Dec 202015

Back in 2009, I posted about a demilitarized KY-38 NESTOR voice encryption device. Since then, I’ve procured another one. Like the first one, it has been demilitarized (that is, rendered inoperable and unclassified) by removal of key internal components, removal of the original dataplate, and (for some reason I don’t understand) removal of the battery box. But unlike the first one, this one came with a 28″ cable to plug it into the AN/PRC-77 radio, and a matching transit case! There was even an old trouble ticket lost under the padding, though it was for a different unit based on the serial number.

Here are a bunch of pictures of it. Note that as pictured, I think the unit is upside-down in the transit case, and it sits way too low in the case with its battery box missing.


  3 Responses to “Another KY-38 NESTOR Voice Encryption Device (Demilitarized)”

  1. Haven’t seen one of these in a long time. Can’t tell you how many I repaired in my 20 yrs.
    The biggest problem with them wasn’t the 38 itself. It was the keypunch. It was plastic with the pins nestled in small notches in the punch. Peeps wouldn’t slide the cover back on before punching, so the various plates in the punch would open up and the pins would tear out the notches.
    The reason you won’t hear it work, is because of the missing boards. I can’t tell you what they are or how they work but suffice to say this unit won’t work without them.
    The battery box, you can see, is bigger than the 77’s. That is because the 4386’s went in sideways. 2x Ba-4386’s. In the field, this setup was a real pain to carry. Plus spare batteries? Yeah! Wouldn’t fit the Alice pack vary good either as the Alice radio pouch didn’t allow for the 38. And for some reason, beyond my comprehension, it was always the smallest guy in the patrol that got to carry the thing.
    I’m in the process of putting a AN/GRC-87 together, and loving it.
    73’s and Semper Fidelis,
    Russell Ross
    SSGT USMC (Ret)
    1968-88 (91)

  2. Enjoyed your site.

    As an 05C/COMSEC clerk for a Germany-based SP 155mm (nuclear-capable) FA Bn. in the late 1970s, the bulky, Vietnam-era KY-38s–that poor RTO dogface humping the jungle with his
    PRC-77 attached to “that”!–that secured the VRC-12 series of radios in my Bn., were supplanted by the VINSON KY-57. Those crypto hand-me-downs were listed in my Guard unit’s
    TO&E until the early 1980s, when Pres. Reagan’s defense budget increases took root.

    Richard Laird, 65
    SSG USAR (Ret.)
    Brookline, MA

    BTW: Grew up in Atascadero, CA

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