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The Clandestine Radio Operators Paperback – May, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Histoire and Collections (May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 2352501830
  • ISBN-13: 978-2352501831
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 8.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,140,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Davis on May 28, 2012
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As a stealth amateur radio operator, I was thrilled to purchase a copy of this great book. I had seen other books on the subject matter and on nearly every aspect of World War II but this was the book I thought I was searching for. It compliments another book I own entitled, " Wireless for the Warrior", vol.4 (UK) that chronicles the history of clandestine radio communication equipment.

I recently purchased the book, "Spy Princess" which chronicles the life and 12-week SOE clandestine wireless operator career of Moor Inayat Khan. From that book I learned EXACTLY how clandestine radio operators deployed their simple end-fed antenna system. They were taught to simply connect one end of the aerial to the transmitter, toss the other end out of a window and attach it to a tree (pp.141-2). Unfortunately, the book "Clandestine Radio Operators" focuses more on the technical details of the transceiver than on the clandestine tactics employed by the SOE agents in the field.

The book is well written but says little of the clandestine lives of the agent radio operators: I wanted to see how "pianists" (code name for clandestine radio operators) set up their equipment and how they managed to erect and conceal the necessary outdoor end-fed antennas from the Nazis. The book offers generic details and photos of WWII clandestine transceivers as well as "pianists" training and deployed in the field without offering technical information on the "pianists" actually hid and used their equipment. Overall though, a great book.
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During World War II the use of clandestine radios for agent communications was widespread. Literally hundreds of agent network circuits were operating during the war. On both sides the clandestine signal operations, plans (call signs, frequencies, and times of transmissions) and procedures used by agents were for the most part of the utmost simplicity, especially compared to modern military communications. Generally four types of agent radio operators can be distinguished during operations in WW II, those who operated in metropolitan areas in concert with well-organized underground organizations; those who operated as singletons in cities; those who were with the guerrilla groups; and those who worked as singletons in isolated rural areas. For the Allies most of these agents came from the American Office of Strategic Services (forerunner to the CIA) and the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), as well as other Allied covert forces like the Long-Range Desert Group, Special Air Service, Commandos, Rangers and Alamo Scouts. This book covers the selection and training of agents as radio operators; code procedures and encryption techniques; mission and operation highlights; with the majority of the book covering technical date and radio sets manufactured by the Americans, British and Polish for special warfare. This book is profusely packed with B&W and color photography on every page with a vast majority never appearing before. This is very good niche book on the form of secret warfare. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in pirate radio operations, HAM radio/amateur radio enthusiast, covert communications, cryptology and special operations will find this book very interesting.
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This book is mostly old photos from WWII showing low power radio equipment, operators and the conditions under which they operated behind enemy lines. The captions and short commentary contain many typos or translation errors but the sense of urgency, danger, and inventiveness still comes through. This book can not be skimmed lightly, one must take the time to place one self into each photo setting and try to be there and feel the reality. Given this level of effort, this book effected me deeply. I learned a lot about the simple equipment, the high risks and the bravery of these men and women who provided critical intelligence back to war planners at great sacrifice. I would give it five stars if the editing was better.
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It shows the beginnings of what we, Ham Radio Operators, now call QRP (low power radio communications).

Beautiful clear and big macro photos, both Black and White and Color, shows the equipment developed by the British, the North Americans and also the Polish in exile. This radios were the very first QRP radios in history.
This radio units were parachute dropped on occupied territories for the various resistance groups (like the famous Paraset Whaddon MK-VII radio)and, in the majority of cases, the British trained clandestine specialist radio operator was also infiltrated into enemy occupied territory by air, sea or land together with his/her equipment.
General information about equipment is provided, examples of radio codes given, covert operation procedures briefly revealed and more.
It does not get into detailed information like how they deployed their antennas or detailed operation of the different models or how they managed to hide their radios but you get an idea.
The book provides, with brief examples, how difficult life and operations was for the SOE and OSS agents/radio operators in order to relay the required information to England.
Life expectancy of this radio operators was very short and their very high mortality rate is explained.
Advanced Direction Finding network and procedures used or deployed by the enemy to detect the clandestine radio transmitters is also described.
Under such difficult and life threatening conditions, this radio operators managed to send their messages using so basic and sometimes difficult to use equipment.

This is a "must have" book. It is a historic and pictorial document to add to your basic HAM Radio collection.
If you are a QRPer, then you have no excuse for not having it.
Last but not least, this book is a tribute to all those unsung heroes of the war...
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