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Bengal SSB

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Orbieswar

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Who remembers the old cats ?
I picked one up about 2 yrs ago at local flee markets. She looked very clean and original.
Getting her home I soon discovered she had very little RX.
She was as deaf as a post. I saw her potential but did not have the time then to fix her up.
Recently I found the old girl sitting quietly in the back of the wardrobe and she purred at me.
I got her out dusted her down and opened her up.
A couple of diodes and a RX amp transistor later and the big cat is roaring again.
She easily makes her 4 & 12 watts plenty of audio and all lights work.

I was thinking of putting modern digital type VFO on her to get her up to 40 or more.

Any one else have one of these still running or sitting around ?
 

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Dawn

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Worked on plenty of them Orbie. PS was one of the few brands besides RS, the department store brands such as Sears and JC Penny's, and Johnson that I had access to parts. PS was especially popular here due to this being PS's home town and at the time we literally had hundreds of both marine centers and exporters to latin america selling here locally which were thier principal outlets.We probably had more Simba's per capita on the air then anywhere in the world. They employed many of the local amateurs as well. They had a side door product sold to amateurs that was their Bimini series marine radios modified and retuned for 2M under the Gladding label.
 

Orbieswar

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I would love to get my hands on a SIMBA more so the SIMBA SSB 2... I have the CHEETAH 2 as you know and compared to my Cobra 142 and Uniden Grant she leaves them both for dead in both RX ans TX... I was toying with the idea of putting the Cheetah chassis into the Bengal box.
It would make a great base unit... But ruin a very rare radio. For now they are both safe.
 

Dawn

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I'd like just to get my hands on a Simba 2 just to see what's inside. My gut instinct tells me it's probably some variation on the uniden 858 ssb chassis. That the same path Courier took with the 40 and 40D model. The board in the 23 channel courier is also a uniden chassis and similar to the Simba. The Bengal II used the 861which was odd for a sideband unit. Whatever was in that /2 had to be Uniden.

The 23 channel ones sell pretty cheap from what I've seen, especially the earlier model without the tone control. I guess with transportation costs it would probably be prohibitive to ship one to OZ. A junker though would be a great candidate for a transplant. Those sold for over $500 USD in their time and there were an awful lot of them around. Given we were in a recession that was worse then today, that's what $2,225 USD or more in today's money. For the times, that was one classy box. Although I always liked the more restrained appearance of the Courier side band boxes.
 

Orbieswar

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In 35 yrs of radio I have only seen 1 Simba 2.. It was many many yrs ago when 23 was out and every one down here wanted the newer legal 18 ch units. Back then nobody new that they were PLL as they were physically the same as the older model..And they were just too $$$.,
I think you will find that they are the same chassis as the Cheetah 2 that is the 858 pll in the tin box just like the couriers. eg Centurion 40D-Courier Centurion PLL-Courier Spartan PLL-Fanon Fanfare350F and the Midland 79-893..I have also heard but not seen that this early 858 chassis was also used in some early Cobra base units.
As for the look of the Courier/Fanon units I agree they were very practical and basic but look fantastic. I am rather partial to the Gladiator myself.
There must be hundreds of the Simba 2 still around somewhere.. lets hope a good sole sees the post and can shed some light and pictures on this beautiful radio.
 

Dawn

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Orbie, this is the mystery to me. I posted about it a while back. I never seen one or heard of one until seeing one on the net. I didn't make the transition to 40 channel units and withdrew from repair and continued on with a career in land mobile and marine. I knew a lot of the service folks at PS becuase they were all amateurs and still keep in touch with the few still alive. Nobody remembers this unit. The company was in total disarray during that period and laid off a lot of people at both their plants here and they started to diversify into all kinds of stuff away from radio. Unfortunately the best source for info on this unit died seven years ago. SAMS didn't make photofact for it. None of the modification books or PLL chip resources mention this unit. It doesn't appear to be in any PS lists of any kind. There must have been very few made and probably a transition radio. Everybody was left scrambling to find a 40 channel lineup/sourcing almost last minute because of all the nonsense that was going on with the FCC. They had very little time to get their units to type approval and to market. This may have even been a 23 channel PLL unit. Several manufactures did that because there was a tacit understanding that whatever was approved, the radios could be later modified. We were told to hint that about Radio Shack's TRC-55 and a few of the radios they had that were 23 channel, but employed a PLL circuit. Sales came to a dead standstill because people didn't want to buy an radio that would be obsolete. The FCC didn't approve of the after-the-fact modifications. They had to be type accepted all over again and meet the newer standards. Many of those radios could be made 40 channels with the change of the binary or BCD switch switching through the appropriate count. Even though it wasn't approved, lot of 23 channel radios that were PLL were indeed modified later. Maybe that's the story with the /2. It still retains a rotary switch and in one Ebay auction, the guy mentioned it was a 39 channel radio. Was that a typographic error or unknowledgable seller or was it a 23 channel radio modified later? Can't rule out that possibility until someone can clarify just what this radio was. I'm eager to know.

