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#571131 05/01/14 11:01 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 96
OP Offline
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 96
Hi recently got a WE RIA ringer as part of winning a 4A transmitter on ebay. From the pic I thought it was a electronic ringer- wrong! It weighs several pounds, and the enclosure is sealed with rivets. There is a round 4 prong jack on the bottom; similar to the kind used on some microphones. BSP and Google searches did not find any information. Was wondering if anyone had any info on this? Here is the ebay link for a pic... https://www.ebay.com/itm/251511602705?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649

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Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,290
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,290
It's one of a whole family of conventional telephone products, such as ringers, handsets, 1A2 line cards, etc, that have been adapted to be used in "protected" areas of government facilities to prevent eavesdropping.

In the case of the R1A ringer, it is supposed to be "non-resonant" which I understand to mean that it does not allow a nearby induction-coil type probe or scanner to be able to pick up voices from the line to which the ringer is attached.

I think.

Arthur P. Bloom
"30 years of faithful service...15 years on hold"

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,290
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,290
A friend writes:

You might have trouble finding the BSP since the R1A protective ringer is still listed as approved telephone equipment in CNSS Instruction No. 6 (formerly TSG Standard 6). However, you might find some success if you file a FOIA request. The NTSWG is chartered by the CNSS which in turn seems to at least be administered by the NSA. I would guess they handle their records as well. The CNSS has gone by a few other names in the past but can trace its history back to the USCSB first established in 1953. It was probably the USCSB that approved the R1A ringer since it existed until 1990 when it became the NSTISSC.

CNSS - Committee on National Security Systems
FOIA - Freedom of Information Act
NTSWG - National Telephone Security Working Group
NSTISSC - National Security Telecommunications and Information Systems Security Committee
TSG - Telephone Security Group
USCSB - United States Communications Security Board

Arthur P. Bloom
"30 years of faithful service...15 years on hold"

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,290
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,290

Arthur P. Bloom
"30 years of faithful service...15 years on hold"

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,290
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,290




APO 09154


SUBJECT: Counterintelligence Technical Security Inspection (U)

Commanding Officer

34th Signal Battalion

APO 09154

1. (U) INTRODUCTION: On 10 March 1970, a Counterintelligence Technical

Security Inspection of the following elements of Headquarters, 34th Signal

Battalion, APO 09154, located in Building 1601, Krabbenlock Kaserne,

Ludwigsburg, Federal Republic of Germany, was conducted by Special Agents

[------redacted------] and [-----redacted-----] Stuttgart Station, 766th

Military Intelligence Detachment:

a. Office of the Commanding Officer

b. Office of the Executive Officer

c. Office of the Battalion Adjutant

d. Office of the S2

e. Office of the S3

A floor plan of the inspected area is attached as EXHIBIT I. The inspection

was conducted to detect the presence of technical surveillance equipment and

to determine the existence of hazards to technical security which would permit

the employment of such equipment, and to recommend technical security measures

designed to prevent successful employment of technical surveillance


2. (C)U LIMITATIONS: Counterintelligence Technical Security Inspections

of the type conducted indicate the security status of the inspected area

at the conclusion of the inspection within the capabilities of equipment

and operational techniques employed. Admission to the inspected area of

unauthorized persons or personnel not having proper security clearances,

who are not under the escort of reliable personnel; failure to maintain

continuous and effective surveillance and control of the inspected area;

allowing repairs or alterations to or within the inspected area without

the supervision of qualified and responsible personnel; or the introduction

of new furnishings into the inspected area prior to the completion of a

thorough inspection of such furnishings, will nullify the security afforded

by this inspection.


a. The inspection did not locate or indicate the presence of

surreptitious technical surveillance devices.

b. The inspected area is not considered secure for classified confer-

ences or discussions until corrective action has been accomplished relative

to the following hazards to technical security:

(1) Located as listed below are Western Electric Company Model

500 telephone instruments:

(a) Office of the Commanding Officer, one.

(b) Office of the Battalion Adjutant, one.

(c) Office of the S2, one.

(d) Office of the S3, five.

Although the Western Electric Model 500 telephone instrument is considered

the most secure for general use, the instrument is vulnerable to alteration

and modification by personnel involved in the installation and maintenance

of the instrument. The modification of a telephone instrument to establish

an extremely effective listening device requires only a few seconds and is

impossible to detect except by qualified personnel equipped with appropriate

countermeasures equipment.

(2) Located as listed below are standard US Army field telephone


(a) Office of the Commanding Officer, one.

(b) Office of the S3, one.

Examination of the instruments revealed that all instruments were functioning

properly; however, frequent use of a field telephone instrument often results

in the retainer switch becoming too weak to hold the handset in the proper

position to cause the line switch to be activated to block audio. When such a

condition exists, one hundred percent audio from the room in which the

defective instrument is located is passed over the length of the telephone

transmission lines. The audio passed may be taken from any point along

the transmission line by attaching a small, commercial, inexpensive

amplifier to the line. Field telephone instruments constitute a constant

severe hazard to technical security even when the handset retainer switches

function properly, as many users are not aware that the handset must be

placed in the cradle firmly to activate the line switch. Additionally, it

is a common misperception that the "push to talk" switch must be depressed

for audio to be passed over the line. The "push to talk" switch only

activates a noise cancelling element of the instrument to aid the person

listening during the conversation. It does not block audio from passing

over the line via the receiver portion of the handset.

