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SCR-578 Gibson Girl Transmitter
Radio Set SCR-578 is a hand powered emergency transmitter ruggedly designed for use in a life raft or small boat. Use of the Gibson Girl enabled rescue crews to locate survivors of ship or aircraft emergencies. The SCR-578 and its accessories were bright yellow-orange in color and the unit would float if placed in the water.
The Gibson Girl Emergency Transmitter was included with abandon ship provisions in life rafts. It was also packaged with a parachute so it could be dropped to survivors in the water. The Gibson Girl is operated by holding it between the knees while cranking the internal generator by hand. It can be set to automatically transmit an SOS signal or manual keying can be used to send a message.
SCR-578 Gibson Girl Emergency Transmitter
The Gibson Girl design was based on a captured German emergency transmitter called the Notsender NS2, easily recognizable with the same hourglass shape. The British designed an improved version, but lacked the manufacturing capacity. A contract was let to Bendix Aviation for an American version, the Radio Set SCR-578-A. Bendix began deliveries in May 1942. The updated AN/CRT-3 became available in 1945. The Gibson Girl transmitters were used by military and civilian aircraft and ships into the 1960s.
The Gibson Girl Emergency Transmitter was produced in two main versions:
Some models of the AN/CRT-3 operated at 8364 kc instead of 8280 kc. All Gibson Girl frequencies are internationally reserved for distress signals.
Gibson Girl Emergency Transmitter Accessories
The Gibson Girl transmitter can be operated by untrained personnel, following instructions printed on the radio's case. To facilitate operations under all conditions, the full kit of Gibson Girl radio equipment includes:
The total weight of the radio and all accessories is 33 pounds. The suffix letters changed as manufacturing developed improvements. For example, the M-390-A parachute (untreated rayon) was superseded by the M-390-B (tropicalized nylon). Other changes included packing all components into a single cube shaped bag BG-155-A for the AN/CRT-3 model.
The balloon was inflated by connecting the hydrogen generator inflating tube to the balloon, then immersing the hydrogen generator in water. The chemical reaction that produced the hydrogen also produced a lot of heat, so caution was required.
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