PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Topics on Radio (CB, GMRS, Ham, etc), GPS, Smoke Signals, or whatever else you can use to talk to other people who are not within yelling distance.

Moderator: ZS Global Moderators

User avatar
doc66
* * * * *
Posts: 5687
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:56 am
Location: Back home in Tennessee
Contact:

PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by doc66 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:04 am

I have four PRC 77 radios that I found in my attic. No really. They were there with two cases of MREs. I think the former owner was a prepper. I'm still hoping to find the ammo stash of 5.56, 7.62, 9mm and/or .45 ACP. So anyway, three of them are complete with handset and antennas and the battery packs. Through my own incompetence, I am unable to find good sources on how they work, how to make them work, or even how the batteries are charged. If anyone has any information or links, it would be awesome.

I'll post pics as soon as I get them loaded.
Image
http://www.milcopptactical.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
Stercutus
* * * * *
Posts: 12248
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:16 pm
Location: Bouncing in to Graceland

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by Stercutus » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:48 am

Since I am ancient I grew up with this radio. They are a very sturdy short range lower FM band radio (1-4 miles with long rang antenna, maybe double that in the open). Range was less than advertised (25 miles). You can get more range these days out of a handheld FRS/GMRS radio. The frequencies that they run on are the now defunct TV audio and military freqs. I am not sure of the legalities of using those freqs these days. (most military stuff is now FH but in the same freqs)

You will need batteries and if you like a power supply. A PS was made as a base station and one was made for vehicles. There was also converter made that would run off of D-cell batteries but life was very short.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd4JhkMyrE4" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.prc68.com/I/2577BA.shtml" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Here is a very helpful operators manual:

http://n3oc.dyndns.org/TM%2011-5820-667-12.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Given the weight I would never consider packing one these days (although I did way back then) but they could be very useful for short range point to point coms in a seldom used freq. They tended to be very reliable when kept dry.

ETA- They did not make a rechargeable battery that I know of. If you find stash of funny looking baseballs be careful.
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

Radio guy
* *
Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 2:33 pm

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by Radio guy » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:29 pm

You will need a Technician class or higher amateur license to operate them and only the 50-54MHz range would be legal. There is no other freq range within the 30-76MHz range the radios have that you can make use of. The squelch is also a fixed 150Hz tone type and the frequency increments are 50KHz which do not line up with very many commercial freqs, so these radios are not useful for listening to other types of comms.

Yes they only have a few mi range under most conditions but from hill top line of sight, 50mi or more is possible and I've done it. There are rechargeable batteries available on Ebay occasionally but they are most likely in poor shape. The best thing to get is the D cell adapter mentioned earlier from PRC68.com, these radios will run a long time on a set of D cells.

I still have a 77 and built an AC power supply into the batt box and also installed a speaker and amplifier which turned it into a small base radio for my other mil radios.
Radio Guy

User avatar
Stercutus
* * * * *
Posts: 12248
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:16 pm
Location: Bouncing in to Graceland

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by Stercutus » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:44 pm

50 miles? :shock:

That is amazing, I have never even heard of such range before. Were you using an O/E- 254?
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

User avatar
Dawgboy
ZS Donor
ZS Donor
Posts: 3072
Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:35 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: Shaun of the dead, Fido
Location: San Diego, CA
Contact:

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by Dawgboy » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:59 pm

Make nice door stops...
shrapnel wrote:Dawgboy, please refrain from stirring shit for the sole purpose of stirring shit.
[ZS/]# .40/Pie/CERT/Wireless...
My homebrew stove kit
IMPROVED Solar Redneck Hot tub
Dawgvan
Chupa Chihuahua
GHB

User avatar
Grant
* * *
Posts: 630
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 9:00 pm
Location: The swamps of NC!

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by Grant » Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:39 pm

Awesome find! My father used to work on those. They seemed to be about indestructible. Give me a multi-band ham rig any day myself, for the price they sell for, but for finding them for free, that's amazing.

Checking e-bay, I see everything from the one to six hundred something range, which is actually more than I remembered. Maybe people collect them.
"Headshots...headshots...Do you know how to do anything else?!"

"Hey, you'd be surprised how many things that works on!"
* * *
“Yes, that IS a thousand rounds in my pocket, AND I’m happy to see you!”: The advantage of the .22lr

gary in ohio
* * *
Posts: 375
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:22 pm

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by gary in ohio » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:56 pm

A PRC 77 is a nice little military radio, but its to heavy now a days. Personally unless you have some attachment to them. Sell them as they are going for a pretty penny right now and buy what you need. The only legal way you can use the radio is on the 6m ham bands and regardless of claims you cant get more than a few reliable miles out of them.

