Fitting Radio Equipment to a WW2 Jeep

 

This is a basic article with basic hints on locating & fitting radio equipment to a WW2 Jeep, it is by no means covers every possible combination, what I attempted to achieve when I set out to do all this is to have genuine WW2 U.S. manufactured equipment fitted to my Jeep.

 

The first thing I would recommend is to do your research (or contact me) & to get hold of a copy of TM 11-2715 aka “Installation of Radio Equipment in Truck, ¼ Ton 4x4” or more commonly known as the Jeep. If you don’t (highly likely) have an original copy of this manual then re-prints are available, I got my re-print from a guy in the U.S, this manual covers every conceivable type of radio equipment which could be fitted to one of these vehicles.

 

Step 1 is to decide what type of equipment you wish to fit & then set about obtaining it, the most common radio/s fitted to these vehicles is the BC-620 (SCR-510) or the BC-659 (SCR 610). These radios were also used by ground units with a battery case in place of the power supply & it is possible some vehicles were fitted in this way.

 

You will also need the mount or the FT-250 & when purchased as a “kit” includes the legs FT-419 & FT-420 & all the bolts. I purchased this from a guy in Alabama who reproduces these & a range of other mounts, He claims accuracy to 000.1 & his work is superb, this is the best option as original mounts sell for staggering money.

 

Jeeps from mid 1943 (I think) had the junction box (next to the passenger seat) fitted at the factory & the earlier ones mostly had the power cable from the power supply run direct to the battery. The manual contains the diagrams showing these options.


The idea of the junction box was to provide a power source from a central point where a variety of equipment could get its required power.

 

radio box

 

Radio Junction Box

 

My Jeep being a 1942 did not have this box but it had been fitted at some stage as it had 3 of the 4 holes as well as the (crudely) drilled hole in the floor to run the power cable to the starter switch.


jeep radio 2

 

Fitting the equipment

 

So once you have the items together it is time to start fitting it all, starting with the mount. the Technical Manual has a drawing showing all the measurements where the holes for the mount goes, the best way is to simply follow the instructions which come with the mount as he has simply put what the manual complicates.

 

The only advice here is to measure & line it up & make sure everything is where it should be before you start drilling.
Measure twice & drill once is a good thought to keep in the forefront of your mind.

 

Also make sure you check underneath before you start to ensure you don’t drill through your wiring, I was lucky here as my Jeep had some of these holes in the correct locations although they had been plugged, proving in my mind that it really did have some sort of radio equipment fitted a some stage.


Jeep Radio 4
Mount being test fitted

 

There are two ways to run the power cables, first method is from the power supply to the junction box or straight to your battery which is shown in the manual mentioned above.

 

As mentioned above early jeeps did not have the junction box installed, later models had it installed, so this may simplify your choice.

 

Radio 5 Radio 6 Radio 7
     


 

 

If you are running the cable from the power supply straight to the battery then you need a hole in the floor & the manual mentions an Appleton connector.


Radio 8
Appleton connector

 

Basically this is a multi piece device which secures & insulates the cable; it also allows some movement without damaging any of the cables.
In fact if you look at the junction box you will see a number of round depressions around the sides, the idea is you knock or punch these out for the Appleton connectors to take any additional cables you intend on running, the box should have enough holes already for what I am trying to describe here.

 

If you are going to run the power cable to the junction box you need what I would call “P” clips to secure the power cable, The fitting of these requires more holes in the floor of your Jeep, the Tech manual is a great help here, I decided not to do this & utilise the bolts on the machine gun mount, the clips I made myself out of Aluminium.


Radio 9
Power cable secured utilising bolts on Machine Gun Mount.

 

Sourcing this equipment

 

Finding this equipment can be frustrating & expensive, I would suggest trolling through eBay & it will appear there eventually but this can be an expensive option but on another note there are also bargains to be had.

 

Radio 10


Rear view showing the MP-50, with the MP-48 base covered by the BG-108 cover, note the location of the MP-50 on the corner is not correct for WW2 configuration, the MP-50 should be side mounted with a Brush Guard FT-417. This will be corrected on my Jeep this Xmas.

 

Another way is to advertise on the G503 site & hope you get a response; I have had success picking up a few of the smaller hard to find pieces.

Another option is to locate the similar post war French made sets, which were made in France under license, reproduction data plates which replace the French ones are easily available, but be aware postage out of much of Europe makes the postage out of the United States at times look cheap.

Reproduction Antenna bases, the mounting bracket & MP-50 mounts are available from Marathon, I am unsure if they sell the antenna sections.

 

As I mentioned postage on these items is expensive, if you happen to know someone importing a vehicle from the U.S. see if you can add your items, if not there is no cheap option, but I believe this equipment properly fitted adds value to you vehicle & it looks great too.

With our dollar on the rise again against the greenback & you are interested in having this equipment, keep an eye on the money market & start looking for the items you need.


As demand increases for this equipment & the scarcity of it in Australia you will always get your money back if you decide sell it.

 

BC-659 fitted
Radio 11 Radio 12 Radio 13



Rear view showing the antenna cable, the knurled top you see is to attach another type of antenna (AN-29-C) when these radios were used in a non vehicle mounted role. I have this antenna on the way & it is stowed on top of the radio. In the background strapped to the bows you will see the BG-56-A which holds the “MS” antenna sections.

 

Accessories

 

There are a number of other items that are needed if you are going all the way with this, They include microphones, headsets, canvas covers for the radio & antenna base, clamps for the antenna sections etc.

 

Finally be aware of potential issues that hooking up vintage electronics to your Jeep may highlight also if your equipment happens to work you need to be aware that transmitting on some of the frequencies may breach Federal laws.

 

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