SDU-30 Light Marker Distress

©Brooke Clarke, N6GCE


This is an aircrew, distress, marker light.  It body is only 2 3/8" high, this is smaller than the SDU-5/E which has a bode (excluding the clear lens) height of 3" + 3/4" for the switch = 3 3/4".  Made by Federation of the Handicapped, NY.

Also has the contract number  DLA-400-82-F-5495, and manufacturing info of US 8-84


This is NOT a strobe, but uses an UE14 (? did I read it correctly) incandescent bulb. 0.9 Ohms cold resistance.  And shines brightly on 3 Volts.  It is a good idea to remove the lamp and apply a small amount of Lube Gel to the base and then screw in and out a few times to break down any oxidation.  the Lube Gel will prevent any future oxidation.


The lens unscrews to replace the lamp.  It focuses the light directly overhead and in a circle around it's long axis.  There is an O-ring to make this joint watertight.


Before using, put a small amount of Radio Shack Lube Gel or equivalent silicon grease on each of the battery compartment caps.
A Nickel (5 cents) coin is just right for use in turning the cap.  The silicon grease makes it easier to turn and also lubs the O-ring.

DC Power

Two BA-1328/U batteries (NSN 6135-274-4035) are required for operation.  These are cylindrical with a diameter of about 5/8" and maybe about 2" long.  The center contact and the case contact are on the same end.  This is the case with most cylindrical batteries that do not have an insulating outer sleeve.

The Bren-Tronics BT-70263 is a replacement 1.5 Volt battery.

Using a pair of modified AA cells


Use some Aluminum foil to contact the bottom of a standard AA cell and bring the negative contact up to the top, but not touching the top contact.  Insert two of the modified batteries positive end first into the SDU-30 and it will work.

Rechargeable "AA" cells

Some rechargeable "AA" cells, like the Duracell DHAA120 NiMH, have a case negative terminal right next to the top positive terminal.  All that's needed to get them to work with the SDU-30 is to trim off a little of the outer wrapper and remove the plastic washer.  This hint supplied by Hal Rohm - KB9WMQ

On-Off Switch

The switch and it's boot appear to be the same ones used on the SDU-5/E.
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