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Got a Smoke?

From time-to-time, this blog feature will present its readers with information related to more-or-less random pieces of equipment. This “series” of blogs generally will focus on Radios, but may on occasion venture into other equipments and apparatus. This blog features the Sub-Miniature Cigarette Case Radio. This radio was a product of the search for alternatives to the larger radios then in use (ca 1954).

The Sub-Miniature Cigarette Case Radio weighed an astounding 12 ounces and was about the size of a “king-size package of cigarettes” according a report generated by CECOM predecessor ECOM. The report dated 1974 also notes that considering the stage of development of electronics in the mid-1950s, development of a transceiver of the size and weight of the Sub-Miniature Cigarette Case Radio was “indeed incredible.”

User holding sub-miniature radio

User holding sub-miniature radio

There were drawbacks too. One was limitations associated with range as indicted by operational tests this radio. These tests indicated that the Sub-Miniature Cigarette Case Radio did not meet military needs. The radio was only reliable in the 50 mc range at 200 yards over average rolling terrain. According to this same report, the electronics as used in this radio had not yet advanced to a stage where they could be used in a military radio; also, testing indicated problems with frequency stability.

Most of the information to prepare this blog comes from Curtis, Marvin W., ECOM-4451, “History of the Squad Radio”, November 1976. This report and other communications-related documents and photographs are available for review at the CECOM Historical Office. The Historical Office is located at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Contact us via our Web-based contact form at for additional information.

This post was written by Floyd Hertweck

Posted in From the Archives.

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