SCR-300 Backpack Radio

In 1940, Motorola received a contract to develop a portable, battery powered FM voice receiver/transmitter for the War Department, intended for field use by infantry units. The specifications included a weight limit of 35 pounds, so it could be carried on the back of an individual soldier, with a reliable range of three miles. It also had to be waterproof and be able to withstand tropical fungicides. The result of the design effort met or exceeded all specifications and was released as the Radio Set SCR-300.

SCR-300 Backpack Walkie-Talkie Radio Set
SCR-300 Backpack Walkie-Talkie Radio Set.

Today in WW II: 12 May 1941 Konrad Zuse, a German engineer working alone, completed the Z3, later determined to be the first fully operational electromechanical computer. Isolated by WW II, Zuse's work was unknown in the US and UK until after the war.  More 
12 May 1942 Second Battle of Kharkov, eastern Ukraine: Red Army offensive captures Kharkov from Germans who later encircle and destroy the Soviet forces [12-28 May].
12 May 1943 Organized Axis resistance in North Africa ends.
12 May 1943 Third Washington Conference, the Trident Conference between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill begins in Washington, DC [12-27 May].
Visit the World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

SCR-300 Backpack Radio Description

SCR-300 Backpack Walkie-Talkie Radio
SCR-300 Backpack Walkie-Talkie Radio.

Almost fifty thousand SCR-300 Walkie-Talkie units were produced by Motorola during World War II, with the first production sent by air for use in the invasion of Italy in July of 1943.

The Radio Set SCR-300 and SCR-300-A consist of an 18-tube, crystal controlled portable receiver and transmitter, designated BC-1000 (or BC-1000A), along with batteries and accessories such as the case, handset, and two lengths of whip antenna. It has an innovative tuning that sets both receive and transmit frequency in tandem along with integrated calibration. A squelch circuit is provided to minimize roar in the high-gain circuits when there is no signal. The SCR-300 utilizes the frequency band of 40.0 to 48.0 mc divided into 41 channels of 200 kc. The transmitter power is 0.3 watts with a range of 3 miles with the longer antenna.

The BC-1000 was used with the same frequency band in the AN/VRC-3 (used in tanks) so the two sets could intercommunicate between armor and infantry.

The entire SCR-300 assembly weighs between 32 and 38 pounds depending on the batteries used (BA-70 or BA-80). The Radio Set SCR-300 was issued with War Department Technical Manual TM 11-242, 15 June 1943 and later dates (left).

Note on terminology: The SCR-536 was originally called the "Handie-Talkie" (meaning it could be carried in your hand) while the term "Walkie-Talkie" referred to man-portable backpack units like the SCR-300 (meaning you could walk and talk). Gradually "walkie talkie" came to mean any small, handheld radio, including the SCR-536, usage that is not consistent with the WW II era usage.

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