Spy radio
Burst encoders
• • • Donate • • •
   Click for homepage
Hand-held text encryptor

The TST-3010 was a high-end military-grade hand-held message encryption system developed in the early 1980s by Tele Security Timmann (TST) in Tutzing (Germany) for use by Governmental and Military users. It was available with LCD or LED display and was suitable for Latin and Arabic.

The unit is housed inside a ruggedized metal case that measures only 29 x 10.5 x 3.5 cm. It can be powered by batteries as well as from the mains and allows messages to be sent via standard analogue telephone lines, using an acoustic coupler, and over narrow-band radio channels.

The TST-3010 was available in several versions and in a variety of languages. For use by the Army it was normally supplied inside a green ruggedized case, together with a printer and a power supply unit, as shown below. It was also available as a self-contained stand-alone unit.
TST-3010 (Latin version)

As the TST-3010 has its own built-in voltage regulator, it can be powered by any DC source between 10.5V and 32V, making it suitable for simply battery operation, as well as for use in cars (12V) and (military) trucks (24V). The unit was available with an LCD screen, but could optionally also be supplied with an LED display. Power consumption was approx. 1W with an LCD screen and 4W when a LED display was used. The external TST-3040 Power Supply Unit supplies 18V DC.

The version shown here however, was probably intended for use by Army Officers whilst travelling. It is housed inside a lightweight flight case-style green briefcase, with just the TST-3010 and the TST-3070 Acoustic Coupler. The TST-3010 has been modified to take 5 AA-size penlight batteries. Furthermore, it has (civil) DIN connectors at the side, rather than the more usual military ones. The TST-3010 was the military alternative to the TST-3550 and was in production for many years.

Military briefcase with TST-3010 TST-3010 message encryptor and TST-3070 in green military flight case Close-up of the TST-3010 inside the briefcase TST-3010 (Latin version) Arabic version of TST-3010 with Latin keyboard inlay Connections on the side of the TST-3010 Waiting for a command Arabic version of the TST-3010

  • Terminal (civil version)
  • Terminal (military version)
  • TST-3030
  • PSU
  • TST-3050
    Battery Unit
  • TST-3060
    Paper Tape Reader Interface
  • Acoustic Coupler
  • Complete military system
  • TST-3000-912
    Shock resistand mounting plate
Military version   TST-3010-M
The TST-3010 can be used stand-alone, or as part of a complete system. It can also be used in combination with a variety of radio transceivers, in which case the device can be powered by the radio. When used stand-alone, it is usually powered by a battery unit or an external PSU.

The battery unit or the mains PSU had the same size as the TST-3010 itself, and could easily be placed underneath it.

A rather common configuration is shown in the image on the right. The TST-3010 is used here in combination with the TST-3030 thermal printer which is connected to the NF10 socket on the left.

This configuration was often supplied in a light-weight green metal briefcase as well.
Military version of the TST-3010 with TST-3030 printer

Civil version   TST-3010
Although the TST-3010 was intended for use as a secure military message device, it was also used for civil and semi-civil purposes, such communication between embassies, diplomats and officers on the move. The civil version was also housed in a light-weight green briefcase.

The image on the right shows a typical TST-3010 configuration in such a green briefcase, together with the TST-3070 acoustic coupler.

As TST products were particularly popular in the Arab countries, it could optionally be supplied with a keyboard in the Arabic language, such as the one shown in the image. The firmware in such machines was modified so that the device would select Arabic by default at power on.

The version is the image is rather special, as it has a built in battery compartment at the back.
Close-up of the TST-3010 inside the briefcase

For this, the case has been modified to hold five AA-size (penlight) rechargeable NiCd batteries. A small mains adapter is supplied (in the top left), in order to charge the batteries when travelling. Also special on this version is that the military NF-07 and NF10 sockets at the left side have been replaced by 7-pin and 8-pin DIN sockets which were commonly available from civil stores.

TST-3000 Military System
The TST-3010 was also available in a ruggedized military case, together with a battery unit and a half-page (40 columns) thermal printer. The system was known as TST-3000.

The complete TST-3000 set is shown in the image on the right [1]. A latin version of the TST-3010 is shown at the front. Below the TST-3010 is the TST-3050 battery unit. The rear half of the case is taken by the rebatched Hitachi TST-3030 thermal printer. Below the printer is the (optional) TST-3040 AC Power Adapter.

The TST-3010 featured on this page can be seen a simplified version of the TST-3000 system shown on the right. It is packed in a smaller (lightweight) briefcase and has been modified to hold the batteries inside the main unit. Furthermore, it has DIN sockets on the side rather than the typical military connectors.
Military version of the TST-3000 series [1]

TST-3040 Power Supply Unit
The image on the right shows the TST-3040 power supply unit that is house in a metal enclosure that is similar in size to that of the TST-3010 itself. Both units could be stacked.

