Survivalist Forum - View Single Post - Is the PRC-70 a good radio to have?
View Single Post
Old 07-07-2019, 03:07 PM
MFF Jumpmaster MFF Jumpmaster is offline
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 21
Thanks: 0
Thanked 38 Times in 16 Posts

This is an old thread, but may still be of interest to some.

I was a SF Commo Sgt and spent 10 years carrying that 40 pound sea-anchor of a radio. Add to that the extra batteries, DMDG, antenna kit bag and generator, and I had 75+ pound in my ruck before adding ammo, food, water, and other gear.

The AN/PRC-70 is NOT as good as most of the military surplus radios available today. It was heavy as sin, and a battery hog to boot. BUT, it was manpack, vehicle, and base capable, could be used on CW (morse), voice, or data in HF AM, USB/SSB, on voice over VHF FM, and worked as a retransmitter. In short, it was a box full of radios squeezed into one.

The standard battery for the AN/PRC-70 was the BB-542/U. It was a Ni-Cad rechargeable shaped like a brick. Weighed about the same. They only had a few hundred recharges on them when new. Years later, we were lucky to get three to five minutes on a full charge. That meant that we used three batteries per CW/Burst contact. Each battery took almost two hours on the hand-cranked G-76 generator to recharge. Needless to say, I had big shoulders in those days!

Because the battery system was so weak, we often made our own battery packs. The bottom of the 70 has a six pin linear plug that is unique to the BB-542/U. However, if you can get your hands on it, the lithium battery box for a PSC-3 satellite radio fits onto the 70 perfectly.

Gut the battery mount and wiring from the battery box. Use hard foam padding to stabilize the batteries once you've built your new connection. If you can get one, strip the top board from a defunct BB-542/U battery for the female side of the battery connection. Lacking the board, simply make your own pins/wires using hot glue and shrink tubing. Hook the other end to your power source.

If you do have a PSC-3 battery box, the best option to power the 70 as a portable radio was two BA-5590 lithium batteries. It lasted for hours of use. The downside: they are currenly priced at about $130 each.

The alternative rechargeable BB-590 is an exact fit, but with the strengths and weaknesses of a rechargeable battery.

To connect the 5590 or 590, simply wire the wiring harness you created from the BB-542/U pins to two circular six pin connectors for the 5590s. These are available all over the Internet.

Of course, I'd recommend against doing all of the above! Get something smaller and lighter instead. Still, if you can get your hands on a complete AN/PRC-70 Antenna Kit Bag, let me know!
The Following User Says Thank You to MFF Jumpmaster For This Useful Post: