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So Called 10M CB radios

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Dawn

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Looking over the websites of dealers, I see a lot of radios designated as 10M, yet the descriptions never state the frequency ranges and they appear to be regular export CB's on steroids with a high power output using a FET based class C amp somewhere either inside or on the back and typically 5 ranges of 40 channels.

Unlike their microprocessor based competitors like the Magnums or RCI's, these make no pretense they aren't being made for CB conversion and use. The check outs of these websites offer recommended tune jobs and tout their trucker/CB performance features that no amateur would be interested in such as talkback and other CB specific features.

This makes me wonder about something. Do these radios really come out of the box covering 10 meters and how the hell are these companies switching 5 or 10 loop crystals and retuning for around $45 to put them on CB?

My experience with converted CB's to 10M has been spectacular and far better then using a dedicated amateur radio. The CB conversions outperfrom in superior noise blanker and sensitivity although adjacent channel and image rejection aren't the best. These radios price adjusted would be a boone for amateurs if there wasn't a stigma attached to them and the knee jerk response to their use without any understanding of the rules and regs that make them perfectly legal on amateur bands.

Those of you that have either converted these units, operated them on tech/novice voice areas, or have experience with them, I'd like to hear your response. I've already done some conversions and we have a a handfull of guys that were originally on 29.6 fm move over to 28.5 and above for SSB using some of these radios or conversions although the price of a custom cut crystal has skyrocketed to nearly $50 unless you can find a standard microprocessor crystal close to the range or use a surplus rock to move the radio economically.

Back in the 70's, I converted a Sears 23 channel unit that was originally a 300+ dollar radio that blew out for $25 even though they were illegal to sell after the 40 channel radios came out. Crystals were cheap back then and I converted two 4 frequency ranges for local nets and did so with other JCPenny and Radio Shack similar units for some locals before the 02A hygain chassis pushed the surplus market towards am and fm. My cheap 8 chanel mobile with a plus 3 turner mobile mic and &$ 3.50 usb/am crystal blew away the perfromance of my then Heath SB-102 and any of the guys running a yaesu FT-101, Tempo, or Kenwood TS-520. Even during the morning drive to work, I could hear distant stations that the guys with beams and dipoles couldn't hear on their amateur 80-10 stations and got signal reports like I was running power using a barefoot radio with an ASP trunk lip antenna. Defintely a superior setup then. I moved over to two GE transcievers and antennas for 29.6 and 52.525 when everything went FM during the 40 channel surplus and half assed FM conversions. Always did have 2 GE progress line converted mobile into base power supply units since '73 for FM, but the CB conversions really rocked if you were dealing with established nets and totally blew away amateur stations of the day on 10M.

The standard later was for conversions for the usual 40 channels on the PLL rigs starting at either 28.5 or 28.45 that was standarized for early export radios sold in the states for 10M like the Mongoose Cybernet radios sold to amateurs as 10m dedicated radios. Odd their was no stigma attached to those as old timers were buying them and raving about how great they were.

Try that now and watch the condendcention and attacks by former cb'er's
 

rescue161

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I have a Magnum S9. There is a jumper setting that allows different frequency ranges, but out of the box, it only does 10 meters. It's more of a novelty than anything and yes, I agreee that these are marketed to the CB crowd. Even though there is an FM mode, there is no provision for CTCSS/DCS unless you add an aftermarket board. I have talked to England and Ukraine from NC while mobile with the Magnum, but I'd rather use a better radio.

I also have a Uniden Grant XL that I converted to cover the 10 meter band. I like it, but like the Magnum, it collects dust most of the time.
 

LtDoc

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Most of those "10 meter" radios are just a 'work around' to sell CB radios on steroids. Most of them are 'out of the box' on 10 meters, but only require a jumper setting change to make them 11 meters capable. All of them I've seen have been 'channelized', no VFO just jumps frequency in steps. Sorry, but that tells me where it's intended use is. Oh well...
- 'Doc
 

Dawn

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I looked up the S9 and until now, figured most all these 40 channel units with a band selector switch were still export 148gtl clone knockoffs with switchable stack of loop crystals and bcd strapping to get more channels.

Radios like the 257 or my optima are clearly microprocessor based and don't operate channelized unless set to do so.

I don't know how these other radios perform compared to some of the old units on sideband, but some of the 23 channel and early 40 channe hitachi based units were very good performers against an amateur radio of the time where sensitivity usually fell off at the top and had very good IF crystal filtering skirts.

Still, the argument of just get an amateur radio if you just want to work 10m mobile doesn't make much sense if you just want to talk local. Even used, that's still around $400 where a cheap used unit converted to hit net or local talk frequencies.

The old standard for the 40 channel units was to start at 28.5 and spread the 40 channels up to 28.95 with the ususual cb bandplan jumps for a while. Only thing killing the conversions now is the price of crystals unless you find something or use a standard stock microprocessor crystal. I bought some crystals from Ken's for 12 bucks that were close enough, but not perfect. For the locals, it's good enough.

