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RS-101
Paramilitary spy radio set - this page is a stub

RS-100 was a self-contained all-in-one paramilitary spy radio set, developed around 1966 by AVCO in Cincinnati (Ohio, USA) 1 for the US Central Intelligen Agency (CIA). The radio covers 2-24 MHz in the HF radio band and produces an output power of 20 Watts. Intended as the successor to the RS-1 and RS-100, it was a ruggedized waterproof set for use in para-military operations. It has similar specifications to the RS-100, but is smaller and in capable of AM voice transmission.

  1. The name of the manufacturer is redacted in the original documents, but since the meetings were held in Cincinnati, and the manufacturer's name is four character long, it is very likely that this was AVCO [2].

History
The idea for the RS-101 was born between March and July 1965, when a mockup was presented to the CIA, probably by AVCO Corporation in Cincinnatie (Ohio, USA), who had just finished the development of the RT-66 HF transmitter for the CIA. Partly based on the design of the RS-100, the RS-101 had an improved transmitter with CW and AM voice capability. To make it smaller and less heavy, the CK-100 burst coder/keyer was dropped. The CIA liked the idea and terminated the development of the RS-100, so that any resources could be redirected towards the RS-101.

Procurement of the RS-101 started on 28 September 1965, with development starting on 12 October 1965 and a projected release date of 12 August 1966. This date was later pushed back to November 1966. The budget for the project is currently unknown, but for the initial sum, AVCO had to deliver four service test models plus the baseline production documentation.

During a trip to AVCO on 30 June 1966, it became clear that the budget had not been exceeded, but that development had not progressed on schedule, due to difficulties in the supply chain. After RCA had cancelled manufacturing plans for the some selected transistors, AVCO had to redesign part of the transceiver with transistors from ITT and Motorola. In addition, there were small mechanical issues with respect to the tuning knob that needed attention. It was agreed that a prototype would be available for observation on 29 July 1966, during vacation of AVCO [2].

The next trip to AVCO took place on 20 September 1966. This time development was progressing on schedule and within the expected budget. The four deliverable test models were being assembled and were expected to be ready on schedule in mid-November 1966 [3].


Specifications
  • Device
    Spy radio set
  • Purpose
    Paramilitary operations
  • Model
    RS-101
  • User
    CIA
  • Manufacturer
    AVCO
  • Country
    USA
  • Years
    1966-1968
  • Predecessor
    RS-100
  • Successor
    TAR-224
  • Frequency
    2 - 24 MHz
  • Modulation
    CW (morse), AM (voice)
  • Dimensions
    305 × 184 × 108 mm
  • Weight
    4.5 kg
Transmitter
  • Frequency
    2 - 24 MHz
  • Modulation
    CW, AM
  • Output
    20 W (CW)
    5 W (AM)
  • Operation
    Crystal or synthesizer (plug-in)
Receiver
  • Frequency
    2 - 24 MHz
  • Modulation
    AM, CW, SSB
  • Bands
    4 (see below)
Accessories
  • AU-100
    Crystal selector (plug-in unit)
  • OS/B-100
    Synthesizer (plug-in unit)
  • AN/B-101
    Antenna coupler with 15" whip antenna
  • CK-30
    Burst coder/keyer
  • RP-101
    ?
  • ?
    100 Watt linear amplifier
References
  1. Pete McCollum, Other CIA radio sets
    Visited 20 April 2023.

  2. Agenda Equipment Board, Meeting No. 5-65 (and minutes)
    CIA, 15 July 1965.

  3. Contract 4168, Task Order 2. Inspection Report No. 3 - RS-101 with ...
    CIA, 31 May 1966.

  4. Contract 605, Task Order 20. Inspection Report No. 8 - OS/B-100 with ...
    CIA, 11 July 1966.

  5. Contract 605, Task Order 19. Inspection Report No. 10 - OS/A-8 and OS/B-100
    CIA, 11 July 1966.pdf

  6. Contract 4168, Task Order 2. Inspection Report No. 4 - RS-101 with ...
    CIA, 22 July 1966.

  7. Research and Development laboratory, External Projects Section
    CIA, 31 July 1966.

  8. Contract 4168, Task Order 2. Inspection Report No. 5 - RS-101 ...
    CIA, 29 September 1966.

  9. Research and Development laboratory, External Projects Section
    CIA, 30 September 1966.

  10. RS-101 Power and Audio Accessory Requirements
    CIA Memorandum OSS M67-618, 6 July 1967, 20 June 1967.

  11. Equipment Board Minutes, RS-101
    CIA Meeting number 1-67, 7 April 1967.

  12. Equipment Board Minutes, RS-101 Power and Audio Accessory Requirements
    CIA Meeting number 4-67, 12 July 1967.

  13. Inspection Report No. 2 - AN/B-101 ...
    CIA, 21 June 1968.
Further information
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