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Galaxy DX959 user's review

Discussion in 'CB and Export Equipment and Accessories' started by loosecannon, Jul 20, 2007.

  1. loosecannon

    loosecannon break on through

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    well i just bought a DX959 this afternoon.
    i was going to order one, but i found out that two local truckstops have them for about 35.00 more than i could order one for.
    i had a good week last week (OT!) so i decided just to get it now.

    i also figured that i could look at the manufacturing date to make sure i got one of the newer MOSFET versions, and im glad i did!

    upon getting back to my car, i immediately and carefully removed the radio from its box.
    i could tell already that someone had had their hands in the box from a loose piece of tape with cardboard on it.
    upon looking at the radio; yep, sure enough, two mounting bracket scratches, and what looked like a big sticker had been removed from the top cover. (can you say DISPLAY MODEL?)

    i went right back in and showed them, and they exchanged it for me. the new one with a man. date of 4/07. new enough for me!


    so the first thing i notice about this radio is that it looks sweet!
    silver and black always go well together.
    then i noticed how far out the pots with switches on them stuck out from the faceplate. (talkback, mic gain, dimmer)
    they stick out about 1/4" from the face. (i measured it)
    it looks like the knobs arent all the way on. AND! they're wobbly! its not the plastic knob that is the problem; its the pot itself has rotational play in it. the switch action also seems sloppy.
    would've been much better if the switch had a "tactile" feel to it, and the knobs would not stick out either.
    of course, then the switching would have to be done electrically. $$$!
    one possible issue i found was that when you push the knob to actuate the switch, it actually bends the metal bracket that the boards and pots are mounted to. im not sure, but this could be an issue over time with heavy handed users. (could break a solder joint that is very hard to get to and notice)
    all the other pots are just fine. secure, with nice action.
    all other switches seem to work fine.

    next the covers came off. the front panel circuitry is CROWDED!
    a few wires were pinching against the bottom cover as was evidenced by the indentations in the insulation.
    these were moved over without much trouble. had to cut one cable tie.

    usually when a manufacturer puts "next to useless" features on the front panel of a radio, you can tell pretty easily that they are intended to be used for modifications. (echo, freq. switches, etc...)
    im not so sure about this radio. all the pots are mounted to PC boards, and are VERY low profile. it seems to me that it would be a REAL PAIN to try to use these for other functions.
    (you're not going to get a 10 turn pot in this one!LOL)

    the main board is just what you would expect these days.
    all 1/8 (1/16?) watt resistors, and the infamous "foil board" near the driver and final.
    assembly is not bad, but its not good either.
    quite a few funny angled parts with leads not pulled through the board all the way. (i know, but im picky.LOL)
    solder joints actually looked pretty good. didnt find any dull or flaky ones. went over the board with a flashlight and a magnifying glass, and didnt see any hairline cracks.

    at the component level, this is what i found:
    this is one of the new MOSFET versions, and the numbers are removed from them.
    on the schematic, there are two parts near the driver and final that are marked as resistors, but labeled with an "L" indicating an inductor. they are L33 and L37.
    i asked Ray from Galaxy service about this in another thread and he said they are resistors with a ferrite bead on them to block RF from the DC path.
    in my particular radio, they are just resitors with no ferrite beads on them.
    not sure of the implications of this.
    the insulators for the to-220 style transistors are the thick white kind instead of the thin mica or grey "rubber".
    not sure about this either, but i have heard that the thick white ones dont allow as much heat to dissipate to the chassis/heatsink.
    i dont know for sure what the truth is on that. i do know that they tend to crack when installed so that when you remove the transistor, you have to use a new one.

