Make your own free website on

Radios and electronics

Arctic Rangers use several different types of communication and electronic equipment in the field. In the information about each radio listed below, the ranges are the maximum range of the radio. The actual range out in the field is usually somewhat lower than this, due to bad terrain (such as hills or mountains in the way), bad weather (such as snowstorms) or bad atmospheric conditions (such as the northern lights). All weights are listed without extra batteries, so the total weight carried is somewhat higher, though extra batteries are usually carried by someone other than the radioman. The battery life listed is for freshly recharged batteries. Much care must be taken with batteries in the winter, since the snow and cold can drain batteries very quickly. It is absolutely essential that you never place your radio or a battery directly in the snow. In the Swedish Army a radio is abbreviated RA, so a radio 180 is abbreviated RA180 and so on.


Radio 135: The RA135 is a radio small enough to fit in a pocket on your combat harness. It has a relatively short range and is used mainly for communication between men of the same team. It is usually carried by one man in each 3-man group.

  Range: 3 km
  Weight: 1 kg
  Frequencies: 6 pre-programmed channels
  Battery life: 15 h
Radio 180: RA180The RA180 is a larger radio that you attach to the frame on your backpack. It has two different types of antenna with varying ranges, and the antennas and other gear are stored in a bag on one side. It is a digital radio with pre- programmed channels. It has a secure mode, in which the radio jumps between various channels very quick (several times per second), which means that the radio is very hard to detect or jam. It also has a special network setting so one radio can relay signals from other nearby radios, forming a network. Such a network can be very large and widespread, permitting a range much larger than for a single radio in standard mode.

  Range: 4-12 km
  Weight: 12 kg
  Frequency: 30-76 MHz (2320 channels)
  Battery life: 10 h
Radio 195: RA195The RA195 is a large radio, somewhat similar to the RA180. It is equipped with a standard antenna, which isn't used very often. Instead, you normally use a dipolar antenna (basically a long wire) that you attach between two trees. The dipolar antenna has a much longer range, but weighs more and takes more time to set up. For this reason you normally set up the dipolar antenna in your main base for the duration of a mission, and use the standard antenna when on patrol or ambush. When equipped with a dipolar antenna, the range of the radio is almost unlimited, since the low frequency waves bounce off the atmosphere. With the right weather conditions, you can send up to several hundred kilometers.

  Range: 10 km (standard antenna)
500 km (dipolar antenna)
  Weight: 20 kg (including dipolar antenna)
  Frequency: 2-30 MHz
  Battery life: 4 h
Phone 390: Phone 390This is wire-based system, consisting of two phones connected with a double signals wire. This may sound primitive, but it is very usefull in your main base. In your main base you generally have a sentry located about 200 meters away, who watches over the incoming trail. From the base to the sentry you drag out the wire, placing it in the snow, and connect the two phones at each end. This is a great way of maintaining contact with the sentry, since it is a two-way system (like an ordinary civilian phone). Each phone has it's own powersupply (the little cylinder shaped box) from 2 AA batteries. The system is very battery efficient and does not emit any radio signals, which is a great advantage compared to radio equipment, since it can not be detected by the enemy.
Text and
There are two systems for sending and recieving text messages, the DART 380 (top) and the KV-DART 301 (bottom). The DART 380 is used with the RA180, and the KV-DART 301 is used with the RA195. The systems are similar, both having a keypad and a display window, weighing around 2 kg each. With these you can type and store text messages, send and recieve messages, as well as encrypt and decipher text. You can also use them for various mathematical calculations. When sending a text message that you have made you can use a special burst function, so the text is sent in less than one second, making it very difficult for the enemy to locate the transmitter. DART 380
Satellite phone: This is a small lap-top sized phone used for satellite communication. It is very easy to use and takes almost no time at all to get operational. It is also very robust - there are rumors of one being run over by a snowmobile and still working. It uses digital communication with an orbital satellite, and is therefor not affected by terrain, weather and atmospheric conditions in the way ordinary radio equipment is. There are currently not very many of these in service, since they are very expensive (wouldn't it be better to scrap the Navy and give all that extra money to us in the Army?).
This is a gasoline powered generator, which uses ordinary gasoline mixed with 2 % oil. The tank holds 1 liter of fuel, which is enough for about 2 hours of continual usage. It weighs 6 kg and makes quite a lot of noise while running. It has two different settings, either 150 W or 300 W. You only use this when in the main base, where you hook it up to a battery charger (see below). A good way of reducing the noise is to dig a small hole in the snow where you place the generator.
Battery charger: You hook this up to the above mentioned generator. It is used to recharge all kinds of batteries, for equipment such as radios and GPS. It weighs around 5 kg, and you only use it in the main base.
GPS: This is a standard hand held GPS (Global Positioning System), used to find your exact location. It is very small and light, weighing around 200 g. It isn't used very often since Arctic Rangers are expert map readers. It is used mainly when travelling in very bad weather, such as heavy fog or snowfall, which make it difficult to find surrounding landmarks for reference. It is also very usefull when calling in indirect fire support from mortars, since it increases the precision.
This is a device that looks a lot like a binoculars, and has a 7X zoom. It uses an invisible laser to meassure distances with very high precision. It can measure distances up to 9995 meters (6 miles) away. It has a function so you can disregard signals bouncing from bushes and other obstacles that are between you and the point of meassurement. It weighs 2 kg and is kept in a small storage case for protection. It is battery powered, and you can make up to 600 measurements before having to change the battery.
Night vision: There are two main types of night vision equipment used by Arctic Rangers, goggles and the SPAN 6. The goggles are the standard type of goggles that you attach to your helmet, and are almost only used when driving vehicles at night. The SPAN 6 is a monocular (for one eye only) system with a 6X zoom. It is used for static work, such as by the sentry at the main base or when performing ambushes at night.

Back to Equipment