IntroductionTwo of the formative events in my Amateur Radio career were (at around the age of four) being fascinated by a radio station being set up in the field behind a TA centre next to my playgroup and, a few years later, seeing military radio equipment as part of a display at my school around 1979 or 1980. This was around the time that the Clansman radio family of transistorised, synthesised radios came into service and they seemed a huge advance on most amateur and SWL equipment in use at the time (when the likes of FT221 and FT101 were still current and my own SWL station was based on an EC10A2).
My first practical experience of Clansman came when I moved to Ipswich and became G0OZS. The Ipswich Radio Club operated a special event station at an RAF (then USAF) Bentwaters open day in 1991 and there was a Royal Signals station across the field, comprising an RT320 and dipole antenna supported horizontally between a couple of 8m masts. We agreed with the Army operator to swap radios for a few minutes and I remember myself and G0JVT working first our own station across the field and then a DL station. At that time before the likes of the IC706 and FT817 a battery 30W HF station was still quite interesting !
Nearly 20 more years on in 2009 the Army is finally disposing of the Clansman radios and I can finally indulge my curiosity about what's inside and how to use them !
These pages are dedicated to preserving information about these sets and to recognising the last wholly British military radio system for the achievement that it was. Although Clansman sets seem primitive by even 1980s amateur standards they should really be compared with sets from the time they were specified, designed and trialled in the late 1960s and early 1970s when most Amateur sets used manually tuned VFOs and most military sets used crystal bank frequency synthesis (e.g. PRC77 and PRC25).
Clansman was much more than a range of radio sets. It was an integrated system comprising the radios themselves, a range of compatible audio gear, the antennas, an audio and power cable harness, test gear, and interfaces boxes for all imaginable requirements.
It is hoped, over time, to replace the lists in these pages with links to detailed information and photo galleries for each radio set or accessory mentioned in the lists. Please return frequently to see what's new!