I've just wondered if some of these lower end units around $150 were 10M out of the box. I know some people don't like the restrictions of channelization, but the standardization has benefits and not a radio you'd want to chase dx or use outside a local group, just get away from the idiots on 2m and 440 and their cliques.

I'm an old timer and really haven't been on the air in a while or member of any groups for over 15 years. I've managed to persuade some guys that I keep in touch with to get back on, and even we get the cold shoulder from the new guys that think they know everything. The few on 10 fm seem to be a genial bunch and mostly older guys. The conversions that I've done have sparked some interest and I was wondering if it was worth it over one of these pseudo 10m units.
 

jhooten

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At yesterday's hamfest there were plenty of used HF radios in the $275-$300 range that covered the full 10 meter band, were not channelized, had no gaps in coverage, put out a clean 100 watt signal and had digital readouts of the frequency. With one of them if 10 meters was not open at the time I can go to one of the other bands.


I need to go dig the MT1000 out and see if 10 FM is really open. Nothing talking to someone 5000 miles away using a walkie talkie.
 

Unit243

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I love my " new to me" Kenwood TS-440 with a Turner Plus 3 and Maco 5/8th's wave , I get great reports from all over and even get asked "Is that a Kenwood your running ?"

I would never buy another Cobra , RCI or whatever.... I had a guy that wanted to trade me his Yaesu FT ONE for my 440 , I straight up said no thanks lol , this radio rocks...
 

kg4ivt

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I need to go dig the MT1000 out and see if 10 FM is really open. Nothing talking to someone 5000 miles away using a walkie talkie.
Are you using the stock Motorola lowband antenna for that, or something else?
 

jhooten

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Stock /\/\ rubber helical antenna. Made 2 contacts on 29.6 with it. The .62 repeater in upstate NY was loud and clear but way to busy to get a call in.
 

Dawn

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I guess this too was a useless posting. Dollar for dollar and overall performance, some of the conversions and pseudo 10m units seem to be quite good as evidenced from some local contacts using the htx-10/100 type radios not to mention the price factor compared to even used amateur radio equipment. The story of cheap amateur rigs like the trope of the older, premium lab CRT based oscilloscopes being given away for $50 or being used for doorstops is more a net trope and not based in reality. That's not my experience at any hamfest I've attended to or Ebay.

I'm trying really hard to get a bunch of old timers that nowadays refuse to get on the air because they simply don't want to deal with what they feel in an incursion of idots. I've managed to get a few on 10FM and 6 FM with converted commercial units. I'm trying hard to get some of these hardheads to get on from 28.5-28.94 Which can be convered by the standard 40 channel bandplan moved upwards. Unfortunately, you have to deal with what you can get with standard stock crystals and where they fall within the limits of getting close to that range. I'm not going to get any of these guys to spring for big bucks mobile or put in an amateur rig. There's a big difference between the price of an old Maxtrac or TK-6110 and a used TS-50 or similar unit. I was hoping to hear some constructive info on some of these radios intended to be modified and using them as is. The price point is good. I don't think I can get any of them to spring nearly $300 for a rig like my optima, but they certainly would consider something in the $150-200 range with a pair of mosfets in the pa for a bit more power. If I could solve this with old radios and a reasonable cost for loop crystals, it would be a done deal. Those days of inexpensive crystals cut to order are over.
 

Dawn

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Most all the old crystal companies are still in business. They now concentrate on bulk production of crystals and tcxo's to manufactures. Some will still cut a crystal for an individual order, but most won't and will only accept large orders of the same frequency crystal rather then lapp one individually. I've prices several of the older companies as you notice they no longer have prices for amateur or commercial radio crystals. Some will do a small order, but at around 45-100 bucks for a single crystal is no longer economical. Why should they cater to little, individual orders anymore? Each would require a different setup,holder and blank and would require it to be hand lapped. Much easier to make a thousand cut at a common stock microprocessor clock frequency then fool around with nickle and dime orders.
 

bearcatrp

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I used to run a yeasu ft840 with the cb hack. Used to hang around triple nickle for years. Nice that only a few of us could go up there to get away from the goof balls on 19. This and an antron 99. Those were the good old days.
 

MeddleMan

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I get your first post...

...and it seems difficult to get the answers you want here. Allow me, as novice as I am. I study the CB shops when I have the time. I see many imports for sale, to be modded to CB, and it seems that they are manufactured in other countries for their spectrum, but limited to only the cw portion of the American Amatuer. For me, that is a limit to the ham that I am uninterested in. I have witnessed many "drivers" have loads of issues with radios after paying cash for conversion to CB and still not knowing how to operate the radio, expecting the shop to have already set the thing in a certain way and it stay that way. Silliness. It also seems to remain with a radio designed for a specific spectrum, in example, my Snake 29 or 148. Leave the ham stuff to the ham. I guess what I'm saying is, don't stretch it. I know YOU can, yet use the tools for what they were designed. Anyway, these are my findings.
 

SFChuck

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I "get" that there is a lot of animosity in the amateur radio community toward CBers, CB radios, amplifiers and even "export" radios.

