(c) 1999,2024 Peter McCollum

References, Bibliography and Miscellaneous Information


Book Review - "Spycraft"

Spycraft: the secret history of the CIA's spytechs from communism to Al-Qaeda, by Robert Wallace and H. Keith Melton (see reference [29], below). The book is 548 pages in total, including 6 appendixes, a glossary, 42 pages of footnotes, 8 pages of bibliography, and 12 pages of index. An interesting and easy-to-read history of TSD and OTS. If this book were to be compared to "Wizards of Langley" (by Richelson), then "Spycraft" is much more readable to the general public, with more emphasis on "cool gadgets" and such. Highly recommended.

As for radio gear, there is a picture and discussion about the SRR-100 receiver, and many mentions of the SRT-3 transmitter (successor to the ST-2A that is featured in the "Bugging Devices" section of these web pages). There is also a mention of the RS-6 set. In chapter 10 is a very interesting description of a device called BUSTER from the 1970's - a pocket-sized short-range xcvr with built-in burst transmission and reception, a single-digit display, and a tiny keypad. The user would key in the message in advance, then move to within range of the receiver, and press the Send button. The message was sent within 5 seconds, and a short acknowledgement received.

The SRR-100 is another interesting device that I had not seen before. It measures about 3/4 X 2.5 X 3.5 inches. Its purpose is to hear the transmissions of a nearby KGB surveillance team, so that the wearer would know that they were targeted, and to gather intel about how the teams worked. The receiving antenna is a loop of wire, big enough to fit over your head (and under your clothing). The antenna also acts as an inductive *transmitting* antenna, to send the audio signal to your earpiece (only a few inches away). The book explains how in the 1970's, you could not wear "earphones" without drawing attention. So the inductive link was a way for you to hear a signal without appearing to be wearing any electronic gear. The wireless earpiece was custom-molded for the wearer's ear, so that only a very close inspection would detect it.


References, Bibliography and recommended reading

Some of these publications are referred to by number in the text of this collection of web pages.

[1] Melton, H. Keith, Ultimate Spy, DK Publishing, NY NY, 2002, ISBN 0-7894-8972-4. A sort of 'coffee-table book', with many high-quality color photos of spy equipment from many countries (including some radios), profiles of famous spies, historical anecdotes, etc. This is far and away the best book of its type.

[2] Melton, H. Keith, The Ultimate Spy Book, DK Publishing, NY NY, 1996, ISBN 0-7894-0443-5. The earlier edition of the book in [1]. Has 32 fewer pages (much of the added info in [1] relates to East Germany).

[3] Melton, H. Keith, OSS Special Weapons & Equipment: Spy Devices of WWII, Sterling Publishing Co. Inc., NY, 1991, ISBN 0-8069-8238-1. A sort of 'catalog' of OSS hardware, including radios such as the SSTR-1.

[4] Melton, H. Keith, CIA Special Weapons & Equipment: Spy Devices of the Cold War, Sterling Publishing Co. Inc., NY, 1993, ISBN 0-8069-8732-4. As [3] above, but for CIA equipment. Includes the RS-1, RS-6, RS-8, GRA-71, etc.

[5] Roosevelt, Kermit, War Report of the OSS , originally prepared by the History Project, Strategic Services Unit, Office of the Assistant Secretary of War, War Department, Washington D.C., 1947, commercially published by Walker and Company, New York, 1976, ISBN 0-8027-0529-4. This is the official history of the OSS and it's activities, and was originally Top Secret, but was declassified in 1976. Several pages discuss radio equipment (such as the SSTR-1 and Joan-Eleanor) and the Communications Branch of the OSS.

[6] Bergen, John D., Military Communications, A Test For Technology, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1986. The story of military communications during the Viet Nam conflict.

[7] Sibley, Ludwell, Tube Lore, 1996, ISBN 0-9654683-0-5. Detailed historical and technical information on vacuum tubes.

