories of Ltc Bob Paterson

(USMC, USA Ret) by Bob Patterson K5DZE

I am a retired LTC from the Army and before that was a radio operator for several years in the Marines in the late 50's and early 60's. I was a CW op in a Force Recon unit and I remember we used some very small gear that we borrowed from the Special Forces in about '63 or '64 that was suposedly very classified at the time. It was two units (rcvr / xmtr) about 5" to 6" square and had a small CW key that swiveled out of the side of the xmtr. The rig ran about 10-15 watts and worked pretty well! Largest part of the system was the hand crank generator! (I recall that I thought the whole thing would be a nice little rig for Ham Radio Hi!) You might know something about this gear... Boy that was a long time ago!!

I just can not remember much about the little CW rig that I mentioned, as I only got to use it for a few days. The SF had only 2 or 3 of these little rigs and we got one to try out. I got to work it and made a contact from a NC field site to another Marine Recon team we had training along a Florida coast line. As I remember I set the freq from a chart that was attached...dialed in one or two controls according to the chart and then it was ready. We used a short pre made dipole and it worked pretty good. I also used the old ANGRC 9 on CW a lot. Clunky but good an reliable.

First FM gear I used was an AN/VRQ series rig. At that time the Artillery used one (AN/VRQ-2) on on set of freqs...the Infantry used another (VRQ3?)on the freqs a little higher (I think it was)...and armor used the (AN/VRQ4) which was higher still in freq. Artillery and Armor overlapped into the Infantry freqs..This allowed the infantry to talk to everyone, but armor and artillery could not interfere with each other. Or so was the plan. It caused a lot of foul ups by not being able to talk across the board.

Another special rig I ran across was an English RACAL (Special Air Service)SAS rig used by commando and special ops units. I was a commo officer in Europe in a security unit that provided security for US Pershing Nuc Missiles. Once we had a two week field problem working against Belgian and US Special Forces type units. We had all the new 'toys' to use against them and NADIC LABS gave us lots to play with. (New night vision gear, ground radar, seismic devices that looked like a string of tent pegs connected to a 2 meter HT!) Anyway, we "captured" most of a Belgian SF unit that mistakenly parachuted right into our base camp (shades of the Longest Day!!) and I got all their commo gear to look over. Of special interest to me was a small RACAL rig for CW that had a special unit with a "wind up" device to plug into the transmitter. To use it, you recorded your message off-the-air using a one-time code/cipher and this device recorded it at a regular speed. Then you wound this thing up like a clock and plugged it into the xmtr. At the exact pre-programmed time, you came up on freq..gave one short call and turned this device known as a "Burster" on. It sent a CW message that sounded like a high pitched "zip". You could send a minute or two of CW in just seconds! It was recorded on the other end at the fast speed, and when played back at a slow speed it could be copied and then deciphered. Rather neat idea for special ops units who did not want to be DF'd and caught sending long transmissions!

We made lots of homebrew directional antennas and regularly got 40+ Km range from rigs (PRC25's). Used tin cans, dirt and motor oil to make a 600 ohm resistor to terminate the antenna..Left these things all over Germany up in the trees! Ha! Also made 3 el yagis from wood stock and welding rods and lots more. The range was important, but just as important was the
directivity that helped avoid direction finders (DF) and getting caught on patrols.

In Europe for 3 years and then later in the US (I was Army Aviation Advisor to ARK Army Guard for a 3 years in 78-80) I taught Electronic Warfare training for tactical units. Used to have some neat jamming tapes around that I used. If I can find them. We had lots of good training (and a quite a few laughs)fouling up the units training in Europe when they tried to talk like they were on 2 meters!! They really learned quickly how to work thru and around this stuff as I chased them all over the air. (Incidentally, I noted in the paper today that the Serbs are doing a good job of monitoring NATO aircraft and reacting to the message traffic just as I did!! Seems some more training might be in order?)


A GLIMPSE OF NAVAL RADIO OPERATIONS IN KOREA

By Jerry Proc VE3FAB

During the Korean conflict, Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) radio operators inadvertently found themselves acting as language translators and playing an important part in the radio operations of that theatre of war. No, it didn't mean converting English to some exotic tongue - rather, American to British and vice-versa! Allow me to elaborate.