(3) Located within the Office of the Executive Officer is a multi-

line telephone instrument, Model STE 120/29, constructed by Telefonbau and

Normalzeit, a German electronics firm. Although a visual and limited

electronic inspection of the instrument was conducted, a thorough electronic

inspection, for the purpose of detecting the more sophisticated clandestine

listening devices, cannot be conducted with the equipment currently available

to United States Intelligence. A photograph of the instrument is attached as


(4) Located within the Office of the Commanding Officer is an

Intercom Station, Model LS 127/F1, manufactured by Webster Electric Company,

which extends to a variety of speakers which serve as slave stations for the

above mentioned master station. A photograph of one of the above mentioned

slave station speakers, located in the Office of the S3, is attached as

EXHIBIT III. The sub-stations, all of which are of the open monitor variety,

were found to pass one hundred percent audio from the rooms in which they

were located, even though the sub-station was not activated. Additionally,

the entire intercom system utilized existing telephone lines thus causing a

situation wherein each classified conversation conducted within a room containing

a sub-station is passed over uncontrolled transmission lines in the clear.

The audio passed may be obtained from any point along the transmission lines

by attaching a small, inexpensive, commercial amplifier to the transmission

lines, outside of the headquarters building.

(5) The inspected area, located on the ground floor level, is

vulnerable to attack by clandestine listening devices. The placement of a

very effective listening device against the windows or window frames poses

no problem to a hostile intelligence agent as the outside of the building is

afforded no protection.

4. (C)U RECOMMENDATIONS: In view of the findings, the following recommenda-

tions are made for the improvement of counterintelligence technical security:

a. Reference paragraph 3b(1), above: It is recommended that each

telephone instrument be equipped with a plug and jack disconnect device

situated in a position convenient for use and that the instruments remain

disconnected from the lines at all times the instrument is not in use. It

will be necessary to install a separate ringer for each telephone number to

alert office personnel to an incoming telephone call. It is recommended

that Western Electric Model R1A or Erickson Model KLG 5103-2 ringers be

installed and that the ringers within each telephone instrument be discon-

nected and removed. Paragraph 10b(3), AR 381-14, requires all telephone

instruments located in Secondary Sensitive Areas to be equipped with a

disconnect device.

b. Reference paragraph 3b(2), above: It is recommended that the

instrument be disconnected from the line at all times except when required

by operational activities. It is further recommended that all personnel using

the instrument be instructed that the handset must be replace properly in

the cradle after each use.

c. Reference paragraph 3b(3), above: It is recommended that the [German]

instrument be replaced with Western Electric Company Model 565 multi-line

telephone instrument. In the event that such equipment is not available,

it is recommended that the present telephone instrument be equipped with

disconnect devices and the the instrument be disconnected from the line

during periods of classified and/or sensitive conversations within the room.

d. Reference paragraph 3b(4), above: It is recommended that the

intercom system be removed. In the event operational necessity dictates

the retention of the system, it is recommended tha appropriate assigned

personnel be made aware of the fact that all conversations conducted within

the rooms in which the sub-stations are located are being passed over un-

controlled telephone lines. The passing of audio by sub-stations is

inherent in intercom systems and constitutes a constant severe hazard to

technical security. While some commercial firms manufacture intercom systems

with built-in safeguards to prevent passing of audio when the system is

not activated, the expense of the instruments precludes their use.

e. Reference paragraph 3b(5), above: It is recommended that an

appropriate responsible individual be appointed to periodically inspect the

outside walls of the inspected area to detect placement of attachments,

wiring, etc., and to determine ther reason for placement of such items.

f. It is further recommended that the hazards to technical security

outline above be included in the initial security briefing of newly

assigned personnel, as appropriate, and that the hazards be made a point of

emphasis in subsequent scheduled security briefings.

5. (U) EXIT BRIEFING: Major Bobby R. Harris, S2/3 Officer, was informed

of the findings and recommendations stated above at the conclusion of the

Counterintelligence Technical Security Inspection.




Copies Furnished:


United States Army, Europe


APO 09403

Commanding General

VII US Army Corps


APO 09107

Commanding Officer

66th Military Intelligence Group


APO 09108

Arthur P. Bloom
"30 years of faithful service...15 years on hold"

Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 96
OP Offline
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 96
Amazing! What a resource. Thanks for all the research; the link to the online 'On-hook Telephone Security Guidelines' was very interesting; would never have found it, let alone matched it to the ringer. Jim

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,290
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,290
You're welcome. I suppose I shouldn't have published that for everyone to read, although it does pass the "40 year" test. Now the NSA will probably be visiting me.

Arthur P. Bloom
"30 years of faithful service...15 years on hold"

Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 60
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 60
Ebay has a Western Electric G10 military handset listed. The G10 has a push to talk button and a push to listen button . I guess this prevented any accidental transmission from the receiver or transmitter. The plate on the handset is secured by one way screws to minimize tampering. The problem mentioned about the field telephones (TA-312 and TA-43) was mitigated by the introduction of an off hook indicator adapter that lit up whenever the handset was not properly secured.

Moderated by  ChrisRR, EV607797, Silversam 

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