For some time, I have been thinking that a CB radio may be a good thing to have if the economy and the country suffer a worst case meltdown. I started looking for a base station (110v powered) for my house. As it turns out, almost all CB radios made today are mobile units designed to run on 12 volt dc from a vehicles electrical system.
The one base station I did find was a Galaxy DX 2547. This model has been in production for several years, and is generally highly regarded from what I could find out. So, I ordered one from Pacetronics. I also ordered a Solartron A-99 18 foot whip antenna which I installed on my house.
When I hooked everything up, I soon made several local contacts on channel 31 AM1 and got good signal reports. The receive audio quality was very good also. Next I tried SSB2 mode, but found that the clarifier3 would not tune down far enough to allow SSB reception. The radio was not tuned correctly. I could have sent it back to the factory, or the dealer for warranty service, but found a local shop which would retune it for about the same price as the shipping would have cost to send it back. After retuning, the radio works well on both AM and SSB modes, and I am now satisfied with the unit.
What I don’t understand is why seemingly reputable companies ship defective product. It seems that everything I buy is defective in some manner, and needs to be repaired to make it do what it should have done right out of the box. Is this a symptom of the failing economy, or just bad luck on my part? I suspect its a sign of the economy with everyone cutting back on manufacturing costs.
Even though I like the radio now that it is correctly tuned, I give a thumbs down to Galaxy for poor quality control on this one.
1) AM or Amplitude Modulation is where the level of the carrier frequency is varied up and down according to the waveform of the audio signal. This creates a range of frequencies equal to the carrier frequency plus and minus the frequencies of the audio signal being transmitted. AM modulation is wasteful because the information is redundantly transmitted as two sets of side frequencies, and a carrier signal that itself carries no information.
2) SSB or Single Side Band is the same as AM with either the plus frequencies or the minus frequencies and the carrier removed. This allows putting all the available transmitter power into one of the sets of frequencies that actually carries the audio signal. The carrier is generated locally on the receiving system and decodes the SSB signal. SSB signals cannot be received on an AM receiver.
3) The Clarifier control shifts the frequency of the locally generated carrier signal and controls the pitch of the received voice. It must match the missing AM carrier, or the received signal sounds like donald duck and is not intelligible.