H-161 Headset family.
   (Ver 4)


The H-161 family of headsets came about before the Vietnam war as part of the AN/Vic-1 intercom system. They were fully intended to be able to be worn underneath a standard US M1 steel pot helmet and thus have a fairly low profile headband (and very uncomfortable it is at that, along with its ability to trap strands of hair and constantly be plucking these out as the wearer moves about). Latter versions tended to increasingly larger and more comfortable ear cups, probably as the requirement to be worn under an M1 diminished. These came in Olive Drab and then later black as the shape changed.
They have progressed through versions "A" to "G" (as far as I can ascertain). The "A" version had a very distinctive and large hexagonal microphone.


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The "A" version hexagonal mic, in this case it is on a CVC helmet.

All other models I have encountered have had the "tear drop", shape mic. I have not yet seen any with the latter military mic which is squarish ended or with the taper ended small element (see picture below)


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A taper ended small mic, seen on an AVC helmet.

As far as which model was equipped with which type of bailout connector, all H-161 headsets up to model "E" were equipped with the rubber plug bailout connector (CX8652/GR upper cable assembly and CX-8650B/GR lower cable) and "F" model onwards were equipped with the Nexus model AJ-107 metal bailout connector (see earlier article in this series titled "Bailout connectors and such").
Click here for Bailout connectors and such.


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An early H-161, probably a "B" model NIB (new in the box).


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Out of the box.

Above is what you should get. A headset with microphone and integral chest switchbox. 2 straps hanging from the switchbox, the top one goes over your head, the lower one around your waist and snaps together.
Most definetly a "Y" cable!


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Average purchase.

Another early model, a "Sonetronics" brand by the look of it, note the small black plate screwed to the side of the earcup, which is indicative of the early version. Also note the missing "Y" cable.


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Another average purchase.

This time with gold coloured contacts in the bail out connector.

I have yet to figure out how to tell the different models apart as the model is not marked on the headset, for that matter, there is not even a marking to indicate that it is a H-161! But below is what info I have been able to cobble together:

H-161A Large hexagonal mic, rubber bailout connectors.

H-161B Yet to be seen if it exists, but probably is the model with yukky green (Olive Drab gone wrong?) coloured earcups with rectangular black metal plates over the connections and the first model with the tear-drop shaped microphone (M-138).

H-161C/U NSN 5965-00-179-3789, Green earcups, earphones are H-269/G (15 OHM) with 1000 OHM matching transformers built into the earcups. Berylium copper vinyl covered headband with vinyl tube headpad.

CX-8652/GR Upper cable
CX-8650B/CR Lower cable

Rubber bailout connectors.

H-161D/U NSN 5965-00-104-0947 As above except 2 x 1000 OHM earphones. Rubber bailout connectors.

H-161E NSN 5965-01-148-3396 Medium noise attenuating. Body colour black (seems to serve to indicate different earcup shape and properties etc).

CX8652/GR Upper cable
CX-8650B/GR Lower cable

Rubber bailout connectors with the cable from the headset spliced into the upper bailout plug.

H-161F 1st model with Nexus AJ-107 bailout connector? This model shouldn't exist with rubber bailout connectors, but I have one!

H-161F/GR NSN 5965-01-148-3396 Medium noise attenuating. 3 Conductor shielded upper cable mounts directly into switchbox. Lower cable has "Nexus" (AJ-107) bailout connector. (FULLY INTERCHANGEABLE WITH CVC HEADSET LOWER CABLE)

H-161G Does this model exist? Nexus (metal) bailout connectors.

Most of the above have a /U or /R etc after the model letter eg., 161F/U, 161F/GR and 161G/R, I have no idea what this nomenclature means.



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M-138G "Teardrop" shape.

Impedance = 150 ohms.

Any help with I.d.s and technical info for this article would be most appreciated.

Also, I am in need of some of those little foam "socks" that go over the mics to reduce wind noise. If you know of a source, please email me.

Disclaimer: Some of the images in this article are from ebay sales, photographers are unknown.


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