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Reviews Categories | Transmitters: Commercial/Military/Marine adaptable to ham use | Harris AN/URC-119(V)2 Pacer Bounce Help

Reviews Summary for Harris AN/URC-119(V)2 Pacer Bounce
Harris AN/URC-119(V)2 Pacer Bounce Reviews: 11 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $2500 in good condition
Description: The AN/URC-119(V)2 (Pacer Bounce) provides simplex HF radio communications capabilities in the 1.6 to 29.999 MHz (10 Hz synthesized steps) frequency range. This system uses single sideband (SSB), amplitude modulation equivalent (AME), and carrier wave (CW) emissions. It provides 100 Watts normally, and up to 500 Watts of transmitted power with a power amplifier. The AN/URC-119(V)2 is designed to provide reliable, easily maintained HF voice for fixed, transportable, or mobile stations. Its primary uses are for command and control (C2) and engineering nets.
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K7UXO Rating: 5/5 Dec 10, 2013 14:57 Send this review to a friend
Solid RF Infrastructure  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have considerable background with this radio. I have repaired many, own a few, and current manage a facility with 5 operating all day, every day.

Without qualifications, I report this is ROCK-SOLID RF equipment.

The story of how and why we went back to this radio is interesting. We were using much newer equipment of contemporary design and manufacture. The name brands of this equipment I will not say, but it all failed. One example , of 10 transceivers, 8 of them had receivers with severely reduced sensitivity. Another example: 5 of 5 linear power amplifiers, all dead.

The old "Pacer Bounce" was available through re utilization channels, and I knew we could keep them running indefinably. There is good documentation about the theory of operation, maintenance, and schematics. Components remain available. Repair work is not challenging to a skilled electronics technician.

The front end is protected. For instance: We have several 80, 120 and 140 foot towers with LPDA antennas. When lightning storms blow through you can hear the arcing between the towers. The station remains on the air; the receivers function, noise from lightning crashes is not excessive.

This is a multi-tranmitter, high power site. The ability of the receiver to behave in the presence of high RF fields, near frequency, is of critical important. These radios get the job done. Simultaneous operation on multiple HF frequencies at the 500 and 1KW level is possible from the same antenna field - without significant interference.

There is robust crystal filtering at the first (VHF) IF and 455 kHz IF. Filtering has excellent specifications for selectivity and group delay. The Roofing filter is 6 kHz, network science type filter. It is large compared to what is found in a contemporary radio 1.5 inches, by 1.5 inch by 3 inches - I suspect it cost about $300. The SSB and CW filters are even larger, expensive to manufacture crystal filters sporting specification like nothing in amateur radio. If amateur radios were built like this, there would be no need for down conversion IF schemes.

I once worked at a site with a contemporary HF transceiver. During an event, the antenna was effected and the SWR was somewhat elevated. The transceivers internal protection prevented transmission, resulting in a mission failure. The transceiver was replaced with a RF-350K, because it will continue to transmit in these situations. This is a radio that is designed to operate in adverse conditions, in combat, for instance when the antenna is shot off the vehicle. When lives are at stake, engineers put much more overhead into the design. There is absolutely no comparison to hobby equipment.

This radio excels when you "own" a frequency. This can be in government, military service where there are fixed frequency assignments, or during a contest when you have enough rf power, antenna gain, site advantage and no intent on changing frequency. I used it in both situations, without reservation.

These radio are getting on in years. Almost all examples you will find have operated 24/7 for years in government/military service. You have to be smart enough to maintain it. You have to have the manual. Its not hard to do, but you need to know this going in. Once fixed up, they are bullet proof.

The achilles heel is a multi-voltage power supply that takes 13 volts and turns it into +15, -15 and +5 volts. It is a simple switch mode circuit, and all board components are common parts that are still available.

A5 fault: The other maintenance issue in these old radios is the relays on the low pass filter board. These are not available as a direct replacement part, but still available through various sources. The good news is they are repairable. All that needs to be done is clean the contacts.