Gary

User avatar
Boondock
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 2691
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:37 pm
Location: Chicagoland

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by Boondock » Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:13 pm

I also humped one for a few years in the late 80s, early 90s. The 77 is a brick and has questionable range, even with the long whip antenna. During my time in mech units, I set up the 292 a lot in order to contact the TOC.

However, since you got 'em for free, I think they'd be OK as comms for a BOL/BIL or in a vehicle, as they will pick up civilian frequencies. If I remember correctly, I once listened to the Super Bowl on a PRC 77 during an FTX.

User avatar
doc66
* * * * *
Posts: 5687
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:56 am
Location: Back home in Tennessee
Contact:

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by doc66 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:42 pm

So, I see that I should have a license to operate them, they aren't really any better than today's handhelds, which I have already, so I should sell them.

That about got it? LOL.

Anybody want a PRC 77?
Image
http://www.milcopptactical.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Radio guy
* *
Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 2:33 pm

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by Radio guy » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:45 pm

I was using the short blade antennas and 51.0MHz from about 5,000ft. I have also done about 60mi line of site from the same altitude between a pair of PRC-68s with stock rubber duckie antennas on 51.0MHz.

Oh, forgot about the 100+ mile contact on 50.4MHz AM using a couple watt mil surplus handheld from a park up the street at 500ft altitude to a base station with big antenna. I apparently had a great signal and could have cut my power by 10X and still have been heard.
Radio Guy

Blacksmith wrote:50 miles? :shock:

That is amazing, I have never even heard of such range before. Were you using an O/E- 254?

User avatar
doc66
* * * * *
Posts: 5687
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:56 am
Location: Back home in Tennessee
Contact:

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by doc66 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:51 pm

BTW, Blacksmith, thanks for the links, I am downloading the manual as I type!

It looks like the only thing I don't have is the carrying case for the handset and antenna. And the carrying pack, but hey, I was looking at them for vehicle and base use anyway.
Last edited by doc66 on Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Image
http://www.milcopptactical.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
Texas19Delta
* *
Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:06 pm

PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by Texas19Delta » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:51 pm

Boondock wrote:I also humped one for a few years in the late 80s, early 90s. The 77 is a brick... .
+1
They suck to hump! That's what I remember about them.

User avatar
Stercutus
* * * * *
Posts: 12248
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:16 pm
Location: Bouncing in to Graceland

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by Stercutus » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:28 pm

doc66 wrote:BTW, Blacksmith, thanks for the links, I am downloading the manual as I type!

It looks like the only thing I don't have is the carrying case for the handset and antenna. And the carrying pack, but hey, I was looking at them for vehicle and base use anyway.
The packs are more of rarity. They often got bogarted since the small size made for a handy day pack. If you have an old school ALICE pack ruck (in good shape) you will see a funny looking pouch at the top inside main compartment. There should be a lashing strap there. This is where the massive radio went. The sucakge of carrying the radio was amplified by taking up space in your ruck. The metal antenna was then wrapped around the flap to keep it from making noise. The PSG/ PL had the luxury of an RTO but the SL got stuck carrying their own.

Image
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

User avatar
KYZHunters
* * * * *
Posts: 1366
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 10:47 pm
Location: Kentucky

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by KYZHunters » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:27 pm

Doc,
Very cool find, and hell I'd like to have them, but considering you can buy a set of blister pack FRS radios for what the batteries will cost, there is limited utility in them. They're heavy, eat batteries, are only kinda waterproof and seriously low tech.

Clean them up, and put them on eBay and use the crazy money re-enactors will pay you to treat yourself to some nice new gear. You should clear a grand easy, maybe two; people are mental for this stuff.
crypto wrote:It's not that you were being "harsh" so much as a "douchebag".

Radio guy
* *
Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 2:33 pm

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by Radio guy » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:38 pm

PRC-77s in working condition go for around $250 to $350 on any given day with many closing on Epay in the $160-$180 range.
Radio Guy

KYZHunters wrote:Doc,
Very cool find, and hell I'd like to have them, but considering you can buy a set of blister pack FRS radios for what the batteries will cost, there is limited utility in them. They're heavy, eat batteries, are only kinda waterproof and seriously low tech.

Clean them up, and put them on eBay and use the crazy money re-enactors will pay you to treat yourself to some nice new gear. You should clear a grand easy, maybe two; people are mental for this stuff.

