Tuesday, December 31, 2019

BYE-BYE 2019







HELLO 2020!!




It's almost time to tuck 2019 to bed and wake up 2020, so to all the regulars, lurkers, and anyone else who stops by -  


Monday, December 30, 2019

UK OP'S GETS A HIGH PRESSURE PRESENT FOR NEW YEAR'S





THE YEAR IS ALMOST OVER














HF operators across the UK (especially 10/11 meters) have been getting some foreign DX thanks to a high pressure weather system which has covered the land. Television viewers who use Freeview television have been receiving French channels which have blotted out England's English language broadcasts, and they're raising a ruckus on social media, so turn on your HF rig and do some talking 😉

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Sunday, December 15, 2019

PART 2: WHEN CB ONLY HAD 23 CHANNELS





Having read the first part, I hope you're ready for Part Two.









SBE SUPER CONSOLE
My Dad and I arrived just as the shop was opening, but even then we weren't the first arrivals. Glancing to the left I could see the Midland inside the display case, while to the right a thick cloud of cigarette smoke hovered around the owner and several of his cronies (It's weird - back then I didn't seem to notice cigarette smoke much, but now, I can't even stand the hint of a cigarette). One thing I did learn about the effects of smoke on a radio was that it was almost like a preservative. A little soapy water and a soft towel was all I needed to get that front panel looking like new again.

The fact that this was a Midland CB was of particular note because neither Rat Shack or Lafayette sold them. You could only buy brands like Midland, SBE, or Pearce-Simpson thru your local garage-shop seller or mail order, and usually a buyer wanted to see/test/hear his potential purchase before plunking down hundred's of dollars. This was one reason why it was such a big deal  when Mr. Chips bought an SBE Super Console. While he was happy to let any interested "local"  come by for a demo he could have easily gotten away with charging a small admission price. But I digress....

Back to the shop in Springfield. 


The owner saw us peering at the Midland and sidled over to the display case. Understandably, he started talking to my Dad, telling him about the benefits of single side-band until my Dad set him straight: He knew next to nothing about CB so he (the owner) should start talking to the one who did (me). Obviously flustered, the owner fumbled around trying to figure out how to talk radio geek  to a lowly teenager, when I quickly let it be known that I had researched the rig and all of it's specifications so he
could cut to the chase and start talking about how much he was willing to knock off his selling price to make a sale. It was at this time that I re-introduced the "bank" to the owner so the adults could formalize a transaction. Shortly thereafter we departed - my Dad in the car and me, floating above it on cloud 9....

Fuzzy already had a side-band rig but it wasn't long after I came home with the Midland before my handful of trusted cronies had upgraded as well. Once my nemesis (the Bald Eagle) realized that I had SSB capabilities he too upgraded from his Browning AM set to a Mark III. Bleedover being what it was I'm pretty sure he could sense me cringe every time I heard that Browning ping.

Looking back, I see that it was just as dead with 23 channels as it is with 40 whenever the Sunspot cycle was low. It was fairly quiet, and just as congested when it wasn't. The biggest downside to having the 13-880b was it's crappy adjacent channel rejection. Having a neighbor as close to me as the Bald Eagle was really made me second guess my purchase, until I added a EF Johnson Messenger 124. It was only an AM rig, but the super adjacent channel rejection
EF JOHNSON MESSENGER 124
made life tolerable whenever my neighbor was talking to HIS cronies down on channel 2 (as I have come to learn, Midland CB's may have many features at a lower price, but great adjacent channel rejection is not one of them).

One not-so-secret-secret about most 23 channel radios was 2 extra channels you could get (usually) by cutting the "Green" wire on the channel selector. Called 22 "A" and "B" they were actually higher in frequency than channel 23. Whenever you needed some privacy 22 A&B were the channels you went to (although anyone with a CB that had a tune-able receiver could easily listen in)


There were other "A" channels between 1 and 23 as well, with 3A, establishing itself as the official frequency for Browning radio operators to convene using AM (Lord help you if you tried calling DX on SSB). Around the same time the FCC took 1 channel away to created a designated emergency frequency - Channel 9. If I recall correctly Trucker's had been using ch.10 and moved their channel up to 19 to avoid hassles by being so close to channel 10, which in-turn gave us Sidebander's, bleed-over headache's on ch. 16 lsb

So, we gritted our teeth hoping for some help from Uncle Charlie,  and finally began hearing rumors of new channels, moving the CB frequencies to another part of the radio spectrum that wouldn't be as defenseless against skip, and / or a combination of the two began to be circulated. In moving to Texas in '75 I had sold most of my radio stuff to finance the trip, and didn't keep up with Citizen's Band radio like I used to. I didn't fully realize that the purchase of an E.F. Johnson Viking 352 in 1976 was really like me, throwing $300 down the train....

