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Experimental AN/PRC-34 (X1) Helmet liner radio.


Mr-X
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Experimental AN/PRC-34 Helmet liner radio and AN/PRC-36 Belt radio.
I was doing some looking the other day at eBay finished auctions and found this. I never knew it existed.
I did some research and here is what I came up with.

Just after the Korean was it was the US Army's intention to find a replacement for the AN/PRC-6 hand held squad radio.

The first unit tested was called the PRC-15. The PRC-15 resembled the WW2 BC-611. It did not meet required specifications and was dropped.

Two further models were trialled. These were the PRC-30 and PRC-35. Both of which also did not meet required specifications. This was mainly because they still used tube technology and by the time the required performance was attained the units were too heavy.

More successful was the transistorized AN/PRC-34(X1) This incorporated a small modulated Transceiver (transmitter and receiver unit), a control box, battery, an ear piece and antenna into a helmet liner. The microphone also plugged into the helmet liner

The AN/PRC-36(X1)used the very same Transceiver and battery as the AN/PRC-34. They were removed from the helmet liner and placed in a belt worn box which had a control panel on top of it. The microphone plugged into the panel.

Both units were VHF and had 12 channels.
Performance issues were cited as the reason the system was adopted.

I wonder what the Vietnam era US soldier would have looked like if the AN/PRC-34 system was adopted?
If you ask me this system with a single transceiver and battery, seems more logical than the adopted PRT PRR system with its separate helmet receiver and and handheld transmitter with a different battery for each.

Information from: http://www.greenradio.de/e_prc_exp.htm

post-9906-0-23713500-1402457204.jpg post-9906-0-58306300-1402457234.jpg post-9906-0-25423200-1402457251.jpg

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I cant find a reference to the weight of either the AN/PRC-34 Helmet Liner radio or the AN/PRC-36 Belt Box radio.

 

I would guess that the weight of the AN/PRC-34 was not all that great. I think the problem with the system was that it had no protection. i.e it was a liner only. Also that the liner would not fit the standard M-1 helmet shell. Anyway if it was mated to a steel shell, then as you said the weight would have been too much.

 

The AN/PRC-36 would have been a different story. As it was on a belt the weight would have been lass of a factor. I am guessing that the cable going from the Belt Box to the the M-1 helmet would have been an annoyance and also prone to being broken etc. It would have been much better if the antenna was on the Belt Box itself.

 

The AN/PRT-4 AN/PRR-9 system that was developed after AN/PRC-34 and fielded in 1967, tried to overcome the problems of its experimental predecessor.

The PRR-9 was light weight and attached to the standard M-1 helmet and the PRT-4 was able to be mounted on the belt (or harness) with out being connected to a helmet mounted antenna.

But it was beset with problems such a short range, logistical issues due to different batteries for each and being two parts, was liable to being lost.

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  • 1 year later...

I've one experimental radio helmet AN/PRC-34 (X1), too ! But miss me the transceiver and battery. I've write an article about this helmet, but it's in french. I've find pictures with soldiers wearing them during tests ;

 

http://8793939591504779656-a-1802744773732...;attredirects=0

 

http://8793939591504779656-a-1802744773732...;attredirects=0

 

http://8793939591504779656-a-1802744773732...;attredirects=0

 

http://8793939591504779656-a-1802744773732...;attredirects=0

 

http://8793939591504779656-a-1802744773732...;attredirects=0

 

http://8793939591504779656-a-1802744773732...;attredirects=0

 

http://8793939591504779656-a-1802744773732...;attredirects=0

 

Thanks to tell me if there's a problem to open a picture (write me at militariabelgium@gmail.com) or by pm.

 

Last one is the AN/PRC-34 but another version, with solar panel to recharge the battery.

 

The only information I can currently add in this post is that this helmet was bought by RCA Camden, an electronic company of the New Jersey (1919 - 1986), specialised in Radio and TV.

 

This helmet was produce since 1958 (the picture with solar was published on decembre 1958 in "popular electronics" magazine). My helmet was produced in october 1960. So, these helmet were produced and developped during a some years. One collector book tells that this helmet were use in the beginning of Vietnam war, but I'm not sure it realy was. I has no protection, and all helmet we have are in "perfect" condition.

 

I hope this helps.

 

P-E

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  • 11 years later...
Hue Miller

I have had a couple PRC-34 for 30 years now, not done anything with them and i finally should decide whether i will or not. These are single channel crystal control and would only be practical to live demonstrate on the 6 meter amateur radio band or maybe on the 49 MHz CB channels. I have a partial manual copy and sure woild like to find more.

In 1961 my father took me to an Armed Forces day open house at Fort Gordon, Augusta GA.  I was 11 years old. A soldier put the helmet radio on my head but the radio was not powered on, so i really wasn't impressed at all, i thought, just another helmet.

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