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Burst encoders
During WWII and during the Cold War, wireless communication over long distances was often done on the HF radio bands (short wave) using morse code. As the enemy was continuously trying to intercept and trace such messages using direction finding equipment, it was necessary to be 'on the air' as little and as short as possible. Furthermore, it was important to make effective use of the limited frequency space that was available, especially when sending long messages.

Many different methods have been devised over the years to reduce the length of a message. A method that was often used, was to replace long sentences and frequently-used expressions by a predetermined code. Examples of such short messages are the international Q-codes and the use of dedicated code books. Such books were used before and during WWII, but were not very safe.
 
As the Cold War progressed, the need to send more and longer messages increased drastically and new methods had to be devised to avoid detection. This resulted in the development of the Burst Encoder, or Burst Transmitter.

A Burst Encoder is a device that allows messages to be stored on a recording medium first. The pre-recorded message is then sent over the air at very high speed using a play-back device. Many solutions were developed, using a variety of media, such as paper, audio tape, metal tape, mechanical drums and even photographic film.
  

Messages that are sent this way often sound like a short tone or burst, which is why it is called a Burst Transmission. This part of the website describes a number of solutions that were developed for high-speed burst transmission of messages. Use the buttons on the left, check the index of devices, or click any of the thumbnails below for more information on a particular device.

 Index of burst encoders

USSR
R-350 manual film-based burst encoder R-350 R-353 automatic metal-tape-based burst encoder R-353 R-354 automatic film-based burst encoder R-354 R-014D, the first fully electronic burst encoder developed by the USSR R-014D R-394K built-in digital burst encoder R-394K R-394KM digital integrated burst encoder R-394KM DKM-S digital burst encoder (USSR) DKM-S

Other
USA: AN/GRA-71 external automatic tape-based burst encoder GRA-71 DDR: Digital burst encoder built in the DDR (East-Germany) during the Cold War MG-80 Europe: Manual (mechanical) burst encoder RT3 Europe: Digital burst encoder used by West-European Gladio Forces Speicher Europe: fully electronic hight-speed burst encoder (1980) MMP UK (SAS): crypto burst transmitter for the PRC-319 radio EMU Nokia PARSA - Partiosanomalaite PARSA Racal MA-4230 morse encoder and MA-4231 morse decoder MA-4230
Racal MA-4450 Message Entry and Read-Out Device (MEROD) MA-4450

 
Further information

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Copyright 2009-2013, Paul Reuvers & Marc Simons. Last changed: Monday, 06 January 2014 - 17:30 CET
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