    Q17 which is shown to be a 2SC1674 on the schematic (MOSFET version), is a 2SC2786 in my radio.
    physically, it looks just like the 2SC2999, but the specs on the two parts are just a bit different.
    2SC2999 (typ.):
    gain:28db
    noise figure:2.2db

    2SC2786 (typ.):
    gain:22db
    noise figure:3db

    i dont know how much difference would be noticed by changing the 2786 to the 2999.
    maybe someone else can jump in on that one.
    it seems like all the 2SC1674's were replaced with 2SC2786's and all the 2SC1675's with 2SC2787's.
    the 2SB754 is now a 2SB827, which handles just a bit less power than the 817.
    IMO there is no need to change it, but i dont know yet.

    the 2SA473's are now 2SC1869's, which spec. out just slightly under the 2SA473.
    these i will probably change to NTE153's, but i dont know that it will make a noticable difference.



    in the final section, L31 is some sort of double coil where two coils are wound together and it has three leads coming off of it.
    looks like it might have been adjustable in older versions, but now its not. maybe a MOSFET thing. who knows.

    i dont have any numbers yet for transmit power or anything else, as i only had the radio on in the car for a few minutes.
    its been open on the bench since i bought it.LOL

    i will put it on my wattmeter (not a bird or CD meter), tomorrow and put the radio through its paces.
    then i will hook it up to the freq. counter and see how on freq. it is from the factory.

    well, thats all i can tell with my limited skill set.
    if anyone has any questions about the looks of this or that i'll be happy to look in mine and see.

    also, anyone who knows things about this new version of the radio that i didnt notice, please post what you know here, so anyone in the future looking to buy one will have a great resource to go by.
    thanks for reading,
    later,
    loosecannon
    #1

  2. GRTS

    GRTS Galaxy Tech

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    i went right back in and showed them, and they exchanged it for me. the new one with a man. date of 4/07. new enough for me!

    That's probably the only nice option about buying from a truckstop is the 30 day return policy.

    then i noticed how far out the pots with switches on them stuck out from the faceplate. (talkback, mic gain, dimmer)
    they stick out about 1/4" from the face. (i measured it)
    it looks like the knobs arent all the way on. AND! they're wobbly! its not the plastic knob that is the problem; its the pot itself has rotational play in it. the switch action also seems sloppy.


    Those three knobs are this way because they are dual function knobs that you need to push in which requires the shafts to look and feel like they do. The failure rate on those are just as low as the other controls.

    and the infamous "foil board" near the driver and final.

    That small pcb has many names but it's mostly called the bias board simply because you need to remove it to do SSB transmit bias / current alignments.

    leads not pulled through the board all the way. (i know, but im picky.LOL)

    It's good to be picky which is why we read postings on our models and hopefully continue striving to make them better.

    this is one of the new MOSFET versions, and the numbers are removed from them.

    The numbers shouldn't be removed since they are listed everywhere including the schematics as IRF520 parts. My guess is if you look closer you'll see that stamped on the devices. The manufacture IR, (International Rectifier) just uses a light silkscreen print.

    on the schematic, there are two parts near the driver and final that are marked as resistors, but labeled with an "L" indicating an inductor. they are L33 and L37. i asked Ray from Galaxy service about this in another thread and he said they are resistors with a ferrite bead on them to block RF from the DC path.

    The beads are not required on the mosfet models and since the labeling on these boards is still for the bipolar (2SC2166, 2SC1969) transistors it's still labeled for them.

    the insulators for the to-220 style transistors are the thick white kind instead of the thin mica or grey "rubber". not sure about this either, but i have heard that the thick white ones dont allow as much heat to dissipate to the chassis/heatsink. i dont know for sure what the truth is on that. i do know that they tend to crack when installed so that when you remove the transistor, you have to use a new one.

    The ceramic style plates have two functions. First is to offer a near perfect flat surface to mount the transistor on with very little paste required. The side towards the radio is where paste is needed most. Secondly unknown to most is that the plate itself is part of the output capacitance in that circuit. This is why when inexperienced shops attempt to replace the ceramic plates with mica or gray plastic insulators they experience problems with low power and squealing when the lids are put on.

    Q17 which is shown to be a 2SC1674 on the schematic (MOSFET version), is a 2SC2786 in my radio.
    physically, it looks just like the 2SC2999, but the specs on the two parts are just a bit different.


    Since the 2SC2999 seems to be low on available quantity and slightly high in price we are using the 2SC2786. Like I mentioned earlier, we read most of the postings and try to make the products better. Same goes for the other transistor updates you mentioned.

    Hope I answered some of the major questions for you.

    -Ray

    8)
    #2
  3. TonyV225

    TonyV225 Supporting Member

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    W :shock: W I dont think answers get any better than this I have messed with these radios and I like them.
    #3
  4. C2

    C2 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, That was suite. Thanks GRTS!

    The 959 has been my favorite CB.

    I'd love to get 2547...some day...
    #4
  5. loosecannon

    loosecannon break on through

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    yes, i agree, thank you GRTS!
    this isnt the first time Ray has helped me out.
    Ray, i believe you to be a real asset to your company.

    i do tend to take a bit of "poetic license" in my posts, so i hope i didnt come off as "bashing" the radio in any way.
    the only thing i can really say that counted as a "con" was the knob thing.
    maybe i am the only one, but thats my opinion.
    it certainly doesnt detract enough from the radio to make me not like it!

    i think the new improved PC board is just that, and i am very pleased to see so many improvements made.

    got the wattmeter and dummy load here, and will be putting the radio through its paces today.
    cant wait.
    loosecannon
    #5
  6. Chainsawgang

    Chainsawgang Active Member

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    Loosecannon ,
    Don't forget to let us know your findings ! Man that is great to have RAY to come on here to explain everything !!
    #6
  7. loosecannon

    loosecannon break on through

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    ok, here's what i found when i checked out the radio.
    (please bare in mind that i am not a tech by any means, just a radio geek that likes to align/mod his own stuff. (and maybe a few for friends)

    on AM, with the RF power turned down:
    deadkey: 1.5 watts
    PEP: 3 watts

    RF power turned up:
    deadkey: 5 watts
    PEP: 10 watts

    on SSB, power was very low.
    about 6 watts PEP with RF power turned up.
    i was concerned, but upon opening the radio, i could see that the pot for the SSB power was turned WAY down.
    i adjusted it for about 20 watts PEP, but it looked like it would do almost 30 watts PEP if turned all the way up.
    (my wattmeter is just a rad shak PEP meter, so take my readings with a grain of salt)

    with only adjusting the AMC pot, i got almost 30 watts PEP, again, on MY meter. the deadkey can be turned up to about 10 watts, but i like it set right at 5 watts on high and 2 watts on low. thats just me.

    no parts clipped, changed, or removed, just a few pots turned, and this radio SCREAMS!!!
    it really does sound very good, and i get great reports.
    i am using an M6B mic with it.
    does the talkback give an accurate indication of what you sound like on the air?
    ive never had a radio with talkback before.

    one thing though, the meter light still dims on TX with modulation.
    i thought this was the reason for upgrading the 2SB754 to the 2SB827.
    i was using a 50 amp power supply at 14.0 volts, which is almost brand new, so i doubt it was the power supply.

    as for the alignment from the factory; the TX coils were right on the money for max. PEP wattage.

    i didnt mess with the receiver coils, but receive does seem just a bit low on it.
    still need to compare it to other radios on the base antenna that i am used to.

    it was 300 hertz high on freq. in AM mode, and in USB mode, but was right on the money in LSB.
    not sure how much difference that slight amount of misadjustment actually makes, but i just thought id mention it.

    the IF coils were a bit off too, and not by the same amount, as if the freq. counter used to set them was off.
    they are right on the money now!

    the 10.240 ref. crystal was oscillating at 10.221...mhz.
    i really have no idea how much difference this makes, but i bet its not a noticeable one.

    the only weird thing i noticed was that i couldnt get a reading on my current meter when trying to check the bias of the driver and final.
    the negative sign would show up, but the display stayed at 0.
    checked it with another meter, and same thing.

    i figured it was something to do with them being mosfets or something, and decided not to mess with the setting.
    i would like to know if i was doing something wrong though.
    i believe this to be an important part of the alignment to get right, as it determines your class of operation.
    i used the factory service manual at CBTRICKS as a ref.

