There are no CB radios currently in production that are both handheld and support SSB. It's one or the other. I've been fairly happy with a Uniden 980SSB in my vehicle, decent audio and no SSB drift. No matter what, AM will sound like AM....
I agree, the 980 SSB is a good all around radio. My biggest complaint with it is the LED display. It's very difficult to see in direct sunlight. Other than that it's a keeper.Times 2.... I just bought a 980 SSB to replace a Uniden PC78LTW that was failing and I love it. Not as sensitive as my 78 but scans, does the weather with Alerts, SSB and many of it's features are customizable. If you shop around the web or Truck Stops and are patient, you find sales for a good price. It's not a Galaxy, a Ranger or a Connex but a good all around CB in one package at a reasonable price.
There is actually an SSB handheld transceiver marketed in Europe as the Albrecht AE-2990 which also features an FM transmission mode, I have also seen it marketed as the Magnum 1012 or Dragon SS-301, from what I've read on the internet frequency ranges are not difficult to set and are to all intensive purposes an Amateur/Export radio.
www.cbradio.nl: Picture and Specifications of the Dragon SS-301 Handheld Multi-Norm Export Radio
As for an off the shelf solution I would agree with the Uniden 980SSB...
People don't remember those days too well. Long before cell phones, 800 and T band. The only microwave was way up on the top of mountain peaks in the desert. No interference what-so-ever When I was around 10, like 1970?, we were visiting relatives in Caldwell, Idaho. My uncle stood on the rim of the Owyhee Valley with a Realistic 3 channel, 2 watt handi talki (channel 14 crystal) with a center load pull out whip (I would guess 36") and talked to a friend in Lake Tahoe. AM, line of sight, 375 miles. He would sit the radio on the top of his car for a ground plane lol Both standing on mountains. I don't remember what the other guy had.... I had a conversation from Long Beach, CA to Ireland. That was a hoot!
My 148 GTL is so old that i am 76 year old and cart remember when i got it but only thing it ever needed was a mike cable and it is still working its not for sale hope the new ones are as good i see them for $139. at theantennafarm.comI see many here really go for the Uniden BEARCAT 980. I have been kicking myself all over the mountain for not picking on up from Love's last December when they had them for $99.99. Add $40 and you'll see the lowest they've been since. I wanted one because I saw an 880 at the Tucson Truck Terminal CB shop with the heater on the back; was the 75 kit for 50 bucks. That means a radio with the power of a "big radio" for $150 total. He claimed they didn't make one for the 980. I think he meant they didnt have the instructions out and he didnt want to figure it out. I meant to get a 980 before the sale was over, but other end of the year bills put up a big wall.
Since then I've had my old Super Star 3900 brought up to snuff. It had 1969's in it. Now has mosfets (the bigguns) and a scary swing to match. it's in the neighborhood of 20-->100. But yeah, this is an export basis.
My 2 fav CB's that are real FCC I.D. CB's are (1st) the Galaxy DX 979 with it's smaller chassis, it fits into the radio rack of my Nissan Frontier quite nicely. Same width as any ol' AM/FM/CD player. It has so many bells and whistles there is no room for a freq counter. The jack for that is on the back. I have a 60 kit on that and it handles the Los Angeles Basin very nicely.
(2nd) is when my shop was working on my SS3900, he lent me a Texas Ranger TR996 (?) with the grey face plate. It took me exactly 1/2 a day to realize the quality of this radio. It had ears to all get out and everyone complemented it even when I didn't ask for a radio check. One fella out of the blue said "I don't know what kinda radio you got, but it sure is swinging!" There was no visible signs of anything not stock. My friend later assured me it was a stock parts radio that had only been bench tuned (and cranked lol). I think that's what happens when you get a company like Ranger Communications to build a real CB.
He offered to traid straight across, the Texas Ranger for my Cobra 148GTL I told him I was wanting to let go of. I had to pass, very reluctantly, due to the stupidest thing. I couldnt stand the dull grey face plate and the knobs! I like round knobs and these were flat sided for you to grab with your thumb and first finger. I hated them!
I did a trade that day. I spied a President that he had up for $150. Since the 148's and the TR's go for around $90 in his shop, he pondered a price and told me "Hand me $40 and get the tell outta here lol". So for my 29 year old 148 and $40, I had me a President... Jackson; WOOT!
I am determined to get a Texas Ranger soon. Jason is keeping an eye out for one with a nice face arraignment haha
Amazon.com: Stryker Sr-955hpc 10 Meter Amateur Radio: Electronics
If you're handy with a soldering iron...