[8] Ranelagh, John, The Agency: the Rise and Decline of the CIA, Simon & Schuster, NY, 1986, ISBN 0-671-44318-6. A competent history of the CIA.

[9] McLean, Donald B., The Plumber's Kitchen, the secret story of American spy weapons, Normount Technical Publications, Wickenburg, AZ, 1975, ISBN 0-87947-203-0. Also published as The Spy's Workshop, America's Clandestine Weapons, Paladin Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1989, ISBN 0-87364-512-X. Similar to Keith Melton's "Special Weapons and Equipment" books, but with fewer pictures and more text. Items are referred to by their cryptic code names, so it is necessary to browse the entire book to discover which items refer to radio equipment, etc.

[10] Minnery, John, The CIA Catalog of Clandestine Weapons, Tools, and Gadgets , Barricade Books, Fort Lee, NJ, 1990, ISBN 0-942637-69-0. No radio equipment, but includes pictures and descriptions not found in other books mentioned here.

[11] Quirk, John P., The Central Intelligence Agency, A Photographic History , Foreign Intelligence Press, Guilford, CT, 1986, ISBN 0-89568-500-0. A coffee-table book about the history and activities of the CIA. The book names as advisors or consultants several respected intelligence experts, such as Ray S. Cline, David Atlee Phillips, and Thomas F. Troy.

[12] Warner, Michael, Dr., International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Volume 11, No. 2, Summer 1998, "The CIA's Office of Policy Coordination: From NSC 10/2 to NSC 68", Taylor & Francis, Philadelphia, PA.

[13] Moses, Morris, and Wade, John, Spycamera, The Minox Story , Hove Collectors Books, 1998, ISBN 1-874707-28-6. A history and reference book about the Minox camera series.

[14] Lloyd, Mark, The Guinness Book of Espionage , Da Capo Press, New York, 1994, ISBN 0-306-80584-7. Interesting general espionage topics and history, with a British leaning.

[15] Headquarters Eighth Air Force, Emergency Rescue Manual 64-1, Survival on the Ice Cap, Cold Seas, Sea Ice of the Northeast Area, 15 September 1959. A SAC manual that mentions the RS-6 set.

[16] Richelson, Jeffrey T., The Wizards of Langley, Westview Press, Boulder, CO, 2001, ISBN 0-8133-6699-2. A history of the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology. As with all of Richelson's books, there is an exhaustive index, bibliography, and footnotes.

[17] Richelson, Jeffrey T., A Century of Spies, Oxford University Press, NY, 1995, ISBN 0-19-507391-6. Subtitled "Intelligence in the Twentieth Century". An excellent general treatment of 20th-century espionage. Nearly 1/5 of the book is references and index.

[18] Karlow, S. Peter, Targeted by the CIA, Turner Publishing Co., Paducah, KY, 2001, ISBN 1-56311-653-7. This book is an interesting memoir of a former OSS and CIA officer. Don't be put off by the title – this is not primarily about Mr. Karlow's unfortunate mistreatment by the Agency during the "Mole Hunt" years.

[19] Stockwell, John, In Search of Enemies: A CIA Story, Norton, 1978.

[20] Federal Logistics Data on Compact Disk (Fedlog), 1995.

[21] Wade, Leigh, Tan Phu, Special Forces Team A-23 In Combat.

[23] Experiences related by Bob Olsen, William L. Howard, Jeffrey Leopard, Bob McCord, Oscar D. McCollum Jr., John Liner, and others.

[24] FM 31-20, Special Forces Operation Techniques, Dec. 1965. Chapter 9 discusses the use of the GRC-109 with indoor and outdoor antennas.

[25] Marchetti, Victor, and Marks, John, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, Alfred A. Knopf, NY, 1974, ISBN 0-394-48239. The first important "expose'" book about the CIA, written by a disgruntled former employee. Apparently the CIA took the authors to court over certain content that was eventually removed. For those parts that were removed, the authors left an equal amount of white space in the text.

