Thursday, 7 May 2009

President Lincoln 10m

The President Lincoln has been around for years, but still makes a good little monoband rig for 10m.

I was first introduced to the range when I went to Florida on holiday and bought a Uniden HR2600 for about £50. This is a 10m-only rig with repeater shift and about 10w FM/25W SSB output and I loved it.

However, it didn’t get too much use in the sunspot minimum years and I decided to sell it – what an idiot!

Anyway, I have never been able to find another one to buy, so settled on the President Lincoln. There are loads of these on eBay for around £120 - £180.

The Lincoln covers 26-30MHz in eight bands. It is very similar to the HR2600 but doesn’t have repeater shift.

Unlike the Albrecht AE 485S I reviewed earlier it does have continuous 100, 10 and 1kHz tuning. You don’t get the memory feature of the Albrecht, but you do get a built-in SWR meter and a scan button. It also has an RIT, mic gain button and RF gain.

Switching to the ham band (28-29.7MHz) I was able to hear everything that my Yaesu FT-2000 could hear, including beacons in Italy, Slovenia and Norway. I worked a couple of stations on SSB and got 57 reports.

I had a bit of a problem with mine. After storing it in the loft for two years the tuning control was a bit odd – in some positions it was fine, in others it would either not change channel or actually go backwards.

You can get new tuning control switches, but they are hard to get hold off. One US expert suggested carefully drilling a small hole in the side of the switch (between the green segments) and squirting in switch cleaner.

I managed to get switch cleaner in the LCD display while doing this and had to strip it out and put in a new strip of white backing paper, courtesy of some glossy ink-jet paper. It now looks like new again!

It took a couple of applications of cleaner while rotating the switch to different quadrants, but it now works perfectly.

In all, the Lincoln is a great monoband rig for 10m, but is ideally suited to SSB and FM simplex. You used to be able to order a new “Superchip” from the USA that would give you repeater shift, but at £50 plus it costs half as much as an average rig. The Lincoln is a bit bulky, especially compared with the Albrecht 485S and you can’t easily work through 10FM repeaters either, but it works well on SSB.

I spent an interesting Saturday afternoon in early May with a 10m whip and my Yaesu 817 in the car as static mobile, but didn’t actually manage to work anyone with 5W and SSB/CW, which surprised me. Perhaps 5W and a compromise (loaded) antenna is not a good idea. Heard lots though so it was all good fun. I'll try the Lincoln/Albrecht next time.

Albrecht AE 485S for 10m

Note: You can now buy the Albrecht (or the Magnum 257 as it is also called) at Amazon.

As the summer sporadic E season has started I thought I would drag out a couple of my 10m monoband rigs and see what I could work.

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.

I bought mine off eBay and some of the writing has worn off on the buttons, so watch that. I might try and get some new buttons.

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.