Item:
ONSV2230

Original U.S. WWII Paratrooper Handie Talkie SCR-536 Radio with CS-156 Jump Case and Headset Rig

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Original Items: Only One Set Available. This is a great WWII Paratrooper Radio setup, with some interesting items that we rarely see! The BC-611 radio in this set is offered in very good condition. This unit is the major component of the SCR-536 Radio Set. It has not been tested for functionality but appears complete and undamaged. It still has the original date plate, which reads:

SIGNAL CORPS U.S. ARMY
RADIO RECEIVER AND
TRANSMITTER BC-611-F
SER. NO. 3305 10531-PHILA-45-01
GALVIN MFG CORPORATION
CHICAGO ILLINOIS

There were several versions of the BC-611 released during the war, with the "F" being the last one. The data plate also indicates that this united as manufactured in January 1945

Also included is an exceptionally rare Parachute Jump Case CS156 for the BC-611, marked CASE CS156 / S. C. No. 2Z1890-156. It even includes the straps which are frequently missing. These cases were issued Airborne troops for the Normandy invasion and are exceptionally difficult to find today. The case itself has an access hole at one end, which allows the two jacks on the bottom of the BC-611 to be accessed.

Along with the radio and jump case, this set also has everything to set up the unit with headphones and a microphone, for either a more permanent base, or for more efficient communication in the field. These extra items are all contained in a large padded O.D. Green padded bag, marked U.S. on the front and BG-151-F on the top (faint). This is actually a mine detector bag, however it was put into service to carry extra components for the radio.  These components include:

  • One HEADSET HS-30-R complete with original box and extra ear inserts. The box is dated OCT. 6, 1943, and the headset is complete and in excellent condition. Included with this is the correct extension cable
  • One PROTECTOR (Switch), Stock No. 3Z8318/C1/1, with it's original packaging dated 1945. This is a resin formed fabric cup that straps over the actuating button for the BC-611, preventing it from being pressed when the unit is under headset control.
  • One SW-141-T microphone switch and extension cable. There are some red paint markings on the front, but they are unfortunately mostly worn off. This allowed the external microphone to be switched on and off, and replaced the switch on the handset functionally.
  • One T-30-S Throat microphone. This picked up sound directly from the throat, which would not be affected by ambient noise. On the down side, any sounds would lack most of the consonants from pronunciation, so it was hard to understand what was being said. This example is in good condition, though there is a split in the wire insulation near the microphone portion, and the elastic securing strap has had all of the elastic degrade.
  • One T-45 Noiseless Lip Microphone. This example is dated 44-22, and these microphones were an alternative to the throat microphones, and at the time came with manuals labeled "RESTRICTED", as the design was secret. While primitive by today's standards, in 1944 they were cutting edge, and produced far more intelligible transmissions than the throat microphones. This example is in good condition, with visible markings, and makes a great display piece.
  • Copies of the original Manual and Instructions, as well as original manual for the headset.

Overall this makes a great set, and would work well as either a display piece, or maybe even a project. There has been a lot of interest in these lately as radio projects, as well as for reenactment use.

The SCR-536 was a hand-held radio transceiver used by the US Army Signal Corps in World War II. It is popularly referred to as a walkie talkie, although it was originally designated a "handie talkie”.

The SCR-536 is often considered the first of modern hand held, self-contained, "handie talkie" two-way radios. It was developed in 1940 by a team led by Don Mitchell, chief engineer for Galvin Manufacturing (now Motorola) and was the first true hand-held unit to see widespread use. By July 1941, it was in mass production. In November 1942, the SCR-536 received coverage in the amateur radio magazine QST. It appeared on the cover as well as in Signal Corps advertising, and was featured as part of an article on the Signal Corps. “Smallest field unit of the Signal Corps” in which a photo caption read; “it is not much larger or heavier than a conventional handset”. It was carried among the first waves to hit Omaha Beach at Normandy in June 1944. Every rifle company of the U.S. 29th Infantry division had six; one for each of the three rifle platoons, two for the weapons platoon, and one for the company CO. The Germans were deeply impressed by the SCR-536 and the SCR-300 after capturing several units in Sicily. By war’s end, 130,000 of the units had been manufactured by Motorola. They were also produced by other firms.

Today, the SCR-536 is often restored and operated by vintage amateur radio enthusiasts and military radio collectors. The SCR-536, which incorporated five vacuum tubes in a waterproof case, had no separate power switch. Instead the radio turned on when the antenna was pulled out, and off when it was retracted. The SCR-536 weighed 5 pounds with batteries and 3.85 lb without (2.3 and 1.75 kg). The unit operated in AM voice mode between 3.5 and 6.0 MHz frequency range. The SCR-536 had an RF output power of 360 milliwatts. The range of the unit varied with terrain; from a few hundred feet, to approximately one mile over land, and 3 miles over water. The short range is accounted for by the short antenna: on transmit it shows a low radiation resistance, so it couples to free space with low efficiency. The same is true on receive, with an alternative explanation: the shorter the receiving antenna, the less energy it can intercept ("collect"), and therefore deliver to the receiver.

Under the Army Nomenclature System, the BC-611 transceiver was the core component of the SCR-536 Signal Corps Radio set. The Signal Corps technical manual number was TM 11-235.


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