by Silvio Iacuone
I often see on questions on HMV message forums regarding what type of radio to install in Vietnam-Desert Storm era vehicles. Tho most common radio was the VRC-12 series. This included the RT-524, R-422, and a RT-246.
The RT-524 is probably the most common type of radio in the VRC-12 series radios. It is capable of both transmitting and receiving on frequencies from 30- 76 MHz and can be used on the six-meter radio band. This radio has a built-in speaker, unlike the R-442 and RT-246. Is usually mounted where the driver or passenger can operate it, since it does not a have a remote control head. It is usually mounted on a rear fender in a jeep or under the passenger seat in trucks. In HMMWVs, they are mounted on the radio table in between the front seats.
The R-442 has the same frequency range as the RT-524 but is just a receiver. It requires an external speaker to operate. This radio is commonly installed with RT-524 and RT-246s to allow the operator to monitor one frequency while having a conversation on the other. In some setups, the main transceiver is used with two R-442s. This is commonly used with AB15 antenna bases.
This radio is a transceiver, meaning it can receive and transmit. Like the R-442, it requires an external speaker. This radio features a push-button tuning system allowing the operator to push a button and it will automatically tune to the programed frequency (see manual for programming). This transceiver is also capable of remote control with the remote head.
This radio is designed to allow control of the radio while not being near the radio, commonly mounted in a M1008A1 radio truck (a M1008 CUCV with radio shelf and pickup body cover). It can be found in M1009s on the radio shelf, armored vehicles, and vehicles that carry communication shelters.
What is needed to operate?
To receive, you need an operational radio and a connected antenna—a speaker helps. too. You may be able to listen to your local municipalities, amateur radio operators and more.
If you want to transmit legally, you will need everything mentioned above depending on your vehicle, a mic, and a Amateur Radio license.
A beginning Amateur radio license is received by passing a 35-question test with no morse code test. For more info, see www.ARRL.org
For convoys, unless more than a few people have amateur radio licenses, you are better off sticking to CB radios and other non-licensed radio services.
This is just an introduction into radios in your HMV. Refer to your particular vehicle’s TM, for details on installation, operation and accessories.