High-speed morse burst encoder
- wanted item
The Speicher was a fully electronic burst encoder
that could send numbers in morse code a very
high speed. It was developed in the 1970s in Germany, probably by Pfitzner
who had also developed part of the
SP-20 spy radio set.
Speicher was developed for the SP-20
and replaced earlier mechanical burst encoders, such as the NATO-issued
and the American AN/GRA-71.
In the Netherlands, it was also used in combination with the earlier
SP-15 spy radio set.
Speicher is the German word for Memory, which perfectly
describes its function. The unit is housed in a grey case that is similar
to the cases of the SP-20 spy radio set.
It is powered by an internal battery that can be recharged
by a built-in power supply unit directly from the mains.
At the right of the front panel are the
sockets for the transmitter (key output) and the 110V or 220V AC mains.
At the left is a recessed MODE selector and two push buttons,
marked START and CALL. The MODE selector has four settings:
OFF, REC, SBY (standby) and PLB (play-back).
At the top is a small recessed keypad
with 12 buttons. Ten of these
are for the numbers (0-9) and the two remaining ones are marked
G and F. Just above the keypad is a small window with five red LEDs
that are used for counting the number of characters in a five-letter group.
The Speicher was probably developed only for the (grey) stay-behind
version of the SP-20 and was to be used instead of the earlier mechanical
RT-3 burst encoder. It has not been found with the
(green) military version of the SP-20. Evidence of the use of Speicher
in combination with the SP-15 spy set was
found in The Netherlands, where it turned up in the only known surviving
SP-15 Stay-Behind container.
This container is now in the collection of Museum Jan Corver .
In the early 1980s, the Speicher was replaced by the more versatile
MMP burst encoder. It was capable of sending both
letters and numbers in morse code at a variety of speeds, ranging
from 15 baud to an impressive 1200 baud. Some Speicher encoders
remained in service however.
When preparing a transmission, the text first had to be translated
into numbers, as the Speicher is not capable of sending letters.
The MODE selector was then placed in the record position (REC) and
the START button was pressed to place the memory counter at the beginning
The numbers are then entered in groups of five that are separated by
a Group Space by pressing the (G) button. The five LEDs behind
the window on top of the unit are used to count the number of characters
in a group. When all five LEDs are lit, the G-button has to be pressed.
This inserts a pause and clears the LEDs.
Once the message is complete, the F-button is pressed (Finish).
The Speicher should now be connected to the transmitter by means of
a special cable that is inserted into the green
socket at the front right. The cable shown here was issued for the
SP-15 spy radio set. The MODE selector should
then be place in the play-back position (PLB) after which the START
button is pressed. Once the burst transmission has finished, the transmitter
should be turned off again and the MODE selector of the Speicher is set to OFF.
This clears the memory.
At present we have no further information about the Speicher and
its capabilities. If you know more about this device, or if you have
documentation about it, please contact us.
Crypto Museum is still looking for a Speicher for our collection.
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© Copyright 2009-2013, Paul Reuvers & Marc Simons. Last changed: Saturday, 21 June 2014 - 08:55 CET