A former RCN communicator recalled one of the instances as he told how he had listened to an American radioman trying to explain some message to his counterpart in a British cruiser. The British sailor was becoming more frustrated by the minute as he tried to fathom the American's drawl. "Finally," said the Canadian, he could not take it any longer and called out, "is there anyone out there who can tell me what this message is all about?" The Canadian then broke in. "I'm Canadian and I understand both your languages. It would be to your advantage to relay through me".

This type of 'relay' service was used on several occasions and also included messages between ships and aircraft. Canadian communicators usually got along with their United States Navy and Royal Navy counterparts. They used the same terminology as the British so difficulty was rarely encountered there. They spoke almost the same version of English as did the Americans so it was easy to understand them. The Canadian's main complaint was the American habit of asking
repeatedly how the transmission was being received. The Canadian reply was the standard "I hear you loud and clear" . Americans, however, wanted an actual rating on the volume and clarity of their transmissions. The standard "loud and clear" to an American had to be a "five by five" or a "three by three" depending on the reception. No one knew the exact reason for this habit.

Since the Canadian communicators could not understand the reasoning behind this, they refused to comply. Eventually word got around that RCN ships were not about to adopt the American method and they would continue to acknowledge with "loud and clear". One dark night it all came to a climax when an American voice crackled through the static-filled airwaves for the fifth time with the request "How do you read me?". Plainly agitated, the Canadian replied for the fifth time, "I hear you loud and clear. I have been receiving you loud and clear for five minutes. There is no change."

"Is that loud and clear a five by five?" the Yank persisted. No! Gawdammit!" the Canadian snarled, "it's a two by two by two". "I do not understand two by two by two," the confused Yank replied. "It means", growled the Canuck, "that I hear you too loud, too clear and too gawdamn often".

>From that point onwards, verbal communication became easier, but on occasion the air would turn several shades of blue over annoying transmissions. The accents of Americans and British continued to grate on one another's nerves while the Canadians continued in their role as interpreters. This ability to understand both 'British English' and 'American English' aided them in their ultimate conquest of a far greater challenge. It took a few months but they eventually learned 'Australian English' - no easy feat.

Bibliography: Thunder in the Morning Calm - The Royal Canadian Navy in Korea 1950-1955. Edward C. Meyers. Vanwell Publishing. St. Catharines Ontario. 1992


- Jerry Proc VE3FAB jproc@idirect.com
Web: www3.sympatico.ca/hrc/haida
HMCS HAIDA Naval Museum, Toronto Ontario


KOREAN WAR VINTAGE? AND DATING RADIO EQUIPMENT; PART I

by Dennis Starks

Forward
Most depressing is the fact that the Korean War period is the most historically neglected time in our recent history, especially as it applies to radio, and communications. We know almost nothing of the radio equipment used during this conflict except for the fact that most of it was of WW-II origin. We've all seen it many times, it goes something like this, "FOR SALE: RT-68 Korean War vintage transceiver $45.00", but is it a Korean War vintage set? Or a PRC-6, 8, 9, or 10, how about a GRC-9, RT-66, 67, 68, 70? Usually not. Only two of the radios listed here could possibly have been in service in time to participate in the Korean War, and one of those, wouldn't have had anything compatible in the field to talk to.

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Dating Equipment
When no other historical documentation is available, we can use several things to try and estimate the vintage of equipment. The first, and most commonly looked for, is the order date present on the data plate of most items. But this is just that, an ORDER date, the radio's actual delivery into using hands can lag this date by as much as one year. And many times, especially with Air Force and Navy equipment, this order date might be in the form of a contract number, which we often can't extract a date from. Even when we do have a legible order date, we may not know if this was an early contract, or one that came many years after the radio was first adopted. The second, most common, and sometimes all we have, date will be present in the applicable equipments manuals. Nearly all of these will have a printing or acceptance date. And if we're lucky, mention of any material it supersedes along with it's date. But several things contribute to the inaccuracy of these dates. In the case of any government printed manual, is the fact that a Preliminary manual, printed by the original contractor, or developing agency will almost always exist. The government manual, may, or may not indicate the existence of this earlier manual. So any government manual will lag the entrance of it's associated equipment by at least one year. And if this manual is a re-print, or later version, and does not reflect this in it's opening pages, we can be further deceived. To conclude, the Preliminary manuals printed by the original manufacturer is a more accurate measure of early time period. A sad reality is that collectors, when seeking out manuals for their equipment, often prefer to have the absolute latest versions. Often neglecting or discarding the early government, and preliminary manuals which would have provided us with a far better understanding of the radio.

