The BC-611, or SCR-536, are two of the names/numbers for what is often considered THE FIRST of modern hand held, self-contained, "handie talkie" two-way radios. It came about for use in WW II in 1942, designed by Galvin Mfg., which became the famous police radio maker Motorola. It was the first true hand-held unit to see widespread use.
The term "walkie talkie" was actually first applied to various back-pack carried radios, some weighing in at 38 lbs (see SCR-300)! Both the handheld BC-611 and the backpack SCR-300 are seen in many WW II or Korean War movies, though the two would not operate with each other.
The BC-611 was a 5-tube transceiver that operated in the low shortwave frequency range of 3.5 to 6.0 MHz, AM mode (like a CB radio), on only one pre-set channel of 50 possible crystal controlled channels. Output power was about 360 mW (0.36 Watt) and worked up to about 1 mile over land. They could work about 3 miles from the beach to ships offshore for calling Naval Gunfire support. The BC-611 weighed about 4.65 lbs. with the batteries! This model was very square and boxy looking, with separate earpiece and microphone that protruded from the case, looking very much like an oversized, straight, two-handed, old telephone handset. A later, smaller, "rounded edge" (without protruding ear or mouth pieces) update, the PRC-6 "Banana", was on VHF and not compatible with the BC-611.
One unique feature of the BC-611 was that the antenna itself was used to turn it ON when it was pulled up to use it, and the radio was turned OFF when the antenna was pushed all the way down. A cap on top of the radio (often seen as a second tall piece on top) was used to screw down over the antenna for storage. This ensured the antenna stayed down, keeping the radio from accidentally draining the batteries.
This information was summarized from multiple internet information websites.
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