10 Watt Frequency Syntheses SSB (TBR-130)

The development of third generation short ware transceivers was started in mid 70s, even before Type 81 Compact C was certified. The third generation transceiver targeted for frequency syntheses, IC chip based SSB. However, the development mat its difficulty in late 70’s since manufactory could not develop a reliable frequency syntheses device. A stop gap transceiver was introduced, crystal controlled version of 10W SSB transceiver, in late 70s. Finally, in mid 80, reliable frequency syntheses device was produced and 10W frequency syntheses SSB transceiver was sent to troop and saw later stage of Sino-Vietnam border conflict (from 1979 to late 80s).

The 10 Watt Frequency Syntheses SSB transceiver is designed to replace Silicon 2 Watt and in some cases 81 Compact transceivers in infantry units, ans formal code name was given as TBR-130 in mid 90s when new military equipment naming convention was introduced. The circuit of this device is designed for 50W output power but regulated to 10W to achieve high liability in battlefield condition. It was the major communication device in PLA Battalion-Regiment level units in 90s. Staring from 2001, it has been replaced by TBR-133 5W frequency agile SSB device.

Although it has a former code name of TBR-130 and an industry code name of XD-D2A, it seems that people still call it Ten Watt Frequency Syntheses SSB, even manufactory uses this name on the name plate on the transceiver. This device covers 1.600 to 5.999 Mhz with 4400 possible channels controlled by four knobs. The radio itself weights 5 kg and the system (including antenna, headset, carrying harness and battery) weights 9.8 kg, and the radio measures 355x275x115mm.

It is powered by 25 V/2 A DC power. The power source could be 20 1.2V rechargeable batteries, hand-crank 24 V DC power generator, or Y241 220V AC/12V DC power regulator. The output power of this 10W SSB is 10W for voice mode and 8 W for CW mode. It is a USB only device. It could use 1.5 meter antenna (with a five star radiator and a configurable inductance coil), 2.4 meter rod type antenna, 15 meter wire antenna or 44 meter bipolar antenna. It has a communication distance of 10 to 20 km using 1.5 or 2.4 meter antenna, and around 150 km using 15 meter wire antenna and 300 km using 44 meter bipolar antenna.

This 10W SSB has three power switches. One built into the left side of the battery box as the main power switch, one for receiver built into the volume control, and finally one for transmitting built into the mode selector. Comparing to 81 Compact, operation is much simpler, but not as simple as a modern transceiver. The receiving part is very simple, one just needs to set the frequency, turn on the receiver, and that is it. The antenna tuning for transmit is simple and unique but some time confusing. You need first set the frequency using the four frequency setting knobs, then turn the antenna adjustment dial to the frequency you just set, then, turn on the transmitter and set it in adjustment mode, turn the inductance adjustment knob until the output power reach it peak, as indicated in the small meter on left side of the control panel. After that, you could turn to either voice mode or CW mode and begin communication. The tricky part is that you need to set the capacitor in the final power amplifier stag manually by turning an adjustment knob.

I got my 10W as NOS, came in a wooden box weight 8 kg itself (it is still left in Beijing), and an aluminum carrying case. It came with radio itself, carry harness, three antennas (1.5 meter one, 2.4 meter one and 15 meter one), manual, grounding wire, telegraph key, headset and a plastic box with full set of transistors and IC chips. My sample was made in 1998. It seems it is from one of the last batches of production and kept in PLA storage until I got it. Never be issued to the troop.

When I first turned my set on, the voice level was very low and lot of noise while turning the volume control knob. Nothing could be received. After I turned the volume control up and down for a while, the voice level jumped to very high and it starts to receive signal. I believe it was due to the fact that this baby had been in storage for too long. The transmitting part works as a charm after the receiving part started working. My only complain is that the voice level seems too high (to me) although I set the volume pretty low.