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TR-TG-2A
Cold-war spy radio set - wanted item

TR-TG-2A was a valve-based Cold War spy radio set (French: Émitteur-Récepteur), developed and manufactuered around 1965 by Lagier & Cie in Marseille (France), for use by Special Forces (SF), intelligence services and Stay-Behind Organisations (SBO). It was used by the French Army, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Special Intelligence Battalion (13 RDP). Within the Army it was known as TRTG2A and by its National Stock Number NSN 5820-14-218-9154 [5].

The radio set is suitable for transmission of CW signals (morse code) on the HF frequency bands between 2.9 and 22.9 MHz, and the reception of both CW (A1, A2) and AM (A3, phone) signals.

The modular system consists of 4 basic building blocks that are held together by two mounting frames, which allows it to be carried and tilted. The unit can be powered from virtually any AC mains voltage in the world, or from a 6V DC source such as the battery of a car. The modules can also be combined in other ways, e.g. to form a stand-alone receiver and/or a battery charger.
  
TR-TG-2A transceiver with PSU

The TR-TG-2A was introduced in 1965 and was manufactured by Lagier & Cie (a.k.a. Electronique Lagier SA) in Marseille (France). It was supplied to the Army in a green padded canvas bag, or – in case of the intelligence services – in an unobtrusive exectutive-style briefcase or travel suitcase. The radio set was succeeded in 1972 / 1973 by the TR-TG-2B, which was manufactured by SEFT. The latter came with a burst transmitter that could send messages at a speed of 300 baud [4].

TR-TG-2A in travel suitcase Complete set TR-TG-2A transceiver with PSU
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TR-TG-2A in travel suitcase
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Complete set
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TR-TG-2A transceiver with PSU

Features
A basic TR-TG-2A radio station consists of four modules – transmitter, receiver, power supply unit and power selector – held together by two metal brackets: one at the top and one at the bottom. The latter can also be used as a pedestal, allowing the front panel to be tilted somewhat. The set is constructed in such a way, that the transmitter and receiver are both at the front, with the power circuits behind them. The diagram below shows transmitter (left) and receiver (right).


The receiver has a 6-band Variable Frequency Oscillator (VFO), but can also be operated with quarz crystals, which can be inserted in the socket at the top right. The transmitter can only be operated with crystals, but has a universal socket that accepts virtually any type of quarz crystal.

The set can be powered from virtually any AC mains voltage in the world (105-265V) or from a 6V DC source, such as the battery of a car. In the latter case, the power selector is used as a power inverter. The mains PSU can also be used on its own (stand-alone) as a battery charger.

Transmitter - front Receiver - front Fitting the transmitter to the receiver Front view Bracket at the top Mounting bracket at the bottom Complete set PSU used as battery charger
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Transmitter - front
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Receiver - front
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Fitting the transmitter to the receiver
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Front view
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Bracket at the top
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Mounting bracket at the bottom
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Complete set
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PSU used as battery charger

Versions
  • Special Forces
    This version of fhe TR-TG-2A was supplied in a green canvas backpack with soft padding and space for the (wire) antennas, spare parts, accessories, etc. It was used by the French Special Intelligence Battalion (13 RDP) and was known as NSN 5820-14-218-9154 [5].

  • Stay-Behind
    This version was made especially for Stay-Behind Organisations (SBO) – also known as Gladio – and for espionage purposes under control of the French Foreign Office. It came in a small unobtrusive suitcase, or in a regular executive-style briefcase.

  • Receive-only
    There was also a receive-only version that consisted of a PSU#psu, and receiver module and a pair of earphones. It was used for agents that did not require the need to transmit, but also as an complenentary receiver for an agent setup.



Parts
Travel suitcase Transmitter
TX
Receiver
RX
Power supplu unit
PSU
Power source selector and distributor External tuning box (dummy load) Spare parts Wire antenna
Miniature morse key Earphones Accessories and spare parts Operating instructions
Suitcase
The agent-version of the TR-TG-2A was usually supplied in a common executive-style briefcase, or in a travel suitcase, such as the one shown in the image on the right. Inside it is a wooden frame with foam padding, into which the radio set, its accessories and any spare are fitted.

The case shown here was found with a TR-TG-2A set with serial number 0440.
  
TR-TG-2A packed in suitcase

Transmitter
The transmitter is fitted at the front left of the set. The antenna and counterpoise wires are connected to the two sockets at the top left. At the right it has a movable pin which passes the antenna signal on to the receiver.

The transmitter is crystal-operated and accepts three different crystal sizes, which can be fitted in the universal socket at the bottom right. When transmitting, the tuning controls have to be adjusted for a maximum reading on the meter.
  
Transmitter

Receiver
The free-running receiver covers a frequency range of 2.9 to 22.9 MHz, spread over 6 bands, selectable with a rotary dial at the front. It is suitable for the reception of AM (phone) as well as CW (morse) signals, in which case the internal Beat Frequency Oscillator (BFO) is used.

The receiver is fitted to the right of the trans­mitter. A pair of earphones can be connected to the 3 mm socket at the bottom right of the front panel. The receiver gets its antenna signal from a movable pin on the adjacent transmitter.
  
Receiver

Power supply unit
The mains power supply unit (PSU) is fitted at the rear left of the set, just behind the transmitter. It is connected to the power selector at its right, by means of two DB-15 connectors.

The PSU has a rotary selector at the top, allowing it to be powered from a wide variety of mains AC voltages: 105, 127, 150, 180, 220 and 265V. It can also be used on its own as a battery charger.
  
PSU used as battery charger

Power selector
The power selector is fitted at the rear right of the set. It acts as the central power hub, and is connected to the AC mains, the PSU, the transmitter and the receiver.