In the future I'll go into my crazy purchase, as well as a segway into the new 40ch. transceivers. But for now - this ends Part two...


73

WOODY



 

Friday, December 13, 2019

BEST COMMERCIALS AND ALLSTATE'S "MAYHEM"




2019







It's already THAT time again. The time of the year where we reflect on the last 12 months and categorize stuff into groups that will ultimately find their way onto two lists: "Best" and "Worst" (of 2019). I find some tv commercial's pretty funny, with some of them actually qualified to make it onto my "Best of" list. 

One commercial character in particular, Allstate's "Mayhem", has tickled my funny bone throughout the years so I decided to preface the yearly list with one post, entirely devoted to him.

Portrayed by actor Dean Gerard Winters, "Mayhem" makes light of all sorts of serious claims that may be filed by policy holders each year. Winter's has other acting gigs on his resume like the role playing Ryan O'Reily on HBO's prison drama Oz, Tyler's father on the U.S. version of Life On Mars, and Sarah Connor's love interest in The Sarah Connor Chronicles

His character Mayhem was first introduced to viewers in 2010 and he will be entering his 10th year of mayhem shortly. 

Below, I've embedded several Christmas holiday themed commercials, several from 2019 finally ending with a 10-commercial homage to Mayhem found on YouTube...


        










2019









HOMAGE






'Nuff Said,

Woody











Saturday, December 07, 2019

WHEN CB ONLY HAD 23 CHANNELS














Alright - alright, I know it, you know it, and I know that you know it - I've been coasting on my postings and haven't given them my complete attention, so here's some NEW original content.




"SCOTTY" - "DON'T BEAM ME BACK, I'M IN A STRANGE DIMENSION WHERE THERE'S 40 CB CHANNELS....FORTY SCOTTY... 40!!






WHEN CITIZENS BAND ONLY HAD 23 CHANNELS


Growing up with CB was a blast. For me, it started with a used Lafayette Comstat 23 until a year later when I realized single side-band was where I wanted to be. But before we get to ME, let's put a wide angle lens on this perspective...

When the FCC allotted 23 channels to the Class D Citizens Band radio service they really hadn't counted on how big it would get.




In the early years CB transceivers had a small number of fixed transmit & receive channels, with some (like the Sonar "H" on the left) having one transmit and one receive socket on the front panel allowing the operator the legal right to change out those crystals on-the-fly (so to speak)

THIS LAFAYETTE CB FEATURED A VFO RECEIVER
Changing the internal crystals (two per channel) was time intensive as well as illegal for the average Joe. As a licensed CB operator, you could not make any changes or adjustments inside of the radio itself - they could only be legally done by a licensed FCC technician. 

Manufacturers quickly got creative with their higher tier transceivers by having 1-12 crystal controlled transmit channels and a variable (VFO) receiver. This was a cost saving measure on the Manufacturer end as crystals weren't exactly cheap, so, by having a receiver that covered from channel 1 to channel 23 (and everything in-between) it saved the radio manufacturer some money as well as the CB radio owner/operator. Now he (or she) only had to fork over their hard earned cash for one crystal per channel!

Somewhere in the mid-60's manufacturer's developed a frequency synthesis for the 23 channel band which cut down the amount of crystals (via mixing one frequency with another) required to allow all 23 channels in one radio, and this is where I came in...
 
LAFAYETTE COMSTAT 23 MARK V


As I've often told the story before, my parents bought me a second hand Lafayette Comstat 23 from a neighbor down the street (the Joker). He had just upgraded to a Tram Titan and needed a little extra room on the kitchen table (I'll stick a link to my "origin" story when I find it).


