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Main » PRC-316

UK/PRC-316 (Larkspur A16)

The UK/PRC-316 was a lightweight (almost handheld size) HF patrol set designed for the conditions experienced by jungle patrols in Malaya in the early 1960s. It is one of the first - if not the first - all transitor set in British Army service. It was fully waterproof, used dry batteries (which remain available having been used in the ULS-16 magneto telephone switchboard) and worked with wire antennas. A miniature 1/2 size forerunner of the UK/PRC-320 dipole centre and a RG-174 size coax were provided (I had one bought at Leicester rally years before I knew what it was, so I fitted a normal BNC to the coax :( ).

Picture from G7MRV Blog

( this picture is from G7MRV's BLOG at http://g7mrv.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/clansman-manpacks-for-amateur-use-part-1.html )

The set had a simple 45 channel analogue frequency synthesiser based on mixing two crystal outputs controlled by the "Basic" and "Offset" switches - this allowed steps a few KHz either side of each "basic" channel. Operation was normally in the lower HF bands best suited for NVIS. The A16 was primarily a CW set with a built in morse key although it could also transmit and receive AM. The coax and headset connectors are clansman-like but smaller (the mini-BNC was also used on the UK/PRC-350). It could be used with the AN/GRA-71 morse burst encoder for lower probability of intercept. An adapter box was used to connect the AN/GRA-71 to the A16. My dad had two AN/GRA-71s in his collection which were sealed refurbished units with UK MoD paperwork from the late 1970s so probably last used with the A16 and I will add photos to this site eventually.

The A16 was re-badged as UK/PRC-316 when retained into the Clansman era (the UK/PRC-320 being a lot bigger and heavier). The eventual replacement was the UK/PRC-319 although I find a 319 with full CES nearly as heavy as a 320. I haven't been lucky enough to own an A16 (and my morse isn't good enough to do it justice) and the best article I can find is: http://www.vmarsmanuals.co.uk/newsletter_articles/prc316.pdf

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Page last modified on January 21, 2018, at 03:12 PM