The TST-3040 delivers 18V DC to the TST-3010, which is regulated down to 5V DC inside the TST-3010.

The TST-3050 Battery Unit was housed in a similar case, but the TST-3010 shown here was modified with its own internal battery compartment at the bottom.
TST-3040 Power Supply Unit for TST-3010

TST-3040 Power Supply Unit for TST-3010 TST-3010 Terminal with TST-3040 PSU Open battery compartment (special version)

TST-3070 Acoustic Coupler
For business men and embassy personnel on the move, the TST-3010 was often used together with the TST-3070 acoustic coupler [6]. In the configuration shown here, it was built inside the flight case, behind the main TST-3010 unit. It can also be used as a stand-alone unit.

The image on the right shows how the handset of a standard telephone set was placed in the coupler. Foldable rubber lens caps, of a standard photo camera, were used to keep the handset in place and shield off ambient noise. The same acoustic coupler was used with the TST-3550 cipher machine. More images below.

Inside the acoustic coupler is a complete 300 baud AFSK modem, which is connected to the TST-3010 via TTL-level RX and TX signals (see below). Power (+5V) for the circuitry inside the TST-3070 is supplied by the TST-3010 itself.
Using the TST-3070 acoustic coupler with the TST-3010

Extracting the rubber 'lens' cap Extended rubber lens cap used for holding the telephone handset TST-3070 Acoustic Coupler with the rubber caps extended Using the TST-3070 acoustic coupler with the TST-3010 Interior of the TST-3070 Acoustic Coupler Modem PCB inside the TST-3070 Modem PCB inside the TST-3070

Latin vs Arabic
The TST-3010 was available with two different character sets. The standard version used the Latin character set which is used by most West European and American countries. As the TST-3010 was very popular in countries such as Saudi Arabia, it was also available in Arabic.

The image on the right shows the Arabic version of the TST-3010, which is currently asking for a command to be entered via the keyboard. It had an Arabic keyboard layout and started up in the Arabic language, writing from right to left.

Whenever necessary, it is possible to switch over to Latin with just two key strokes: 0 (OPTION) followed by 8 (LANGUAGE). The system then switches to the Latin character set, writing from left to right, showing its commands in English. The unit could be converted permanently by swapping the metal keyboard overlay.
The Arabic variant of 'COMMAND?'

In our case, the TST-3010 came with an Arabic keyboard layout, starting up in Arabic. Luckily, the Latin keyboard overlay was also supplied in a corner of the briefcase. After the keyboard has been removed from the main unit (see below), the metal keyboard overlay can easily be replaced.

The Arabic variant of 'COMMAND?' Arabic version of the TST-3010 TST-3010 military-grade message encryptor TST-3010 front panel Arabic version of TST-3010 with Latin keyboard inlay

The TST-3010 is housed in a sturdy low-profile extruded aluminium enclosure, similar to the ones that TST used for other products, such as the TST-7595 Voice Scrambler, and a number of accessories for the TST-3010, like the TST-3040 Mains PSU and the TST-3050 Battery Unit.

The interior of the unit case be accessed from the left, by loosening four hex screws at the top and bottom at the left, after which the connector panel can be removed. Inside the case are two PCBs that are slotted into rigs at the sides. The connector panel is connected to both PCBs via two ribbon cables that can easily be removed.

Before the PCBs can be removed, the keyboard needs to be removed by releasing the four screws at its corners. The keyboard is connected to the main PCB via a header at the left and can be removed by pulling it away from the case.
Connector panel at the left side removed

Once the keyboard has been removed and the connector panel is disconnected, the two PCBs can be pulled out of the case. The upper PCB is the actual crypto/interface board, which is built around a National Semiconductor NSC800 processor, the military variant of the Zilog Z-80 micro­processor. The crypto board is marked TPU 990 or TBU 994/1 and the EPROM has 'TBU' on it [7].

The crypto board extends to the full width of the case and has two daughter boards: an Hitachi 1 x 40 characters LCD screen, and a matching character generator. The character generator is soldered in place at the bottom right, whilst the LCD is mounted over the top half of the PCB.

It can be removed by releasing the four screws in the corners and taking it out of its connector at the right. The actual computer takes only the left half of the crypto board. The image on the right shows the crypto PCB after the display has been removed. It connects to the character generator.
Hitachi display removed from the crypto board

In an earlier version of the TST-3010-M, an EPSON 1 x 40 character display with the same size was used. It came with its own character generator which was mounted over the bottom half of the crypto board. The display itself had two connectors, one at the left and one at the right, through which it was attached to the crypto PCB. This required a different layout of the board.