User avatar
Stercutus
* * * * *
Posts: 12248
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:16 pm
Location: Bouncing in to Graceland

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by Stercutus » Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:29 am

Radio guy wrote:PRC-77s in working condition go for around $250 to $350 on any given day with many closing on Epay in the $160-$180 range.
Radio Guy

KYZHunters wrote:Doc,
Very cool find, and hell I'd like to have them, but considering you can buy a set of blister pack FRS radios for what the batteries will cost, there is limited utility in them. They're heavy, eat batteries, are only kinda waterproof and seriously low tech.

Clean them up, and put them on eBay and use the crazy money re-enactors will pay you to treat yourself to some nice new gear. You should clear a grand easy, maybe two; people are mental for this stuff.
I saw more than a few listed yesterday on Ebay (Said they were tested and working) for $500-900. The empty boxes were going for $90+. I gotta agree selling them and buying something more useful would be a way. He could even buy brand new radio gear with much more capability.

I once came across a whole box of MX-300s at a yard sale (with a charger base station) for $25. The batteries were all shot of course. I flipped the readios for a whole bunch.
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

Radio guy
* *
Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 2:33 pm

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by Radio guy » Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:43 am

The last purchase of brand new PRC-77s for the DOD was around $900 per unit.
Radio Guy


Blacksmith wrote:
Radio guy wrote:PRC-77s in working condition go for around $250 to $350 on any given day with many closing on Epay in the $160-$180 range.
Radio Guy

KYZHunters wrote:Doc,
Very cool find, and hell I'd like to have them, but considering you can buy a set of blister pack FRS radios for what the batteries will cost, there is limited utility in them. They're heavy, eat batteries, are only kinda waterproof and seriously low tech.

Clean them up, and put them on eBay and use the crazy money re-enactors will pay you to treat yourself to some nice new gear. You should clear a grand easy, maybe two; people are mental for this stuff.
I saw more than a few listed yesterday on Ebay (Said they were tested and working) for $500-900. The empty boxes were going for $90+. I gotta agree selling them and buying something more useful would be a way. He could even buy brand new radio gear with much more capability.

I once came across a whole box of MX-300s at a yard sale (with a charger base station) for $25. The batteries were all shot of course. I flipped the readios for a whole bunch.

Lobo Wolf
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:02 am

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by Lobo Wolf » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:19 am

Are you still interested in selling one of the 77's? If so, I may be interested.

Thanks!!

LW

Dragonblight
*
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 1:46 am
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by Dragonblight » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:56 am

goddamn! The navy's still using those in the occasional ground op, so they totally work.

Also, I fixed a few.

vk3nhl
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:55 am

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by vk3nhl » Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:58 am

Hi
Do you still have any of your PRC-77's
Regards
Tony

User avatar
MaconCJ7
ZS Donor
ZS Donor
Posts: 2251
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:28 am

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by MaconCJ7 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:31 pm

Heck of a necro, but at least he revived it with a valid post.

I'm also curious what you did with them. I wouldn't want to drag on around in my kit, but if you have compatible handhelds (and a license of course), these would be great hardwired into vehicles or used as base stations. However, without compatible handhelds, I would sell them. I worked on them a long time ago, but roughly a decade ago my unit got rid of them in favor of new hotness. The new stuff (PRC-117, PRC-150, PRC-152) simply do more, better; but the PRC-77 definitely held it's own for a long time. Even the RT-1319's were replaced with the new stuff, and the 1319 is a capable little booger.
Image

jeepinbandtrider
* * * * *
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 1:02 pm
Location: MCAS MIRAMAR
Contact:

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by jeepinbandtrider » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:04 am

Eh 5 mile range? All that weight and weird batteries? Might as well just rock some UHF/VHF for a fraction of the weight and 30ish dollars of cost. Oh and 4 watt transmit power. Baofengs anyone?
Image

Image

User avatar
doc66
* * * * *
Posts: 5687
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:56 am
Location: Back home in Tennessee
Contact:

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by doc66 » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:51 am

I still have a couple.
Image
http://www.milcopptactical.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Radio guy
* *
Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 2:33 pm

Re: PRC 77 radios, what do I need to know?

Post by Radio guy » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:16 pm

What do you expect for 1968 technology?
Radio Guy

jeepinbandtrider wrote:Eh 5 mile range? All that weight and weird batteries? Might as well just rock some UHF/VHF for a fraction of the weight and 30ish dollars of cost. Oh and 4 watt transmit power. Baofengs anyone?

Post Reply

Return to “Communications”