The unit has a built-in electronic power inverter, that allows the complete set to be powered from a 6V DC source, such as the battery of a car.
  
Power selector

Tuning box
Some units were supplied with a separate tuning box – such as the one shown here – that can be used as a tuning aid for the trans­mitter. It allows the transmitter to be adjusted for maximum output power, without revealing its presence.

The box connects to the antenna and counter­poise sockets of the transmitter and contains a set of power resistors that act as a dummy load whilst tuning. This avoids the transmitter being on the air too long, and reduces the chance of Radio Direction Finding (RDF).

  
Tuning box

Spare parts
In order to allow the set to be repaired in the field in case of a faillure, It was supplied with a grey metal box that contains a nice selection of spare parts, such as fuses, valves, capacitors and even complete sub-circuits.

The image on the right shows the spare parts box with its lid removed. Stowed in special metal clips on the lid, are the subminiture (pencil) valves. Two larger valves for the transmitter are stowed in the case itself.
  
Spares

Wire antenna
The image on the right shows the wire antenna, which bascially consists of a long wire, wound onto a pertinax (paxolin) card. The ropes are for attaching it to, say, a tree.

Additional wires were provided to connecting a suitable counterpoise (ground), with a special clamp for connecting the ground wire to the water pipe or the central heating system.
  
Antenna wire

Morse key
The miniature morse key shown in the image on the right, can be connected to the MANIP socket of the transmitter, allowing messages to be transmitted in morse code. Rather than using the supplied key, some users preferred to connect an alternative key of their own choice.

Instead of they morse key, the MANIP socket could also be used for connection of a burst transmitter, but it is currently unknown whether this was done in practice.

  
Morse key

Earphones
A set of Y-forked earphones, such as the ones shown in the image on the right, were supplied for the receiver. Their 3 mm jack plug should be installed in the socket marked CASQUE.

Each earphone has a plastic clip that allow it to be hung over the ear. The earphones were typical for the era and were in use from the 1960s well into the 1990s.
  
Earphones

Accessories
The set was supplied with a wide range of accesories, such as antenna wire isolators, mains plugs, mains power splitters and light-bulb adapters which could be used in houses or hotel rooms without any free mains wall sockets.   
Accessories

Operating instructions
Each TR-TG-2A radio set was supplied with a small (red) booklet with operating instructions, a maintenance booklet and (in some cases) a full technical manual. The complete set is shown in the image on the right and is available for download below.

 Operating instructions (French)
 Technical description (French)

  
Operating instructions and technical manual

TR-TG-2A in travel suitcase TR-TG-2A packed in suitcase Transmitter Transmitter - seen from the top right Receiver Receiver - rear view PSU used as battery charger PSU used as battery charger
Power selector Power selector Instructions Operating instructions and technical manual Accessories Antenna wire Ground wire (counterpoise) Spare parts box
Opening the spare parts box Spares Spare parts Spare miniature valves
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TR-TG-2A in travel suitcase
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TR-TG-2A packed in suitcase
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Transmitter
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Transmitter - seen from the top right
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Receiver
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Receiver - rear view
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PSU used as battery charger
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PSU used as battery charger
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Power selector
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Power selector
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Instructions
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Operating instructions and technical manual
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Accessories
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Antenna wire
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Ground wire (counterpoise)
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Spare parts box
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Opening the spare parts box
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Spares
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Spare parts
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Spare miniature valves

Block diagram
The block diagram below shows how the main building blocks are interconnected. The power selector acts as the central power hub. It takes power from the AC mains PSU or from an external 6V DC source, and passes it on to the transmitter and the receiver. The antenna is connected to the transmitter, which passes its signal on to the receiver by means of a movable contact pin.



Specifications
  • Temperature
    -22°C to +55°C (operation)
Transmitter   TX
  • Output
    15 Watts
  • Valves
    3 × 6AQ5
  • Frequency
    Crystal-controlled
Receiver   RX
  • Type
    Superheterodyne
  • Modulation
    Telegraphy (A1, CW), Voice (A3, AM)
  • Valves
    9 × 1AD4 subminiature penthode
Power supply unit   PSU
  • Mains AC
    105V, 127V, 150V, 180V, 220V, 265V
  • Battery DC
    6V
Frequency bands
  • 2.9 — 4.7 MHz
  • 4.5 — 7.2 MHz
  • 6.9 — 11.2 MHz
  • 10.5 — 17.1 MHz
  • 16.2 — 22.9 MHz
Parts
Serial numbers
Each module of the TR-TG-2A is marked with an individual serial number that consists of 5 digits. The first digit indicates the module (e.g. 1 = receiver, 2 = transmitter, etc.), whilst the remaining digits form the actual serial number. The set shown here has serial number 0440.

  1. Receiver
  2. Transmitter
  3. Power supply unit
  4. Power selector
  5. Spares box
Documentation
  1. TR-TG-2A operating instructions (French)
    Date unknown. 1

  2. TR-TG-2A, technical description (French)
    First edition. 22 April 1966. 2
  1. Document kindly provided by Günter Hütter [1].
  2. Document obtained from Carlo Brmanti [3].

References
  1. Günter Hütter, TR-TG-2A transceiver
    Retrieved May — July 2019.

  2. Louis Meulstee, Wireless for the Warrior, volume 4
    ISBN 0952063-36-0, September 2004

  3. Carlo Bramanti, Copy of TR-TG-2-A technical manual
    Retrieved May 2019.

  4. Institut de Stratégie Comparée (ISC), Création et évolution du 13ème RDP
    23 September 2012 (French).

  5. NSN Center, TRTG2A
    Retrieved June 2019.
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 12 May 2019. Last changed: Friday, 02 August 2019 - 06:09 CET.
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