I thought readers might be interested in a quick review of the rigs, starting with the Albrecht 485S. This is also sold as the Magnum 257 which has a blue display background and not orange. Typical prices are around £199, although they come up on eBay secondhand for about £100.
The power output on mine is about 12W.
This rig is quite small and out of the box covers 28 – 29.7MHz. Press two buttons though and it opens up to include 25.160 to 29.699MHz in “bands”.
It is here that the rig shows its true background. It is really a CB, with AM, FM and LSB/USB modes.
As such it has some quirks that can be quite irritating to hams. Leaving it in ham mode and turning the tuning knob lets you move up and down the band in 10kHz steps. So far so good, but only if you want to work on 28.500, 28.510MHz etc.
If you want to work outside of these steps you have to press the “step button” which lets you switch to 1kHz steps. But now you have a problem. If you are on, say, 28.510MHz and hit the step button you can now tune from 28.510 – 28.519, but then it goes back to 28.510.
If you want to go 28.495 you have to switch back to 10KHz steps, move to 28.490 and start again.
This is really awkward and means that you can’t realistically use the radio mobile on SSB. However, its one saving grace is that it is brilliant for 10FM where 10kHz spacing is the norm.
The rig also has repeater shift, which is programmable. It took a few seconds to dial up 100kHz which is the standard and it will then happily tune 29.500 – 29.700MHz where the repeaters are –although I haven’t heard any European ones yet this season.
The rig also has an RIT, a noise blanker, a scan function and memories. On air it performed quite well, once you get used to the tuning.
The ability to scan the CB bands is also useful for finding out if 10m is about to open!
So, overall if you are looking for a lightweight, small mobile rig for 10FM it is brilliant. It is also OK for static mobile SSB work, but trying to move up and down the band while driving is recipe for disaster! Next the President Lincoln.
Update: I was able to buy some new buttons from Sharmans Wholesale for about £15 delivered.