The BATTLE between SSB Radios

battle

If you are a licensed short wave amateur radio hobbyist you know the importance of having good equipment. Having a powerful CB radio gives you a ton of choices with regards to enjoying this activity and it will give you greater range as well.

CB radios come in all price ranges yet if they are costly it does guarantee they are great and if they are reasonable it doesn’t mean they can’t do a nice job.

As an energetic CB’er I am continually hoping to try new products and must have the most up to date and most prominent available to play with in my shack.

I’ve experienced a lot of radios and throughout the previous 5 years I’ve been involved in the export radio craze buying every new one that came available to try out and attempt (as long as they had SSB).

Yet my big finding after all my purchases were that not many export radios are stable on SSB. The most stable of the exports are the following:

  • Ranger TR-966

And contrasted with those the rest of the exports act like dogs when it comes to staying on frequency.

Stryker SR-955HPC

sr955hpc mrx

The Stryker SR-955HP was manufactured in May 2012. This radio has been quite a while in the making and the first rumors we knew about the radio started over four years ago.

Stryker spent quite a while working with the factory to build up this radio and the objective was to create a SSB radio that would hold all of the positive aspects of their past AM radios while offering SSB stability.

One of the greatest complaints about SSB export radios throughout the years has been issues with frequency drift during SSB operation. The Magnum 257, Optima, and RCI 29xx series have been a portion of the notable exceptions.

The other complaint has been that frequently SSB export radios performed well on AM however not SSB or the other way around. The objective (at any rate as I had heard it) was to create a radio that could perform in all modes and offer the frequency stability that the die hard SSB crowd requested.

The Stryker 955HP has incredible output: 75-85 watts on SSB and around 65 watts on AM. The radio remains on frequency even during long conversations.

The heat sink will get very warm yet I didn’t see any stability issues and truth be told, limited drop-off in wattage when the radio got hot. The stock microphone on this radio is a king.

I attempted a variety of microphones and everybody said to put the stock microphone back on the radio. It’s a cheap-feeling microphone yet the audio reports were sparkling.

I got a huge amount of positive feedback on the air and people asking over and over what kind of radio I was using. AM audio was great – not exactly as screamingly loud as a portion of the different Strykers I’ve used yet certainly superior than many of the SSB exports I’ve used.

On SSB this thing level out rocked the airwaves. SSB audio was punchy, crisp, loud, clean and regular sounding. When I recorded myself on the air I was truly amazed at how pleasant this radio sounded.

People have been complaining for years about the lack of frequency stability on export radios (except for the 2950DX, Magnum 257 and a couple of others). Generally speaking the export market has had a huge amount of radios that were loud on AM and alright on SSB howevr would drift everywhere. The new technology being used on the Stryker 955HP has created a radio that has so little drift it is a non-issue and that is a big deal for SSB operators who use export radios.

The SR-955HPC is well known for sideband performance, and we have had the ability to additionally build it by including the NE612 SSB product detector.The essential function of NE612 is better clarity and less noise. No other radios in this reasonable range are offering SSB if you adore SSB you will appreciate for this upgrade.

Cobra 146 GTL

cobra 146 gtl ssb

This year I went an alternate route. I’ve gone old school. I grabbed a Cobra 146 GTL (I had claimed one about 5 years ago and recollected that it is performing very well) for a song and dance and threw it in the mobile.

The first thing I saw is how well the old Cobra’s lessen engine noise and static with the NB/ANL switch. On AM I really had to switch the NB/ANL off at one point to ensure my receive was working, it was that calm.

Now perhaps they don’t have as touchy receiver as some of the exports, yet if you get so much static that you can’t hear the signal in any case what’s the purpose of having an incredible receiver?

This radio is small. Much smaller than the Cobra 148, yet that’s because it has fewer features. Performance wise however I would rank this radio higher than a 148.

After tuning it seems to have cleaner audio than most 148’s and takes less tweaking to get to the same output numbers.

All in all I’m truly feeling that returning to the straight CB market could be a good thing. I adore the exports and every one of the features, however at last the only real benefits after some time of owning the export was the extra channels and the extra power.

Since I once in a while leave the regular 40 the additional channels aren’t a big deal to me. Furthermore, if I can talk 40 miles on 20 watts I truly don’t feel like I’m missing out on any wattage.

GALAXY DX 979

galaxy dx 979 ssb

I’ve been a devotee of the Galaxy DX 959 before I have used Stryker SR-955. So when I heard that Galaxy was delivering the DX 979, I was excited.

This new radio was smaller and moreover incorporated the StarLite faceplate, so I set aside some money and sat tight for it to come out.

As for a tune up on this radio, I simply adjusted the modulation, set the high and low power setting where I needed them on the variable power, and I was prepared to go.

You can set the radio for a low deadkey and swing upwards from that point, or you can turn the variable up and deadkey 4 watts and swing upwards (this radio can deadkey higher than 4 watts anyway it’s not prescribed by the manufacturer to set it higher).

