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Mil Spec Radio Gear, Volume 2
Mr. Mark Francis (KI0PF) introduced Milspec Radio Gear, Volume 2 (MSRG2) at the 2009 Dayton Hamfest. He describes, in 252 spiral-bound pages, surplus military radio equipment released since the passing of the vacuum-tube era, with the exception of popular items such as the CV-591 sideband adapter, the Hickok TV-10 tube tester, and a TS-375 VTVM.

12 chapters discuss 30 different types of equipment ranging from HF to the VHF bands. The layout and photo work is excellent. The author's description of the Technical Material Corporation's SBE-2 and SBE-3 multimode sideband exciters is fascinating. Our book reviewer was left wanting one of these "little" rack-mounted beasties after reading this section!

At first glance, the most noticeable difference between Volumes 1 and 2 is the physical layout. The book is spiral bound. The spiral binding is a great choice for who are troubleshooting a particular military radio and need a ready reference at hand: the book will lay flat on the work bench.

The author has organized volume two in the same manner as volume one. The chapters are grouped more or less according to the usage of the equipment as it was intended to be fielded (strapped or mounted on a grunt, vehicle, or in a structure) and the frequencies of operation.

The author discusses HF manpacks and portable radios, HF mobile radios, and HF fixed radios. There are also corresponding sections for those interested in equipment that covers the VHF and UHF bands. Mr. Francis describes other useful items such as military microphones, headsets, and test equipment.

The author outlines in considerable detail the techniques involved in building, charging, and maintaining rechargeable battery packs for portable gear, with a strong emphasis placed on safety. Some of the rechargeable cell chemistries involved, most notably those containing the element lithium, are extremely dangerous if proper care is not taken. There is a considerable amount of misinformation available on the Internet, with respect to the use, care, and "feeding" of rechargeable batteries. This section of MSRG2 alone is worth the purchase price of the book.

MSRG2 is not just another dry technical manual, or a boring list of surplus military radios and their corresponding performance figures. The author interjects a great deal of humor into his prose throughout the books 252 pages. One of the sections under the heading of "Specialized Equipment" describes the ATAD, or "Albanian Transmitter Adjustment Device." Now, please keep in mind that I am a literal-minded electrical engineer, and some things just pass right over my head. My bride, K4SMN, will testify to the accuracy of this statement. I laughed out loud long and hard after reading Mr. Francis' description of the ATAD and its associated lore.

While it is true that almost all military communications gear fielded in recent years is primarily of solid-state construction, the equipment invariably falls into the "boat anchor" category. Military communications gear, due to its intended end use, must by design survive mistreatment, poor environmental conditions, dust, vibration, physical shock, rain, immersion in water, extremes in temperature, toddlers, etc. Incorporating survivability in these environments will up the heft of the item.

This book is an excellent addition to any military radio collector's library, or anyone who is interested in military radio history.

Price: $22.45