[26] Haavind, Robert (editor), Electronic Design, August 2, 1966, "Electronics needed for guerrilla warfare". Subtitle: "Green Berets spell out their Vietnam equipment problems and tell what they would like to see designed for the future.". The article includes interviews with eight Special Forces officers. Discussions mention the GRC-109, HT-1, TR-20, Hughes HC-162D, Arvin 63CRA11, PRC-10, PRC-25, KWM-2A, FRC-93, PRC-74, PRC-70, T-368, GRA-71, and PRC-64.

[27] Conboy, Kenneth, and Andrade, Dale, Spies and Commandos, How America Lost the Secret War in North Vietnam, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, 2000, ISBN 0-7006-1002-2. Mentions the RS-1 and Delco 5300 sets several times.

[28] Brunner, John W. Ph.D., OSS Weapons, Second Edition, Phillips Publications, Williamstown, NJ, 2005, ISBN 0-932572-43-X. Extensive info about all sorts of OSS weapons, gadgets, and other personal equipment. The text names specific locations in National Archives records, where much of the detailed technical info appears to have been found, including such facts as OSS contract numbers and dates. The communications section of the book includes several Archives photos of variations of the SSTR-1 set. Includes a good index and bibliography. See http://www.johnbrunnerbooks.com/ .

[29] Wallace, Robert, and Melton, H. Keith, with Schlesinger, Henry R., Spycraft: the secret history of the CIA's spytechs from communism to Al-Qaeda, Dutton, Penguin Group, NY, NY, 2008, ISBN 978-0-525-94980-0. An easy-to-read history of TSD and OTS, with many interesting stories related to the development of tradecraft technology. See the review at the top of this page.

[30] Peirce, Stanley D., Technical Report No. 67-01, Radio Set AN/PRC-64, Development and Test Program Final Report, U.S. Army Limited War Laboratory, April 1967.

[31] Army Concept Team in Vietnam (ACTIV), Radio Set AN/PRC-64, Final Report, 15 May 1965.

 Listing of referenced declassified documents found on the CIA's FOIA site ( http://www.foia.cia.gov/ ):

[ref 100] AECHAMP VOL.1_0024

[ref 101] AECHAMP VOL.2_0041

[ref 102] AEDEPOT VOL.1_0012

[ref 103] AEDEPOT VOL.1_0029

[ref 104] AEQUOR VOL.1_0014

[ref 105] AEQUOR VOL.1_0032

[ref 106] AERODYNAMIC VOL.1_0002

[ref 107] AERODYNAMIC VOL.1_0003


[ref 109] AERODYNAMIC VOL.1_0118




[ref 113] AESAURUS AENOBLE VOL.2_0002

[ref 114] AESAURUS AENOBLE VOL.2_0023

[ref 115] AESAURUS AENOBLE 0001 (vol. 3) (not downloaded)






[ref 121] ICEBERG_0049

[ref 122] ICEBERG_0071

[ref 123] ICEBERG_0094

[ref 124] ICEBERG_0096

[ref 125] KIBITZ VOL.2_0013

[ref 126] KOPP, WALTER VOL.1_0065

[ref 127] KOPP, WALTER VOL.2_0034

[ref 128] KORZHAN, MICHAEL VOL.4_0166

[ref 129] LCPROWL VOL.1_0050





[ref 134] OBOPUS BGFIEND VOL.6_0010

[ref 135] OBOPUS BGFIEND VOL.6_0014

[ref 136] OBOPUS BGFIEND VOL.6_0015

[ref 137] OBOPUS BGFIEND VOL.6_0020

[ref 138] OBOPUS BGFIEND VOL.12_0030


[ref 140] PASTIME VOL.1_0086

[ref 141] PASTIME VOL.1_0087

[ref 142] PASTIME VOL.2_0065

[ref 143] PASTIME VOL.2_0073

[ref 144] PASTIME VOL.2_0100

[ref 145] SATURN_0004

[ref 146] WORM, ERNST VOL.2_0094

[ref 147] WORM, ERNST VOL.2_0104


Some of the Cryptonyms found in the FOIA documents:



