The UK PRC 316 / A-16

Started by Sparks, November 09, 2019, 08:52:43 PM

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I found this photo in the public Facebook group of the Norwegian Radio History Society:

Information about this military transceiver in this PDF:

QuoteThe UK PRC 316 / A-16
by John Teague, G3GTJ


This paper describes the PRC 316 and is an expanded version of an earlier contribution to the Centre for the History of Defence Electronics (CHiDE) colloquium on Military Communications, held in September 1999.

The radio was designed and developed for the British Army in the mid-sixties by the Signals Research & Development Establishment (SRDE) at Christchurch. Designated X3145 in the experimental phase it became "Station Radio A-16"; later it was given the Clansman style designation of "UK/PRC 316", which is how it was generally known in service.

To quote from the November 1968 edition of the User Handbook: "The lightweight HF patrol radio PRC 316 is a compact, simple to operate transmitter-receiver developed primarily for use at the halt. It provides 45 crystal controlled communication channels in the band 2 - 7MHz . . . . (It) is intended to operate at ranges up to about 800 km using CW."


This radio has been mentioned once before in this forum, with reference to the same PDF:

Quote from: 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.

>RadioRay ..._ ._

I wanted you to see the beauty of this one. And in that PDF you can see the PRC 316 and accessories.

I wonder if you can buy this radio somewhere?


Additional information in the Wikipedia article about the British Clansman military radio system:

QuoteClansman HF radio sets
UK/PRC 316
A late introduction to the Larkspur range, its original designation was A16 Lightweight HF Radio Station. Deployed in tropical or high temperature climates, it was powered by either a standard 12V battery that connected directly to the set or if issued, a Leclanche Battery that connected directly to the set. It was compatible with most D10 or R4 copper stranded antenna systems that were fielded at that time, examples being the Shirley, Jamaica, Half Jamaica and Yagi.

Despite not being of the Clansman family, its late introduction to service coupled with its Clansman equivalent, the PRC/RT320 not being ready, meant the PRC 316 survived for just over five years after Clansman was introduced. Once the PRC/RT320 was completed and fully fielded, the PRC 316 was rapidly withdrawn. Another reason cited for its retention was that it was relatively easy to operate and was inter-operable with the other HF Radios in the Clansman family.


I once saw one one Ebay, untested, almost bought it, but it was about $500...



$500  Ouch!  With one frequency in the 80m band and possible one other at the high end of 80m , depending upon the variant, you're better with the choices you've already made in QRP rig.  The COOL factor is quite high with the PRC-316 though ;-)

de RadioRay  ..._ ._
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry


Hello Ray :-)

It was very tempting... Rig from Italy... Still a bit heavy for trekking, but certainly a 9 on coolness ;-) I am considering building a Paraset... Historically very significant here...



November 12, 2019, 02:29:13 PM #7 Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 02:34:54 PM by RadioRay
The Paraset !  I could certainly a video of you making contact with England while using a Paraset from France

Of course, if you EVER find one of these at a hamfest ---

73 de Ray  ..._ ._
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry