I have just taken delivery of one of the new Albrecht AE 2990 AFS AM
handheld rigs in the hope of making some DX contacts while out and about portable during the Sporadic E conditions in the summer.
I forgot to mention when ordering that I was a licensed ham so I was pleased that the supplier included instructions on how to modify the radio to get ham band coverage. There's a video somewhere that shows how to do it on another radio that is the same one with a different brand name. Basically you pull out the rubber PTT cover which reveals five contacts next to the PTT switch. You need a soldering iron and solder wick to remove a bridge between two contacts then you short out two others while turning the radio on. You can then choose various channel options including three for hams: Code 0 (10m + 12m switching between using the CH9 button), Code 1 (10m band with home frequencies 29.300 and 29.600 selected using CH9) and Code 2 (12m band.) I chose Code 0 but I can't figure out how to get into the 29MHz part of the 10m band.
No batteries are supplied and no charger either. This is a bit annoying as the charger socket is a fairly small barrel type not very common. I haven't even found what voltage to use. The battery pack takes 9 NiMH AA cells and has contacts on the bottom so you can buy or make a drop-in charger for it.
The antenna supplied is about 8 inches long. On my antenna analyzer it was resonant on 28.5MHz with quite a sharp SWR curve. Being so small I imagine it is pretty useless, however I have a 45in telescopic whip that I have used to work the Czech Republic on 10m FM
using an INtek H-520 so I hope for better results than that.
As with all CB
handhelds the radio is rated at 4W output on FM
. The actual power measured on 10m from this radio is only 2W. On SSB
the modulation was almost nonexistent. The mic gain is accessible through front panel controls. After increasing it the results were much improved on SSB
and I could believe I was getting 4W PEP - I could talk the meter up to about 2W on an "aallo". The audio still seems very low on FM
The Albrecht takes standard speaker/mics with the Icom/Midland/Alinco type two pin plug. I happened to have one and it worked well.
Listening to the audio on SSB
via my HF
transceiver it sounded very clean BUT with the increased mic gain in order to get reasonable talk power there is noticeable FM
on the signal. I am
guessing that the battery voltage sags a bit on speech peaks and this pulls the oscillator a bit. I had read about this in some forums discussing the other incarnations of this radio and it was said that in the Albrecht versions this problem had been fixed. It appears this may not be the case. I doubt that it would make the audio unreadable but I would expect to receive comments about it.
That's about all I have had time to discover for the moment. It will probably be another couple of months before 10m conditions perk up and I can try to make some contacts with it. If anyone knows how to get up to 29MHz while in Code 0 mode please let me know.