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Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

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Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by MysteryMan » Tuesday, 02 June 2009, 10:18 AM

Here is the question:

What mobile radios do you consider (Old & New) the best for a stock radio & a converted one?
I know that is somewhat of a loaded question and we all different tastes. From all the experience here, you have been around many radios and used many. I would think that you have at least 2 radios you like stock or modified.

For my own preference:
I had 2 Cobra 148GTL's I bought it from Ratchet Jaw Radios within the first year they came out. I eventually had one of them modified to the 99 channel and it went to JPL to have it rewired and tuned with a new receive. It was on Hell of a radio! I used it Off Road in my trucks and shook the thing and it never died. That same punishment killed other radios I tried. Even the RCI 2950 could not stand up to the beating like the 148.
I recently sold it for $475 because the guy was amazed with how it worked & wanted to know how it was done. So I let the cat out of the bag and he is re-engineering how it was rebuilt.

So what radios sold today that are tough and easy to mod and work like nothing else?
I saw a General Lee the other day & it looks like a 148 in disguise.

What are your thoughts?
I am, the Original Mystery Man from 1969 from Irvine California until May 1983. I joined the US ARMY 82nd ABN. Then became a Ham in 1987.




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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by TheCBDoctor » Tuesday, 02 June 2009, 18:43 PM

Hi MysteryMan

The General Lee and the Cobra 148 GTL have nothing in common. They are designed completely different. The Cobra 148 GTL is a great radio for SSB. It uses high side injection and has an expensive high quality 7.8 Mhz crystal filter matrix that eliminates any cross talk. It has a very high "Q"factor that increases adjacent channel rejection.

The General Lee is a AM /FM export with twice the output capability of a Cobra 148 GTL. Where was your 148 GTL made? The early ones were made in Taiwan and then the Philippines. I believe, like the 29 LTD's, they were first made in Hong Kong, but I can't be sure. They are the same radio as a Cobra 2000 GTL, but in a mobile package.

The new 148's made in Malaysia are garbage and are only similar to the original. I would stay away from them.
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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by KW KID » Wednesday, 03 June 2009, 13:59 PM

People say the General Lee is well built. I guess for today's standards its better than the garbage Magnums that are out there, but I wasn't all that impressed with my GL. After a month a few of the segments for the channel display went out. A month after that a voltage regulator went out. Then I had my mic jack come loose. It was all stripped and the threads on the mic jack were a joke. Nothing will compare to the quality of an old 148. I've had the GL for about one year now. I remember even my old Galaxy 88 was better.

Now today, I want to know what is out there that is really well built. My guess is there isn't anything. For those who say the GL is well built, you don't know what your talking about.

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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by MysteryMan » Wednesday, 03 June 2009, 16:27 PM

TheCBDoctor wrote:Hi MysteryMan

Where was your 148 GTL made? The early ones were made in Taiwan and then the Philippines. I believe, like the 29 LTD's, they were first made in Hong Kong, but I can't be sure. They are the same radio as a Cobra 2000 GTL, but in a mobile package.
The new 148's made in Malaysia are garbage and are only similar to the original. I would stay away from them.


I do not know were my 148 was made. This is the ssn# for it 03033703 If that helps.

As for the GL, Thanks for clearing that up. That would not be what I want. I think I am going to regret selling my old radio!

I had forgotten, I had a President Jackson for a while. That was a nice radio also. Although it did not have the coverage like the 148 and it had this horrible problem with the channel led would die often.

So the Big Questions:
1) What is the best or better stock SSB CB AM & or FM on the market. Be it US or Import.
2) What would be the better radio after mod's. Power, audio, receiver & MHz range.

I must say that I really like my Yaesu FT-857D but it dose not have the audio swing Like the 148.
I am, the Original Mystery Man from 1969 from Irvine California until May 1983. I joined the US ARMY 82nd ABN. Then became a Ham in 1987.



