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Visitors Since 22 October 1998
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  Army Radio Sales Co. :: 1950 to 1973 Company / Battalion Radios

  1950 to 1973 Company / Battalion Radios
1950 to 1973 Company / Battalion Radios

Cold War Era 1950 To 1973, General Issue Tactical Radios

Company / Battalion Radios

R-105, R105D, R-105M
R-105M

R-105, R-105D, R-105M
The most common of all the Russian radios to be found all over the world, is the R-105 family of backpack radios. The radio is rather primitive by anybody's standards, it is not easy to use, nor does it have any saving graces save one, "If you fire one up, it usually works". First introduced in the early 1950's, it was revamped in the 1960's to use more modern materials ( D models ), and again in the 1970's ( M models ). It has been referred to by many as a slightly updated copy of captured WW-II German sets and many of it's characteristics, and accessories will show this lineage.

All the sets in this series are of tube type design, with the only presence of transistors being in the radio's internal inverter power supply. Their cabinets ( M models ) are constructed of a heavy Bakerlight type material, sealed with paraffin to prevent water and dust seepage. A removable cover allows access to the sets controls which are placed up one side. The radio is fully operational with this cover in place and it does provide exceptional protection for the controls, as well as further enhancement of the radios water tight integrity. The opposite side of the radio has an identical cover to house it's rechargeable Nicad batteries.

R-105M TIB
R-105M TIB

The short antenna supplied with the sets is unique in design and also reminiscent of it's WW-II German ancestry.Designated as the "KULIKOV" Antenna, it is constructed of a series of aluminium beads strung on a steel cable, a stiff spring on the end keeps pressure against these beads and a semi rigid but flexible antenna results. Releasing this spring tension collapses the antenna allowing it to be rolled up for easy storage and the radio will receive with the antenna collapsed, thus making it harder for enemy snipers to spot the radio operator. Better than the British system on the PRC-349, US SCR-300, and anything produced in WW-II, but still not as good as the U.S. "Stanley" tape configuration that's been in use since 1949, which was also copied from the German Feldfu of WW II.

Accessories are available to allow the set to perform various tasks. Without exception they exhibit the utmost in simplicity, and crude utilitarian design. Carry equipment consist of a very thin plastic covered cushion or a heavy canvas padded cushion, that is placed on the back of the radio, and simple canvas straps. A long sectional antenna is provided to increase the sets range while in it's backpack configuration, it does not incorporate a spring to minimise damage. This same antenna is combined with a "C" clamp type mount for use as a vehicular antenna. A metal frame used to secure the radio in it's transit case, can also double as a vehicular mount. It's combination headset / mic is very similar to that used with the WW-II U.S. Navy TBY. A handset could also be used that is virtually a copy of a WW-II German type, & looks much like those used on U.S. EE-8 field telephones. Other accessories include a long wire antenna, and a 50 watt mobile amplifier is also known to have been built, both intended to increase the basic radios range.

The R-105M is the most common of the series, and was intended for use by infantry units. Operating in one continuous band on 36-46.1 Mhz, with an intended channel spacing of 25 or 50kc. RF power output is rated at 1 watt, FM. Power is derived from two internal Nicad batteries.
Differences between the R-105 and other radios in this family can be seen below.

R-106 and Accessories
R-106 and Accessories

R-106
The R-106 is the same vintage as the R-116 discussed above but a larger Manpack covering 41.6-48.65 MHz also AM, .75W output. These were both made in the late 1950s. They seem to have been in use from 1956 to 1962. I It just seems odd that they would use VHF AM so late after the rest of the world had switched to FM.

R-106 This set is a VHF AM set and was probably a companion set to the R-116. It is clear that these sets ( R-116 and R-106 ) were replaced with the R-126 / R-105 series radios which are FM sets.

R-106 and Accessories
R-106 and Accessories
R-106 and Accessories
R-106 and Accessories

R-106 and Accessories
R-106 and Accessories

 

R-108M, R-109M
R-108M, R-109M

R-108M, R-109M, R-114
The R-108M, R-109M, and R-114 are identical to the R-105M with the exception of frequency coverage, and the intended branch of service they were to be used by. In similar fashion to U.S. allocations in the 50's-early 60's. The VHF frequency spectrum was sectioned off, the different types of combat units having their own frequency range.

To this end we have the R-108M being operated by artillery units, between 28-36.5 Mhz. The R-109M, by anti-aircraft artillery on 21.5-28.5 Mhz. And the R-114 20-26 Mhz for command and liaison at battalion level.

Though the R-105M series had been reported to be out of production before 1987, the following provided by one of the members of the Military Radio Collecting Group, would tend to indicate it was produced longer than officially thought. Further, it might reflect the build up of all armaments, due to the hostilities between Iraq and Iran.

One interesting fact: I have an R-105M Russian set that came from the Gulf, the wood transit case has a contract number and date on it. The date is 1986, this is consistent with the other equipment I have seen that seems to have been purchased in the early 1980s. The BCC-349s have a similar production date on them. Documents that were included with my set indicate it entered service in 1982, and had a last inspection date of 1990. Note, these documents are present in both Russian and German.

Production of this radio series has taken place in many of the former Warsaw Pact countries. Today, East German examples in nearly new condition, with all their accessories in the transit case, can be had from a west coast surplus dealer.
Only the Russian variants of the R-105D, R-105M and R-108D, R-108M have been confirmed as in use by Iraqi forces.


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