Mounted below the crypto board is the main PCB, which is about 2/3rd of the length of the crypto board, leaving enough room an internal battery compartment. This battery compartment was not present in the military version, the TST-3010-M. Instead, the TST-3010-M contained a modem board with a custom FEC 1 chip in this space. 2

The main board is marked SYS 990 or SYS 994, and is built around a SHARP LH5080L, a 2.5 MHz variant of the Zilog Z-80, with two EPROMs and CMOS RAM. The processor is driven by a 2.4576 MHz crystal that is mounted on the same board.
Lithium battery for memory backup

The crystal frequency was probably choosen carefully, so that the correct baud rates and AFSK tones for the acoustic coupler or the audio interface are generated accurately. The (civil) battery compartment is identical to that of the TST-2007 (a hand-held secure spread-spectrum radio) and probably some other products as well. It is permanently fitted (i.e. glued) inside the case. It connects to the main board by means of a red/black cable. This way, the static memory on the board is retained when the unit is switched off. The CMOS memory (that holds the keys) is protected by a 3V Lithium battery that is mounted in the lower right corner of the main board. From the main board, the power line runs via the ON/OFF switch at the side to the crypto PCB.

  1. FEC = Forward Error Correction.
  2. On the civil version (T-3010), the modem was fitted inside the acoustic coupler and did not contain the custom-made FEC chip.

Loosening the hex bolts at the left Hex bolts in the corners Connector panel at the left side removed Connector panel at the left side removed The two main PCBs inside the TST-3010 Crypto PCB (marked TBU 994/1) with Hitachi display Hitachi display removed from the crypto board Close-up of the components on the crypto board
Top view of the Crypto Board (marked TBU 994/1) Rear view of the Hitachi display Hitachi character generator Connections at the left side of the crypto board Main Board (marked TST SYS 994) Close-up of the Sharp LH5080L processor (Z-80) Lithium battery for memory backup Interior of the TST-3010 [1]

  • 1  Input
  • 2  Read (edit)
  • 3  Print
  • 4  Encipher
  • 5 Send
  • 6  Delete
  • 7  Decipher Tape
  • 8  Decipher Message
  • 9 Keys
  • 0  Option (see below)
  •  (End
  •  ) Format
  • 1  Change password
  • 2  Change modem speed
  • 3  Receive protocol on/off
  • 4  Encipher numbers
  • 5  Send message to different address
  • 6  Delete all messages
  • 7  Self test
  • 8  Language
  • 9  not used
  • 0  Manual reply
  •  (  Error reply
  •  )  Station request
At the left side are two sockets for the connection of power supply units, an acoustic coupler, a radio and other peripherals. There are two known standards: with two DIN sockets (civil version) and with two German NF10 military sockets (military version). The pinout is as follows:

Civil version
The civil version of the T-3010 is equipped with two DIN sockets at its side panel: an 8-pin 270° female socket for connection of the acoustic couler, and a 7-pin 360° female power socket.

The above drawing shows the colours of the internal wiring. The socket with the red labels is connected to the main board (i.e. the lower one), whilst the socket with the blue labels connects to the crypto board. Note that power is fed into the rightmost socket, but is led to the lower PCB.

Leftmost socket
Name TX-3010 TX-3070 Description
+B Brown Brown Raw DC power input
+5V Red Red Switched power
GND Orange Pink Ground (0V)
MIC 4V Yellow Yellow Microphone signal 4V pp
TX TTX Green Green Transmit signal (5V TTL level)
RX TTL Blue Blue Receive signal (5V TTL level)
TX 2V Violet - Transmit signal (2V pp)
PTT Grey - Push-To-Talk signal (PTT)

Rightmost socket
Name TX-3010 TX-3040 Description
+B White Red Raw DC power input
GND Red Black Ground (0V)
SPD Yellow - Speed select
GND Orange - Signal Ground (0V)
FRM Green - Format
RXD Violet - Receive data
TXD Blue - Transmit data

Military version

  1. Helmut 'Jim' Meyer, HS0ZHK, My way to Ham - Radio and beyond
    Website QRZ.COM. Personal correspondence. Retrieved July 2013.

  2. TST Tele Security Timmann, TST-3010 Sales Brochure (English)
    Retrieved July 2013 from [1].

  3. TST Tele Security Timmann, TST-3010 Sales Brochure (German)
    Retrieved July 2013 from [1].

  4. TST Tele Security Timmann, TST-3030 Thermal Printer, Brochure (German)
    Retrieved July 2013 from [1].

  5. TST Tele Security Timmann, TST-3040 PSU, Brochure (German)
    Retrieved July 2013 from [1].

  6. TST Tele Security Timmann, TST-3070 Acoustic Coupler, Brochure (German)
    Retrieved July 2013 from [1].

  7. Andreas Obermeier, Identification of models numbers and PCB identifications
    Personal correspondence, November 2015.
Further information
Any links shown in red are currently unavailable. If you like the information on this website, why not make a donation?
Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 14 July 2013. Last changed: Wednesday, 11 November 2015 - 09:44 CET.
Click for homepage