Type 823 Paratroop Company-Platoon Level Direction-Finding Compact Transceiver was developed at the same time as that of the Type 861 transceiver, and it is based on Type 861 with additional direction finding feature. It was certified around 1979. Now it is long retired from PLA paratroop units.
This paratrooper’s radio is designed to be carried by company/platoon commanders and their team leaders. When the commander is landed, he would turn on his radio in a direct finding mode. The radio will transmit a beeping signal as long as the transition button is pushed. The unit’s team leaders would turn on the radio and find the direction of the commander’s beeping signal and act accordingly.
The radio is light weighted, only about 2.5 kg with antenna, battery and headset. It is measured 180x210x56 mm. It has 11 channels from 49 to 50 MHz with channel space of 100 KHz controlled by crystals. It requires no search and no fine tune, so it could be operated by anyone with minimum training. It also use early generation of IC chips as of Type 861. It is basically the same radio with higher output power and additional direction finding feature.
The radio’s power output is about 0.5W. Using 0.86 meter whip antenna, it has a range of no less than 2 Km in a normal flat battle field condition. The earphone and microphone are built into a hat and connect to a small power switch/control box and then connect to the radio body, the same one for Type 861. Unlike 861, 823 radio does not have a CW mode, and it has a volume control in addition to the high/low two-level volume control switch built into the headset control box. Addition to the channel switch, 823 has an operation mode switch, voice mode and direction –finding mode.
The radio is powered by a 13V Type 861 alkaline unit battery. With a 1:3 transmitting/receive ratio, the unit battery could last 6 hours. A battery holder, which holding 20 AA size batteries, is also supplied in case that unit battery is not available. I have two 823 radios, one was made in 1984 and the other one was made in 1985.
To find the commander’s signal direction, operator first finds the signal’s rough direct in voice mode with the whip antenna. When the radio is within 1 Km of the signal source, operator would switch to direction-finding mode and take off the whip antenna from radio body. At this time, the radio would use a bipolar antenna built inside the radio body to find the exact direction of the signal source.
As of 861, lacking a squelch mode is the biggest issue for the operator. Other than that it is a neat little radio which is retired from PLA paratroop units in early 90’s; and replaced by 870 series direction-finding radio, or TBR-115.