Although the receiver is excellent in every regard, it does not have the requisite knob for band scanning. If that is your thing, too bad you will not have opportunity to really enjoy one of the best HF transceivers ever made.
AA4HA Rating: 4/5 Jul 15, 2010 08:02 Send this review to a friend
The Beast  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have three of these monsters and a CU-2397/G auto-tuner attached to a 43' vertical. I picked up enough spare boards to make two more radios and came up with a solution to the dirty relay problem that throws messages up on a BITE test. The self-diagnostics are fantastic and usually get you down to a specific section on a board. There are lots and lots of boards in this radio.

The issues about the lack of a VFO are a big hindrance. Another challenge would be if you picked up a unit that did not have the option card to allow direct digital control of the radio through a software package. If you are parked on a frequency, have a good back, sturdy table, love rack-mounted gear and the time to rehab the relays, display, fan and lithium backup battery than it is a interesting cold war period-piece.
KUADE Rating: 2/5 May 5, 2009 17:32 Send this review to a friend
2009 and still fixing  Time owned: more than 12 months
I maintain this radio, they are always breaking. The software sucks and the radio is overall junk. If you like trouble shooting, get one of these.
KI6SZ Rating: 3/5 Nov 7, 2007 10:39 Send this review to a friend
Not that great...  Time owned: more than 12 months
I don't actually own one of these but I did use one for over 12 months while a MARS Op stationed in Korea. This rig works fine if you have a clear frequency and you don't need to QSY. The radio lacks many conveniences found in most newer ham transceivers. Based upon my memory of having used it extensively, I believe that it has NO noise blanker, No pass-band tuning, NO notch filter (automatic or otherwise). If you have someone tuning up in the middle of your QSO, you have NO way to notch out the interference. We often had terrible problems with adjacent interference while in Korea. I think the receiver filter bandwidth is stuck at about 2.7kHz and there is no way to narrow that or shift it up or down. Some of the remote control features of the amplifier were nice, but due to its absolute lack of features needed to work effectively in the crowded ham bands, I wouldn't recommend this rig for amateur band use. It is generally good to use on the MARS freqs where there is often little/no interference. The transmitter is good, but since the receiver has no pass-band tuning, or notch filter, it really limits its usefulness. It might be OK with an external DSP filter like an NIR-12.
N2CKH Rating: 5/5 Nov 7, 2007 08:54 Send this review to a friend
Excellent rig for MARS/SHARES  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
An excellent transceiver for MARS/SHARES or really and HF application.

I used my RT-1446/URC for MARS/SHARES use on Phone and Digital daily and find it to be an excellent radio for such operations. Even for Amateur Radio use the front panel keypad UP/DN allow for easy manual frequency changes allah VFO like.

There are a number of software packages that support this family of Harris transceivers these days, MARS-ALE and PC-ALE for ALE operations, AirMail for TNC/Modem only with or without WL2K and the AAR9WI/NJ7C control program for general PC control, which I use in conjunction with various Sound Card mode software.

