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The Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya 1957

The Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya

Chapter XVI


1. This chapter gives patrol commanders basic information about wireless communications in Malaya, and some simple rules when establishing communications in the jungle.

2. A more detailed outline of current techniques phrased in simple language will be found in the pamphlet “Some Notes on Wireless in Malaya” which was produced by the CSO Malaya and is issued to all units in Malaya. Further copies can be obtained from G (Trg) HQ 17 GURKHA Div/OCLF. If the best results are to be obtained by the signal platoons it is essential that the pamphlet is thoroughly studied by all regimental Signals Officers and NCOs.

3. The necessity for silence in the efficient conduct of operations in the jungle militates against the use of “Voice” over patrol wireless sets. Morse telegraphy is both silent in operation and often much more effective under the difficult wireless conditions in Malaya. It is therefore essential that the maximum number of signalers know the morse code at a speed of not less than eight words per minuite.

4. Communications for Air Support. --- See Chapter XVII, Section 12.


1. Units in Malaya are issued with the following sets:---

(a) WS A 510 or WS 68

(b) WS 62

(c) WS 19

(d) WS 88

(e) Receiver R 209

2. These sets are used as follows

(a) WS A 510. – This is the patrol commanders set and is used to communicate with either battalion or company headquarters dependant on the signal layout. It is an Australian HF set specially designed for jungle operation. It operates on frequencies between 2 and 10 megacycles. It is crystal controlled which simplifies tuning. The receiver and sender, which are separate, fit into two basic pouches and the total weight of the complete station is 20lbs. 9 oz. Its performance is much better than the WS 68T and is for most purposes as good as the WS 62. It can be used for Voice and telegraph transmissions. The dry batteries with which it is powered will last for eight hours under normal conditions.

(b) WS 68T. – The set operates on frequencies between 3 and 5.2 megacycles and can be crystal controlled. It can be carried by one man but is bulky and uncomfortable. Together with his personal kit the operator has to carry a load of some 50-56 lbs. And he should be assisted whenever possible. The set is designed for Voice and Telegraph. It is powered by a dry battery which, suitably conserved, can be made to last about 5 days on patrol.

(c) WS 62. – This is the set for company headquarters. It operates on frequencies between 2 and 8 megacycles and can be crystal controlled. The set is powered by wet batteries which require periodical recharging. This represents no difficulty at company headquarters. Although the set is light, the extra equipment required – batteries, charging engine, petrol, oil, distilled water – makes it unsuitable for patrol work. For deep jungle operations a number of WS62 have been modified for working with dry batteries and may be made available on special authority.

(d) WS 19. - The WS 19 is a heavy, robust set designed to be operated in static positions or vehicle, and is normally used in battalion headquarters or in a scout car. It can be operated for long periods without wandering off frequency or requiring attention. It operates on frequencies between 2 and 8 megacycles and cannot be crystal controlled.

(e) WS 88. – This set is small, light, and easy to operate but can only be used for voice. It is a VHF set operating on 4-set frequencies about 40 megacycles and is therefore not of value for sky-wave working. Possible uses include short range links, convoy control and communication with aircraft. For the latter a WS 88 must be carried in the aircraft.

(f) Receiver R 209. – This is a receiving set only and provided at Battalion HQ as a general purpose receiver. Examples of its use are reception of broadcasts, listening into wireless nets outside the Battalion and identifying interference. It is battery operated and covers frequencies from 1 to 20 megacycles.

Section 2--- AERIALS

1. The standard aerial for infantry wireless sets is a rod, from which is radiated a horizontal or ground wave. Due to the terrain and vegetation in Malaya the ground wave is quickly absorbed or screened, or both.

2. It is therefore necessary to radiate a sky-wave which is reflected back to the distant station from the upper atmosphere. For efficient sky-wave radiation a wire aerial cut to a length proportional to frequency is required. A table of such lengths is at appendix B to this Chapter. The simplest type of sky-wave aerial is in the form of the letter L, with the longer side horizontal and the shorter side making the lead into the set. This is the type of aerial normally erected by the jungle patrol. The following points regarding this aerial must be borne in mind.

(a) The aerial must be of good copper wire.

(b) It must be held clear of vegetation and all other matters by insulators.

(c) Vegetation should where ever possible, be cleared from above and below the aerial (the earth acts like a reflector in a torch)

(d) It must be cut to a length proportional to the frequency in use.

(e) It should be 20-25 feet off the ground.

(f) Directional properties of the aerial are not critical but the required signal will be best received if the length of the aerial is at right angles to the direction of the required station.

3. The method of tuning this type of aerial with the WS 68T is given in appendix A to this Chapter.

4. Wire aerials for the WS A 510 are issued with the set kit. The length is varied by making or breaking connections across insulator chain links. The appropriate connections for different frequencies are printed on the aerial spools.

5. Other types of aerial are described in ‘Notes on Wireless’ and should be studied with a view to their use in special circumstances.

6. By far the most efficient aerial for short range sky-wave working is the JAMAICA. It is not practicable to erect this on patrol but it should be put up at every Battalion and Company Headquarters as it greatly improves the strength of the received signal. This is of considerable importance when patrol sets are perforce poorly sighted and are transmitting a weak signal to their control station. The JAMAICA aerial requires special stores for which separate indent must be made.


1. Due to the large number of units working sky-wave in Malaya it is essential that units only work their allotted frequencies to avoid interference with others. Control sets should therefore be set up accurately on the allotted frequency by Crystal Calibrator or Wavemeter if they are not crystal controlled.

Section 5--- CONCLUSION
1. It is essential that intelligent men are selected for training as infantry company and platoon operators. They should also posses the necessary physique to carry their load for long periods over difficult country. Officers and NCOs should, by example, encourage operators in the use of correct procedure. Faulty procedure delays transmission and occupies time on the air.

2. Success of patrol communication depends, in the first instance on the training of the signallers, secondly, on the preparation and checking of sets and batteries, and thirdly, on intelligent selection of sites by commanders. Once signallers are committed to a jungle operation they will be on their own without technical supervision from their signal officers.

3. Wireless communication in Malaya, although often difficult, is seldom impossible. With though training an operator soon learns to have confidence in his set and his own ability to establish communication under the conditions and over the ranges involved.

Brent Bevan

November 2008.

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