MIDLAND 13-880 (2nd generation "B" model) 10w SSB CB
In the course of under two years I managed to swap'n sell various rigs to have a little extra money for a BIG rig, but it was my summer of working in the tobacco fields picking leaves that enabled me to purchase a used Midland 13-880b am/ssb base station. CB's in the early 70's and more importantly the ones that had sideband were pretty pricey. The low end of single-sideband capable transceivers (base station) started at about $300. The big brother to the 880b was the 13-885 and they looked identical with two differences: 1. The 885's panel lights were round, while the 880b's were square, and 2. The 885 was rated at 15 watts while the 880b had only 10.

MIDLAND 13-885 15w SSB (ROUND LIGHTS)

To the uninformed, that 5 watts made a big difference with buyers, when in reality, you or your friends would never notice it. One of my CB friends, "Fuzzy" called me up via the good 'ol Landline to say that while he was doing a sweep of stores who sold used gear in Springfield (MA) he ran across a used 880b for well under $200. He used the phone to tell me because he figured that anyone listening on the radio would hear it too, and it was possible the radio 





TV-RADIO REPAIR SHOPS OFTEN JUST HUNG A SIGN IN THE WINDOW
would be bought up before I could get there. Fuzzy offered to drive me up there but I hadn't finished my tobacco picking duties so my cash supply wasn't quite there yet. I decided to contact the bank (my Dad) who always seemed happy to fund my expenditures with my "marker" for the debt, and this was no different except I knew that he'd want to see it first. That Saturday we went up to Springfield and found the TV repair shop where Fuzzy had seen it.

In my area there were no dedicated CB stores to be found exept for RadioShack or Lafayette. Many CB users became mini dealers, selling equipment out of their garage or basement while TV repair shops began to  clear a corner of the shop to buy & sell radios and related radio equipment. Usually these shops didn't bother to change the store name or yellow pages advertisements. They simply hung a sign in the window that said "CB Radios Buy-Sell-Repair", and this shop was no exception.



This is the part of the story where I end Part One at my Segway from AMer to SSB operator.. (Part Two will follow soon)



'NUFF SAID,

WOODY








Thursday, December 05, 2019

2019 CHRISTMAS PHOTO AND NEW AUDIO CLIPS














I went over to the Due Sender's house over the weekend for our yearly collaboration on the annual Christmas photo. We decided to share the photo online this go-a-round, and it took the equipment (plus boxes) from 3 of us (me, Due, and Reg) to create out minor masterpiece. It certainly got our (and the XYL's) attention about hoarding so many empty boxes.....


After gazing at our collaboration, let your eyes drift to the upper right column to discover the new audio files just now posted for your listening pleasure 😁




73

Woody






Tuesday, December 03, 2019

GOODBYE NOVEMBER, HELLO DECEMBER














It's that time of the year when I don my Santa hat for a month of cheerful blogging. You never know what I'll be writing about because I don't have a clear idea until my finger's touch the keyboard, but let's get started....


I took a brief respite from the Blog to enjoy family, friends, and food - which was very relaxing, but not so much that I wanted to stay away from yakking on the radio or writing on this Blog any longer. Looking back, I would have done much better by doing the latter as opposed to the many online purchases I made. We (Robin and I) went out and saw a couple movies: Ford vs. Ferrari, and Knives Out, as well as staying in to view The Irishman, directed by Martin Scorsese and featuring  De Niro, Pacino, Pesci, and several other well known actors (Netflix).  

None of these were under 2 hours, with The Irishman the longest, clocking in at 3.5 hours.

We enjoyed all 3 movies and because they're all different genre's it's hard to compare one against the other. Nonetheless, I liked Ford vs. Ferrari best. Defining the experience is a struggle but I'll give it go by saying that:

"I haven't enjoyed a car racing movie as much since viewing my all-time favorite, "Grand Prix" with James Garner"
 
Scorsese does well in the gangster Genre, and the digital de-aging effects are really something to see. These effects seemed a little noticeable for the first 20 minutes or so, after that it all seemed natural.

November was an interesting month as we saw Uniden's 980SSB being discounted to the attractive selling price of $97.99 with free shipping (AMAZON). I was really tempted to buy another one, partially as a backup rig, but mostly just because. But I didn't.

