Last year we covered the smallest of the Clansman series of radios, the Clansman 349. I had a lot of fun tracking down the accessories for this radio and so I have decided to start putting together the next radio in the series, the Clansman 350. Where the 349 was designed for section level use and had a range of 1-4km, the 350 was designed for platoon level use and had a longer range of 5-8km. It was therefore slightly larger and was designed to be carried on the back, although could be mounted on a Landrover with a special bracket. Like the other Clansman radios it is built in a solid metal casing, with a detachable battery pack beneath the radio itself:
Here the 350 can be seen in use with a soldier on exercise:
The radio can broadcast and receive on 841 different channels and these are set to predetermined frequencies by using the four dials down the side of the radio. Troops were trained to be able to set these at night in the dark by counting the number of clicks they turned each dial:
Above the frequency settings is a further dial that changes the setting of the radio. It can be off, or in normal operating mode. There is also a ‘whisper’ mode that reduced the output by 12dB and increases the microphones sensitivity by 18dB:
The different settings are printed on the front data panel that also gives details of the unit’s designation and serial number:
The top of the unit has the aerial connection and two ports to allow a headset and a seperate handset to be attached so that the commander of a platoon can use the radio as well as the wearer:
The radio unit and its battery are held together with two heavy duty spring clips, one on either side of the housing:
Releasing these allows the two parts to be seperated:
The battery compartment is a large plastic box, with two turn screws on the bottom:
Undoing these allows the base to be removed to access the battery compartment to fit new cells:
There is the faded remains of an instruction label on the outside of the battery box that told the operator how to position the batteries when he came to change them:
The batteries could last nine hours before needing to be changed.
The Clansman 350 remained in service until Bowman replaced it in the late 2000s, and it was to be used in Iraq and Afghanistan (meaning many of the radios on the surplus market are pretty beat up). Dan Mills in his book Sniper One describes the comms he carried in Iraq:
The platoon commander is in charge of all the comms equipment because he’s the one that needs to talk to the desk jockeys back at HQ. The main VHF set, a Clansman 350 or 351, went in my day sack on my back. In case that failed, I had a handheld walkie talkie radio and a normal Iraqi mobile phone on me as well.