This is the SSB version of the more popular Cherokee AH-27F.
Price when new: USD 400.-
Like everyone else whom was big into CB's, I've wanted one of those portable AM/SSB CB's, but they were far and few between due to their cost, and anyone who did have one hung on to it until they died. So, when Cherokee came out with the AH-100 portable, I just had to save my pennies and get one, while I could. The 1st obstacle was the price, about $400.00USD's. This also included the price to get it wide-banded so that I could work 10M HAM on it as well. (Remember those 73 Mag articles on CB to 10M MOD's?) However, seeing just how small it was lead me to think that performances were compromised. Receiver sensitivity was about 1uV even on AM, and SSB wasn't much more than that. Front end overload and poor adjacent channel rejection against strong stations. Yes, it does have an attenuator on the receive (Like cranking back on the RF Gain.) There are two RF power settings, Low = about 1W, High = about 3.2W (Canada's limit.). You don't want to crank it more than that since the RF final's heatsink is inside the plastic casing. It would have been nice to be like a HAM HT with an aluminum chassis to heatsink too. Functions are awkward to do, most require a two hand operations. Not at all friendly to have while driving. Even though this HT comes with a mobile cig DC power plug and an SO-239 adapter for EXT CB antennas, don't try and drive and operate this rig. I almost wrecked doing so and it scared me so much it stayed out of the car permanently. As a portable, it's neat. If a contact is close and you can run low power, a QSO can last for a couple of hours on battery, but maybe only 30min on high power. TX audio is good and punchy on both AM and SSB, from either the built-in mic or EXT mic. (You may want to drill a 1/8" hole before the condenser mic element to improve audio quality in EXT mic, just like most HAM HT EXT mics.) Did 10M once with a friend (Remember, I had this HT opened to do so.) It gets you there, but you can only tune in "5's", i.e. you want to go to 10M call FREQ 28.4000MHz, but the rig will go to either 28.395MHz, or 28.405MHz. That's a little limiting. To improve range with portable supplied duck antenna, string a 9ft long wire from the outside of the BNC connector. That can X3 the RX/TX range right there. As a base, it gets warm from long QSO's on high power, but on low power, talk as long as you want. However, if you're near a major route with much CH19 truck traffic, you may hear them bleed on you from any of the 40CH's. So, this CB HT has it's perks and jerks. It's a nice novelty rig, but for actual practicality in mobile and base, I wouldn't recommend it. Still, for a portable AM/SSB rig, it was the only game in town for a bit, so, a novelty.
When the Cherokee AH-100 AM / SSB portable CB came out in the late 1990's, I suspected that it wouldn't be on the market for long, since who wants to pay about $400.00USD's for a portable CB, (Besides me.)? Portable AM / SSB CB's are out there from the 1970's, but good luck finding one, or anyone willing to give one up. And anyone whom has such a rig hangs on to them until they die. So, the AH-100 was a chance to get such a rig, albeit, new. Got it, had it wide-banded, so that I could work 10M as well. Here's the perks:
- AM / SSB in a CB portable!
- Very low power consumption, ideal for portable and mobile operation without the scare of wearing down the battery.
- Very compact, fits in a shaving bag!
- Good RX / TX audio, about 75% MOD in TX.
- LCD readout and switchable backlight.
- Not very sensitive on RX and subject to overload from close stations, even with the RF Gain switched on.
- You need at least two hands to operate this rig, making it terrible for tuning and driving.
- TX time is less that 30min on full power with Ni-Cad battery, about 1 hour on low power.
- Range on accompanying duck antenna is about a couple miles to a base station, at best. EXT ANT certainly needed.
- NB and ANL doesn't seem to be that effective.
Now, given all that, it's still a fun radio to have for CB / 10M collectors. Full RF OUT = 3W, and Low RF OUT = 1/2W. RX sensitivity is about 1uV. Keep in mind, if you QSO on high power for more than a full minutes, this HT gets quite warm. The case is plastic and not aluminum.
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