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Reviews Categories | Transmitters: Commercial/Military/Marine adaptable to ham use | Datron-Transworld PRC-1099 Help

Reviews Summary for Datron-Transworld PRC-1099
Datron-Transworld PRC-1099 Reviews: 4 Average rating: 3.3/5 MSRP: $6,000 new, ~1,800 used
Description: Paramilitary manpack
Product is not in production.
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You can write your own review of the Datron-Transworld PRC-1099.

KB1GMX Rating: 4/5 Apr 27, 2012 18:04 Send this review to a friend
useful, some quirks  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I'm currently using one that was loaned to me.

It's 1.6 to 29.999mhz, USB/LSB, 100hz tuning
SSB radio.

first repairing it. It's an easy radio to work on
and very modular. I've spent time fixing a failure caused by a frayed cordset from the PRC-PS 120VAC/24VDC power supply that did multiple failures on the microprocessor board. Repairing the cordset was a easy. The microprocessor board had one IC that is unobtainium and I had to build that function using three CMOS chips. Despite that it's not bad to work on for access or fault location.

The receiver is good but not super sensitive.
It is however fairly free of overload. No noise blanker or clipper. AGC on this one is good.

The battery in this one is near dead (lead calcium) so it's ok for listening but not TX. It does not FM when using the supply But I plan to add the anti-fm mods. I made an adaptor cable
and have run it from a 7Ah gell cell with no issues. Power needed was under 200ma RX and
about 2A peak TX.

Transmitter, has hand mic audio but no one has complained. Power is 5 and 20W and behaves well
into most anything. The mic/handset is standard H250 mil style. There are two connectors that allow for two mic/keys/headsets.

Antenna tuner: This one tunes any thing that is
reasonable or even unreasonable! 10ft An271 whip
on 160M tunes, same for 10M. Has a BNC that is direct bypassing tuner for 50ohm antennas. For field use a bolt with a pin to activate the tuner enable pin with a 50PF cap is needed for long wire antennas. It's easily made.

The tuning is odd to anyone used to the big knob radios. However it works well using two lever style switches. One selects the digit, the other slews it up or down. Small or large frequency excursions are easy. Holding the antenna tune button commits the frequency to the selected memory. If you select a memory and tune off that frequency the receive will be the tuned frequency and the memory (if not saved) will be the TX frequency making split operation possible. There is also a manual position that has direct tuning via the two levers. Tuning has trans due to the old school synth but it works and it's stable.
The synth has 10 positions one being manual where it remembers the last set frequency. there are nine other s that not only keep the frequency it also keeps the antenna tuner setup.

Receive audio is for handset and very adequate. If you have the external PRC-PS the speaker audio is excellent.

At about 20pounds with the BB6 lead-calcium (gell cell)its portable but not light. The lithium or Nicd battery would be ligher as the radio is about 11 pounds.

On the air it's a basic SSB RX not many buttons or knobs but works well. Hears well enough off my PAR EF40/20/10 wire. I"ve not worked a lot of DX but
enough to say 20W is enough to be effective and the audio compressor though a bit heavy works. Off the whip I've used it for the local area on 75M
and some DX (Carb islands, and a few European stations) to say its usable for DX. It's battery friendly at 12V and with the 5W position power frugal on TX. Makes a good 60M radio as well.

I give it a 4 as most will require work as they are aging. Also it's a fairly basic SSB radio
in a tough hide but not exceptional beyond that.

KA4KOE Rating: 4/5 Feb 27, 2007 09:58 Send this review to a friend
Quirky but Nice  Time owned: more than 12 months
Given the prices of most surplus HF manpacks, ie PRC104, PRC132, PRC74, etc., a used PRC1099 is a good deal at around 1700 if you can find one.

Datron now sells a PRC1099a. The 1099 versions are nearing 20 years old, and as such, are sure to have minor problems. But given their modular nature, are imminently repairable if you have the skill. Datron still repairs these rigs.

Most of these rigs have an FMing issue that is easily solved by a mod outlined by Mark KI0PF.

True, the mechanical construction is not up to par with top of the line US Military standards, but this rig is not meant for that use. You'll find it in third world nations, AND also being used at McMurdo Station, South Pole.

A LOT of manpacks other than US issue are using the PRC nomenclature in some manner or other.

Most of all the radio is ham friendly at 12V.

I love mine because it is convenient, green, and waterproof.

If you are wanting Harris PRC150 quality then be prepared to spend 20K upwards for one. Most of use cannot afford that kind of money.

Of course, the Vertes Standard 1210 is a good alternative, but isn't green.

It all depends on what you like. These radios are hard to come by. I highly recommend any contemplating purchasing a green radio get Mark Francis' KI0PF Book, Milspec Rados for Amateur Use by CQ Magazine.

AC5XP Rating: 1/5 Dec 12, 2006 10:59 Send this review to a friend
Not worthy to carry a military nomenclature.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Many years ago I bought the PRC-1099 from one of the well-known outlets here in the US. I'm sorry to say that it is a terrible radio.
The receiver is about the worst I have ever experienced; very "nervous" in its behavior, bad AGC action, lots of intermod and a lot of hissing and cracking, not to talk about the terrible synthesizer action.
I returned it immediately to the dealer and was glad to see he refunded me my money.

I have owned more Transworld (now Datron) radios, they all were a disappointment.
I have owned the TW7000F "Fly-away" suitcase radio which has no sensitivity in the higher bands, as well as the RT-100 which has the same kind of "nervous" receiver as the PRC-1099.
The latter is also from a construction standpoint a very bad radio (actually its innards look very much like the PRC-1099)

My conclusion after these bad experiences is that Datron is a "military wannabee" manufacturer, which targets third-world customers on a budget. But no serious army would equip itself with radios like these.

To be fair, the TW7000F that I once owned came with the AT-100 automatic antenna tuner, which is a very good tuner that I have kept and still use today. But as said, do not waste your hard earned dollars on the PRC-1099.

If you want a good man-pack radio that behaves and is built like a real tactical radio, buy the Philips-MEL PRC-2000, or the Rockwell Collins PRC-515 (same as RU-20) instead.
KA4KOE Rating: 4/5 Apr 16, 2006 20:04 Send this review to a friend
Nice little manpack  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I traded in my Philips-MEL PRC-2000 manpack and got one of these. Be advised the PRC-1099s are difficult to find in the used market: I looked a year and a half and one showed up at Murphy's Surplus.

The rig has some quirks that are common. One in particular is FMing in SSB mode. There are some fixes as outlined by Mark Francis KI0PF in his excellent treatise on military radios for ham use, as sold by CQ Magazine.

The main advantages over the PRC-2000, in my opinion, are as follows:

1. About 1/2 the weight.

2. The antenna tuner is broadbanded and will load up random wires fairly easily, as long as one uses an in-line doorknob cap of about 50-75 PF.

3. Parts and service are still available from Transworld.

4. The radio uses standard family US connectors.

5. The radio runs off of "ham friendly" 12 VDC.

6. Microphones, headsets, etc. designed for the PRC-25 or PRC-77 will work with the PRC-1099/PRC-1099a.

Not a bad manpack at all. Be prepared to troubleshoot, as they can be troublesome before all the kinks are worked out of them.


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