KUCLUB CIA Office of Communications

KUBASS CIA Directorate of Science & Technology

KUDOVE CIA Deputy Director for Operations

KUFIRE CIA Foreign Intelligence Staff

KUTUBE CIA Foreign Intelligence Staff

KUCAGE CIA Psychological and Paramilitary Operations Staff

KUGOWN CIA Psychological and Paramilitary Operations Staff

KUCHAP CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence

KUHOOK CIA Paramilitary Operations Staff

KUJAZZ CIA Office of National Estimates

KUJUMP CIA Contact Division

KUKNOB CIA Office of Scientific Intelligence

KUMONK CIA office of Political Analysis

KURIOT CIA Technical Services Division

MKTOPAZ CIA Technical Services Division

KUCITY CIA Technical Services Division

KUDESK CIA Counterintelligence Center

KUWRAP CIA Counterintelligence Center

KUSODA CIA Center for CIA Security

KUTWIN Office of Strategic Services (OSS)

KUWOLF CIA Political and Psychological Staff

LCFLUTTER polygraph test

CARRIAGE polygraph test

SGSWIRL polygraph test

LIENVOY wiretap or intercept program

LION secret writing system

CENTAUR secret writing system

ODACID U.S. Embassy


HTLINGUAL mail interception

REDSKIN Operations involving legal methods of placing, recruiting, and communicating with agents within the USSR.

REDSOX Operations involving the illegal return of defectors and emigres to USSR as agents.

RYBAT information is very sensitive

STBARNUM, STCIRCUS program for covert action in Tibet

ZIPPER Gehlen Organization


ZIGORT radio operating procedures

BYAMAY, EDJACEM instruction manual

ZIBALT cryptographic system


KIBITZ, CAJUN; PASTIME projects; recuitment & training of commo operators

VULTURE PASTIME project; burial of commo, weapons, and supplies

WRINKLE PASTIME project; recuitment & training of commo operators for Berlin and E. Germany

CABINDA PASTIME project; U.S. officers to remain in Germany to direct activities

CADEAU PASTIME project; caching of commo, weapons, etc., for CABINDA personnel

FOLD PASTIME project; establish safe houses

MISSOURI PASTIME project; safe house for commo training

JACKAL, EQUERRY, LIMBER are OSO base stations


Interview with a CIA Veteran Radio Operator

Following is an interview with Bob Olsen, from a phone conversation in August 1996. Bob was a retired CIA veteran and Signal Corps radio operator. The author met Bob in 1995 at a reunion of people who used to live on Saipan (in the Mariana Islands, near Guam). In the 50's and 60's, Saipan was a CIA training base. Trainees would be flown in from various Asian countries, trained, then sent back to spy on the Communists and other groups that CIA was interested in keeping track of. Among other things, Bob trained recruits in how to use the RS-1 radio set.


P: What do you recall about 'when & where' the RS-1 equipment was used?

