Radio Preppers

General Category => Military Radios => Topic started by: gil on June 21, 2016, 07:37:27 AM

Title: PRC-320 Military Manpack Radio, First Impressions.
Post by: gil on June 21, 2016, 07:37:27 AM
Hello,

UPS delivered my PRC-320 this morning! It still had a little bit of mud on it :) My first impression was that this thing has nothing to do with Ham radio gear, as if it was built on another planet.. It's a heavy piece of aluminum, fully sealed, submersible even, more tank-like than anything radio.. My second impression was that it is smaller than I expected given all the videos and photos I had seen on the Internet. Then, the weight.. It definitely isn't a KX2! The unit is a bit banged-up, which was to be expected, but it works just fine. The power supply I found on Ebay is a 24V 6A computer AC adapter. Add Anderson Power Poles and a Clansman power cable, mate the two, et voila! I plan on getting a 7S 5Ah LIPO pack, charger and a whip antenna. I plugged in my PAR End Fed 40/20/10, heard a few faint voices in USB on 20m, but I have not contacted anyone yet. The band isn't really open today. Since I do not have an SWR meter and my antenna is plugged in directly, I stay on 3W to be safe, which isn't much on SSB. I would probably have better luck on 40m, but remember, these rigs don't have LSB! There is the green radio frequency of 7185.5kHz, which I will try. I can see the LSB mod in my future..

The 320 is rather cheap if you don't have to pay for shipping to the U.S. but still worth it in my opinion. I can't think of a better transportable prepper radio for the price. Note that I said "transportable," not "portable." It can be done mind you, it is made for that, but there are lighter options available today, though none that you can stick under your 4x4 tire to get out of a mud hole..

Expect more testing and videos with the PRC-320 soon :)

Gil.
Title: Re: PRC-320 First Impressions.
Post by: gil on June 21, 2016, 08:29:32 AM
First contact with Portugal using 3W, it works! Got a 31 RST. The guy was using 100W into a beam antenna. I got him at 31 as well.

Seems like the radio sometimes sticks on PTT, until I click the handset a couple times.. Not often but enough to wonder if it is the handset or a relay..

Gil.
Title: Re: PRC-320 First Impressions.
Post by: cockpitbob on June 21, 2016, 08:40:47 AM
Very cool rig Gil.  It's got a much broader frequency range (2-30MHz) than I would have expected.  Once you get the LSB mod in, that's all the HF radio a person needs.  Is there a story behind its name Clansman?
Title: Re: PRC-320 First Impressions.
Post by: gil on June 21, 2016, 08:46:40 AM
Quote
Is there a story behind its name Clansman?

I haven't looked into that yet, but I am pretty sure it has nothing to do with the KKK :o

Gil.
Title: Re: PRC-320 First Impressions.
Post by: gil on June 21, 2016, 02:56:40 PM
I'm on 7185.5 USB right now. Anyone wants to try?
I'll be there until 0:00 UTC.

Gil.
Title: Re: PRC-320 First Impressions.
Post by: cockpitbob on June 21, 2016, 03:25:04 PM
I just turn on the rig but all I hear is my S7 background noise.  DroidProp says 20meters goes from no chance to slight chance around 21:00z.  If I can, I'll keep an ear open.
Title: Re: PRC-320 First Impressions.
Post by: cockpitbob on June 21, 2016, 04:29:07 PM
I'm listening but my propagation app says I've got zero chance of making contact with you on 40m and a slight chance on 20m.  It shows you should have an opening to the south-east though.  Are you hearing much from countries in that direction?
Title: Re: PRC-320 First Impressions.
Post by: gil on June 21, 2016, 04:34:18 PM
Not hearing much of anything from anywhere. Some stations on 40m but they're using LSB, so I can't make out what they say.. I'll go to 14285 for a bit...

Gil.
Title: Re: PRC-320 First Impressions.
Post by: cockpitbob on June 21, 2016, 05:05:42 PM
The bands are so bad I had to look out my window to make sure my antenna hadn't fallen down.  I'm glad my life doesn't depend on ham radio.

I am occasionally hearing some foreign (to me) language chatter buried in the noise of 14,285.  Spanish, I think.
Title: Re: PRC-320 First Impressions.
Post by: gil on June 21, 2016, 05:14:47 PM
Not a good day for radio for sure.. Oh well.. With the solar activity going down we will get more of those days unfortunately.. I'm back on 7185.5, some LSB nearby.. I'll leave the radio on for another couple hours then it'll be bed time.. There is always tomorrow.. Have a nice evening Bob  :)

Gil.
Title: Re: PRC-320 First Impressions.
Post by: vwflyer on June 21, 2016, 09:29:51 PM
Quote
I'm glad my life doesn't depend on ham radio.

