The trouble with Green boxes is that you can never just have one, so be warned!
I left the Army a very long time ago, in fact Google tells me that on that day “The Beatles received a gold record for “Yesterday” How nice!
I had used the awful WS88 in the cadets, a three channel VHF set that sat in an ammo pouch on the left of your belt and a battery in the right. You could spit further than the signal went !
Later in The Infantry Junior Leaders Battalion in Oswestry we did some signals classwork and the joys of low level voice procedure such as referring to a Company Sergeant-Major as “seagull” or “Sunray “ for a superior, as in “Fetch sunray, Over”,
Other than that my next meeting with radio was in Cyprus during the Civil War, I had to go to the thrown up TAC HQ at Elizabeth Camp on the long- gone Nicosia Airfield. There was a Signals truck with some very busy teleprinters inside and they were tied to some heavy Larkspur Equipment in Land Rovers parked outside, their engines racing on hand throttles!
So many years later I got my (B)Ham Licence and the call sign G6RLM then struggled with morse(still am) till I got my (A)Licence and the Call sign GØGNE. I was pretty busy with work as a Freelance Sound Recordist so I played radios sporadically throughout the eighties and nineties.
Playing tactical radio was quite difficult then and you needed big batteries so I did not bother with it much.
The Collection Begins
I retired about two years ago and had spotted all these green boxes at the War and Peace show at Beltring so I set about getting myself a PRC 320 and some ancillaries! They are tremendous fun. I had taken an FT817 around with me for a bit but its 5 Watt output is a struggle and the 30Watt output of the PRC 320 makes an enormous difference. People will tell you of their success with just the whip-that-comes-with antenna, have had a QSO with it and a short counterpoise and received a “5 and 9” from the Black Sea area! Italy is just too easy!
I worked the 320 out of the back of my Audi allroad quite successfully using the Kevlar wire antennas and it was about then that I joined the Vintage and Military Amateur Radio Society, A font of wisdom and information.
The collection started to grow. At some point I decided that I wanted a Land Rover and have a proper setup in it so that I could properly “go tactical” . I had seen a Lightweight ½ ton Airportable Land Rover on Milweb ,classifieds. It looked good but was massive money as it had been completely restored, I rang up but there was no chance of a meaningful reduction so I forgot about it and resumed a fairly fruitless search. About 6 months later I saw that it was still being advertised but now at a reduced price, I rang, we haggled, I still paid too much but I had a good looking lightweight!
It came with a 320 that didn’t do AM and a 352 that barely worked, no matter, by now , I had suitable replacements. The FFR fitting (for it was a GS 12v) was reasonable and I soon found myself a civvy split charging box from Durite to provide 24v from 12v so that the batteries (yes I had to change them too) would top up on the run. I found a VRC 321 and a VRC353 for it and Ian, MØYMK suggested that as we only had two VHF frequencies we could use legally, wouldn’t it be a good Idea to bypass the tuner units in the wingboxes and cut a couple of rods to resonance? It took a little doing, 70Mhz cut to about 1 meter and a bit, 50Mhz worked out best with 2X1 metre rods! Works fine now.
Onwards and Upwards
This is turning into a bit of a shopping list. Les Thacker 2EØIBN, found me a nice, Gold (Whuh?) yes Gold, Racal 8 Metre mast which I got properly bolted onto the tub at the rear! Stick a “Pineapple”VHF aerial on it and it performs really, pretty well!
Choose your Spot
I used to go up to a chosen spot on high ground that belonged to the National Trust , I had been getting away with it for ages but one day I had just strung up a G5RV antenna between the trees when the Warden turned up and threw me off, however we had a chat and with a small flurry of emails I got permission to occupy a bramble patch up there occasionally.
I love my” landy” but what I didn’t tell you is that my shack has all this kit in it too and more. So I don’t just have one PRC 320, I have five, and Three VRC 321 for HF Also three VRC353s and all the associated cables, headsets kevlars, etc etc! So my friends , stick to the black boxes, it’s cheaper!