Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A GRU dial radio is a typical part of a Soviet (Russian) secret cache

This telephone-dial spy radio found in caches planted by Soviet or modern-day GRU makes for slow but sure and secure communication.
This one is Р-353 "Proton" - the workhorse of GRU's osnaz or KGB's spetznaz. Contains classic Soviet-era tubes, like the famous GU (ГУ) 19. My friends tested the set and found it to produce signals of more than 50 watts. For those who are somewhat familiar with Soviet technology, this set is related to R-350 Orel (or Р-350 "Орел".)

The set is great for transmitting data, especially telegraphy. It contains the typical coder-decoder pair, and a magnetic tape drive. Data transmission is under 1000 baud due to the use of the telephone dial, which ensures precision. Also contained therein are flip-style CW Morse key, comprehensive chart of GRU's and KGB's favorite, alternative, SSB, and other frequencies, discreet night light, even a lanyard with an all-weather pencil. The power supply is ahead of its times (1960's !!!) and challenges modern laptops: it is of the smart type, capable of charging its battery from any outlet and voltage in the 80-240 VAC range, and has an external 12 VDC socket. These rigs are always found packed in thick, well closed plastic bags, and plenty of desiccant packets. They are always ready to transmit. Scary?

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