The most accurate means of Dating by far can be found contained in the equipment's MFP stamp, if it has one. The anti-fungus treatment would have been applied either immediately before it's deployment, or just after, and possibly several more times during it's life. Each time this treatment is applied, the radio or other items of electronic equipment, would normally have been stamped in ink with the month and year. But all this, again, only when we're lucky.

The worst way of determining a date, is by looking in the various equipment list of the time. I/E the TM11-487 series, SIG-3, 5, FM24 series, etc. As we all know, the information contained in these was very often obsolete before these publications were printed, and long discarded equipment was still listed many years after it's disappearance. The 1950 edition of TM11-487 list none of the radios commonly referred to as Korean War vintage. Hmmm!

Another bad method is to compare the AN number, and it's order, with one of another radio of known vintage. For instance, the PRC-5 was in use during WW-II, the PRC-6 wouldn't come along till about 1950, the PRC-8,9,10 not until 1951 at the earliest, and the PRC-7 about 1956. Did you note that the numbers went forwards, then backwards?

Then there is the best references of all, the vintage publications, and official annals. Like vintage magazines articles, The CMH series "The Signal Corps", or "Test for Technology" etc. But for the Korean War period, we very sadly, don't have any! So, keeping all the above in mind, let's look at a few examples:

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The PRC-6
This is one of the very few radios commonly referred to as Korean War vintage that could have conceivably been used then, and there. Development of the radio began during WW-II, with early prototypes being completed before the wars end. But these prototypes were nothing like the familiar radio we know today. The RT unit was housed in one cabinet, and the batteries in another, at least two more variants would be developed before 1949, and the introduction of the radio we all know.

The earliest known manual for the PRC-6 was the preliminary manual printed by Ratheon in 1949. This would most likely be the earliest date a PRC-6 could have been in the field. But what could it talk to? Only another PRC-6, as there wasn't yet any other compatible radios available. If the PRC-6 did see any service in Korea, it was most likely only in a semi-experimental capacity. This because even though it was introduced in 1949, it would have taken a couple years for sufficient quantities to be fielded, and the Korean war only lasted three years. An example of this can be seen in the PRC-25, though the radio was adopted in 1962, it would not be until 1965 that any significant quantities saw service.

Some additional dates for the PRC-6 include: Contract dates, 1951(Emerson). 1952(Emerson, Ratheon, Sentinal, at $185.93). 1955(CBS-Columbia, at $104.50). Manuals, Ratheon Preliminary 1949. TM11-296, Oct 1951, C-1 Nov 1951, C-2 Jan 1953, C-4 1954. TM11-206 Sept 1955. TM11-4069 June 1952, C-1 Aug 1953. TM11-4069 Sept 1955.

In the next installment of this series, we will further discuss some of the other radios that may have, could have, did, or didn't contribute to the ceasing of hostilities in the Korean War. And examine their dates, and earliest origins. In the mean time, any input you might have is always welcome.

