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Vietnamese Radio. PSYOPS?


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I found Vietnam veteran who is selling a cheap radio. He says he got it from a Special Forces vet. The radio is about 7 3/4" by 3 3/4" by 1 3/4" and all the labels are in Vietnamese. I know small radios were used in psychological warefare by the US and were dropped in North Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh trail to boradcast propaganda. Could this radio be one of them? I researched a bit but couldnt find anything on this type of radio. It looks like either its for that or just a crappy Vietnamese radio.

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This is the only picture I have. Im not sure if I will be able to get better ones but Ill try. Im just wondering if some can recognize the design. I may be able to buy it for around $10 or so.

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This is the only picture I have. Im not sure if I will be able to get better ones but Ill try. Im just wondering if some can recognize the design. I may be able to buy it for around $10 or so.

 

I did some checking and found that early in the war, at least, they did drop some off-the-shelf transistor radios, but they later had ones that were fixed frequency so they would only receive the propaganda station, plus thoe radios - unlike the earlier ones - did have Vietnamese instructions printed on them and were filled with a black tar-like substance that encased all the components: that would not only make the radio's more durable, but it would also keep them from being modified for any other purpose.

 

I would say that if this radio does not have a tuning dial, then it is the real thing: for $10 it may be worth the risk - there cannot be many of the psyops radios that survived.


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It appears to be the type of small mass produced radio utilized by MACVSOG OPS-33 for propaganda, psy ops, etc. These were dropped by aircraft or scattered by recon teams where they could be found by NVA or VC troops. They would only pick up a single frequency that was a US black ops version of Radio Hanoi or the like. The radios were given the code name Peanuts. There is a photograph of similar radios on page 457 of John Plaster's SOG photo history and page 141 of Frank Greco's Running Recon. According to Plaster these were manufactured by the CIA in Japan. I would be interested in purchasing this item if it would come up for sale. It is certainly worth the $10 asking price ....

"I looked up at the bunker in front of me and saw a khaki-uniformed NVA with a pith helmet, chest web gear, green Bata boots and an AK, Type 56, and no other identifying insignia. Then I shot him." -- Sergeant Tony "Fast Eddie" Anderson, RT Kansas, TF1AE, 1971

 

"My God, where do we find these men?" President George H. W. Bush commenting on 1st SFOD-Delta after the Operation Acid Gambit rescue of Kurt Muse.

 

"Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me." - Inscription on the dog tag resting on the flag-draped homeward bound casket of an American Special Opearations warrior killed in action in Afghanistan, July 2005. - Dick Couch - Chosen Soldier

 

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One would assume that this this piece might indeed be one of the "HUMIDOR" Propaganda radios.

 

Btw OPLAN 34-A 64 was not just limited to the HCM trail but included "...increasing the delivery of radios to [all] NVN".

 

The figures for air dropped radios I could find are 949 in 1965, 5000 in 1966 and 11000 in 1967.

The were dropped with spare batteries taped to the back.

Written contributor to French Militaria Magazine, UK World War II Re-enactors Magazine &The Karkee Web Research Team.

Remembering the service of:
9095 Pte Alfred Fredrick NEWLAND, 7th Field Ambulance, 2 Division, AIF. WIA 16/11/16 France.
436 Private Albert McCANN, B Company 8th Battalion AIF. Enlisted 26/8/14. Killed in Action 17/6/15 Gallipoli.
VX24056 Gunner George Edward McCANN, 2/3 Composite Anti Aircraft Regiment. Enlisted 7/6/40. Discharged 3/8/44. Served in Australia and New Guinea.



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I got some more info on the actual radio and will have better pictures tonight. It turns out you can change the frequency and it can actually pick up a few chanels. So its not fixed frequency. It seems a lot of different radios were used and some were even privately bought by certian units. I guess this could be one since its a small cheap radio but it will probably be very hard to tell for sure. As long as it still looks good from the better pictures, I think Ill go ahead and buy it.