I restored a Courier 40D for a guy. Had to make and refinish new end panels to replace the laminated ends and did a sandblasting and repaint on the top cover. I had to buy a junker Centurian PLL for parts off Ebay. The radios are the exact same radio except they lengthened the channel shaft and added a second BCD encoded switch that drove a two digit display. Very simple change to get a digital model on the market. Clock was dead in both units. Turns out a 4 digit, .36" LED clock module off Ebay for $7 mounted on perf board and brought the set switches out to the back panel pefectly replaced it. Also has temp in C and reads voltage, not sure, but I think it has other functions. That radio looked like a million dollars when finished with a digital clock to boot that looks like it was made for the radio. I think these can be retrofitted into TRC-457's and the reason why I asked someone on this board for measurements. Slight modification to a Simba's bezel and maybe a piece of red translucent plexiglass might digitize one like factory made.
 

Orbieswar

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There are no 40 ch Simba 2 or Cheetah 2..they were all 23. The 39 ch you hear of or see is a modification with a switch. I have thought of doing this mod to my Cheetah 2. But I also had the thought of getting a 40ch switch with LED and mounting it externally on the radio as not too spoil the looks.
The Cheetah 2 does not nor does the Simba 2 have the ability to directly fit a 40 switch even in the same style as original. There is not enough external pins on the PLL box to do this. You must open the box containing the PLL and solder to the chip.
This mod goes from ch 7=27.435 8=27.255 up to ch 22=27.425 and I think it was covered in one of the secret cb modification books. Book 1 page 31... it lists the centurion gladiator simba and cheetah as having the same chassis and same modification If I find the book I will post it up.

This page also briefly mentions this strange chassis and the radios that used it. EFJ Devices
 

Dawn

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Thanks Orbie! This is the first confirmation I've seen that it was the same as the Cheetah 2. I've perused the Secret SSB and somehow missed this. I see they refer to it as the Simba PLL.
I'm assuming from the secondary article that this is the common '858 board. I don't understand why the author refers to this as the "reverse board" as it and variations were the standard board in most radios of that time including the Courrier and TRC-457/8. What radios used the other one? That board and the 858 were essentially pulled off the market by virtue of their extreme broadbandness and the easy modifications to the '858. If the Simba/2 was the same, the switch addressing in BCD should be the same 10 bit addressing. A 40 channel switch from a competitor such as Courier would have solved the problem if their was no PS equivalent. There were lots of counter and BCD sequencers available during that time for '858's made by several companies.

Thanks for this kernal of info though. This really has me more interested. I've got that junker chassis of the orignal Centurion fully rebuilt and have added a 7.8 mhz accessory filter for SSB. I haven't got around to it, but I would like to move this one to 10M and do the same clock and chassis rebuild. There's two ways of doing this. I'd rather the USB crystal switch rather then the programable divider wiring as it's much more stable. I've done a number of Hitachi based Sears and JC Penny conversions locally. Those two chassis are my current interest. They aren't broadband and very selective and nearly built to commercial standards of the day.
 

Orbieswar

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I don't know how the 40ch couriers did 40ch as the extra wire needed on the old open hand wired switches was not there..And no provisions for it either. Unless the 40ch versions used the conventional 858 board that we all know... This was a transitional period for Uniden.going from tried and proven crystal to PLL....maybe this board was an experiment or trial version of what was to come from them, or was purposely designed by Uniden for other branded radio other than there own? I do not no of any PRESIDENT or UNIDEN branded radio that used this chassis. Am I wrong ?
I still want to get a hold of a 40ch 858 switch and see what I can get out of her... Hmmm the plot thickens..
 

Orbieswar

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I am going to open my Cheetah up and check that wire on pin18... I think it should be there.. So a physical inspection is required.. will be back.
 

Orbieswar

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As Above

All the pins / wires are in place.. so the midland / courier 40ch switches could be fitted.
Now if only there was a way to modify/alter the analogue type display...
 

Orbieswar

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Super bengal 2

I personally never liked the SB2 it was ugly... I did own one for awhile.. nice sounding radio on and off air..
I remember moding the clock so it was 24hr time..
These use the 861 PLL which is odd as UNIDEN used these primarily in AM only units.. However I do know of at least 3 or 4 SSB units that did have the 861 PLL..
What do you want to know ?

Hows about a Super Bengal Mk II?

T!
 

jb_tas

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id like a parts list for a MK2 Bengal. I got 1 that has parts rusted out and missing
Thanks
 

Orbieswar

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Sorry I cannot help you there. But. The Bengal 2 is the same as a Wagner 510 and a Contact PS301 (mobile version) maybe you can google these names and find something.
Good luck.
 
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