Thursday, September 12, 2019


Yep, I know - I'm a little late getting to the party, but I recently got my hands on the President McKinley 40 channel am/ssb mobile, and I thought I'd jot down my overall impression as the last newly released rig I'd had so far was President's Lincoln 2 V3.

Well first of all, I procured my transceiver in the used market place ($99) without the factory box and accessories (It did have the microphone). When I received the box and pulled it from the safety of our postal box my first thought was "this box is too freaking light to have a radio in here - I've been had!" but no, the radio was indeed, in the box. The transceiver itself is just a little bitty thing that is no way near the weight of an older CB like the 138XLR. There's nothing wrong with that, it just took me by surprise.

I had an immediate pet peeve: The "moron" sticker on top of the radio which tries to help the most moronic of us apply DC power correctly. After all, it uses a standard 3-pin power connector which would make it almost impossible to key incorrectly (unless you were a persistent Moron)

Moving on.... 

There were a couple things that attracted me to this model. Having read and viewed various reviews I was interested in the SWR feature and looked forward to having something in the car with a front-firing speaker. So out of the box and onto the bench it went.

On power up the colorful display lights up and gives you all the information you need to know - What channel you're on, the corresponding frequency (albiet tiny and hard to see), channel activity via S-meter, status of the rf gain control, and whether or not you have the noise blanker or high-cut filters in use.

Compared to the Uniden 980 the overall appearance is rather sparce, (back when I bought a 980 my first thought was "where do I insert my Rolling Stones CD?"). I guess, if I had to put the McKinley into a category I would say that it is "utilitarian", and there's nothing wrong with that.

While everything is aligned at your finger tips my personal preference would have been to reverse the layout by having the speaker on the right side vs. left, but that's just my preference. In any case it was nice to have a front-firing speaker.

The controls at your finger tips are:

  • Fine/coarse Clarifier - Receive only (scroll down for more info)
  • Power / Squelch / ASC - dual potentiometer control also varies RF output
  • Channel selector / Menu -
  • Dual-Watch (ch9/19)
  • MIC GAIN (self explanatory)
Other buttons below display: MODE / PA / WX / NB/ANL/ HiCut.

[I would not have bought this solely for WX, but I was nonetheless happy to have the NOAA back in the vehicle like I had with my Midland 77-290 25 years ago].

By pressing the Channel control in you can toggle around and vary the color of the screen (orange, blue, green), adjust the brightness / contrast, and best of all - turn OFF that annoying key BEEP. If you're not a Roger Beep kinda guy you have the option to turn it off and don't have to go thru contortions to do it.

While toggling around you can also change the receive tone and/or activate the SWR feature. Now this is pretty cool! I first heard about it when I watched the review from "Mikes-Radio-Repair" and thought it was something every rig should have (it is). 

You don't have to switch any thing to "Set", align the needle to one side of the meter and then switch back to SWR (like the BS you normally would), it just does it. 

Rather than further duplicating other reviews I think it's time to stop and give you some links for further details on features it has, and what they do, then I'll continue with my thoughts about it.




The President McKinley AM/SSB USA transceiver is a fairly "locked down" CB which only allows you to open the clarifier and no other mods. If they (President) had only one thing that could be done to the rig, picking the clarifier mod was the right choice. I don't have any problems using a radio on the 40 channel FCC spread, but if it has SSB then I want the Clarifier to track on receive AND transmit.

There is another version of the McKinley for the rest of the world, which is the EU model. You can go pretty much anywhere with this one, but from what I've seen, it's not available anywhere in the U.S.

This microphone works okay but is so lightweight that it feels super cheap when holding it, and I'm not confident about how well it will hold up as time goes by with day-after-day use. It's the new standard 6-pin configuration shared by Uniden / President which means you can use the wireless Bluetooth microphone from your 880/980 radio on this model if you want to. 

There is no hokey-pokey "voodoo" magic about getting this to work - it's just like pairing a Bluetooth device to your computer. As long as the pin-out is correct on the piece that plugs into the microphone jack matches (and it does), it should work just fine.

I'm trying to stop comparing every new radio with classic old school equipment (like I did with Uniden Bearcat's 980SSB) because they'll never quite live up to those expectations, but it's hard not to do. Because my description of the McKinley is "Utilitarian" I had to ask myself if I would have spent $180 for a new-in-the-box model? 

No, it just isn't worth it. 

This is a radio that should be selling for  $130 or less. At that price point you really couldn't gripe a lot about the stuff that it's lacking, but @ $180 it's only $45 less than a President Lincoln II  or $69 less than a President Lincoln II+ ( yes, I know they are supposed to be Ham-band only rigs, but I live in the real world).

So that's the review, as well as a big "Thank You" to all the folks (above) who covered the minutia details about this when it first came out...



No comments:

Post a Comment