PRC-152 Falcon III TRI Replica Radio

Brooke Clarke 2013

PRC-152 Replica Radio
Background
Specs
Photos
Problems
BaoFeng Radios
Related
Links

Background

The real PRC-152 Falcon II or III radios made by Harris are not available on the commercial market because of the voice encryption and the export versions that are available are very expensive.  So there's a market for a replica Falcon III radio (NATO Base TRI) that looks like the PRC-152.  The exportable version of the PRC-152 is the L3Harris RF-5800V-HH.

In a similar manner there's a very good replica of the Bowman Personal Role Radio PRC-343 IISR.  In this case the accessories are interchangeable with the real ones on a functional basis.

There are very low cost ( <$50) "BaoFeng dual-band" transceivers on eBay and this radio may be based on one of those.

The VX-7R Triband radio is much more capable.

Specs

Frequency Coverage FM only for Tx and Rx

  Band
MHz
Mode
FM
67.0 - 108 (135.995?)
Rx
VHF
136 - 174.995
Includes 2 meter ham band
Rx Tx
UHF 0
350 - 390.995
Rx
UHF 1
400 - 479.995
Includes 70 cm ham band
Rx Tx
UHF 2
480 - 520.995
Rx

The radio can be setup with frequency splits for repeaters and has CTCSS (Wiki) sub audible tones.

Photos

Fig 1 Box as received from eBay seller Nato Base nb211212
PRC-152
                  ReplicaTRI Radio
Fig 2
PRC-152
                  ReplicaTRI Radio
Fig 3 The Antenna connector is a standard TNC.
(Wiki) so a TNCm to BNCf adapter is handy for
use with an external antenna.
PRC-152
                  ReplicaTRI Radio
Fig 4
PRC-152
                  ReplicaTRI Radio
Fig 5
PRC-152 Replica
                  TRI Radio
Fig 6
PRC-152
                  ReplicaTRI Radio
Fig 7 TRI Replica battery on charger
         Real Harris battery for comparison.
The real battery will fit the TRI replica radio.
The TRI battery __TBD__ fit the PRC-6725 (PRC-139).
Red: Charging,     Green: Charged
PRC-152
                  ReplicaTRI Radio
American Mil-Spec: Modify a Harris PRC-152 Battery to work with Airsoft TRI Replica Radios -

Note that both the TRI and military batteries use the outer lugs as the ground connection.  But . .
The TRI battery uses the center contact for positive but the military battery uses the small ring for
positive and the center contact as some sort of a status indicator.  So, while physically interchangeable,
they are NOT functionally equivalent.

Also the charging systems are not compatible.

This is too bad, it's similar to the way the audio U-229 interface is not compatible.

Problems

They went to some expense to use a U-299 type audio connector, but this replica can NOT use standard U-229 military audio accessories.  A special adapter cable is needed for that.  That's a huge mistake.  The radio needs a modification so that no adapter is needed.
This may be related to modern commercial radios using condenser microphones, not the dynamic mics used with NATO mil radios (i.e. with the U-229 type connectors).  If you know what's going on and the fix let me know what it is.
Partial answer:  Short pins A (ground) and E (not defined) either inside the radio or on the audio accessory.  See the U-229 Pinout page for what the pins do.

July 2014 - There is an upgrade kit that adds an audio amplifier capable of working with real military audio accessories.  The eBay listing by seller px_radio02  contains the words "DIY Amplify Parts for TRI PRC-152"   They also make a similar kit for the PRC-148 replica made by United Start

I can not get into the menu programming mode.

Rich emailed the solution:
...to get into "channel mode" you need to press the really small up button on the top side of the set (above the PTT) [see Fig 2 above] while the radio is off, and switch it on. You can then access and scan through ONLY your pre-defined channels. Repeating the boot process will put it back to normal mode.

BaoFeng Radios

Model
Band 1
Band 2
Band 3
UV3-R
136-174 MHz
400-470 MHz FM radio 65-108 MHz
UV-5S
136-174 MHz 400-479.995 MHz FM radio 65-108 MHz
UV-5R
136-174 MHz 400.00- 480.00MHz na
UV-5RA
136-174 MHz 400-519.995 MHz FM radio 65-108 MHz
UV-B5
136-174 MHz 400-470MHz FM radio 65-108 MHz
UV-B6
136-174 MHz 400-470 MHz FM radio 65-108 MHz
UV-82
136-174 MHZ 400-520MHZ FM radio 65-108 MHz

UV-5RA on order (the first one was out of stock and the "Etekcity" brand radio did not go to 520 Mhz, i.e. it was not the UV-5RA.
Hopefully a real UV-5RA is on order as of 4 Jan 2014.
Also one of the
Air Acoustic Earpiece Headsets to fit this radio. 
I expect to see a lot of similarity with the radio inside the PRC-152.

Related

Bowman Personal Role Radio PRC-343 IISR
PRC-6725 (PRC-139 without front panel)
PRC-68 Family of Military Hand Held Radios
U-229 Pin Out, Audio Accessories, Photos of Military Audio Accessories
VX-7R Triband Radio

Links

http://www.nlairsoft.com/en/forums/33-Reviews/4345-tri-an-prc-152-multiband-radio.html - has some helpful info

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Page created 31 July 2013.