Take a look at this video. It wasn't too long ago that many people's lives did.

https://youtu.be/qEvM4HxQxSQ

Title: Re: PRC-320 First Impressions.
Post by: cockpitbob on June 22, 2016, 08:53:52 AM
Quote
I'm glad my life doesn't depend on ham radio.

Take a look at this video. It wasn't too long ago that many people's lives did.

https://youtu.be/qEvM4HxQxSQ
The parrot bit through the antenna wire held up by a balloon releasing their balloon.   ;D :o
Title: Re: PRC-320 First Impressions.
Post by: gil on July 05, 2016, 10:40:56 AM
Hello,

I took the RT-320 out today, well, just to the backyard.. I got a brand new 2.5m whip and gooseneck along with a new CW key! I attached a counterpoise wire and the whip straight up. It tuned very easily on 20m, only took a few seconds. This radio system is really awesome! No contact on 20m but I didn't try very long, had an appointment.. Later I plugged in my PAR end-fed and made one contact with Germany on 40m using the straight key.. 12wpm.. Not bad.. Conditions were really dismal. The Reverse Beacon Network (http://www.reversebeacon.net (http://www.reversebeacon.net)) showed me smack on frequency, at least within 100Hz. Better than my MTR which is 200Hz off on 20m.

The whip is very well built. I hope to use it with my other radios, but need to think about how to do it. Maybe using a Buddipole coil and a couple of their 1ft extentions. The whip adapter weighs as much as my KX2.. The Morse key could be used by a 500lbs Gorilla on meth without ill effect..

Now I need a battery.. Can't wait to take it camping!

Gil.
Title: Re: PRC-320 First Impressions.
Post by: NWARadio on July 16, 2016, 09:10:11 PM
Any chance of a YouTube video, Gil?
Title: Re: PRC-320 First Impressions.
Post by: gil on July 17, 2016, 07:39:04 AM
Quote
Any chance of a YouTube video, Gil?

Yes, I was waiting to find a good setting to film one. I don't have a battery yet so right now I use a power supply, which of course limits my mobility a great deal. I might be able to work something out though.. There are few PRC-320 videos on Youtube, so a few more wouldn't hurt  ;)

Gil.
Title: Re: PRC-320 First Impressions.
Post by: gil on October 28, 2016, 07:24:10 PM

Gil
Title: Re: PRC-320 Military Manpack Radio, First Impressions.
Post by: gil on November 14, 2016, 09:52:20 AM
Title: Re: PRC-320 Military Manpack Radio, First Impressions.
Post by: gil on January 20, 2017, 01:10:51 PM
Hello,

I just had an amazing QSO with Spain on 20m from the North of France using my 320 and the 2.5m whip, inside the house! The guy on the other end was using 1kW! He was hearing me just fine. It goes to show, again and again, that power isn't the main factor in making contact. With the built-in tuner in-line there was no doubt quite a few Watts below the 30W maximum output being radiated.

The more I use the PRC-320 the more it amazes me.

Gil.
Title: Re: PRC-320 Military Manpack Radio, First Impressions.
Post by: gil on May 31, 2017, 05:08:27 PM
Someone, help... :o

(http://radiopreppers.com/images/Clansmen.jpg)

 ;) Gil.
Title: Re: PRC-320 Military Manpack Radio, First Impressions.
Post by: gil on September 13, 2018, 01:51:46 PM
I agree about everything you mentioned, except that I consider the 320 to be one of the easiest radio to use that I ever laid my hands on...

Gil.
Title: Re: PRC-320 Military Manpack Radio, First Impressions.
Post by: vwflyer on September 13, 2018, 02:52:53 PM
I think that whenever someone gives an opinion, it is impossible to avoid basing that opinion an many preconceptions. For example, it is stated unequivocally that a heavy radio is disqualified from being a good prepping radio. The assumption is that all preppers are going to be carrying the radio on their backs over great distances and will not have a group of people for distributing loads. Of course there are many prepping scenarios in which this would not be the case. What if I were the radio guy in a group of preppers and they carried all my things and I was only responsible for carrying the radio gear? Or perhaps I intend to prep for a flood in my house due to a hurricane and i don't plan on leaving the house but want a radio that can be submerged and take a beating from the floodwaters if my house is flooded.

Another assumption that seems to be made is that parts for other radios will be more available than parts for this radio in my survival scenario. In most survival scenarios, no radio parts will be available to me for any radio. In the hurricane scenario, only the radio parts I already have safely guarded on the second floor of my home will be available to me when I need them. In most other cases where I don't already have in my personal stock spare parts, it's not as if I can get replacement parts for my Icom off amazon or from a local Radio Shack. So in the end, the only parts I can expect to have in my time of need are those I'm stocking up on now. If I own a KX2 and am not stocking up on new switches, jacks, final transistors, screens, etc. for it now, I'm no better off with one of those than I am an old military rig. For many of us, stocking up on spare parts for our radios doesn't make a lot of sense. We don't know what will go out and individual parts, when bought separately, cost a lot more than the whole. For many of us, the best option is to simply have multiples of the same radio. Two KX2s, two military radios, etc. And in this regard, the military radio has an edge on other options in that two of them is more affordable than two Elecrafts or Icoms.

Finally the complexity assumption. That argument could be made, and is made, for any HF radio. That's why we hams highly discourage preppers from buying an HF rig without having a license to use it and then say that they'll use it in an emergency when it won't be illegal for them to use it without a license. We hams have all gone through the learning curve of using HF radios and know how steep it can be. We can never expect someone who has not trained and practiced with the selected emergency radio to be able to effectively use it in a disaster. This holds true of a KX2, my drop dead simple YouKits HB-1B, or a military radio.

In the end, what makes a good prepping radio for one person and scenario makes a lousy choice for others.

Title: Re: PRC-320 Military Manpack Radio, First Impressions.
Post by: gil on September 14, 2018, 12:22:01 PM
Interesting thoughts, and I agree as well. For me, military radios are more on the hobby side than for prepping, but their ruggedness makes them a great choice for those situations when transporting them alone on foot isn't required. They are fairly cheap and will survive almost anything. Now, I would rather also have three or four (I have many more) $50-$100 radios than one or two $800 radios... It is also easier to scavenge parts for through-hole radios than surface-mount circuits. If one of my military radios craps out, no big deal, I have more... Sure, I'm not going to carry them all in a bug-out scenario, but they can be very handy.

I am reading a book by F. Spencer Chapman, "The Jungle is Neutral" (highly recommended), where enormous radio sets are carried by men on their back in the Malayan jungle and powered by pedal-driven dymanos... A PRC-320 compared to that is a pocket radio! These guys had virtually no support from the outside... So, all is relative... A group of determined men can accomplish miracles. Sure, we have better options today, and that even is debatable, but my PRC-320 with a hand-crank attachment can be a lifesaver.

Best solution? Have both, use what is most convenient or possible for the given circumstances...

Gil.
Title: Re: PRC-320 Military Manpack Radio, First Impressions.
Post by: RadioRay on September 14, 2018, 02:55:05 PM
when I was working in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia , I picked-up a locally published book; "SAS In Malaya" and, like you said, Gil - the jungle warfare people did amazing things.  They Malay campaign drove the development of a far better radio;  the PRC-316 and STRONG reliance on NVIS.  Here is a link to an interesting article from your mates at VMARS, describing it's use.

http://www.vmarsmanuals.co.uk/newsletter_articles/prc316.pdf (http://www.vmarsmanuals.co.uk/newsletter_articles/prc316.pdf)


>RadioRay ..._ ._
Title: Re: PRC-320 Military Manpack Radio, First Impressions.
Post by: Sparks on September 14, 2018, 10:07:53 PM

I am reading a book by F. Spencer Chapman, "The Jungle is Neutral" (highly recommended)

Books always interest me (retired librarian). Found out more about this one:

The Jungle is Neutral, 1948. Several reprints and editions, latest one (2003) still for sale:

https://www.amazon.com/Jungle-Neutral-Soldiers-Two-Year-Japanese/dp/1592281079 (https://www.amazon.com/Jungle-Neutral-Soldiers-Two-Year-Japanese/dp/1592281079)

About the author:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_Spencer_Chapman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_Spencer_Chapman)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force_136 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force_136)
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223995/The-man-army-How-Cambridge-educated-botanist-fought-year-war-4-000-Japanese-troops.html (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223995/The-man-army-How-Cambridge-educated-botanist-fought-year-war-4-000-Japanese-troops.html)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/oct/21/great-birdwatching-war-hero (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/oct/21/great-birdwatching-war-hero)
http://www.bigredbook.info/frederick_spencer_chapman.html (http://www.bigredbook.info/frederick_spencer_chapman.html)
Title: Re: PRC-320 Military Manpack Radio, First Impressions.
Post by: gil on September 15, 2018, 03:11:38 PM
Very interesting thanks. I didn't know about the man other than from his book.

Gil.