- Dennis Starks
MILITARY RADIO COLLECTOR/HISTORIAN military-radio-guy@juno.com

References:
TM11-487A,1958, MIL-HDBK-161,Military Handbook Electronic Communication Equipment. SIG 3,Oct 1953, List of Current Issue Items. ECOM 4451, Nov 1976, History of the Squad Radio (the last two available from W7FG Vintage Manuals)


KOREAN WAR VINTAGE? AND DATING RADIO EQUIPMENT; PART II

by Dennis Starks

In the first part of this series, we discussed some of the methods we can use to try and estimate the vintage of our equipment. The PRC-6 was the first example, concluding, that while it is conceivable that it could have participated in the Korean War, it would have had nothing to talk to. What about the PRC-10 you say? Sadly, unlike the PRC-6, history has left us little information about the development or early history of these radios, so we must read between the lines to learn anything about them. With the PRC-8,9, & 10, we have manual dates listed in TM11-5820-292-10(September 61) that supersedes TM11--612 of Dec.54, Dec.55(C-1), Sep.56(C-2), Dec.57(C-3), Mar.59(C-4), Sep 61(C-5), all well after the war. It would seem that it took quite a few tries to get this manual complete! Another manual (TM11-612, Dec.54 itself) list the contradicting dates of Sept.51 for the earliest printing. With C-1 at 1953, and C-2 at 1954. Hmmm, none of these dates jive with those dates listed in the other text?

So if we use the logic learned in part one, the earliest manual printing date of 1951, would be preceded by a preliminary manual printed by the original contractor which would push the possible date back to 1950. Buttt! Could this early date listed for the TM11-612 have indeed been that preliminary manual? While it is true that contractor preliminary manuals never had a TM number designation, it is common to find them with a TM number either rubber-stamped or hand written on their covers. But this is not conclusive, and as we have no example of this early text, let's look elsewhere for the answer.

Ref.#1 dated Oct.1953, is the first document of its type to list the PRC-10 family of equipment. While it is true that reference material of this ilk is the poorest for use in dating equipment, our purpose here is to look at the description of the radio sets. The power is listed as being supplied by "battery dry, or VEHICULAR", this will be significant as you read on. It is curious that pictures of the PRC-8, 9, and 10 presented in this reference are all of different versions of their prototype radios.

Enter the AM-598! It is possible, and often, true, that accessory items for any particular radio set, might have been designed, or introduced well after that of it's parent system, or even meant to replace a completely different earlier type. An example can be seen in the vehicular power supplies for the BC-1306, and the GRC-9, I/E the PE-237, and DY-88, both being completely different, and the DY-88 entering the field much later. On the other hand, ancillary items might have been jointly developed right along side its companion system. This would seem to be the case with the AM-598, and the PRC-10 family, as can be seen via Ref.#1. While Ref.#1 does list the AM-598, it does not mention any relationship between it, and the PRC-10. Hmmm?

I bring up the AM-598 here because we have for it, what we don't have for the PRC-10, a preliminary manual! Printed by RCA in September of 1953, in its introduction it has the note: "this instruction book will be replaced by TM11-5055 when published". This would tend to confirm the dates listed in TM11-5820-292-10 with the earliest of 1954. Remember, we know that the standard military printed manual might lag the preliminary by about one year, so this fits perfectly. Even if we go by the 1951 date, we know this lags the PRC-6 by two years, and has been pointed out, the possibility of the PRC-6's participation in the Korean War is very remote. Other significant dates: contracts, range from 1952-1955, with cost of $218.18 (Western Electric, 1955, PRC-8) to $592.78, (RCA, 1952, PRC-9). Other contractors included Motorola, Admiral, and Utility Electronics Corp. Note, that while a contract date exists for 1952, we know that it would have taken a year for this order to be filled, which still coincides with our 1953 guesstimate.

The next radios to be investigated will be the RT-70, and GRC-9, you might be surprised, or at least thoroughly confused. If you have any input on this, or the future subjects, please lets use know.

- Dennis Starks
MILITARY RADIO COLLECTOR/HISTORIAN- military-radio-guy@juno.com

Ref.#1) SIG 3,Oct 1953, List of Current Issue Items.


GRC-9 in the Korean War

Dennis, The GRC-9 project is coming along. I will have something to report in two or three weeks. Meanwhile, anybody interested in the GRC-9 might want to take a look at the website: (http://www.kimsoft.com/korea/a-able.htm.) It has a 1951 plan for partisan operations in Korea. The communications equipment is listed. Looks like they had an SCR-399 for the base station and they issued GRC-9 sets to the partisan teams. This seems to establish that the GRC-9 was used in clandestine operations, or at least was part of the planning for those operations. I copied the part of the website that is about the commo gear and will include it below.