Last week, with Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and then Cyber Monday you could have had the opportunity to purchase a President Lincoln II+ for only $225, with free shipping (AMAZON). I really had to exercise my will power not to buy one for the same reasons mentioned with the 980. Fortunately for me (but not you if you didn't get one) that lower price is no longer, and it is back to it's normal $248 price tag. Lightning could strike twice though so I'd keep an eye out all month just in case it's lowered again.

I swapped a few emails with a friend of mine reminiscing about days past, the era of 23 channel radios, and our first experiences with linear amplifiers. Using some of the email content as notes I've started several articles for publication here on the blog, but it remains to be seen which, if any of them, will actually see the light of day (or backlight of the computer screen)🤞

My segway from November to December is now complete. Hope to hear ya on the airwaves -


73

WOODY





Friday, November 15, 2019

DEOXIT, OR, WHAT TO USE TO CLEAN YOUR "STUFF"














I'm gearing up for a big project that will probably take up most of my time this winter. I have dozens of both desk and hand microphones, plus many older rigs with scratchy controls that I've procrastinated over cleaning and lubricating  all year long. The product "Deoxit" and I will become very good friends during this time, but which one is the best to use? 

Below, is a very good video on which cleaner/lubricator to use for various devices. If you're in doubt, perhaps Mark will help you decide.










73

Woody








Thursday, November 14, 2019

YOUTUBE VIEWING

11/14/2019


I have quite a few so without adieu, here they are:



HamRadioConcepts Reviews Commander Mini CB-27 CB




USING LIQUID TAPE






CB MICROPHONES






FRED-IN-THE-SHED TALKS CB NOSTALGIA







FLAMING AERIALS IN KEYDOWN CONTEST






73

Woody









Thursday, November 07, 2019

Saturday, November 02, 2019

NEW SUN SPOT FROM CYCLE 25















It's not a "biggie" but a Sun spot from cycle 25 has been reported!







See update, via Solarham.


73

Woody









Thursday, October 31, 2019

TODAY IT'S HALLOWEEN ON YOUTUBE














Well, we've zipped thru October, today is Halloween, and tonight my pumpkin head gets retired until next year! Let's close out the month with some appropriate YouTube Halloween viewing -

HALLOWEEN WITH THE ADDAMS FAMILY






AND ONE OF MY FAVORITE VINCENT PRICE MOVIES.....



"THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES" 


 




73

Woody


 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

LATEST SPACE WEATHER REPORT OCTOBER 24 2019











WEB VIEWING OCTOBER 24 2019 / ABBREE TACTICAL ANTENNA TOO!





SOME OF MY YouTube VIEWS THIS WEEK





I've mentioned the ABBREE "Tactical" antenna several times and have seen countless video's and text reviews about them, but the video below, by IZ2UUF, is one of the best (Short) review / test reports I've encountered. I use the 18" model, but most folks seem to go all in with the extreme 43" version, as in this video -




Next, if you're a fan of 3885 AM talk in the New England area but sometime miss out on the hearing the fun, check out W2PHL's YouTube channel which does a 24hr. live stream where you can catch any conversations you may have missed.





K8MRD GIVES US A LOOK AT THE "PORTABLE ZERO ESCORT" MOUNT FOR HIS IC-7300





Last but not least, is "Ham Radio CQ's" video on the 9V BIOENNO BATTERY for QRP





73,

Woody




Saturday, October 19, 2019

HALLOWEEN MOVIES: MY OWN TOP 20




HERE'S MY TOP TWENTY LIST
(1973-PRESENT)








Every now and then I'll challenge Josh and Chris to come up with their favorite movies of  a specific genre, and seeing as it's October it was fitting to try and come up with a list of 20 favorite Horror movies. I decided to  make 1973 the oldest year in order to make it the selection easier. Why '73? because, with the exception of "Night of the Living Dead" horror movies weren't that horrific up to that point. You can argue that the change was because  of NOTLD, but it wasn't a huge mainstream release. Between 1968 and 1973 there were a few other drive-in movies that were horrific yet low budget, but in 1973 one widely released movie took ma & pa citizen by storm (and surprise) - "The Exorcist".

That Monday, after the first weekend showing, I was sitting at a desk during Homeroom period listening intently as several girls talked amongst themselves about the movie. As their chatter reached a fervored pitch I chuckled silently at their excitement and terror. Talk of the pea-soup colored vomit made for some unsettled stomachs that morning. So this is why I picked 1973 as the cut off date - yet it was still as hard as hell to cull the rest into twenty-something selections. It would have been way too hard to rank them so we decided not to give one movie a greater weight than another.