B: Well, we used it in the old days, you know, we didn't have satellites in the sky and all that. So when we needed to get information out of a country, we had to find somebody that was willing to go back in and send it out or bring it out, either for nationalistic reasons or for money. I worked with some people from Tibet. These guys couldn't read or write their own language, they had no skills at all, but they were really sharp. I taught them all about 12 WPM of code, and we had to teach them a cryptographic system. Someone else taught them the paramilitary stuff - jumping out of airplanes and all that. So, my job was teaching them communications. In this group [of guys from Tibet], four of them were Buddhist monks, and two traders that used to ride in and out of Nepal on yaks. We've got to train them, then drop them in with the RS-1 gear. We had GN-58 hand-crank generators, and also power supplies to go with the equipment. The hardest thing to teach them was security - how to take care of their cryptographic gear, not get caught, how to not do any operating in a building where they'd be dimming the lights. Basically we taught them to use the GN-58 more [often than the AC power supply]. But security was a hard thing to get across to them, they really just didn't understand that. [Anyway,] these guys all went in and every one of them came up on the air. I was down on Saipan and Taipei waiting for them to come back - they were dropped in from 15,000 feet out of a B-17. But basically, what we used that equipment for was clandestine work - send 'em in with a signal plan and a whole gunnysack full of crystals - they didn't work the same frequency too often. [Note: Bob did not recognize the Army CN-690 adapter cable, so it is likely that they used the large RP-1 power supply, which has provision for the GN-58 to plug into it. The CN-690 was probably introduced with the GRC-109A set in 1961.]

P: Do you recall about what year that would have been?

B: They were dropped in in '57 - the last year I worked with [the RS-1] was '58. People would say they can't learn code, but you have to live with them, day and night. And we did - we actually slept with them in their quarters, and we had an interpreter. But, you don't know if they would get in there and then someone would pay them more money, or they would get killed, or something, and you would never hear from them again. So it got kind of nerve-wracking, you work with somebody for 5 or 6 months, you get attached to them.

P: What years were you on Saipan?

B: [From about] 1953 and '54, and we left in '58.

P: You had mentioned to me last year that you had to modify crystals and such?

B: Yeah, we had the little [FT-243 crystals], and we'd take them apart and etch them. You could also grind them on a plate of glass with jeweler's rouge, and if you get them too high, you could bring them down a little bit with a little India ink. I did a lot of that - had to get a lot of crystals ready for a run.

P: So somebody else would decide what frequencies would be used?

B: Well, we had an operations man in the Commo group, and he'd come up with a signal plan: when he [the agent] would come up [on the air], and how often, and what frequency. We didn't want him to sit on one frequency.

P: Do you remember any maintenance problems with the RS-1, or things that were unreliable?

B: No, I don't. You know, the fact that we dropped those things out of airplanes, and everything else, and still had 'em work, it speaks pretty good for 'em. I used the RS-1 on several training missions - they were the old staple.

P: Did you use the key that's on top of the transmitter [RT-3], or did you send a separate key with it?

B: No, we used the key on top of it. We had no frills on it - we taught 'em to tune it up and use the GN-58 or the power supply.

P: Did you ever work with any aircraft radio gear?

B: I was a CW operator all through WWII for the Air Force in India. The first good radio that came out was called an ART-13 Collins 10-channel. After WWII, in Korea, we still had them laying in a motor pool. I was a Commo sergeant in a signal company. This stuff was all laying in a motor pool - the [SCR-]399 with a BC-610. I'd go down to the motor pool with a fifth of whiskey and I could get a whole truck load of stuff. I was trained in aircraft [radio equipment] maintenance at Scott Field, Illinois, but I leaned toward the operating side - I was a high-speed operator. A lot of my friends at CIA where old-timers from OSS; although I wasn't with them until the latter part of the Korean war. The ol' CIA was a good outfit. There are bums in everything, but most everybody was trying to do a good job. I think as a whole we did. We pulled off some pretty cagey deals, but that's the only way we could do it in those days. So, I take it with a grain of salt when I hear these reporters bad-mouth the thing, you know? When I was on Saipan, I was basically involved in training, although I did install a big monitoring setup there, with two 10 KW Collins 10-channel transmitters, and three hundred-foot towers. I got hooked into that - I'm basically not an engineer, but the engineer they had his time was up, so sure enough, the Chief of Station says "you're it". I *worked*, trying to dig footings for 100-foot towers through the coral. Old Ely Popovich was an old WWII man that they dropped into Yugoslavia - he was a demolitions expert. I finally ended up with him coming out there with black powder, and blowing footings for all my towers and guys.

