Korean War Era Army Radio Project

Woo! The radio is in and works! Check out the new feature the bag phone didn't have - a button for voice dial on the Army Radio's exterior. Also, note that my cell phone fits inside of this radio for a cooler final product.

by Andrew McAllister


Here is the unmodified inside of the Korean War era Army Radio. Note the huge metal box thing inside - i had to remove that because it was so heavy! For reference of size, think of a big boot - that's the size of this radio. The thing is heavy as it is, but without the metal box (which contains all of the electronics) it is manageable. The antenna is a good meter long.

Underneath the metal electronic housing - this thing was built very modularly, so it was easy to get rid of the stuff I wouldn't be using. After all, this metal box is being replaced by newer electronics ;) -- check out that wire harness (the 9 or 10 copper oval shaped things in a row there). I had to unscrew each of those little screws along there to detach the wire harness. Nothing like a DB9 connector!

I thought originally i'd have to adapt my antenna to the army radio's antenna - but it ends up that the casing on the army radio was fiberglass, so that doesn't impede my cellular network reception at all! The port on my cell phone (shown) by the antenna would have plugged right into the army radio's though if i needed it to.

This is the old speaker - it doesn't work anymore / is of different specifications than what I needed to work with the cell phone's hands-free port, so I had to pull the original speaker out. (see next) I actually had to also replace the microphone with the one from the bag phone. Yes, the bag phone is out of commission. Oh well, this phone is 10 times better.

Here is the bag phone's speaker in the army radio's speaker port. I had to use some tin and some hot glue to mount the hardware (shown above). Very sturdy, but not waterproof as the original design was....

There was a "push to talk" button on the army radio that I wanted to prompt for voice dial on my phone as I'd heard it was possible from another guy that does this modification stuff. After some fiddling around (hours) I found that shorting out the mic wire to the ground it would, when the phone was set to prompt voice dial on opening it's "flip", activate the voice dial without opening the flip. This makes the Army Radio possible - otherwise I'd not be able to do anything with the phone if i had to open the casing of the radio to get to the buttons on the phone. Now, with the button, i can also answer phone calls and end calls. I just have to program people into voice dial to dial out.

The button has a very nice tacticle "click" feedback, but the problem was that this button was mounted on the large electrical unit I had to remove. This meant i had to find a different way to mount the button only inside the radio. This was done with soem pipe-hanging metal and a few nuts and bolts. See next few pictures for better views of the inside mount.

Close up of the button mount for the "push to talk" button. Note the quick-release connetors. The radio comes in a two-part shell, and the phone will be secured to the other shell. This way I can detach the two shells to work on the thing. Connectors are cheap and neat looking.

Quick release connectors that hold the two halves of the shell of the radio together. They are convenient and very tight - originally the thing was watertight.

This was a heckuva thing to put together - note the crazy bent metal holding the button (housed in black and red plastic that is pretty brittle after over 50 years). The button is very sturdy, though. The metal mount is wedged behind the nut through the fiberglass housing which was there originally.

Here is the final product. Note the phone is mounted inside the radio!! I can even answer incoming phone calls with my "push to talk" button on the outside.


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