HERE WE GO (in no particular order).....

1.  Halloween (w/o it there may not have been a Freddy, or Friday the 13th as we know them)
2.  Nightmare On Elm St
3.  Alien (it took place in the future, and it was Sci-Fi, but at the core it was all Horror)
4.  Dawn Of The Dead (1979 version)
5.  Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original)
6.  Hellraiser
7.  The Host (2007)
8.  Suspiria (1977)
9.  The Omen
10. Evil Dead 2
11. Carrie
12. Let the Right One in (2008)
13. The Exorcist
14. The Thing (1982)
15. The Ring
16. Wolfen
17. The Fog (1980)
18. The Witch
19. Phantasm
20. The Shining


I'm pretty sure you'll disagree with some of the ones on my list, but then, everyone has their favorite horror movies for reasons only known to them. Whatever YOUR favorites are, take some time and binge watch them before Halloween has come and gone...

73

Woody



















REVIEW: CHAMELEON P-LOOP 2.0 MAGNETIC LOOP ANTENNA


MY 6th MONTH REVIEW





As I've mentioned a time or two, my chance at an outdoor antenna has been zilch, or maybe negative zilch. I tried a simple indoor dipole with terrible results, then last year I tried using the MP1 "Super" antenna indoors with no luck whatsoever, and ended up selling it at a local Hamfest this past Spring. 

Enter stage right - Chameleon's P-Loop 2.0 Magnetic Loop Antenna (MLA). 

Combining several specials (10% off first order and a 30% OFF sale from Chameleon) I was able to order this model for just a little over $250. I had toyed around with constructing my own MLA (and still do) but I knew that I'd probably keep putting off buying what I needed to build one and end up six months later with nothing. So I took the plunge.

So what was in the box that arrived? The coax that is used to form the loop, the capacitive ring that is velcro'd approximately at the mid way point of the coaxial loop, the "magic" sealed box where the capacitor lives, tripod, 15' of rg58 coax to connect the loop to a transceiver, and a nice canvas back to stuff everything into when being stored away.

I had viewed numerous YouTube videos detailing how to put together and use one, but when I pulled everything out from the shipping box I was still trepidacious about getting things just right. In one video I watched it was stressed that you should get the smaller loop exactly in the middle of the big one, and once that was done it was recommended to mark that spot with some tape so that when assembled it would always have that sweet spot. In another video it was mentioned that the tuning knob was so touchy that just by placing your hand on or near it the loop could de-tune. Other videos said that it was best used when at ground level, yet others suggested it would be better to have it well off the ground. I was ready, and then again I was not.

The instruction sheet was just "okay". Several sheets of regular weight paper that appeared to be printed off your typical home laser jet. There isn't a lot of detail that has to be written about setting one up, yet the MFJ-style instructions seemed a bit homemade.

Looking back, it's really stupid at how intent I was to get this right. I actually played-paused-played a YouTube video as I began assembly, but don't be alarmed, it's really "Easy Peasy". The main thing is to stay loose and don't get too stressed while putting your loop together.

I setup the tripod and extended it high enough so when the thicker coax was screwed into the SO-239 connectors on the tuning box it would form a half-assed circular loop. It was held in place whenever the smaller loop was attached via velcro (approximately midway to the thick coaxial loop I just formed). Now let me explain "Half assed". The coax is scrunched into the box for shipping so when it's pulled out, being stiff coax, it doesn't allow for perfect smoothing, so YES it's roughly the shape of a loop, but it looks like I put it together while hung over - which I wasn't.

Moving on....


Once set up and affixed to the tripod it was time to figure out MLA tuning. One end of the variable capacitor stops at the top of the 10 meter band while many-many (many) turns later it end-stops in 40 meters. I wanted to try 20 meters so a-tuning-I-did-go. Like you've heard and/or been told many times turn the capacitor, while listening for the loudest noise to come out of your receiver. Once your in the ball park you can tune it more slowly until the SWR is at it's lowest.

The way I did it (and currently still do it) was to have the 15' foot coax come into a 2 position switch box. One position sent the signal to my radio while the other one was connected to my Comet SWR display. I slowly tuned it down to under 1.5:1, switched over to my radio and BAM--->my FT-817's receiver came alive with actual activity on 14.300. This was the most I'd heard out of it since the last time I ran portable, and never inside the QTH.


