"ARC-5" Command Set Lineage.

David Stinson arc5 at IX.NETCOM.COM
Wed Sep 1 10:29:04 EDT 1999

COMMAND SETS, SCR-? ARC-?; By Dave Stinson
(Copied to the list for general information.
 Updated with the latest info as of Aug. 1999.)

>...You said that the Navy Transmitters were different beasts....

The Command Sets come in several "flavors,"
all of which are sometimes incorrectly lump under "ARC-5."
Here are the main production "ARC-5" style Command Set units
from earliest (1940) to latest (1945):
  (NOTE: This list does not cover the first production
   units that are in the familiar "Command Set" form-
   the RAT (1938) and RAV (1940)-
   because they were not "Command Sets"
   but surveillance and liaison receivers.
   They're a story in themselves.}

Aircraft Radio Corp. Navy ARA (rcvrs) and ATA (xmtrs),
1st generation.  Black paint, blue label on top.
Accessories uncommon.  7-9 MC TX rare.
Later subcontracts by Stromberg Carlson.
I haven't as yet researched the contract numbers for ATA/ARA.

Aircraft Radio Corp. U.S. Army Signal Corps,
First production run early SCR-274-N.
Black paint, black-and-silver plate on top.
Initial production run for the Army Signal Corps.
The contract (1470-NY-41) was for 4000 sets
delivered in November 1941.
Rare unit note:
While all the Aircraft Radio Corp. Signal Corps SCR-274-N sets
are rare, one deserves special notice.
The BC-696-A 3-4 MC transmitter for this version was
added to the contract later at Signal Corps request.
It is unknown if any were actually built by A.R.C.
The next run of 25,000 sets under this contract
was scheduled for delivery in May of 1942.
The job was subbed-out under a new contract number
to Western Electric and included a BC-696-A.

Western Electric early Army SCR-274N.
First W.E. contract of 25,000 sets (1509-NY-41)
was for delivery in May, 1942.
Later contracts New York 1941 and Philadelphia 1942.
Black paint, black-and-silver plate on top.
Rare unit note:
The BC-696-A 3-4 MC transmitter for this version,
which may have been the first BC-696 actually built,
has a small nomenclature plate fixed to the top
cover with two screws.
There is no contract number on this plate,
nor is one stamped on the back skirt.
The original rivet holes for the large plate on top are present.

Western Electric Army middle-run SCR-274N.  No contract
number on the nomen plates, although it's sometimes
stamped on the back in yellow ink.
Black paint, black-and-silver plate screwed to the side.
More common then the early sets,
but less common then the unpainted ones.

Western Electric SCR-274N VHF set, contract 7461-WF-43.
Looks the same as the very common T-23/R-28 ARC-5 sets.
This set fit the SCR-274N racks.
Approx. 1000 sets were produced, but the Army was
in love with all things British and the SCR-522
remained dominant.  Rare.

Aircraft Radio Corp. Navy, ARA (rcvrs) and ATA (xmtrs)
2nd generation.  Black paint, blue plate on top and
red tuning plate on the bottom left of the front panel.

Aircraft Radio Corp. Navy AN/ARC-5.  First deliveries late 1943,
but did not became commonly installed until early 1945.
Black paint, Blue plate on top.  Blue tuning plate on bottom
left of front panel.  Subcontracts by Stromberg Carlson.
Units from very common (R-23) to very rare (T-15, T-90).

Western Electric Army SCR-274N.
Delivered late 1943 to war end.
No paint. Black and silver plates on the side.
When supplies of brass grew short during the war,
nomen plates and notation plates were often replaced
with either fiberboard or wet decals.
Most common type.  BC-453s of this type most
common of all "ARC-5" Command Sets, about 400,000 having been made
according to contracts unearthed by Gordon White in the 60s.
Subcontracts by Colonial Electric.
Colonial did almost all of the BC-946 BCB receivers,
but they also produced a few complete SCR-274N sets,
parts of which are uncommon now.
Rare unit note:
I have one Colonial BC-946 (BCB receiver)
that is painted black wrinkle.  Check of the circuit
confirms it is a 946 and not a "tricked-up" BC-453.
Anyone else ever seen a painted one they could confirm?

Aircraft Radio Corp. Navy, ARA (rcvrs) and ATA (xmtrs)
3rd generation.  Black paint, blue plate on top and
red tuning plate on the bottom left of the front panel.
Unlike the 2nd gen. units, these were built in the
later "AN/ARC-5" cabinet style with the
screwed-on tuning coil window.  Built as
replacement units for ATA/ARA installations.

There are many other "special cases" and small
production runs, including some late production
BC-453s and an R-23 "A" model built as replacements.
There were also a few production runs
for the commercial airline trade after the war
(extremely rare- never seen one).

  This is an evolving document, with additions
  and corrections added as new information is discovered.
  Your additions/corrections/arguments welcomed.

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

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