Thursday, 5 February 2015

Clansman UK/RT-320

A great many thanks today go to David G3RYP, for the long term loan of his Clansman prc-320 (UK/RT-320) HF manpack transceiver. After a pleasant drive that only involved me getting lost once (just a simple wrong turn), I collected the kit this morning. This involved a nice chat about all things radio, a much appreciated cup of tea, and an obligatory shack nosy!

After a similarly pleasant return drive, during which I managed to make the exact same wrong turn but in reverse, I arrived home with the kit at exactly the same time Julie did. It took me 10 mins to unload and set up the kit for testing, but it took Julie only 5 mins to tell me off for cluttering the house up with it!

The Clansman series of radios served the British Army through much of the later years of the Cold War, having replaced Larkspur. Consisting of HF, VHF and UHF equipments, the UK/RT-320 is the HF SSB and CW part of the series. Now replaced by the much vaunted and now much derided Bowman system. These radios are certainly not lightweight, but they are seriously rugged. As can be seen in the photo above, tuning is by decade switch - it wasn't expected that the average soldier would do much band searching for DX! A built in manual ATU takes care of antenna matching, and this beast can work with everything from its 2.5m whip, to full size dipoles and everything in between.

There are two options for carrying this thing - a pack frame, or a padded Bergen. Luckily, Davids radio has a Bergen! Working out which of the many straps provided were for the 320 took a while! Shown above is the radio in the Bergen and with the 2.5m whip antenna. The funny little rolled thing next to it is the solar radiation shield, used to keep the radio cool when fighting in the various sandy parts of the world.

One thing I havent yet quite got set up right is the headset! Getting it all adjusted for my head, and then getting the mic positioning right, is somewhat fiddly.

David also kindly lent us a spare battery and a charger.

I have yet to use the set on air, and as its now quite late at night, the whip antenna would be pretty inefficient on the bands that are currently open. So, having familiarized myself with its operation and setup, I await daylight and the opening of the higher bands for trying it out on air.

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