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Reviews For: PRC-319

Category: Transmitters: non-amateur adaptable for ham use

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Review Summary For : PRC-319
Reviews: 2MSRP: 21,000
Military Back Pack Radio
Product is not in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W0RW Rating: 2023-09-16
Great Backpack Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
PRC319 Manpack Radio description:
This radio was primarily used by special operations units in the UK. It was built my M.E.L. Included is an Electronic Message Unit, which is a small keyboard that allows transmission of data.
It is an all solid state, 1.5 MHz to 40 MHz, Transceiver w/automatic antenna tuner.
Power levels are selectable at 5W or 50W; Modes are CW or SSB (USB only - USB voice mode uses 'The Third Method' to generate single sideband) or Data.
Stability is better than +/- 0.5 ppm, -31C to +55C and is NTIA Compliant.
The Yahoo group has changed to the io group:
The radio is sealed and will withstand immersion in 6 feet of water.
Pack weight is 20 pounds with small NiCad 1.2 AH or with a LiIon pack attached, It is 25 pounds with 4 AH NiCad battery pack.
It has a 10 channel receive and 10 channel transmit (Fixed frequency operation only) memory. It has no frequency dial or up/down buttons to 'tune' around. i use the specific frequencies dedicated by the HFpack io group. They are 28327.5, 21437.5, *18157.5, *14342.5, 7296.0, 5371.5, and 3996.0 kHz.Go to for more info. (*Main Channels).

It uses a direct conversion receiver, (which has no local oscillator to give away your location or operational frequency).
The Antenna Tuner (BA1303), clips on top of the radio, tunes within 250 milliseconds, and uses latching relays for zero power consumption after it is tuned.
It has a Tuner Extender (BA1305) for using a whip below 4 MHz.

There are pictures of the 319 at!

The radio was originally built for UK MOD Special Forces by MEL (Mullard Electronic Ltd.) and MEL was then sold to Philips and then to Thales.
Thales sold their entire inventory back to the UK MOD and no longer has equipment, spares or service for the 319. The radio is very hard to repair at the piece part level. There are unique parts and software. Don't ever buy a broken one.
This radio is also Rad-Hard, (EMP Protected).

The original base price was: $21,000 USD.
i have been operating mine since 1988. i have worked WAS and 216 countries using a 10 foot whip.

KD0PUJ Rating: 2013-07-03
Great Radio with a few issues Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Paul's review is quite accurate, however there are a few quirks with the set. As Paul mentions There is no VFO, there is no possibility to "tune around" in a band. You punch in your TX/RX frequencies (it can do splits) and thats basically what you have. This is fine if you are operating on one freqency but it can be hard to find folks to talk to. Personally I use a FT817 to find SSB contacts to talk to, and then use the PRC319 with its higher transmit power to make contact.

The radio is also USB only, which again limits it to general use on 20m and above aside from the HF pack frequencies where you might find someone on the lower bands.

Other than these issues its a very good radio for HF pack operations with good output power.