With only a very few exceptions all documentation for the SEM systems are in German. The only English documentation known to me is published by the manufacturer, SEL. These however are not proper manuals, but short descriptions used to try and sell the radios to other countries..

The Dutch army uses - in specialised branches - some SEM apparatus, but apparently also make do with the German manuals.

Technische Dienstvorschriften (Manuals)

Manual translates into German as Technische Dienstvorschrift or short: TDv. These TDv's are rare - extremely rare if it comes to originals. Personally, I've only found originals after years of hunting them down. It would seem the Germans destroy these when they become obsolete - as the instructions for updating actually state.
Copies can be found, but most of them are of a rather bad quality, third of even later generations, often with pages missing. Especially the schematics are very hard to interpret.

If you want to know more about the numbering system, or the availability of copies, follow the links. Also, I've lined up those manuals that I know of, giving their German descriptions followed by a translation into English.

Taschenkarte (Instruction Cards)

Apart from the TDv's the Germans have Instruction Cards, to be issued to each soldier who may operate the equipment covered therein. These are derivates from the different TDv's and offer very practical and short operating procedures. Those found up to now are printed on a light green plastic stock, counting 6 to 8 pages sized 14 by 10.6 centimetres and folded. I own some of these Instruction Cards.

Anlagenblatt Ausstattungsanweisung (Parts Lists)

Apart from the various manuals there are also Anlagenblatt Ausstattungsanweisung, shortened to ANLBLAAN - a sort of inventory lists of different sets. These seem to be very rare, however, they are the best source of information when it gets to the actual composition of sets and such, including all Versorgungs Nummer. I have a few of these Parts Lists.

Numbering system and reprints

German TDv's have a somewhat complex numbering - one I have never found any information on. What I've been able to figure out works as follows:
The four figured number in front definitely signifies the main subject matter - it's normally the same as found in the Versorgungsnummer. With some exceptions, for instance the on board communications system for the SEM's has Vers.-Nr. 5830 - but is covered in TDv 5820/048-13. Generally it seems all German radios come under number 5820, while 6625 signifies the different test sets.

The second group of three figures designates the specific manual, while the third group after the dash signifies the parts. These parts always follow the same pattern:

Teil 1 (Part 1) Beschreibung (Description)
Teil 2 (Part 2) Bedienung und Pflege (Operating and maintenance)
Teil 3 (Part 3) Truppeninstandsetzung (Operator maintenance)
Teil 4 (F) (Part 4 (F)) Feldinstandsetzung (Field maintenance)
Teil 4 (Part 4) Instandsetzung (Maintenance)
Teil 5 (Part 5) Ersatzteilkatalog (List of replacement parts)

The difference between a Part 4 (F) and a full Part 4 is tremendous! The former one is just Field Maintenance, it shows f.i. only block schematics. If you need full information including true schematics, the book for the actual electronic workbench, you will want Part 4, without the F suffix. And they are very, very rare...
Sometimes all these parts can be found in one manual, sometimes they are split over two separate manuals. And sometimes not all parts exist.
In TDv 5820/46-13 it is mentioned that the actual frequency tuning procedure can be found in TDv 5820/46-21. It is not clear whether this is again a separate manual - subdivision 1 of part 2 - or just a way to refer to part two, paragraph 1 of the manual itself. The actual procedure is described in paragraph 2...

Parts can again be subdivided into Banden, roughly translated here into volumes. This however does not happen often, I've found this to be the case with some of the technical maintenance manuals. These different volumes - Banden - can be separate books.
To complicate things even further, a manual can be republished as a different volume - Band - for a new generation radio. For instance, there is a TDv 5820/107-13 that covers the SEM 52, a crystal controlled six channel portable radio. This radio underwent further development and the SEM 52-S was born - no crystals but synthesized, basically a different beast all together, but with the same lineage. This also needed a manual, so then we got TDv 5820/107-13 Band II - and the original manual got reprinted as TDv 5820/107-13 Band I. They also renamed the original SEM 52 to SEM 52-A - to keep things simple for us, who are trying to keep stock of the developments...

Lastly, many TDv's have been reprinted, but these reprints can be totally reworked. Sometimes with more parts, like the TDv 6625/004, of which two versions have been found mentioned in other manuals, one with parts 1 to 3, one with parts 1 to 5. Also, the actual paper size can change in a reprint, earlier printing was mostly on A4, later reprints on A5. It will not be too surprising to learn that also the binding can vary between various publications of the same manual, while later issues tend to use drawings, while earlier ones depend on photograpy. It can be worthwhile to try and get more versions, as the amount of information differs.

Manuals can be republished under a new number, as happened to the manual on the antenna test set: TDv 6625/006-13 is mentioned in TDv 5820/046-13 that was published in December 1966, TDv 6625/012-15 published in August 1989 covers the same test set.


Most TDv's are printed material - but microfiche also is part of the standard way the Germans publish their information, for higher echelon publications. Formats found up to now:

A4 size cardboard bound - sometimes with plastized covers
A4 size plastic bound
A4 size cardboard binder
A4 size plastic binder
A4 size plastic ring binder
A4 folded sheets - for the Anlagenblatt Ausstattungsanweisung (Parts Lists)
A5 size spine stapled booklet, cardboard cover
A5 size plastic binder
A5 size plastic bound
14 x 10.6 centimetres folded cards, light green, plastic material - for the Taschenkarte (Instruction Cards)
Wildly different sized 29 x 9 centimetres spine stapled booklet, cardboard cover - fits in the Test Set canister it describes. Old.

And a very recent find, dated January 1992, is A4, brown light stock cardboard binder with a dark brown label glued to the front. A cheaper format? Since then more have turned up.

Most binders are brown, but green is also found.

Can you have a copy?

Some of this documentation I own. And some I have scanned and cleaned up as best as I can. The quality is mixed, to be honest. Most are quite good, some are actually a waste of the energy I have put into them. But they were the best material I had to work from. I've outlined that information as well. One problem: I do own a large format scanner, but not the printer. So large fold-outs will be printed reduced to A4. My scans are as close to the original as I can make them, so empty pages and multiple forms are all included.
I do not normally sell these - I prefer bartering. Offer me a manual or something else in stead and we might do the business. My interests are wide - as long as it's a green radio or field telephone; a lot of things could qualify, including small parts. Missing SEM manuals or parts are most welcome of course. And there is always use for cables...

A lot of effort and money went into this project. Some original manuals did cost me close to one hundred dollars. Which is only the beginning, then comes the job of scanning sometimes several hundreds of pages and cleaning those up. Money is not the prime motivator, but I do set a value of 15 dollar cents per page, when it comes to judging the trading value of my manual reprints. Excluding postage, that is.

If I find someone actually selling TDv's, I often buy more then one if the price is not prohibitive. So, there is a small number of originals available for trade.