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Nokia PARSA (Partiosanomalaite)
Electronic Message Unit

The Partiosanomalaite (PARSA) is a secure portable military Electronic Messaging Unit (EMU) for use with telephone and radio equipment, developed by Nokia (Finland). Messages can be encrypted and decrypted with the built-in crypto system, and are sent via Audio Frequency Shift Keying (AFSK), over standard voice channels. It was also sold by Philips Usfa as the UA-8296.

PARSA is the smaller 'brother' of the Nokia Sanomalaite (SANLA) M/90 originally released in 1983. Together with the Keskussanomalaite (KESANLA) these are part of a complete integrated reconnaissance and command messaging system (Sanomalaitejärestelmä), that is in use by all branches of the Finnish Defence Forces.

The image on the right shows a typical PARSA unit, but it should be noted that there have been many minor manufacturing differences over the years. Especially the keyboard and the metal rigs at the edges may differ.

This particular unit has circular keys that are part of a rubber key pad. It has 33 keys that hold the letters of the alphabet and some special functions. Some keys, e.g. on the upper row, have double or tripple functions. The bottom left key is used to turn the unit on.
  

The Unit has an alphanumeric red LED display with a single row of 16 characters and weights approx. 1 kg. It is powered by 6 AA-size batteries or by an external 10-30 V DC source. It interfaces with voice-grade 150 to 600 baud equipment and has a 200 character transmit (TX) memory. Up to 8 messages can be kept in its 2000 character receive (RX) memory. The terminal is vibration, shock and climate resistand and fully waterproof [1] .

The unit has an automatic software-embedded encryption algorithm. The secret software key can be changed easily. Capture of a terminal cannot jeopardise the security of a current software key in use by other terminals, nor can it compromise security of the system at a future date.
 

 
Philips UA-8296
The small Nokia Parsa was also sold as a re-batched device by Philips Usfa, where it was called US-8296. It was sold alongside the larger UA-8295, which was actually a Nokia SANLA.

The image on the right shows the front cover of the Philips brochure for the UA-8295 and the UA-8296, that was released in 1984 [2]. The front page of the brochure carries the title 'Short Burst Terminals', which is just another name for a Burst Encoder. Click the image to download and view the brochure.

According to the brochure, the unit is intended for short burst messages, in order to minimize the chance of detection. It also states that it uses cryptography for secure communication. Nothing is said however, about the cryptographic strength of the unit.

The UA-8295 and the UA-8296 are also featured as Philips devices in the 1986 editions of Jane's Military Communication catalogue [1]. As far as we know, Philips never produced any burst encoders themselves.
  
Brochure of the Philips UA-8295 and UA-8296. Click here to download.

 
Help required
At present, no further information about this unit is available. If you know more about the use of this unit, or if you have a user manual, please contact us.
 
References
  1. Jane's Military Communication 1986
    Netherlands, Philips Usfa BV, UA 8296 Hand-held Patrol Terminal. p. 445.
    ISBN: 0-7106-0824-1

  2. Philips Usfa BV, UA 8295 and UA 8296 Short Burst Terminals
    8-page full-colour brochure. Document No. 20.0058/E/0984, 1984.

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