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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by TheCBDoctor » Wednesday, 03 June 2009, 16:42 PM

Hi,

I never went deeply into the General Lee. It is in fact a Connex radio. The problems with the radio are the displays will go out. The 8 volt regulator is mounted to the inside case to provide a heatsink. The problem is as you tighten the radio in the mounting bracket the regulator will pull away from the circuit board. A touch of solder will repair that problem. All exports have this design flaw; even the Galaxy 88.

I have repaired a thousand exports over the last 5 years with this problem. The real problem is the exports are made by children under the age of 14. The person that tunes the radios is probably not more than 18. The equipment that is used to tune the radios is never calibrated for accuracy.

Back in the day even Taiwan and The Philippines had some child labor laws, and the radios built for Cobra and other type accepted radios had to meet the FCC standard. The equipment used to tune the radios were constantly being calibrated on a regular basis for accuracy. The calibrating equipment was checked regularly to make sure the calibrating equipment was accurate. Since the exports are not legal there is no standard.

Over the years I have seen even the legal 29 LTD's made in China engineered to lower the price. The metal is 1/3rd the thickness. Any components that could be reduced in price were changed; the audio chip for instance. The TA 72222 was around for decades. Now the audio chip was changed to the YD1022 and has been changed again to the TDA 2003.

If I could shave a dollar off every radio I make, and I make a million radios, I have saved one million dollars. The bottom line is quality control has suffered over the past 10 years no matter what radio you buy. If you buy an export the problem only gets worse. If I had a choice between the Cobra 148 GTL (Not the one made in Malaysia) over any export I would buy the Cobra.

If you want a good radio made when quality mattered that is durable I would find a working HR 2510 that does not have anyone's fingerprints inside of it. I collect them and use them. I stand by them and rarely ever have to repair one. They are made by Uniden in The Philippines.

I have pictures of them on my Website. Just click on it below and check it out. There is no cost, it is for education and entertainment.
Best Regards,

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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by SlingShot » Wednesday, 03 June 2009, 17:33 PM

I have a General Lee, and have had it for a long time(around 9 years) and as a matter of fact I do know what I am talking about. I have had no trouble out of mine since I have had it. Maybe the newer ones are less quality, i dont know, but i would think that would be across the board, not just General Lee. I have a friend that has an old Galaxy 88 that was in the shop weekly, but that doesnt mean that they were all junk.

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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by KW KID » Wednesday, 03 June 2009, 19:21 PM

I think you are on to something, the newer GL's are not as good as the old ones.

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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by TheCBDoctor » Thursday, 04 June 2009, 15:50 PM

Hi SlingShot.

Out of all the radios that I use for scrap, because they are not economically feasible to repair, the Galaxy 88 makes up the majority. I like the Connex and the General Lee, but since they went Blue and used Mosfet finals, the quality control has suffered.

If you go through the newer exports and solder the board you will fix 90% of any future problems. The same applies for the new 29 LTD's.
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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by Turbo-T » Monday, 15 June 2009, 22:54 PM

Interesting how some of you claim the GL's are trash, had an old timer tell me the same thing yet I asked here I think I got a lot of conflicting answers. :confused:
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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by TheCBDoctor » Tuesday, 16 June 2009, 7:49 AM

Hi Turbo-T

The General Lee is not a bad design, nor is the Cobra 29 LTD. It is the quality control over the last few years that has suffered. Remember when a TV was built to last 30 years. Why bother today, technology is growing faster than the electronics that support the infrastructure.

Anything that is made by a 12 year-old, making a dollar a day, is bound to suffer from a lack of quality control.

Respectfully,

Rick
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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by Turbo-T » Tuesday, 16 June 2009, 10:23 AM

Hi Rick.

I do hear you on the "made by kids" thing. The thing about the Connex/GL radios actually came from an old timer that part time runs a CB shop....those are his words, it might have to do with the same thing you're telling me, that they're not well built to start with. All I know is he mentioned after 2 years he's had to repair more of them that the typical Cobra or Uniden.

