Hughes PRC-104 Manpack Radio

I finally picked up a Hughes PRC-104 military manpack radio in excellent working condition with a bunch of extras. I have searched for a military unit for a long time now. Having been with the Naval Reserves and 736th Communication Squadron in Thunder Bay, and being a communicator in both, along with my passion for old gear and portable operations I could not pass this one up.

I have searched for a long time for a rig like this. There are many in the UK being sold but the exchange rate and shipping, plus all the extras needed to buy to get portable just made it not worth it for me. As you have read in past posts portable operation for me are a pleasure. With all my travels up North I find I am always taking my YouKits HB1B MKII with me now and setting up at my locations.

The PRC-104 came with battery pack and charger for the LiPo batteries, loud speaker, speaker/microphone combination, handset, PRC-271 antenna and full Alice Pack with frame and belts. It also came with extra mounting hardware for the pack frame if you wish to take the pack off. I ordered an empty battery case ($16.00) and will make a second 28v pack for the radio. I have also ordered a spare U-229 pigtail connector which will work for my cw/digital connector.

This radio goes back to 1976 and runs about 20 watts on a fresh new battery pack. The receiver is quite good as I was hearing things on the whip antenna outside that I could hear inside on the windom in terrible band conditions this past weekend. I was able to check into our local 80 meter Northwestern Ontario ARES Net on 3.750 Sunday night with my NVIS antenna and got a great audio report and was told I was over the noise level as well. The tuner in this radio seems to tune quite well and is very quick.

I have collected numerous amounts of military gear in the past and old shortwave gear, but portable rigs for me are still what I enjoy, I like being outside in operating conditions versus sitting in the shack. I am awaiting the arrival of the X108 and the TJ5A as well to test these units out for portability. I do not think they come close to the  HB1B MKII for a self contained unit. The battery pack in that rig last a very long time when I am up North on my trips and makes contacts quite well on the cw bands. CW is my niche, and the mode I enjoy operating, so once I get the cable I will operate the PRC-104 on cw and hopefully shoot a small video of it in action.






Fred Lesnick, VE3FAL, is a regular contributor to and writes from Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

3 Responses to “Hughes PRC-104 Manpack Radio”

  • Mark, KF5YDR:

    Looks like a neat little set! Where did you get it and how much did you pay, if you don’t mind my asking?

  • Fred VE3FAL:

    Mark it was on eBay, seen a few come and go but missed out every time.
    Was only the second and only other bidder on it.
    Got the whole shooting match for 1K.
    Have seen them much higher than that in the past.

  • dennis barth:

    I have a prc-104 comeing with battery pack, charger, handset, clean nice radio I paid fourhunded for it. hope it is better then my heavy ru-20, lso I got a prc-74c for 2-hundred, toy. do ypu have a 160m mod? tnx den w7gg

Leave a Comment

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter
News, Opinion, Giveaways & More!

Join over 7,000 subscribers!
We never share your e-mail address.

Also available via RSS feed, Twitter, and Facebook.

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: