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ON THE OTHER END OF THE PRICE SCALE . . . .

unit_399

EL CAPO
Jun 17, 2008
1,714
1,744
173
ALEJANDRIA, COLOMBIA SA
On the other end of the price scale . . . .

A really good friend and neighbor, Don Willian, came by to visit and share a few drinks a while back. He asked what the deal was with the big antenna next to my shop. I told him it was a cb station, kinda like ham radio, and offered to show it to him. The skip was running strong that day and I told him to give it a try. He speaks fluent English, and after making several nice long contacts all over the US, he was hooked. He asked if I could put together a station on his farm, and I agreed. I have several good 858SSb rigs here, but he wanted my old TRC457. The Don is a retired "farmer" (not Coke) and made plenty of money over the years. So we settled on a price, and I sold him the 457, a Contex 500 linear, and all the accessories. I had a new MACO M104C beam that I never used, and we mounted it horizontal on a 40' wooden power pole he had laying around. So now he's up and running, and loving it. "Unit 808 Old DW, Medellin Colombia." Chan 36 - 27.385 lsb.

Bottom line was ... I needed a rig to replace my trusty TRC457. I always wanted a Cobra 139XLR because it was the ultimate 858SSB base out there. Looked at a lot of beat-up junk at ridiculous prices on Ebay, and, luckily, stumbled across this.

139XLR.png

139XLR2.png

The radio was just as advertised. Relay chattered when keying-up in ssb. Popped in a new C179, replaced the Volume Control and the RF Gain/SWR Cal pots, sprayed contact cleaner on the chan selector and she worked good as new. Replaced the E-caps, made several mods/upgrades, and cleaned it good. Aligned it spot-on, and now it's the most kick-ass 858SSb rig I've ever had. GREAT DEAL at $53.03/ free ship.

We're on vacation in Ecuador now, and will start driving back sometime next week. Plan to take our time and check out Colombia. Look for me to be on the air in 2-3 weeks.

73s.

- 399

P.S. - I didn't realize this was so long-winded 'til I proof read it. Kinda feel like Handy Andy :p.
 
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Shadetree Mechanic

Delaware Base Station 808
Oct 23, 2017
5,373
8,806
673
50
The First State (Delaware)
Great story, always good to hear about someone's adventures into the hobby. Great find on the 139, just reminded me that I have one on the back shelf. I am going to dust it off and take another look at it. Everything works, but I would like to recap it. Maybe some day when I have time. But I will plug it in and see which microphone sounds the best, and run it through it's paces.

We look forward to talking to you guys, the conditions are really picking up. I am sure we can make a go of it.

Chris 73!
 

unit_399

EL CAPO
Jun 17, 2008
1,714
1,744
173
ALEJANDRIA, COLOMBIA SA

Shadetree Mechanic

Delaware Base Station 808
Oct 23, 2017
5,373
8,806
673
50
The First State (Delaware)
[IMG alt="Shadetree Mechanic"]https://www.worldwidedx.com/data/avatars/m/50/50927.jpg?1508853402[/IMG]

Shadetree Mechanic

Delaware Base Station 808​


Wow, Chris. I just noticed that Don Willian chose the same unit number (808) as yours. I hope it's not too confusing when you two talk

- 399
Not a problem at all, tell him "welcome to the family". He is now part of a small group of elite operators. There is an 808 in Colorado and another one in Tennessee. And maybe more that I don't know about.
He can put a feather in his cap for "worked all 808 stations". With the growing conditions, I am sure we will be takling soon!

73!
 
Last edited:
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Dr_DX

Well-Known Member
Jan 29, 2006
356
424
73
@unit_399

"I always wanted a Cobra 139XLR because it was the ultimate 858SSB base out there."

Being one of the forum's foremost experts on 858's, just curious why you feel this way? What sets it apart from other 858 base radios?

Thanks,
Dr_DX
 

unit_399

EL CAPO
Jun 17, 2008
1,714
1,744
173
ALEJANDRIA, COLOMBIA SA
"I always wanted a Cobra 139XLR because it was the ultimate 858SSB base out there."

Being one of the forum's foremost experts on 858's, just curious why you feel this way? What sets it apart from other 858 base radios?

Thanks,
Dr_DX
DR_ -

Cobra has been a mainstay in the CB biz almost since the beginning. After they partnered with UNIDEN to manufacture their radios, they gained a reputation of being one of the best CB brands out there. When rumors began to circulate about an FCC CB frequency expansion to 40 channels, UNIDEN/Cobra began developing CBs with PLL frequency control well before any other manufacturers. Their first AM/SSb model with PLL freq control was the Cobra 139. It debuted in 1975 as a 23 channel rig with the UPD858 pll chip. The 139 wasn't a huge success because many folks were waiting for the 40 channel models. However, the 139 was a great learning tool for Uniden. Working in conjunction with Cobra's engineers, they upgraded the design by using more ICs and adding features like a more powerful power supply and a speech clipper. This became the Gen2 858SSb chassis. All of them are the same except for the Cobras and the Realistics. The Realistics were just detuned, but COBRA's engineers specified a few proprietary passive component values in the TX/RX audio chain to produce the distinctive "Cobra sound." This was done "under the table" and the special Cobra component values are not shown on factory or SAMs schematics. To find out which components are different, I did a component by component check of a 139XLR board vs Pres. Washington board.