 

Or could this be just a crappy radio sold to GIs by the Vietnamese sellers around base?

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New Info: The radio has a socket for earphones or something (labeled "ống nghe"). This worries me. Did radios, even civilian, have hook ups for that back in the 1960s? I dont know what the socket looks like though.

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I got some more info on the actual radio and will have better pictures tonight. It turns out you can change the frequency and it can actually pick up a few chanels. So its not fixed frequency. It seems a lot of different radios were used and some were even privately bought by certian units. I guess this could be one since its a small cheap radio but it will probably be very hard to tell for sure. As long as it still looks good from the better pictures, I think Ill go ahead and buy it.

 

Or could this be just a crappy radio sold to GIs by the Vietnamese sellers around base?

 

It is very hard to imagine that anyone made civilian radios with Vietnamese writing on them during the 1960's: the market for that was just way to small.

 

You said "a few channels" - well that would be different from the standard radio which has a dial capable of receiving all frequencies within its tuning range. A fixed frequency radio can have more than one channel, but will not have a linear tuning dial really, just a switch to go between the channels (if you've ever seen on old CB - citizen's band - radio that is a fixed frequency radio with something like 27 channels selected by a rotary switch).


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The original ad for the radio was simply "Viet Nam Radio" so I have to contact the guy for all the questions and its a bit slow.

 

I will ask about how many chanels. This all I have so far on that subject "The frequency can be change. I can pick up 4 english channels and 4 spanish channels here..." I know there is a volume control but nothing was mentioned about a dial for the frequencys. I do know there is at least one switch on the radio.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I bought the radio and heres a picture of the insides. My question now is what do you think? 1960s PSYOPS radio or crappy post-VN VNese radio. Im not too farmiliar with radios but it appears to only have 7 or 8 chanels.

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If it does not have a continuous tune dial but instead clicks among a relative handful of channels, that's a good sign: also it looks like most of the components are encapsulated in a resin-like substance - they did that so the components could not be used for other purposes. I think you may have the real thing.


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I turned the radio on and I think it actually has 15 channels. Theres 7 numbers for PO and 8 for OC on a wheel inside the radio. There is a dial on the side to spin the wheel to line up a number in a small window which shows which channel your on and a switch to change between PO and OC. I just got heavy static on every channel except 1.

 

Some of the other PSYOPS radios Ive seen seem to use a very similar system with a wheel with numbers and a small window. Except mine has PO and OC to change between.

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Good for you! Glad you got the radio. Good find!

"I looked up at the bunker in front of me and saw a khaki-uniformed NVA with a pith helmet, chest web gear, green Bata boots and an AK, Type 56, and no other identifying insignia. Then I shot him." -- Sergeant Tony "Fast Eddie" Anderson, RT Kansas, TF1AE, 1971

 

"My God, where do we find these men?" President George H. W. Bush commenting on 1st SFOD-Delta after the Operation Acid Gambit rescue of Kurt Muse.

 

"Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me." - Inscription on the dog tag resting on the flag-draped homeward bound casket of an American Special Opearations warrior killed in action in Afghanistan, July 2005. - Dick Couch - Chosen Soldier

 

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I have not seen any US manufactured civilian radios used as PSYOPS but its possible some were used. The first step to tell if its PSYOPS would be to have someone like BIGFOOT post again and give us a estimate time frame of manufacture. It looks a little too modern to me but like I said before, Im no expert on these radios.

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What about this one? Is it also a PSYOPS radio?
It has vietnamese instructions inside.



since it has the USAID logo on it, i'm going to say it's not a pysops radio but rather one for emergency use.
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since it has the USAID logo on it, i'm going to say it's not a pysops radio but rather one for emergency use.

 

Thats true :pinch:

But what kind of radio could it be?

I mean it has the US Aid Logo and a vietnamese instruction incide.

Save Your Butt - Wear A Helmet

 

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