    im very happy with this radio so far.
    cant wait to change all the LEDs to blue along with the meter light.
    if i add a lamp where there is a space for one, i wonder if the meter will glow red on TX. i know other galaxy models do that.
    hmmm...

    trying to resist the itch to mod anything for a while.
    i like to get a good sense of what "normal" is so i can tell if the results were worth it or not.
    more to come later,
    loosecannon

    PS- thanks again to Ray for his advice and help.
    he's a great resource to have here.
    #7
  8. GRTS

    GRTS Galaxy Tech

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    no parts clipped, changed, or removed, just a few pots turned, and this radio SCREAMS!!!

    Well I don't like getting into wattmeter debates but I will say the new Galaxy CB models with mosfets are what I call "sleepers". They come out of the box very subdued but with a little knowledge and experience they will really surprise you.

    one thing though, the meter light still dims on TX with modulation. i thought this was the reason for upgrading the 2SB754 to the 2SB827. i was using a 50 amp power supply at 14.0 volts, which is almost brand new, so i doubt it was the power supply.

    The AM regulator transistor TR54 (2SB827) has no bearing on the meter lights. The source voltage to the S-Meter lights come directly from the +13.8vdc power jack. However the dimmer control uses the +8.0vdc source from Q37 which might be why yours is dimming. Check the center lead of Q37 and if the voltage reads over 8.5vdc then replace D73 with a 7.2 volt zener for better stability if that dimming is really bothering you.

    the 10.240 ref. crystal was oscillating at 10.221...mhz.
    i really have no idea how much difference this makes, but i bet its not a noticeable one.


    You've touched on one sad but true fact here, every radio that Ranger ships out regardless if it's Ranger, Connex, Galaxy, etc.... needs a full alignment right out of the box. It simply has to be due to quantity over quality. I'm not sure if this is a contributing factor but we as Americans love perfection while other societies may not.

    the only weird thing i noticed was that i couldnt get a reading on my current meter when trying to check the bias of the driver and final. the negative sign would show up, but the display stayed at 0. checked it with another meter, and same thing.

    I'm guessing this is mostly due to operator error :). Meaning you probably forgot to move your red meter lead into the DC Amps hole or didn't have the meter selector in the right position. The current alignment for the mosfets is almost identical to the bipolar alignment.

    im very happy with this radio so far.
    cant wait to change all the LEDs to blue along with the meter light. if i add a lamp where there is a space for one, i wonder if the meter will glow red on TX. i know other galaxy models do that. hmmm...


    Take a look at the dimmer pcb for the DX98VHP at the link below. It might help you when you're ready to make a few changes.

    http://www.cbtricks.com/radios/galaxy/dx98vhp/dx98vhp_dimmer_pcb.htm

    PS- thanks again to Ray for his advice and help.
    he's a great resource to have here.


    Although I might not get time to stop by here as much as I would like, I'm always happy to help and thanks for the kind words. If you do have any questions about our models and need a faster answer then feel free to send me an email, Ray@GalaxyRadios.com
    #8
  9. Switch Kit

    Switch Kit Active Member

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    You've touched on one sad but true fact here, every radio that Ranger ships out regardless if it's Ranger, Connex, Galaxy, etc.... needs a full alignment right out of the box. It simply has to be due to quantity over quality. I'm not sure if this is a contributing factor but we as Americans love perfection while other societies may not.....................Other societies may not ? well good for them I say !! .........you say they need a full alighnment out of the box ?? ..........are you also saying that they won't work and work well, out of the box as well ?? ......I don't think you are ......because they will and they will work well enough for your average Joe's . You see GRTS .....not all Americans (or others for that matter) are perfectionists (By the grace of God !!) but I suppose many can be grateful that there are others that can make it closer to perfect as far as there money is concerned. Now knowing this , or reading you say this about these un-perfect radios out of the box , and you being a tech for Galaxy and other radios ......maybe after reading this thread and for others wanting perfection (as you put it) folks should just buy them as they are ,take them out of the box , and send them right back to you stating that the radio (or radios ) are out of alighnment. ??? Hmmmmmm ......now , would that be classified as being warrenty work ??? ...........You with me so far ? but then again .....would your average Joe even go there in the first place ? .......so this would help me to understand how a radio operator leaning more towards perfection , could help you maintain a steady job ? Whatever the case may be GRTS ? Switch Kit appreciates your know how ,if that might count for anything ? Thanks
    #9
  10. GRTS