P: What kind of receiving equipment was on Saipan as part of that station?

B: We had SP-600's, and Collins 51-J's. And we had some of those old 542's that come out of the 399 units. I was in Tokyo when the Korean war broke out, and I got the first SP-600 that was built. The old Chief Signal Officer, he was a Major-General, he got 'em for me. Every time MacArthur flew, I maintained solid communications with him. Everywhere he went, I worked him -when he went down to Wake and got fired, worked him when he was going home, and the guy that come over to settle the peace treaty, and they passed each other in mid-air. They couldn't work each other, so I sat there and relayed between the two airplanes for about two hours. CIA picked me up the last year I was in Tokyo, and I worked out of Yokosuka with them. I met an old guy there, Admiral Ueda [or Wada?], he was a communications officer for the Japanese Navy. He was in Washington when MacArthur was a 2nd Lieutenant - that's how old he was. I used to do a lot of procurement for the outfit. We'd go on these trips to different electronic firms, trying to buy stuff. One of them was a clandestine radio [Don't know which model Bob was referring to here - he told me that there were reliability problems with it], and batteries - we were trying to get batteries that weren't ages old. In the Signal Corps, the batteries had been sitting on a shelf for 6 or 7 years, and you'd have to take a wheelbarrow-full of batteries to operate an SCR-300. So, we got to talking [Bob and Admiral Ueda], and he had a son that was the same age as me who was killed in a Japanese submarine. But, he was retired when the war broke out, and they called him back in. He was an interesting old guy - I learned a lot from him - I learned to respect the Japanese.


Equipment Repair Notes

This section details some repairs that were required on equipment in the author's collection, in case this information might be helpful to others.

One RR-2B had a bad contact in the xtal socket, which prevented the VFO from working (there's a contact that's supposed to short out when the crystal is removed - this one didn't). It was fixed by jumpering a wire under the panel (this prevents it from working with a crystal, but the VFO now works).

There is a common problem with many RR-2B's/R-1004's: the tuning shaft 'binds' with each revolution. This is the cause: The tuning knob mounts on a short shaft in the front panel. This shaft connects to the tuning cap via a shaft-coupler. However, the coupler is a poor design, and the cap is often not perfectly aligned with the front panel's shaft, so the coupler is supposed to take up the slack. The RR-2B mentioned above had screws missing because someone had 'floated' the cap by loosening/removing screws. So, the cap would wobble as the knob was turned. Also, the original coupler looked like it been broken and repaired. It was replaced with a better one, but that didn't fix the binding problem. So, the position of the cap was shifted slightly so that it would line up with the shaft better. The screws were tightened on the shaft end of the cap, and the far end of the cap was left 'floating' (the screws don't line up with the holes anymore). This makes the tuning feel pretty good, and the cap doesn't wobble anymore.

An R-1004A was running full volume all the time (gain control had no effect). The cause was that the gain pot had been twisted hard enough that one contact shorted out against the chassis. This one also had the binding problem, but it's not too bad, so it was left alone.

A PP-2684 (#463) had low H.V. output, and two of the selenium rectifiers were overheating. Cause was a short from a solder lug to the front panel - the lug is part of the 10-pin connector that mates the front panel to the chassis. Two of the seleniums were damaged, so replaced all four with 1N4007's, plus added a 100 ohm 10 watt resistor in the "-" leg of the full-wave bridge. With the 100 ohm resistor, the xmtr B+ with a 4500-ohm load is a little low on the 130 volt setting, and a little high on the 110 volt setting. This was measured without loading any of the other outputs.

An RR-2 (#3486) had a broken diode VR1.

An RT-3 had a broken air-variable cap. It was epoxied together, and works fine.

A T-784 worked on all bands except band 1 – no oscillator output at all on that band. I found that the bottom end of coil L2 was not connected. The wire was broken inside a length of spaghetti tubing where it couldn't be seen. On band 1, this prevented the oscillator tube from getting any B+.