Regards,
Bill Strangfeld


Prepared by Miscellaneous Division, G3, Eighth Army
William A. Burke, Major, Armor, S-3
23 January, 1951

Organization and plan for partisan operations in Korea (Plan ABLE)

1. Mission:

To establish in Korea, the cadre of partisan organizations that will perform covert-type missions of sabotage and intelligence, and be capable in organization and training so that, when supplied on a large scale, it may be expanded into large forces that can be employed in conjunction with a major effort of UN forces.

Communications: US operators will operated a high-powered radio station for communications to central headquarters and other stations as discussed herein. They will be responsible for conducting maintenance on all US radio sets used in the operation, as well as training key personnel in the partisan cadre in the operation and maintenance of radio sets used in carrying out their missions. The ROK Marines will operate a high-powered station, which is discussed under "Base communication nets" below.

Communications with partisan leaders (base to Gun).

a. Two plans for the establishment of direct communications with the partisan leaders (cadre) are available. The adoption of either depends on distance involved, terrain, and seasonal weather conditions. The success of the operations depends on adequate communications; therefore when one plane is unworkable owing to conditions described above, or mechanical failure, the other plan may be put into operation with a minimum of effort. In either plan, a system of pre-arranged visual signals will be available.

b. Plan "one": The partisan leaders are equipped with radios which will net with the high-powered radio on the base. By using US operators on the sets (which will be located with the leaders in the Gun) adequate communications will be established under most adverse conditions.

c. Plan "two": The partisan leaders are equipped with low-powered radio sets on which they receive training and are capable of operating. A similar set will be available on the base for establishment of direct communications.

8. Table Of Equipment For Operation Of Base

The equipment listed below is not included in the original table of allowances for the Attrition Warfare Section. It is felt that this equipment will become standard for all bases.

Signal Corps
a. One ea, SCR-399
b. Two ea, receivers BC-342
c. One ea, PE-95
d. Two ea, PE-75
e. Five ea, SCR-300
f. Four ea, SCR AN/GRC-9
g. Five ea, telephones EE-8
h. Five ea, wire W110 on DR-5
i. Fifteen ea, battery BA-70
j. Fifty ea, battery BA-30
k. Ten ea, flashlight
l. One ea, panel set, AP30C
m. One ea, panel set, AP30D

Editor:) I have suspected for some time that the GRC-9 had entered service shortly after WW-II and at least by the time that the Korean War began. And as such might have been one of the few radios often referred to as "Korean War Vintage" that actually could have seen service in that conflict. This suspicion was founded on training manuals apparently printed just after WW-II which included the GRC-9 but omitted its immediate predecessor, the BC-1306/SCR-694 yet still include most other radios of WW-II vintage, but none of the other post war types. This was compounded by the physical evidence of two known examples the GRC-9 having order dates of 1949.

With the further evidence of the above material it would seem to me that we can all from now on say with total confidence that the GRC-9 is indeed a "Korean War Vintage" radio, and veteran of two major conflicts (not to mention several minor ones). Isn't it a shame that history prefers to concentrate on the exploits of men and equipment during WW-II and has neglected this period so shamefully--this to the point that we must gather all these clues in an attempt to re-construct it.

After WW-II the Center of Military History commissioned a very large and comprehensive series of books to be written and published concerning every aspect of the war, its every campaign, leaders, support etc. It is this same series of books that our bible of communications, and equipment are a part, "The Signal Corps". After the Vietnam War, in an attempt to make some sense of this protracted conflict, a similar action was taken which produced another series sub titled "The U.S Army in Vietnam" and included among others our bible for this period "Test For Technology". But of the Korean War, we have nothing!

