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What is considered to be the BEST AM/SSB 40 Channel CB Radio?

K4EET

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Feb 18, 2015
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1,726
Location
Severn, Maryland, USA
Since I have not been paying attention lately, what is considered to be the BEST AM/SSB 40 Channel CB Radio?

The answer may be more than one radio model and it may even be an out-of-production model. Just curious to see what the CB experts think.

Thanks in advance for your "2021 Full Featured 40 Channel AM/SSB CB Radio Honor Roll" listing.
 

hanlonmi06

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Jul 16, 2009
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Pittsfield Twp, Michigan
In my hay day of CB'ing, the holy grail was the Cobra 2000GTL, or its mobile counterpart the 148GTL. I still have a 148 and a Wilson 1000 I will throw in the vehicle if I plan to travel any great distances. They always seemed to sound good stock, and with access to a good tech, there were plenty of things that could be done to the radios (certainly not condoning any illegal practices...).

The watershed moment was the HR2510 (I think it was) came on to the scene and forever made the stamp of the 10m conversions, so as for a radio made as a CB, marketed as a CB, and widely viewed as the top dog, it was the 148GTL for me. And now that you have me waxing nostalgic I have to give an honorable mention to the very first radio I ever saw that got me fascinated with the whole dang hobby and it was my dads TRC-452 with the little needle bouncing and strange voices on all those trips all over the eastern seaboard.
 

NC1

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Feb 8, 2014
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Surry County, North Carolina
A decent cost effective CB, in my opinion, is the Uniden Bearcat 980SSB hands down.
I know there's a ton of radios others may prefer like Stryker, President, Galaxy, Excalibur, Ranger, etc, but they all perform the same with some minor differences that many people make a big deal over. AM will be AM and Sideband will be Sideband no matter which radio you buy because the legal output is the same across the board. Sure you can spend more for pretty lights and options that mostly do little to enhance performance, but WHY? The absolute best advice I can give (and I'm sure everyone will agree), is buy the best antenna and cable you can possibly afford! That is without question the best thing for any radio system.
 

cmjonesinc

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As for modern stuff the best bang for the buck is going to be between Bearcats 980ssb or the President McKinley. I personally like the McKinley for its looks and some users reports of screen failures scared me from the 980. For just simple unmodified legal ssb cbs that won't break the bank those are the two I recommend. I wish someone would make a remote head ssb rig.
 

sloop

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Jul 19, 2008
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Lewisville, NC
From what I read from lab reports the Mckinley has the most stable SSB while the Bearcat 980 tends to drift as does the newer Cobras.
 

cmjonesinc

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It's a little more expensive than the 980 but I think it's worth it. I have nothing but good things to say about it. I think a lot of users don't choose it because of the lack of 'mods' that can be done to it. I'm not in to splattering the whole band in rf and sound effects though so it didn't bother me.
 

NC1

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Feb 8, 2014
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Surry County, North Carolina
From what I read from lab reports the Mckinley has the most stable SSB while the Bearcat 980 tends to drift as does the newer Cobras.
How much does it drift? I know maybe a scope might show some drift, but is it of any real significance to the average user when in a typical setting? I would think that if it were that serious, nobody would be buying them at all.
 

WB9YBM

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May 6, 2019
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Since I have not been paying attention lately, what is considered to be the BEST AM/SSB 40 Channel CB Radio?
I was pretty happy / successful with my Cobra 148GTL and heard others speak highly of it as well, although I'm sure there are other good ones out there I haven't tried yet (or have been developed since then).
 

slowmover

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Aug 4, 2020
Messages
416
Location
Fort Worth
“Best”:
PRESIDENT Lincoln
Stryker 955

Cost effective will be:
PRESIDENT McKinley
UNIDEN 980
- both of these with an RM ITALY KL203 to equal output of above radios.

Any of the above will need a
WEST MOUNTAIN RADIO CLEARSPEECH DSP Speaker to perform to best (or equivalent outboard module).

ANYTONE 6666 Is a budget buy (no warranty to speak of).

More than 10-years old is irrelevant.

.
 

prcguy

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Jun 30, 2006
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So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
The very best ever made is probably the CPI series like the CP400 mobile and CP2000 base followed by the Stoner Pro-40, all designed and built entirely in the US by aerospace type companies. Radios like the Cobra 148 and 2000GTL are cracker jack toys in comparison. When I sold and serviced CBs in the 70s until the early 80s I got to see all the best stuff of the time like the stupid Browning Golden Pigeons and the Tram D201s, etc. Nothing came remotely close in build quality or performance to a CPI and that holds true to this day.

This is like a bunch of car guys arguing what the best car ever was and throwing out names like Ford Mustang and Chevy Corvette then someone pulls up in a Bugatti Chiron. That's what a CPI is.
 

wa8pyr

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Sep 22, 2002
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5,710
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Ohio
The very best ever made is probably the CPI series like the CP400 mobile and CP2000 base followed by the Stoner Pro-40, all designed and built entirely in the US by aerospace type companies. Radios like the Cobra 148 and 2000GTL are cracker jack toys in comparison. When I sold and serviced CBs in the 70s until the early 80s I got to see all the best stuff of the time like the stupid Browning Golden Pigeons and the Tram D201s, etc. Nothing came remotely close in build quality or performance to a CPI and that holds true to this day.

This is like a bunch of car guys arguing what the best car ever was and throwing out names like Ford Mustang and Chevy Corvette then someone pulls up in a Bugatti Chiron. That's what a CPI is.
That is a nice looking radio! I especially like the serviceability aspect.

 
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Retroradio

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Jan 4, 2015
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333
Location
Ontario
In order for me....

CPI series
Stoner Pro 40 ( with all its accessories )
GE super base
Cobra 2000GTL

Modern day I like the Bearcat 980SSB.
I have a GE SuperBase and it has one of the best receive sections I have heard..YMMV
 

bearcatrp

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Apr 11, 2005
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Central Mn
Had a 2000 GTL. A friend opened it up to add additional channels. Loved that radio. The good old days.
 

FPR1981

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Feb 1, 2021
Messages
548
"Best" is subjective.

I love the 142 GTL, but some people don't like it so much. The Cobra 2000 is somehow seen as a flagship SSB, but I've owned 3, and the frequency counters and meters all ended up failing. Overall, not a bad TX and RX platform, but the accessories sucked.

The President/Uniden Washington is among the most coveted AM/SSB radios, and isn't plagued with problems. I also adore my Cobra 135XLR 40 channel, which was the grandfather to the 142 GTL and the Cobra 2000. The receive on this radio is spectacular, thanks to Collins.

I also had an SBE Land Command, which was a Uniden radio badged by SBE. It was very attractive looking and performed well. It's overlooked, but I would put it high on the list of "best" SSB radios.
 
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