/s/ Steve, N2CKH/NNN0WWL

K7TUT Rating: 4/5 Oct 4, 2006 01:51 Send this review to a friend
Awesome but depends...  Time owned: more than 12 months
This one of those rigs that I would recommend only if you operate on specific frequencies. FOr MARS, ARES, and even contesting (if you can stay on one freq and not have to move alot) it is an awesome rig. Extremely sensitive, excellent filters for cw and ssb and the receiver is fairly light when the AC supply is removed (they have a tendency to die). I removed the AC unit and went to 13.8VDC and it is a lot lighter. There are good instructions on how to use the rig but its pretty simple and you do require a military microphone or rewiring is necessary. But there is no way I would buy one as a primary radio. Tuning freqs is tiring and annoying but it was never designed for that. The reason I rate it so high is that the noise level is so low when a signal comes in that those weak stations are not a problem. On SSB I have never had a bad report and CW works great. If you can get one for under 700 dollars today and it fits you within the parameters I describe; get one as you wont be dissapointed. Do a google search for the RF350 and look for the site that says Missoula in the address. Its informative.
K9CTB Rating: 5/5 Apr 28, 2005 04:38 Send this review to a friend
Ya Gotta Wanna  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Most reviewers of military gear are fair and thoughtful. Lots must be considered when choosing to own military surplus communications gear. My personal experience with the RT-1446 is nothing but positive. It is very heavy, and at 85 lbs, it's comparable to an old R-390 with all the covers attached. If you plan to use one of these gems, the best place for it is on a pair of slides in a 19" rack with whatever parts of the Pacer Bounce system you can find. Being a MARS head, I find it very useful because MARS has pre-assigned frequencies and modes. These can all be programmed in the 99 memories, and there's really no need for a VFO knob. Just set up the memories with your particular Op plan, as well as with your favorite ham nets. Just plan on pushing the up or down arrows for those "plus or minus" net frequencies. I have NO idea why the price for one of these rigs is all over the chart, but I own a 1989 model that I purchased for $700.00 in VERY clean condition from a very honest e-bayer. He bench-tested each unit he sold and even offered to take it back if it didn't perform. How often do you see THAT on e-bay? Just keep your eyes open. Toronto Surplus will get the hint (eventually). One last comment would have to be about the rock-solid TCXO in this transceiver. You can get it close if you don't have a tin ear and can listen to WWV. If you have a chart recorder, you can zero it right in. Harris wants a zillion dollars for a tech manual, but they are available on the web and you can download the modules and burn a CD with just the components you need. What more do ya need (besides the space)?
NE1R Rating: 4/5 Sep 8, 2004 20:43 Send this review to a friend
Solid [non-amateur] radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have a Harris Pacer Bounce in my shack along with a Yeasu FT-1000. I have used the Harris for several months mostly on MARS frequencies. It is a solid, well designed rig, for its day. To give an idea of its technological vintage (c. 1985) the rig is controlled by an 8088 microprocessor, the same one used in the original IBM PC's (or their clones). It was not designed as an amateur radio and, in my opinion, based upon 30+ years in the hobby, it is not a very good ham rig -- though you certainly can use it. It is not suited for tuning across the ham bands in search of contacts. Microphone choices are limited. Receiver controls are limited (though simple).It IS quite good for use on established HF nets where a designated frequency can be programmed directly in via the keypad. It takes up a lot of room in the shack for a 100 watt rig. But, it's receiver, while simple to use and limited in it's ability to be customized by the user, is quite nice to listen to. For the price charged by the surplus houses you can do a lot better if you are looking for a ham radio.

NOW..if you're looking for a HF rig to put in your city's EOC, this might be a great choice. Simple controls, built in phone patch and AFSK connections, 100 watts, built-in 117VAC and 12 VDC power supply, very good receiver, very RUGGED. But, get the city to pay for it.

73, Tom NE1R/AFA1IR
AD5JN Rating: 5/5 Sep 8, 2004 14:01 Send this review to a friend
The beast!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This thing is a real work horse. No knob VFO!
KB0PGO Rating: 1/5 Jul 4, 2004 13:08 Send this review to a friend
Try before buying  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Being a technition I've always wanted to get my hands on one of these babies. For the amount they cost they have to be a great rig - don't they?
I started recieving these radios about 1.5 years ago for repair and within 30 minutes of operating the first one decided that I'd never own one. They are the most cumbersome radios to operate I've ever used.
The first and most annoying thing is that if you ever want to scan through a band looking for stations you'll be sorely dissapointed in this radio. With only one scan speed and its in 100hz steps you could sit there for hours.
It is very heavy and takes a lot of desk space and once you place it there you'll never want to move it again - Truely a boat anchor.
The filters are great but the reciever performance just does not come up the the performance of any modern tranciever I've ever worked with.
My final word on this tranciever is that for a couple hundred dollars it would be a great toy to play with but for $2000 - I can think of a lot better ways to spend that money - unless your a collector of cold war military electronics.
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