Sitting in my "shack" on the second floor of the house I was actually able to get in on one of the morning nets that are running on 14.300. Let me stress that this was the first time I'd ever been able to hear a net, much less talk on one, from an indoor antenna and I was elated. Eventually I put the 817 back in storage and have used my TS-2000 ever since. The maximum supported wattage is 25 and I normally keep my rig set to 20 watts just to play it safe. I've checked in on various nets, and participated in several ARRL contests where I've discovered that if I hear them, they'll hear me as well. Many times I have given out a 5-7 signal report and received a 5-9 report back from the other station.


Let's get down to brass tacks about my take on this antenna -


  • PRICE - At $400 this is fairly expensive. At the price I bought it for the P-Loop was affordable 😁
  • You don't need to make a perfect circle. I.E. - feel free to half-ass it.
  • It has never made a difference on the precise location of the smaller loop. I eyeballed it when I set it up, but have moved it a little each way to see if there was a noticeable difference and there wasn't.
  • Once you get used to it, setting the loop up should take you all of a minute or two.
  • I never found that I could distort the tuning by merely touching the black tuning knob.
  • Tuning is really easy. If you have 29 mHz at one end and 7 at the other why tune slowly? If I'm on 10m and want to get to 20 I know it's roughly at the mid tuning point and take huge turns of the capacitor to get in the ball park quicker.
  • Location: I've tried this downstairs at garage level and then upstairs in the shack and have not found either location to be better or worse than the other.
  • Being vertical there should be quite a bit of directivity to the loop. Sometimes I've noticed it and have moved the loop's direction to get a better signal, while other times it doesn't seem to matter much. Perhaps this has to do with the type of propagation I'm getting. If anything is certain, I know that by turning the loop in one direction or the other allows me to tune out much of the electrical noise I pick up from our structure.
  • Bandwidth. Yes, the bandwidth gets wider as you tune upwards towards 10 meters but even on 7 meters I haven't found that having to re-tune is an issue. After a  month or two I discovered that it had become second nature.
  • 25 watts maximum SSB. Yes, that is quite a drop from 100 watts, but seriously, the loop has a butt load of electricity on it and because it's right there in the room with me I wouldn't be comfortable with it any higher.
  • Yep... It works fine on 11 meters too!

To wrap up: Before the loop I was strictly a listener indoors, only able to work stations while mobile or in the field. Now I'm able to sit in the shack and make contacts. I am no longer bound by the constraints of not being able to have an outdoor antenna.

One day, when I have some extra cash floating around I plan to make my own magnetic loop. Also, since using this one, I've been kinda chomping at the bit to see what using the F-Loop can do for me, via coax or the solid aluminum loop, but that would fall into the category marked "Luxury"

A magnetic loop is not the ultimate antenna, however, I'll leave you with these words: "The best antenna you have is the one you can actually use"..(Nuff Said)

73

WOODY















































































Sunday, October 13, 2019

UNIDEN 980SSB - PRESIDENT MCKINLEY - PRESIDENT GRANT II PREMIUM




"WHICH ONE?"







WINNER
As you know, I just recently compared a Uniden 980 with the President McKinley, and the McKinley
won hands down in several categories, categories that mattered to me and most importantly - screen visibility in the vehicle during daylight hours. I pulled the 980 out from the car as soon as the comparisons were over. Even at night I found that the 980's screen was slightly difficult to view unless it was right there in front me. Viewing from either side angle was not favorable.

Enter the President Grant II "Premium" CB transceiver.  The Grant II came out about 6 years ago and was replaced with the Grant II "Premium" in 2015. Unless someone buys one for you overseas, or, you buy one yourself and have it shipped to the U.S. you won't be able to get one. In fact I believe that the Premium model has recently been discontinued in lieu of a President McKinley EU model (many more frequencies). A quick glance and you might think you were looking at a Uniden 980, but soon enough it's easy to pick either one by the bezel. The 980 has a shiny
GRANT II PREMIUM
chrome bezel that while looking sharp, the chrome area is a magnet for fingerprints and smudges and the Grant II doesn't. I prefer the mat finish of the Grant II Premium.