We now have the GRC-9 as an icon, for a reminder, of the men who served in the Korean War with no less valor than in any other, but with far less the recognition. Isn't that the primary reason for our obsession with this equipment? The history it represents, and reminds us of? It sure the hell is mine! "Less We Forget"

Dennis Starks - MILITARY RADIO COLLECTOR/HISTORIAN
military-radio-guy@juno.com


BOOK REPORT; WHITE TIGERS, MY SECRET WAR IN NORTH KOREA

(GRC-9 in Partisan Hands)

As most of you know, for many years I've been trying to document the actual use, or non-use of all our military treasures. As you also know (because I've bitched about it many times) that the Korean War era has been the most difficult period to document due to it's general lack of historic interest in the eyes of the world. In this light, and in the hopes of finding even the slightest of clues, I'm always purchasing/reading some obscure books, not really radio or communications oriented, in the hopes of finding that one liner(or two) that might make all the clues come together. Or sometimes just lend support to simple justified suspicions. Such has been the case with titles like "Tan Phu, Special Forces Team A-23 In Combat"(the GRC-109 & others), and "Cloak and Dagger, the Secret Story of the OSS"(the RBZ), to name just a couple examples.

Considering the above, a couple months ago I went on a book buying spree that included the title which is the subject of this report, "White Tigers, My Secret War in North Korea" by Col. Ben S. Malcolm USA(Ret.) printed by Brassel's Washington/London, and available from "The Scholars Book Shelf". In his account, the author relates his experiences when a young 1st Lieutenant assigned as an adviser to fledgling North Korean Partisan/Guerrilla units operating 125 miles behinds enemy lines. With extremely limited official support, and before the days of an organized Special Forces which first came to fame in the early days of Vietnam. Activities that remained so classified as to prevent him from being awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge for 12 years. And while he was awarded the Silver Star in due coarse, the circumstances of which were officially moved off the mainland and hundreds of miles from the actual action that warranted it. While I'm tempted to relate all the types of operations, their methods, and the troubles they encountered, it is, of course, impossible to do so here. So I will restrict myself to the following quotes from the book which specifically mention radios, and or communications.

Partisan companies of varying strength of about 500 men were assigned designations of "Donkey-*". As of March 1952 there were 10 of these U.S. supported Donkey units comprising approximately 3500 men conducting operations
controlled from an island 125 miles north of the 38th parallel. Only a few thousand yards off the West Coast of North Korea, this Island was called "Leopard Base". The author attempting to relate the possible origin of the official "Donkey" designation(in particular Donkey-4, the White Tigers) relates the following:

"My own theory, and the one subscribed to by many others, is that the name derived from a particular radio used by the partisans, the AN/GRC-9, known as the 'Angry Nine'. The AN/GRC-9 had a generator on a tripod that someone mounted and cranked with their feet to provide power. The man working the generator looked like he was riding a donkey. Whenever I saw the Koreans set up one of these radios there would be much laughter and braying to indicate that the 'Donkey' was being prepared for work."

The primary mission of these Donkey units was to harass enemy positions and supply lines, collect intelligence, rescuing downed Allied pilots, and several other less socially acceptable chores. At the top of the U.S Army's interest was intelligence gathering, at which these units were most adept. "Early operations for Donkey units were virtual suicide missions. They were given only two or three weeks of training with weapons, explosives, and radios, and then were sent to the mainland in small groups."

In a exercise to train these partisan units, and prove their ability to operate as a Light Infantry Brigade, the author orchestrated a raid on the mainland against an extensive bunker complex, and heavy gun emplacement, which would include the use of the GRC-9, and SCR-300. As none of their communications equipment were compatible with those aboard either the British gunboat providing naval gun fire, nor the three Carrier based U.S. Marine Corsairs that would be providing air support, a un-named British set was loaned by this ship for fire control. This same ship would in-turn relay messages to the Marine Corsairs. From the brief use outlined by the author, this radio might have been a WS-48(an AM/HF back-pack radio operable between 6 and 9mc). Included among the officially disclosed captured equipment from this raid was, "one Russian type radio". We can only imagine what this was.

