David Stinson arc5 at IX.NETCOM.COM
Thu Oct 22 13:55:31 EDT 1998

(copied to the list for general information)

I contacted Dennis Starks,
who has done a lot of research on the RBZ.
Here is what he and others have found:

The best case we can make for the RBZ so far is
that it's primary role was as a clandestine receiver,
supplied to resistance, underground and special ops elements.
While we know that the receiver was used during WW-II,
the RBZ first appeared in TM11-487
"Directory of Signal Corps Equipments" in 1958-
the same issue in which the PRC-1 and PRC-5 "spy" radios first appeared.
It was also listed in the "PRR-type" section of the book.
Depot maintenance on them can be documented to 1964.

Dennis also found the following passage in
"Cloak and Dagger, The Secret Story of the OSS,"
by LT.COL. Corey Ford, and MAJ. Alastair MacBain:

  "The most important time of the day was when they listened to the
  BBC broadcast from London that announced their next supply drop. The
  signals came on three successive days. Their first warning would be a
  cryptic message: "Suzette has hung her washing out to dry". (The
  operation will take place Saturday at the designated dropping
  The following day BBC would announce "There are red flowers in the
  (the drop will be made tomorrow night as planned.) On the third day,
  they crowded around the tiny RBZ set on their mess table, they would
  the final message: "Snow will fall in early December this year"."

Another member of the military radio mailing list has a
factory-built auxillery RBZ power supply, the only one known to exist.
Housed in the same type case as the receiver and battery box, it will
operate from either 110 or 220 volts AC or DC. Designated RBZ POWER PACK
MODEL 2, it also has a headphone jack rather than the standard in line

I personally believe that the case for the RBZ as clandestine is pretty
much conclusive.  Both freq ranges would have been useful in that role.
Changing the higher freq range was only a matter of pasting
a new dial calibration on the dial and re-aligning
the little rig.   This explains their high value in the market.
And it is a real engineering marvel for 1942!

73 DE Dave Stinson AB5S
arc5 at ix.netcom.com

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