Telefunken E 863 SW/2

Telefunken E 863 SW/2, component of the Shortwave Long distance Receiving System Transradio 21; manufactured by Telefunken AG, Ulm.

The E 863 SW/2 was developed in the seventies, it is a modular transistorised search and surveillance receiver, which was mainly used by the German army and navy.

The receiver was the core of the Shortwave Long distance Receiving System Transradio 21 and was used by the Swiss Army in its embassy radio service under the designation E-653. The Telefunken system was available as Transradio 11 - 26 in various configurations.

Telefunken E 863 Kw

Technical data

Power supply


  • Table-top unit: 274 x 315 x 350 mm, weight 22 kg


  • TG 455 telegraphy set, FSK- radio teletype - demodulator
  • SG 455 Visual display unit for mark and space signals
  • AD 455 antenna diversity device

Telefunken E 863 Kw


The set exists in a normal table-top version as well as a special version in a somewhat larger cabinet with integrated operating hours counter, temperature monitoring and circulation fan. In combination with an FSK demodulator and other accessories, the set is part of the Telefunken long distance receiving systems Transradio 21 to 26.

As a rack-mount unit, the set measures 256 x 270 x 324 mm and is only half a 19-inch rack wide; as a table-top unit, it measures 274 x 315 x 350 mm and has a weight of 18 and 22 kg, respectively.

The receiver can be powered from 110 or 220 V and consumes up to 100 W when heating up, it can also be operated with 21.5 - 30 V direct current from a vehicle battery.

Only the headphone jack is located on the front pane, the other connectors are all on the back of the receiver. Depending on the receiver version, the operating elements are labelled in German or with international symbols.

On the somewhat unusually designed front panel, the main switch is located in the upper left corner with the steps Off / Preheat / Operation / Receiver on, Loudspeaker off. To the right of it, a six-digit Nixie tube display shows the reception frequency with an accuracy of 100 Hz.

In the lower left part of the front panel there are six controls one above the other: the switch at the top left lets you select the IF filter bandwidth, the receiver has filters of +/- 100 Hz, +/- 250 and 750 Hz for CW reception, +/- 1.5 kHz, +/- 3 and 6 kHz for AM reception as well as a 3 kHz USB and LSB filter each. Right next to it is the range switch to select one of the ranges 1.5 - 3.48 / 3.47-7.49 / 7.45-15.5 or 15.4-30 MHz. Below this is the BFO control for CW reception and the operation mode switch. In the first three positions, the automatic HF control (AGC) is active in modes F1/F6 (FSK) and A2/A3 (AM) with long and short time constant. The middle three positions switch off AGC, RF gain is manually controlled for A2/A3 (AM), A3J (SSB) and A1 (CW). The last two positions have AGC activated for A1 (CW) and A3J (SSB) reception. Other receivers have a somewhat more simple solution for this…

The two bottom controls are the RF and AF gain control, next are the headphone jacks and the switch for the noise limiter.

In the lower right part of the front panel is the measuring instrument, which can be set to display the signal field strength, the AF level or the temperatures of thermostats 1 and 2 (reading should be in the green range) at the touch of a button, and the monitor speaker just below it. The main tuning knob is easy to find, the pushbutton with the green lamp above it signals that the receiver is in tuning position. If the lamp is not lit, the receiver is locked to the operation frequency, if the small control FEIN next to the tuning knob is pulled, fine tuning +/- 50 Hz is possible.

To operate, switch the receiver on, the voltage indicator should read between the red and white areas for mains operation and in the white area for battery operation. After twenty - 60 minutes the thermostats have reached the operation temperature and the frequency stability is within specifications.

To tune the receiver, select the appropriate range, press the green button above the tuning knob until it lights green if necessary, tune with the main tuning knob, if necessary fine tune in the range +/- 300 Hz for optimum intelligibility.

For AM reception (A3) the operation mode A2/A3 with the small or large dot is selected (short or long AGC characteristic), depending on the interference situation the IF filter +/- 6, +/- 3 or +/- 1.5 kHz is to be used. For SSB reception (A3J) the 3 kHz filter for the upper or lower sideband is selected, for CW reception (A1) one of the narrowband filters. If necessary, select a position with manual gain control for MGC operation, the volume is set with the AF gain control. Make sure that for normal listening, the main switch should be in the ON position and not in the ON/speaker off position. In special situations, e.g. for RTTY reception, the frequency can be locked (press the green button to extinguish the control lamp), if the teletypriter is not yet printing, the frequency can be adjusted by +/- 50 Hz with the fine tuning control pulled.

Optionally, the E 863 Kw/2 can be extended to become a „SW long distance receiving system TRANSRADIO 21“ together with a TG 455 FSK radio teletype demodulator, a SG 455 spectrum display unit (to make the mark and space signals visible and to facilitate the adjustment) and an antenna diversity module AD 455 (not included in the set shown here, empty cover instead). Equipped with further modules, the E 863 also allows the reception of complex multi-channel - single sideband transmissions…

The Telefunken E 863 Kw/2 and the E-724 Kw/2, which is very similar except for the 100 Hz lock function, are quite compact fully transistorised receivers, which perform well when receiving shortwave external services, radio amateurs and special radio services.

The special version in an additional cabinet with fan and working hours meter weighs a few kilograms more and does not extend the performance. With its characteristic exterior, the E 863 is a set that collectors will love.

Telefunken E 863 Kw: calibration regulation Calibration procedure: calibration of the set was recommended every 4 weeks: with the set beeing heated up for two hours, the chassis is pulled 10 cm out of the cabinet after loosening the 4 fastening screws, an auxiliary scale and the calibration frequency marked individually for each set on a small plate become visible on the right behind the front panel.

In the band range 1.50-3.48 MHz and with the fine tuning knob set to 0, the main tuning is turned to the left stop. On the auxiliary dial (4), the red mark is under the pointer. The tuning knob is pulled and turned to the right until the green mark on the calibration dial is exactly under the pointer. Use a screwdriver to adjust R1 (2) until the frequency display shows the value fEich (5) prescribed on the label for the individual receiver. Now the chassis can be pushed back into the cabinet and be secured with the screws.

Technical principle

Single conversion superhet.


The set is solid state.

Technical documentation


Further information

en/e863.txt · Zuletzt geändert: 2022/12/27 15:29 von mb