BID/880 and 880/1- Franton
BID 880 was only a data encryption unit and had no telegraphic mode. It was modular in construction employing a standard 19" rack mount of perhaps 5 inches high and painted olive drab, a dark green colour. Its modules were shaped like cans and were inserted into the top of the machine after removing the lid. They were fairly reliable machines except for the most common fault which was the "K" alarm. A "K" alarm meant there was a fault in the crypto system - either a duff key tape or a failure of one of the three key generator modules. Occasional illumination of the 'K' lamp meant there was an interruption of the key generator and the fix was to reset the device before use. Overall, the 880 was really reliable.
The BID 880 could be filled with keying material using a tape which was passed through a reader on the front panel. It was also compatible with the BID 950 as long as the 950 was in "880 mode".
BID 880/1 is the same as the BID 880 except that it had a faster running 'F' MODULE fitted (capacitor change) so it would serial fill / parallel fill, quicker through the tape reader. This machine type was used in the 1980's and was built by Marconi, Hillend in Fife Scotland.
Contributors and Credits:
1) Kenneth Mudie (SELEX GALILEO, UK) <kenneth.mudie(at)selexgalileo.com>