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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Urban Survival Communications - Field Telephones

UrbanMan received this private message from a Reader:

"Urban, thought I drop you a line and let you know what I am doing for my Home Defense. My plan is to stay in my home (suburban neighborhood) for as along as I can. Then to BO if necessary to my Uncle’s Farm which is only 45 miles away. My primary route would be 63 miles because I would take the back roads to get there. Thanks for the posts on home defense, I am using a couple of those concepts, most were not new to me. My house is a two stories. I have two bedrooms that face opposite direction and viewing from both windows gives me almost a full circle view around my home. Most of the other houses are one story homes. I bought two old Army radio telephones, called TA-312’s and put one up stairs with enough wire so the person on watch can move from one room to the other and carry the TA-312 by the strap. He or she will be able to call downstairs and let us know what they see. These TA-312 telephones are great to use. I bought mine at a gun show for $150 (for two of them) and a wire spool. If I BO to the farm, I will take these with me and we can use them there. Maybe you can do an article on these radio telephones. Shelly."

UrbanMan replies: Shelly, yes the TA-312 are a great communication tool and more secure than transmitting on push to talk radios. I suggest using PACE planning (Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency) for everything, communications included. Don’t reply just on one mode or method for anything. Push to talk radios, pull strings, emergency klaxons, alert light system and horns all have places in your communications plan.

When I need to employ a 24 hour watch, putting at least one person in a position on my flat home roof, I will use push to talk Motorola radios, powered by re-chargeable AA batteries as primary voice comms, with a pull string system leading down through a skylight to a series of bells to alert people in the house. I also have a canned air horn and am playing with a couple of car horns I pulled from junked vehicles to use as a larger alert siren. However, having the ability to talk, two way, to your Observation Post/Listening Post is priceless.

There are other alike versions of the TA-312 that I see from time to time in military surplus catalogs, some of them from China or wherever. The only problem with the TA-312 is that it requires batteries to operate. Using the military BA30 or civilian equivalent “D” cells. I have not used the TA-312 very much and certainly not in the last 30 years…..(...Jesus, am I that old?). I looked around and saw where one could purchase a set of TA-312’s (two field phones) for around $150 and for another $140 could purchase ¼ mile of WD-1 telephone wire.

A much better version of the field telephone is the TA-1. This is a newer version of the landline telephone system. Although the TA-1 is much lighter than the TA-312, the main advantage of this newer model is that it uses no batteries. Also unlike the TA-312, the TA-1 uses a dynamic microphone element so it's "sound powered". Signaling to another field phone so they can pickup on the other end is by means of a built-in generator that, instead of a crank like the TA-312, uses a level that you pump. I recently saw a set (a pair) of TA-1, without wire, for $240.

I remember reading something last year, where an enterprising individual utilized two extension type phones,…those without dials or push pads, to make a commercial type TA-312 system using a battery and a separate light to power the microphone in the handset and a light to indicate a call in-coming. This is also a possibility for a post collapse communications system between fixed points.


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  3. I bought a 2 German phones like a TA-312 for novelty purposes, but not only could I use it for my 2 story house, but also have one installed outside on porch incase of Nuclear or Biological disaster. Instead of opening your door and breaking your seal, you can instruct them to use the phone. I have a bull horn also. phone does use 2 D batteries. I live in subdivision our in country near small town so my needs would differ from a city person.

  4. Hi, I've been using the old GERMAN FF-OB/ZB field telephones with a USMC/USA Tactical swtichboard SB-22a/pt works great!

  5. from an old 36kilo here I will say that you can use your ta312 without batteries by talking into the ear piece instead.

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