The Clansman PRC-349 was the main personal radio used by the British Army from its introduction in 1972 until it was finally replaced by Bowman in the 2000s. The PRC-349 was revolutionary in its day as it was far lighter and had far greater range than earlier models and was designed to be easy to repair by its inovative use of plug in modules. It was easily man portable and can be seen in period photographs being worn high on the chest in its cradle:
Unlike today where all troops wear radios, when the PRC-349 was introduced, the army’s doctrine was to only issue it to NCOs. The radio is a small metal box, painted in NATO standard green:
On the front of the radio are three dials to adjust frequencies:
Racal, who manufactured the radio, explained in their publicity material:
Channel selection is achieved precisely and readily by means of three rapidly accessible decade knobs which can be set by an operator wearing cold weather or n.b.c. gloves. Even in total darkness the required channel can be selected with complete confidence simply by counting the number of clicks from an end stop.
Further controls are provided on the top of the radio, where the connecting points for the aerial and headset/microphone flank a central ‘facility switch’:
The publicity material again:
(Off) Power supplies disconected
(Whisper) The ‘whisper’ mode which gives a 12 dB increase in microphone sensitivity and an 18 dB decrease in audio output, makes it ideally suited for operations in silent conditions such a internal security operations and ambushes
(Loud) Reduced microphone sensitivity and maximum audio output
(Noise-on) In the noise-on position of the system switch, the squelch circuit is inhibited and presence of noise in the earphone is an indication of receiver serviceability. This facility also enables inter-operability with older non tone modulated equipment.
The rear of the radio is removabe by unscrewing a series of small screws, which gives access to the interior:
These units are each removable for repair and replacement:
Racal highlighted this feature:
Extensive use of micro-miniature techniques within a unit modular form of construction facilitates servicing in field conditions or military workshops. All seven modules are numbered for ease of location and all are of the plug in type.
This radio is currently missing a battery, this plugged into the base of the radio and secured with a screw that connected to socket in the base of the radio:
This radio fits nicely into the carrier I got given last year:
I still need to pick up battery, aerial and headset, but these are easy enough to find and together make up a classic and very long lived piece of army radio equipment.