How long as Connex and GL meen making radios for?
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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by TheCBDoctor » Tuesday, 16 June 2009, 12:29 PM

Hi Turbo-T

The exports as we know them today haven't been around for more than a decade. The early ones were the Grant DX and the President Jackson. They held very little resemblance to the new Ranger boards. In fact; the Jackson's transmitter was the basis for the HR 2510. Both use the MRF477 10 meter final. The audio mixing was done at the mixer; unlike the Cobra 29 LTD where the audio is mixed at the Final and Driver.

I have seen many changes since I first got into radio 22 years ago. The one thing that has happened, to all radios, is the quality suffered. Even the new Cobra 29 LTDs are having problems with cold solder connections, thinner metal, no metal behind the faceplate Bezel, and audio chips that do not have frequency compensation circuits; the newest is the TDA 2003.

If you try and put a RFX-75 amp on a Cobra 29 LTD with the new audio chips you will suffer from RF hum on transmit. In 1987 a Cobra 29 LTD went for $159 today they are $69. I guess you get what you pay for.

Nice hearing from you,
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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by Turbo-T » Tuesday, 16 June 2009, 18:35 PM

Cool...Pres Jackson....they were called "Stonewall Jacksons" weren't they?

There's a truck stop truck wash 18 miles from me that has one...I don't know what has been done to it or what kind of antenna they're using but I can pick up their truck wash advertisements all the way to my house, at about a 3-4 S unit.

I need to get an amp on my set up or a Sparkified Cobra 25 HP and ask them how much to "warsh mah pickemup". :lol:
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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by DuckSoupe » Wednesday, 24 June 2009, 15:10 PM

MysteryMan wrote:Here is the question:

What mobile radios do you consider (Old & New) the best for a stock radio & a converted one?
I know that is somewhat of a loaded question and we all different tastes. From all the experience here, you have been around many radios and used many. I would think that you have at least 2 radios you like stock or modified.

For my own preference:
I had 2 Cobra 148GTL's I bought it from Ratchet Jaw Radios within the first year they came out. I eventually had one of them modified to the 99 channel and it went to JPL to have it rewired and tuned with a new receive. It was on Hell of a radio! I used it Off Road in my trucks and shook the thing and it never died. That same punishment killed other radios I tried. Even the RCI 2950 could not stand up to the beating like the 148.
I recently sold it for $475 because the guy was amazed with how it worked & wanted to know how it was done. So I let the cat out of the bag and he is re-engineering how it was rebuilt.

So what radios sold today that are tough and easy to mod and work like nothing else?
I saw a General Lee the other day & it looks like a 148 in disguise.

What are your thoughts?



from what I am reading since I have been off cb for many years and I am interested again; I am glad I kept a couple from the old days

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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by MysteryMan » Wednesday, 24 June 2009, 15:50 PM

DuckSoupe,

Depending what you have I would say YUP. Keep your old one. I am not very impressed with the current CB market. I am in the market for a new radio because my son is refusing to get a Ham license but he wants to talk to me. So, a CB it is and since we do a lot of Off Roading, I need to pick out a radio that will hold up to the abuse.

Something surprising to me is that the size & weight of a All Mode CB is so much larger than an All Mode Ham 10m rig and they don't work as well either. This is debatable.

Anyway, you might be better of with your older ones.
I am, the Original Mystery Man from 1969 from Irvine California until May 1983. I joined the US ARMY 82nd ABN. Then became a Ham in 1987.



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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by drdx » Wednesday, 24 June 2009, 19:45 PM

[quote="Turbo-T"]Cool...Pres Jackson....they were called "Stonewall Jacksons" weren't they?

I think he's referring to the original export rigs of the mid/late 80's and there was a President Jackson, a President Grant, a JFK (it was am/fm only) and those were solid units. There is/was also a stonewall jackson model as well. I had the grant back then, the export one, not to be confused with the grants and jacksons of the non export variety. Now, I see that Superstar branded radios that resemble them are out but are internally nothing like the original Presidents. President was a popular cb brand in the 70's and in about 83 it was changed to the Uniden brand. Then, the president brand came back as an export line. Uniden branded 2510's then came out and the export version of that was the President Lincoln and the Somerkamp 2000. This was also when the RCI rangers (the old orange 2950) were coming on the scene. There was also another Ranger produced by Clear Channel, its best being the AR-3500, and was in no way like the Rangers we have today.

