Sun Aug 18, 2019, 08:52 PM


"Now, getting a green military radio (or greenie) requires a certain mindset, as I kindly reminded Cal in an earlier post. To reiterate what I stated, you can't go half way and get a Yaesu FT-897, or an Icom IC-703, or whatever. You gotta get a real radio. A heavy radio. A milspec waterproof radio. A radio that will survive the storm surge when you won't. A radio that can kill as you swing it pendulum style in self-defense. A radio that triple underlines your entry into the elite geekdom of ham radio packsters. A radio that reminds you what its like to be mortal as your body aches as you trudge down the forlorn path with it strapped to your middle-aged carcass, breathing heavily into the handset as you struggle to bark out a CQ, wondering if the ole' cardiac pump is up to the task.

Isn't it great? Or am I, like most of my ham brethren, consigned to a certain corner of the insane asylum, right next to the QRP section? Finding that radio is going to be tough if you have to start from scratch. Here are some pointers and rigs to look out for. The list is by no means complete, as I am sure there are some radios that are personal favorites. I will only cover those rigs capable of HF, and those I am familiar with. I'll include some links at the end so you can explore on your own, if you're so inclined after reading this verbose diatribe.


This is a Vietnam era radio manufactured by Collins. These are still available from Fair Radio Sales for under a grand. Be advised, however, that the radio only does USB and CW unmodified. It's a little heavy to be characterized as a manpack. Be careful tuning it up into an antenna, as its vacuum tube finals are not protected by any special circuitry. If you fry the finals, be advised they are almost impossible to replace. The rig is rated at 100 watts maximum output. A '47 will occasionally come available on eBay or in the classifieds on this site or I decided against a PRC-47....too much of an antique, in my opinion.

This radio will work HF into the low VHF band (yes, it will do 6 meters). If you're in good shape, you might be able to heft one of these on your back. The radio was designed to bridge the gap between the frequency ranges covered by the classic PRC-25/77 and the PRC-47; in other words, two radios in one box. Again, I have seen a couple of these on Ebay in recent months for under two grand. The PRC-70 was too big, so I decided against one of these.

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Manufactured by Hughes and various other contractors, the PRC-104 may still be in limited use by the U.S. military. This is a simple, no frills radio. Its like a Timex....takes a licking and keeps on ticking. A friend of mine, K6ERO, collects these and swears by them. I may get one eventually. Average power output is between 20-30 watts. Good examples can be had from about $1500 to $2500 dollars. The radio runs on 24 VDC."

Yours truly wanted to do something sort of period at the D-Day reenactment.

I have a large Vietnam era ALICE pack from around 1970.

(Really large, not the common medium ALICE. This one is about 1800 c.i. )

Loaded up the goodies, water, and radios. Turned out there was no shuttle and no on site parking, so I ended up humping the thing about 3 miles, with about 40 lbs. In it, in 89 degree heat with serious humidity.

I survived.

BTW, my ALICE does have the radio rack on the bottom of the frame - I special ordered it.

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wonderwarthog Aug 2019 OP
oldenuff35 Aug 2019 #1
wonderwarthog Aug 2019 #2

Response to wonderwarthog (Original post)

Mon Aug 19, 2019, 01:13 AM

1. good post, thanks.

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Response to oldenuff35 (Reply #1)

Mon Aug 19, 2019, 08:28 PM

2. Most welcome!

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