The only shortcoming on the 139XLR is that at some point in the production run, UNIDEN ran out of FT2 crystal filters, and replaced L6 and FT2 with a jumper. This eliminated all adjacent channel rejection, and totally sucked.

But, 139XLRs have a little sweeter audio than the run of the mill 858SSBs. This is why I think they're the best of the 858SSB rigs.

- 399
 

unit_399

EL CAPO
Jun 17, 2008
1,714
1,744
173
ALEJANDRIA, COLOMBIA SA
Dmans -

Beautiful radios. Where in the world did you find a 138XLR with a black faceplate ??Everyone I've ever seen has a silver plate. Personally I think that the black faceplate looks hot.

- 399
 

Dmans

Sr. Member
Jan 22, 2017
1,373
1,742
173
Georgia
unit_399,
The black faceplate is a decal from gammaraygraphics.com
He also supplied the black faceplate decal for the recent restoration of an SB-220 I did for a friend. (Chronicled on this forum)

I recently finished a 148GTL that I have been trying to refurb off and on for about 3 or 4 years. The bezel and faceplate of the 148GTl was in horrible condition. I bought a new bezel* and all new knobs from Barkett Electronics but he did not have a faceplate. I like the looks of the black faceplate (the 139XLR spoiled me) so ordered one for the 148 and added the 138XLR faceplate to the order. Kind of a "Big Brother-Little Brother" thing.
IMG_3644.jpg
*The bezel I ordered from Barkett Electronics was the Galaxy Front Bezel for DX 33 / 44 / 77 Connex 3300/3300HP.
With a little creative use of epoxy, it fit the 148GTL (Made in the Malaysia version) perfectly.

73
David
 

Shadetree Mechanic

Delaware Base Station 808
Oct 23, 2017
5,373
8,806
673
50
The First State (Delaware)
I pulled out the 139 xlr and dusted it off, put it on the desk for a guest appearance. Went through the microphone collection to see what works, the 636 sounds the best. This radio has plenty of audio and does not need a power mic. The 148 under the desk is my station monitor, no antenna and headphones. I made two contacts in England yesterday with eleven watts, not too shabby.

IMG_20221117_084801040_HDR.jpg
 

2charlietango216

New Member
Jul 27, 2022
5
7
3
65
DR_ -

Cobra has been a mainstay in the CB biz almost since the beginning. After they partnered with UNIDEN to manufacture their radios, they gained a reputation of being one of the best CB brands out there. When rumors began to circulate about an FCC CB frequency expansion to 40 channels, UNIDEN/Cobra began developing CBs with PLL frequency control well before any other manufacturers. Their first AM/SSb model with PLL freq control was the Cobra 139. It debuted in 1975 as a 23 channel rig with the UPD858 pll chip. The 139 wasn't a huge success because many folks were waiting for the 40 channel models. However, the 139 was a great learning tool for Uniden. Working in conjunction with Cobra's engineers, they upgraded the design by using more ICs and adding features like a more powerful power supply and a speech clipper. This became the Gen2 858SSb chassis. All of them are the same except for the Cobras and the Realistics. The Realistics were just detuned, but COBRA's engineers specified a few proprietary passive component values in the TX/RX audio chain to produce the distinctive "Cobra sound." This was done "under the table" and the special Cobra component values are not shown on factory or SAMs schematics. To find out which components are different, I did a component by component check of a 139XLR board vs Pres. Washington board.

The only shortcoming on the 139XLR is that at some point in the production run, UNIDEN ran out of FT2 crystal filters, and replaced L6 and FT2 with a jumper. This eliminated all adjacent channel rejection, and totally sucked.

But, 139XLRs have a little sweeter audio than the run of the mill 858SSBs. This is why I think they're the best of the 858SSB rigs.

- 399
I agree, i use a Cobra 146 which works great on side-band, i also use a Cobra 29 LTD Classic, i believe the older model Cobras have the best audio.
 
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Dr_DX

Well-Known Member
Jan 29, 2006
356
424
73
I pulled out the 139 xlr and dusted it off, put it on the desk for a guest appearance. Went through the microphone collection to see what works, the 636 sounds the best. This radio has plenty of audio and does not need a power mic. The 148 under the desk is my station monitor, no antenna and headphones. I made two contacts in England yesterday with eleven watts, not too shabby.

View attachment 61288

Nice Setup! I really like your mic collection (maybe a little lite on Turners...), and my favorite thing is the little sign in the upper right hand corner...LOL.

Gotta luv Mother Nature when she lends a helping hand.
 

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