Swing numbers on this radio are magnificent. With just a direct modulation adjustment these new Galaxy CB’s are swinging than 20 watts on AM and 25 watts on SSB.

The receive is brilliant, yet the noise filtering isn’t exactly as good as the DX 959, TR-696FD1, or other older SSB radios. It has a NB/ANL position yet it doesn’t seem to filter similarly as that equivalent position on different radios.

Even though the background noise is somewhat more louder when used mobile, I found the sensitivity on the receive compensated for it enabling me to hear stations some of my older radios weren’t picking up.

The only substantial disadvantage to me is that this radio suffers from mild SSB drift during warmup. This seems to be a trait related with SSB radios these days, especially with the 959 and 979 models. Including a frequency, counter is useful if this is an issue for you.

President McKinley

president mckinley ssb

CB radios have hit the market over the most recent few years. So it peaked our interest when we saw that President was bringing out into the open a SSB CB radio for the U.S. market.

The radio is comparable in size to the Uniden 980 however the styling is totally different. While the Uniden 980 front face looks a great deal like an aftermarket car stereo, the President McKinley has an extremely straightforward utility look to it like two-way business radios.

It just has three knobs (two are dual controls with inward and outer adjustments) and 5 buttons. The LCD display is extensive and easily readable.

Anyway their receive sensitivity is comparable and receive levels were totally acceptable while listening to both locals and DX. The front firing speaker on this radio truly has a pleasant sound to it even though it’s pretty small.

This is a single last CB radio that was intended to pass an FCC inspection and will do the standard 4 watt output on AM and 12 watts on SSB. With some additional tuning you will see around 15 watts output yet this isn’t designed to be a huge output radio.

While a large number of the newer CB radios have been lacking in audio on AM and SSB I discovered that this little radio had some great sound and keeping in mind that not overpowering it was certainly more punchy than some other radios I’ve tried.

With the expansion of an aftermarket microphone I felt it sounded very great. The stock microphone isn’t awesome as the microphone element is really hold up behind some plastic so dependent on my tests I would recommend a SR-65BC with noise cancelling.

UNIDEN 980

uniden 980 ssb

The last time Uniden manufactured a new SSB CB radio despite everything we acquired radios by means of mail request and we had never known about something many refer to as the iPhone.

The Uniden Grant XL and LT were apparently some of the most adored and confided mobile SSB CB radios ever made. In choosing to jump back into the SSB game Uniden had a great deal of obstacles to survive.

The SSB CB market was requesting a radio that was stable on SSB – the Galaxy radios simply weren’t cutting it and even the more current style Cobra 148’s were experiencing from frequency drift issues.

Since it was 2012, they additionally needed to release a radio that could offer features that would mix well with the technology of present world. Ultimately they expected to make a radio that could talk well and really perform.

The radio is compact and the estimations don’t lie. An extremely square shape in general however the little size means this radio can be mounted in just about any vehicle.

A lot of CB’ers nowadays have become used to radios that can easily be tuned up for 20 watts output with only a few adjustments inside (Galaxy DX 959 for instance). The Uniden 980 SSB won’t yield similar outcomes.

In fact, the output on this radio is somewhat fair. Out of the box you’ll see perhaps 5-8 watts AM peak and 10-12 watts SSB peak. With a little bit of tuning you will see peak output of around 10 watts on AM and 15 watts SSB, yet that is about it.

I’ve completed a little bit of complaining lately about the oversensitive receive on a portion of the more up to date SMT type radios turning out (Alpha Max, CRE 8900), however the Uniden 980 doesn’t experience the ill effects of these issues at the same level.

If this radio does anything extraordinarily well it’s keeping frequency stability on SSB. For over 20 years the CB community has battled and fiddled with radios that drifted up or down and required consistent adjustment of the clarifier.

The Uniden 980 requires no such changes. Out of the box the radio was spot on frequency (no cb shop alignment required) and from swing on to swing off and in every single operating environments I tried I never encountered any noticable drift.

For those of you who adored the stability of the old Uniden Grant radios you’ll find the same, if worse, stability in this new SSB radio.

Ranger TR-966

rangertr966

I truly preferred the appearance of this radio when I got it. It’s about the size of a Cobra 148 however the face of the radio stands out more and isn’t flat – the channel area really has a touch of recession to it.

Since the radio wasn’t as glossy and covered in chrome compared to most models I figured it would be less obvious to theft as I lived in a terrible area at the time.

As far as transmit goes I had the capacity to give the radio a basic tune for peak numbers of 15 watts on AM and 17 watts on SSB. Much of the time I experienced no difficulty talking to locals or making contacts inside 10-15 miles (radio was paired with a SR-A10 Trucker mount).

The audio quality on the receive was somewhat lacking (not enough to truly call it a concern, sufficiently only to be noticeable). The transmit audio is somewhat delicate from the factory so expect that you’ll need to have the modulation turned up, and the expansion of a power microphone can do wonders.

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