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Black Radio (Surveillance) Receiver Companies

There were dozens of radio companies in hot pursuit of government contracts emering from the agencies and the DOD during the Cold War. This is table is a sampling based on information I'be encountered in the course of my research.

There are many links between clusters of these companies. Information will be added as time allows.

Astro Communication Labs
Astro Communication Labs
Pioneer in solid-state surveillance
receivers founded by CEI engineers

Surveillance receiver
systems and accessories

ApcomApplied Communications
Acquires Norlin Communications to enter the surveillance radio market

Clarke Instruments
Where the Cold War history of
surveillance radios begins

CEICommunication Electronics, Inc - CEI
The pre-eminent Cold War surveillance receiver company founded by Ralph Grimm

CubicCubic Communications
Interesting radios from a solid competitor

Defense Electronics, Inc
Founded by engineers who fled Nems-Clarke as Vitro acquired and sank it

DrakeR. L. Drake, Co
Limited forays into the surveillance market

E-systems logo
Absorbed Ling-Tempo-Vought (LTV) and their aerial surveillance platforms

GEL logo
General Electronics Laboratories
Cambridge, MA based telemetry
receiver manufacturer

HarrisHarris RF Communications
Turning a Racal USA design into a
communication workhorse

Interad logo
Interad Limited
Radio company started by former
Watkins-Johnson employees

Systems integrator using custom equipment made by CEI (and others) for aerial surveillance platforms
F. G. Mason Engineering
Custom shop producing quirky
equipment for clandestine uses
Wideband surveillance receiver company

Designed and manufactured first surveillance receivers

Norlin Communications
Interesting radios from
a short-lived competitor

RacalRacal USA
Esteemed UK radio firm
makes a foray into US market

ReactionReaction Instruments
Fascinating equipment from
a short-lived competitor

RegcoRalph. E. Grimm, Co
Last gasp for a giant in the
surveillance radio industry

Rohde und Schwarz
Rohde und Schwarz
Not a player in US agency market but a tough competitor for foreign contracts

Short-lived competitor owned by
Andrew Government Products

Vitro Electronics
Nems-Clarke after conglomerate takeover (engineers flee and start many new successful companies

West Coast microwave tube company diversifies into radios and becomes highly respected in the industry


WJ Gaithersburg
WJ Communication Electronics Technology
East Coast division of WJ built on the acquisition of Ralph Grimm's CEI