Wow, I forgot one important export, the godfather, the Cobra 148gtl-dx, with the really long roger beep you couldn't turn off without modding it. Now that's a real radio right there.

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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by DuckSoupe » Thursday, 25 June 2009, 7:32 AM

MysteryMan wrote:Here is the question:

What mobile radios do you consider (Old & New) the best for a stock radio & a converted one?
I know that is somewhat of a loaded question and we all different tastes. From all the experience here, you have been around many radios and used many. I would think that you have at least 2 radios you like stock or modified.

For my own preference:
I had 2 Cobra 148GTL's I bought it from Ratchet Jaw Radios within the first year they came out. I eventually had one of them modified to the 99 channel and it went to JPL to have it rewired and tuned with a new receive. It was on Hell of a radio! I used it Off Road in my trucks and shook the thing and it never died. That same punishment killed other radios I tried. Even the RCI 2950 could not stand up to the beating like the 148.
I recently sold it for $475 because the guy was amazed with how it worked & wanted to know how it was done. So I let the cat out of the bag and he is re-engineering how it was rebuilt.

So what radios sold today that are tough and easy to mod and work like nothing else?
I saw a General Lee the other day & it looks like a 148 in disguise.

I have been looking on EBAy. I saw a telstat I liked but I am wary or the " Hasn't been tested, or I think it works." I am going to use my Presidant hr2510 for a base and hunt down a cobra mobile I have for the car. I would prefer a tube base just because I started out with one many moons ago

What are your thoughts?

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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by MysteryMan » Thursday, 25 June 2009, 8:35 AM

DuckSoupe,

Well I have been out of the CB stuff since the late 80's, so I am a bit out of touch on the current CB market. If I was going to set up a base I would use the Cobra 2000 GTL. For a mobile I have a short list and working on it.

Not in any particular order: These are All Mode radios.
Magnum S9 Nitro is the one I am leaning towards.
Cobra 200 GTL DX
Galaxy DX-95T & DX-93T
Ranger DX2970

Many years ago I got over the roger beep, echo's, other noise things and so on. I just have no interest in that any more. My favorite noise I had was a Grandfather clock "DONG" or chime. I had it specially built for me in the mid 70's. It had a short reverb adjustment and a timer for how long I wanted it to last. Anyway, I just want a clean audio, sensitive receive near the 0.5 µV range if possible. That is something I have not looked into yet & able to hold up to Off Roading abuse.
I am, the Original Mystery Man from 1969 from Irvine California until May 1983. I joined the US ARMY 82nd ABN. Then became a Ham in 1987.



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Re: Old VS New Mobile Radios - Quality and Mods?

Post by DuckSoupe » Thursday, 25 June 2009, 10:15 AM

MysteryMan wrote:DuckSoupe,

Well I have been out of the CB stuff since the late 80's, so I am a bit out of touch on the current CB market. If I was going to set up a base I would use the Cobra 2000 GTL. For a mobile I have a short list and working on it.

Not in any particular order: These are All Mode radios.
Magnum S9 Nitro is the one I am leaning towards.
Cobra 200 GTL DX
Galaxy DX-95T & DX-93T
Ranger DX2970

Many years ago I got over the roger beep, echo's, other noise things and so on. I just have no interest in that any more. My favorite noise I had was a Grandfather clock "DONG" or chime. I had it specially built for me in the mid 70's. It had a short reverb adjustment and a timer for how long I wanted it to last. Anyway, I just want a clean audio, sensitive receive near the 0.5 µV range if possible. That is something I have not looked into yet & able to hold up to Off Roading abuse.


my hr2510 has a beep I can sound, but I hardly did years ago. The Cobra 200 gtl sounds good because I like cobra radios from the past usage. I know what you mean being out of touch today; so am I. But it will be fun to learn


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