    GRTS Galaxy Tech

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    Yes, I would say the radios are "in the ballpark" but not perfect and we do often have radios sent in for alignments which are covered under warranty. One of the advantages to buying from a reputable service center over some truckstops would be they normally test and align as needed right out of the box. I'm not following the rest of your questions as they seem to be coming from left field. So if you have some technical questions you need answers for please ask. If it's something of a more personal nature then I'm sure keeping that to PMs would work best.
    #10
  11. loosecannon

    loosecannon break on through

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    thanks for the tips ray.

    if its just the dimmer circuit thats causing it, then i really dont mind.
    just wasnt sure if it was a sign of a larger issue.
    cool.

    who knows about the bias adjustment.
    guess i'll try again next time the radio is open.
    go figure.

    switch kit, i dont know anything about "perfection", but i am a fabricator, i work with equipment that would hurt someone if my "numbers" are off, and i am a virgo, so i do have a thing for getting things "right".
    i guess it also depends on what aspect of this hobby one is into.
    for me, catching very weak international DX is what its all about, and every 1/2 S-unit counts when it comes to receiver sensitivity.
    i have personally aligned the receivers on more than a few radios where i was able to gain over 2 S-units in the receivers sensitivity.
    knowing what we know about how db's work, and how much money is spent in search of those 2 extra S-units, i feel this is something pretty significant.
    that 2 S-units is, to me, the difference between having the QSO and not even knowing the DXer was out there.
    its free to do it myself, and its something i really enjoy.

    would i send it back to galaxy for an alignment right out of the box?
    of course not. if i didnt know how to do the alignment myself then i wouldnt know what i was missing out on in the first place, and therefore wouldnt even know there was a reason to send the radio back to galaxy.LOL

    i also keep my vehicles in top running order.
    having fun is what its all about,
    loosecannon
    #11
  12. Switch Kit

    Switch Kit Active Member

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    Yeah ....Wouldn't be the first time I heard the "left field" remark concerning what I had to say .....but thanks for the more so then not kind reply GRTS. "In the ballpark" has worked for me for many years , but there are many different "ballparks" in other words , some are just out and out better then others. You said ......"One of the advantages to buying from a reputable service center over some truckstops would be they normally test and align as needed right out of the box."..... I personally could only hope this were true ? and I would have to see it to believe it more so then not. This is just one more reason that IM more then comfortable with the "ballpark" standards concerning a radio . If the radio truly has something wrong with it after buying it new in the box , I'd have to say that there was a "rain out" at the "ballpark" , but this would be something very obvious to your everyday Joe.......unlike a slighty off alighnment on one. Sorry my questions didn't compute for you. Some times "left field" is just a position that others choose not to play.
    #12
  13. GRTS

    GRTS Galaxy Tech

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    Then I'm comfortable too.
    #13
  14. Switch Kit

    Switch Kit Active Member

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    It's all good with me LC , mans got to do what mans got to do. Some are just deeper then others when it comes to the way they like it and have to have it . It may or may not seem like a "much a do about nothing" situation to me , but if it means that much to you ? ....that should be all that really matters. I guess in the end for me ........it just didn't have to be perfect , it just needed to work good enough for me.....which is usually far from perfect. I'd drive myself nuts with that perfect stuff. Peace :)
    #14
  15. Highlander_821

    Highlander_821 Amour d'Ecosse

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    I don't expect perfection, but if I shell out my hard earned money for a radio, I want a professional to go through it and make sure it is doing all that it can, especially the receiver section. I don't mind paying more to have this done.
    #15


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