In 1972, GTE received an order from the Navy for 1200 Lifeboat radios, AN/PRC-96. Ref #4. This was a unit similar in some respects to the PRC-106, i.e. it transmitted and received on either 121.5 or 243 MHz. The main difference was the use of "D" cell diameter Lithium batteries (slightly longer than two "D" cells in series). At two per radio (3 Volts/cell), the terminal voltage was only about 6 Volts as opposed to the 14 Volts used in the other designs. This must have necessitated many circuit design changes. One wrinkle was the fact that Lithium batteries are not allowed in a submarine environment. This was accommodated by adding a sleeve (screws in to the existing battery compartment and uses the existing battery cap) to allow four "D" cell alkaline batteries to fit for these applications. "D" cells have a larger diameter than the battery used in the other GTE designs, so the case dimension of the PRC-96 was necessarily larger in the thickness direction, thus leading to many physical changes. There is only a combination speaker/mic, and the other controls are mounted on the top of the unit as opposed to the front. A battery test meter or test pin was added to the backside. Internally, there are eight small circuit boards that plug into a motherboard. GTE sub-contracted production to C-RAN Corporation.
page created 15 May 2008.