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Old 02-05-2014, 10:26 PM
M16A1 M16A1 is offline
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Default Is the PRC-70 a good radio to have?

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I have a PRC-70 without a battery or battery box. Is this a good radio to have and if so, does anybody know how I can come across a battery box or some type of conversion? I don't know if it even works.
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:48 PM
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Prepare for sticker shock.


Battery Box:

If you have all the accessories these are a rugged and versatile radio. They are limited on power output to give them any kind of battery life though.
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Old 02-06-2014, 12:18 AM
technoprepper technoprepper is offline
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Looks like it might be nice rig if you can get it running and have or plan to get a ham license.

It appears to want 20-3V. Run it off two 12V AGM lead acid deep cycle batteries. With a external AC charger or solar charge controller. It originally used nicad or metal air batteries.
You could use a 12V to 24V DC-DC converter but you will want a lot of filtering.
Service Manual:
ASIC documentation (VHDL model):

comparison chart:

The radio is very unusual in its frequency agility.

It apparently doesn't do lower sideband though you can retrofit a board for that:
A 455 Khz IF is used in the PRC-70 allowing a LSB filter to be easily fitted for USB and LSB capability. The radio set in the picture has the LSB filter fitted and switched by the toggle to the right of the mode switch.

However, you might see what you can get selling it to a collector in favor of used radio with better parts availability or possibly even a nice compact new radio like the Elecraft KX-3, Yeasu FT-817/857/897, Icom IC-7000, or a flex radio.
As an owner of 2 PRC-70s I can understand why you'd want one but anything military that does HF is going to cost. Right now their popularity has driven the prices sky high and you'll be a very lucky person if you find one for a display only, even a non-functional unit.
Some prices of other military rigs:
It cost $43,000 in 1974:

I sold my 60 pound military PRC-70 radio and used the money on the KX-3.
A comment that they were unpopular,
perhaps because the auto antenna tuner did not work as well as manual (you could use an external tuner):

The only US military radio I'm familiar with that can do both VHF FM and HF SSB is the AN/PRC-70. It can do AM/CW/USB, as well as FM above 30 MHz. I think there's a modification to let it do FM below 30 MHz, for use on the 10m band. It doesn't do LSB, and I don't recall if there's a mod for that. It covers 2-76 MHz. It even includes an automatic antenna tuner. Limitations of the radio include a tendency to go up in smoke if the battery voltage is too low, and the mixer likes to burn out if the antenna is connected and a high-powered transmitter is nearby. My personal opinion is that it was bleeding-edge technology when it was designed, and the designers made a radio that was just a little bit too advanced for the day.
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Old 07-07-2019, 04:07 PM
MFF Jumpmaster MFF Jumpmaster is offline
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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!
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Old 09-05-2019, 03:49 PM
infntryman86 infntryman86 is offline
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Default British Clansman Radios

I went with British Clansman radios like the PRC351/2 and the Prc350. They are much cheaper than us surplus and have actually been tested to be EMP proof due to their design. With a Ground Monopole on my PRC352 and a 20 watt amp talking to my PRC350 with a ground spike antenna and amp I have tested comms out to 60k. I believe they will go further, albeit the area I am testing doesn't have much terrain or interference.
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Old 09-06-2019, 12:20 PM
Outpost75 Outpost75 is offline
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Sell the PRC70 to a collector and use the proceeds to buy a modern, HF-SSB
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:59 AM
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I second Outpost75’s recommendation.

Icom and Yaesu make some vastly more practical rigs, as does Elecraft. One of my ham buddies recently bought an Icom IC-718 HF transceiver new for a little over $600. You could probably find one used one for quite a bit less. It weighs about 8-1/2 pounds.

I have had an Icom IC-7200 for nearly 10 years. It is relatively portable, weighing about 12 pounds, and is very rugged, designed for portable, outdoor, and mobile use. Icom doesn’t make the 7200 anymore, but used ones are very common. A guy in our local club found a used one at a ham fest for $500.

The Yaesu FT-857D is another lightweight (4.5 lbs), rugged HF transceiver that is very popular with CERT groups and others that require portability and flexibility. In addition to covering the HF bands, it also covers the 2-meter VHF band and the 70cm (440 MHz) band. I have never owned this model, but I have hands on experience with it.

These suggestions are just a tiny sampling of scores of similar radios available on the new and used market.

I suggested these three because all of them are fairly portable, they all run off 13.8 Volts, they are quite rugged, and they are all pretty simple to use.

You can power them with deep cycle batteries, a 25 Amp (or more) power supply that runs off house current, a car battery or vehicle electrical system, a solar power setup, wind generator, etc.

All three of these radios are capable of 100 Watt output. Their output can be changed by the operator (you) from zero to 100 Watts. This is why I do not recommend some of the excellent QRP (low power) rigs that are available. You can run 5 or 10 Watts if that is adequate for your needs, and conserve battery life. Or you can crank up the output to the rig’s full 100 Watts. If that is not enough power, you can run the 100 Watt output into an amplifier.

I personally think you will be much happier with one of these rigs rather than an obsolete military rig that may be a PITA to maintain.

I also recommend getting an antenna tuner to use with any of these. Manual or automatic really doesn’t matter.

I found a military backpack designed for carrying radios on eBay. I can pack my IC-7200, a power supply, a small-ish deep cycle battery, and a few accessories in it and I’m good to go.

Hope this helps
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