PRC-320 Military Manpack Radio, First Impressions.

Started by gil, June 21, 2016, 07:37:27 am

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gil

June 21, 2016, 07:37:27 am Last Edit: November 14, 2016, 06:28:39 am by gil
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.

gil

June 21, 2016, 08:29:32 am #1 Last Edit: June 21, 2016, 08:31:23 am by gil
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.

cockpitbob

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?

gil

QuoteIs 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.

gil

June 21, 2016, 02:56:40 pm #4 Last Edit: June 21, 2016, 03:34:21 pm by gil
I'm on 7185.5 USB right now. Anyone wants to try?
I'll be there until 0:00 UTC.

Gil.

cockpitbob

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.

cockpitbob

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?

gil

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.

cockpitbob

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.

gil

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.

vwflyer

QuoteI'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


cockpitbob

Quote from: vwflyer on June 21, 2016, 09:29:51 pm
QuoteI'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

gil

July 05, 2016, 10:40:56 am #12 Last Edit: July 05, 2016, 10:42:41 am by gil
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) 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.

NWARadio

Any chance of a YouTube video, Gil?
So long, and thanks for all the fish

gil

QuoteAny 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.