"Partisan units sent to the mainland usually took two types of radios. One was the SCR-300, a small, battery-operated unit easily carried by troops on the move. The other was the AN/GRC-9, the 'Angry Nine', which was carried in deep and set up in remote areas to serve as a relay station between units or individual agents and Leopard Base. The Leopard Base Partisans realized the value of their radios and guarding them with their lives. The radios were their most prized possessions and were treated as such. They would do almost anything to get one of their radios back if they lost it. They considered the loss of a radio more serious than loss of a man. Although interior units were continually on the move, they were careful to protect their radios. We lost very few radios and I don't recall a single case where we had a problem with false transmissions from a captured radio. The airborne operation of the 8240th Army unit and CIA behind-the-lines operations had frequent problems with captured radios and false radio transmissions."

"The messages we received from units and agents on the mainland were by voice, usually relayed through one or two AN/GRC-9 operators inside North Korea." "The messages were received in the radio shack", a mud building with tin
roof approx 20ftx 8ft. "Running the length of the back wall was a wooden table that held ten AN/GRC-9 transceivers hooked to a common generator outside. Depending on the pace of operations, at least three radios were monitored at all times. On busy days all ten were monitored."

I have long held that the GRC-9 entered service immediately after WW-II and that at least prototypes had been completed before the war's end. This belief was based on a number of clues which included early printed material, and physical examples of equipment with order dates as early as 1946. The later discovered by Bill Strangfeld in the small lot of radios he acquired for us as part of a recent Group Project (until then 1949 had been the earliest known example).

While it is entirely possible, and common, that the author has confused the GRC-9 with the BC-1306(SCR-694) which looks very similar, and was considered in the eyes of its user as interchangeable. We have in this case the collaborating
evidence as can be found in our Backmail files. Until this time, that previously known data could have been speculative on a 'proposed' unit's table of allowance(TOE). I think we can now with all confidence say, the GRC-9 is indeed a distinguished veteran of not only a number of other conflicts and unit actions, but indeed deserves the title of 'Korean War Vintage' (unlike most radios so named).

We not only see that it was used in it's intended role for use by Special Forces, Airborne, and Mountain troops, but we also see it being used as a clandestine radio in the hands of untrained/unskilled peasant "agents", in voice mode, a role
traditionally reserved for CW. Perhaps now we can understand why the AM mode was included on such radio sets as the Delco 5300, PRC-64.

Dennis Starks - Collector/Historian
Midwest Military Communications Museum
email: military-radio-guy@juno.com


MEMBERS WRITE; GRC-9 In Partisan Hands

Dennis, the book quotes on KW (MCGP Feb.15/99) employment of GRC-9 were extremely interesting. I was also not aware of such guerilla operations - on our part anyway. I heard some reports that NK often infiltrated with refugees - in at least one case I heard of, a tank column machine gunned all the refugees on the road, not being able to sort out the NK. Not apparently the only incident of this kind, but i don't have any interest in investigating that further. It's interesting the NK never bombed/attacked the island. Wonder how large that island is, since the radio control operations seemed to be quite a big deal. Also interesting the use of voice. Also very interesting the use of GRC-9 as comms receiver for monitoring. Reminds me of a USMC official Navy photo from Okinawa, showing TBXs being used as monitor receivers in a comm station, next to bigger gear with comm receivers and tty.hue. <kargokult@aol.com>

Editor) Island strongholds were bombed by the North Koreans, more than once. The gun/bunker that the author received the Silver Star for destroying was within range of one island of these islands. They were also assaulted with infantry, but mines, and well placed heavy machine guns made these attempts in vain. Island size depended on units stationed there and their purpose. One Island had a Marine guard and Air Force contingent (for radar site), several SCR-299 commo sheds, and one CIA guy, all still 125 mi behind lines. Many other smaller islands had only native partisans. All these islands under normal circumstances were uninhabitable. These islands were used to stage raids on the mainland from.

Use of voice makes sense in the hands of primitive agents who otherwise may have never had any contact with radio, and had only a few days of training. In this light, we better understand why the voice mode was included in other known clandestine radios. The use of a number of GRC-9's in their commo shed makes a lot of sense, as they were also used for normal comms. Also a means of netting the receivers to preset freqs would have been a nice feature using the trans to spot them (receivers weren't calibrated for shit).

 

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