Let me assure you that export radios are REAL radios and can be quite entertaining on 10 meters...and all of them ARE tuned to the 10m band out of the box.

I'm a 40-year ham who took a decade off from radio and just got back on a little over a year ago.. Before taking my hiatus I had a fully equipped multi-band station based around a Kenwood TS-440SAT and a Cushcraft R5 vertical. Along with that I had a KAM Plus TNC and could work virtually all bands and modes except ATV.

But I sold my equipment except for a dual-band handheld and needed something to get back on HF. I ran across a very good deal on a used but never-modified Uniden President HR2600 (similar to the Radio Shack HTX-100). It's 10 meter single-band radio that operates on SSB, AM, FM and CW. Its output is 25w PEP on sideband and 10w on AM and FM. (So far I have not used an amplifier but I'm giving that some consideration. If I decide to go that direction it WON'T be a $2000 1KW behemoth.)

With the 25w Uniden I've worked 54 countries and all six ARRL-recognized continents along with numerous stateside contacts and more than enough 10-10 members to join that organization.

Due to limited space, I can only put up a vertical antenna. For that I chose another ostensibly CB product...a Sirio 2016 vertical. It is about 20 feet tall with 16 29-in. radials and is at the top of a 21-ft. mast. I chose low-loss RG-21`3 for the feedline to minimize losses between the shack and the antenna. I've gotten an S-9 plus 10 db report from Crete so believe me, even barefoot with my modest station I get out...and I get very good audio reports.

While you can knock the ops who illegally modify their radios and operate on bands for which they are not licensed, don't knock the radios. They're an inexpensive, fun and rewarding way to get on the top band for those who don't want, don't need or can't afford thousands of dollars worth of equipment..
 

SFChuck

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To add to the above concerning an amplifier:

If I decide to get an amplifier it will likely be a 25-30 MHz unit with a power output of 100-200 watts. However, I will make sure it is properly biased for linearity and properly filtered to prevent spurious emissions. If necessary I can build a multi-section Chebychev filter.

As I said above...I've worked a lot of countries. In so doing, I've encountered a lot of pile-ups and some I could not penetrate barefoot. Six to eight db of gain would come in handy in such circumstances, adding a couple S-units to my signal.
 
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My first "HF" radio was a Magnum Delta Force that I used on 10 meters and "other" freqs. got great reports from other hams on 10 about my signal and the RX was pretty good...not as good as my TS-440 but the Magnum radios are defiantly not junk. Can't speak to any other brands, I've heard a lot of bad stuff about Connex and Supestar but never used one.
 

KD0PEZ

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What Doc said is correct. Those 10 meter radios such as Connex, Stryker, Galaxy, Northstar, RCI, Ranger, Superstar, Magnum....are all geared for the CB market.

Yes they are sold new operating on 10 meters. The idea is you buy it, and the guy behind the counter, opens it up and either (a.) moves a jumper or (b.) unsolders a pack of resistors....so you can have CB access. The only problem is, said radio still (usually) gives you 10 meter capability.

So what's so wrong about that? Well, nothing....that is until someone flips the band switch and goes from talking on 27.185 MHz (CB channel 19) to 28.085 MHz. And voice is not allowed in this area of the 10 meter band...a tip off that someone unlicensed is on a frequency reserved for the licensed.

By law, CB is limited to 4 watts and 40 channels. Some who use CB feel that they "need" more than 4 watts and 40 channels. They feel this because (a.) they "claim" they can't get out past a mile (usually they're running some sort of inadequate 4 foot fiberglass antenna) or (b.) they "claim" that all 40 channels are full of skip and they need a quiet channel. Some of them feel they also "need" noise makers such as roger beeps and echo...gotta sound cool, you dig? Eventually, the manufacturers listed, but how could they do it, when the FCC regs stipulate otherwise?

Well, they take a CB, put it on 10 meters, set it up for maybe 10 watts carrier/40 watts modulation, then tell the FCC that it's for 10 meter use. Add in there, the echo and roger beep....suddenly you now have a "hot rod" radio that does more than 4 watts (gotta compensate for running a crappy antenna) and has more than 40 channels, so you can "find" that clear channel. (better hope it's not in the 28 MHz range)

Ah but there does come a drawback....I've seen and heard this many times, but those 10 meter export radios, some of them are known to be short lived when they see the daily rigors of mobile use, most notably when used in semis and dump trucks. I know of an old timer who has been in the CB repair business since the early 1970's. He will not work on Galaxy radios, because as he puts it, they are notorious for cold solder joints, and they're very hard to trace down.

What is more, some of those exports don't go much past the SSB phone portion, and even then some of them don't come with SSB. And some of the exports that DO have SSB, are known to drift on SSB....not much good for SSB talking if you gotta keep messing with the clarifier.
 

SFChuck

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Now that you've vented your spleen, go back and re-read what I posted. Then see of your post either enlightened me on something I did not know (hint: it did not) or added anything other than more vitriol toward "export" radios.

As I said in my first post, I "get" that there is a lot of animosity in the ham community towards CBers. CB radios and "export" radios. You have amply demonstrated that once again.
 
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