The Amber background is most pleasing to my eyes, but you also have the option to select GREEN. I guess I should have mentioned in the beginning the reason why this is called the "Premium". Well, the Premium version has a larger sized filter manufactured by Murata, and it's purpose to help your adjacent channel rejection fight off strong signals on channels other than the one you're talking on. Because I live in a RF "Dead Zone" as well as poor band conditions, I didn't really have an opportunity to see if there is any noticeable change in reception, and my noise level / reception was the same as either of the other two radios.


THE GRANT II HAS LARGE HEATSINK
Comparing each radios footprint, the 980 and Grant II are identical, with the exception being the Grant II has a large heatsink. The transceiver itself is your typical 4watt/12watt SSB output so I'm not sure that it really needs one. As you would expect, the McKinley depth is much shorter than either of the other two.



With the McKinley's smaller footprint and front firing speaker it would be the easy choice when you're tight on space. All three models are very light weight compared to older rigs like a Cobra 148 or Uniden Grant.


The Grant II Premium is a fun rig to play around with but is it worth spending $300 or more for it? No. I wish the Premium model offered features similar to the McKinley like Auto-SWR, and NOAA reception. It would also had been nice if the design had been reworked with a front firing speaker too. The Premium is the only one to have FM, but that's not a mode I would every imagine using in the US anyway. Once the export mod is done you get a choice of bands similar to any export radio including the UK CB band.

All 3 transceivers had good transmit audio. I used my Turner Road King 70 on each model. They all had "okay" noise blanking ability, and I found the Hi-Cut feature (used in the Premium and McKinley) to be very useful fighting noise as well. To say that either of their noise blanker's worked as well as the classic 138GTL or original Uniden Grant would be a falsehood. While I'm wishing for other features, I wish that one day you could change the display from channel number to frequency ONLY via a menu function.

Once again, I'd prefer to have a McKinley in the car. It's backlit screen just edged out the Premium for readability in daylight hours. I would have preferred some Sunspot activity to see how each radio compared against the other but I'm afraid we're many months away from that happening. A detailed review of the Grant II can be found via CB Radio magazine as well as various YouTube channels.

AUDIO AUDIO
 
If you've noticed, lately I've been posting some audio clips on this blog for your enjoyment (right-side). The most recent upload is another classic "Clark" clip about a High School science experiment gone horribly wrong in "the Lightning bolt from the butt "story. If you haven't noticed, well, now you know. I rotate these clips with others from time to time.


73

WOODY






Thursday, October 10, 2019

T.I. SSB RADIO UPDATE






AMAZING WHAT YOU CAN STUMBLE ACROSS ON THE WEB







Well, I missed the Fall Belton Hamfest last weekend for a variety of reasons that should not have been reasons in the first place (but they were). My regret was further amplified when the "Friz" emailed me to say that it was the largest turn out he had seen in many years (😰). My plan now is to get there next Spring.

On another note, and the main reason I started this entry, I was  perusing archival stories of the Wall Street Journal when I ran across an article from August 31, 1977 and the title read: "Texas Instruments Delays CB Radio Sales for several months".

Yes, this was all to do about their upcoming 40 channel SSB radios. "Citing production-cost concerns and a flooded market they (TI) will delay for several months its prevously announced entry into the citizens-band radio business".

Concerned about the 23 channel glut along with the switch to 40 channel radios they were now postponing their planned releases until 1978. Previously their Hi-Tech transceivers were supposed to hit in the Fall of '77. Not only were they wavering on the release date, Texas Instruments hadn't even filed for FCC approval!

A TI spokesman said that they were also planning to redesign their units so that they would better fit the market demand as well as pricing. When asked if the base/mobile radio pricing would change due to redesigns he said "We don't have any anticipation that we will change the prices UP or Down".

Clearly, they had mock ups and perhaps even pre-production models about around when they announced these transceivers, but after reading this article it seems to me that it never got any further than that due to apprehension of a tightening marketplace. (pictures from advertisements of these radios are in my previous posts about them)

Knowing what we know now about the CB manufacturer "Blood Bath" of 1977/8 TI was smart in making that decision however, I sure wish that they went thru with it so we could have one or both in our collection.

Unless some old TI guy contacts me to say that he has a pre-production model, this pretty much ends my posts about it.


73

Woody