President Lincoln CB/10m Transceiver

The famous President Lincoln radio.Jack has been busy once again! This time he takes a look at the all-time classic, the famous Lincoln.

The good old Lincoln has been around for many years now. I had my first once in 1992, and it was an old rig then. They had an almost mythical status when they were new as the most advanced CB radio ever. Now they get a bit of a slagging for having poor performance and poor coverage, just shows you how things progress I suppose. There are a lot of modifications available for this set. Such as more power, loads of minor improvements and there is a “chipswitch” modification available which allows them to tune down to 24 MHz and also adds memories and repeater shifts, among other extras. This will allow them to cover the 12m amateur band and make them a HF dual bander. But this review will only cover the standard set.

The President Lincoln is also found under the name Uniden 2830 and in the United States and many non-European countries it was marketed as the President or Uniden HR2510 which has minor differences in the controls but otherwise operation is the same. There is also an HR2600, which looks identical, but this once has repeater shifts and CTCSS tones, which the Lincoln/2830/2510 doesn’t, and the 2600 cannot be modified to 27Mhz without serious surgery. The Lincoln operates from 28 to 29.7Mhz as standard, but with a simple internal modification is converted to operate between 26 and 30Mhz. However be warned, some HR2510’s are not able to be converted. If the main chip is a UC-1250A it is 10m band only. If it has a UC-1250, UC-1201A, UC-117 or another chip (quite a few were used) then expansion is possible.

Once expanded it works in 8 half megahertz 50 channel bands with a ninth 40 channel band, which are the 40 FCC CB channels in the right order with all the right gaps. Unlike the Albrecht, the Lincoln is a continuous tuning radio. 10Khz, 1Khz or 100hz tuning steps can be selected and the rig will tune up and down, as any amateur rig will.

The uniden variant of the Lincoln named as the 2510.
Basically the same radio as the Lincoln, the President HR 2510 has several different controls, operation is similar.

It does not have the “wrap round” effect at the end of each band and will continue to tune into the next band. The band button is only used to quickly tune the radio in half megahertz steps when required. Also unlike the Albrecht, the Lincoln has a minimum tuning step of 100hz, which is just about the largest step that would be practical for anyone using the rig on 10m amateur band where non-channelised use is preferred.
Lets look at the front panel controls. Predictably starting with volume and squelch. The squelch has an auto setting which just sets the squelch to a pre-set level, which I found to be to high for normal use and preferred to use the squelch conventionally. Above these we have the PA and Noise blanker buttons, the noise blanker working well in AM, but not making any difference in any other mode. And above those is the RIT (or clarifier) which is quite sensitive and covers around + or – 3Khz. This is over twice the range of a regular SSB CB but is fine once you get used to it. Then on the Lincoln and 2830 there is the rotary RF power control. This can set the output power while in AM or FM but not SSB. It can vary the output from pretty much nothing up to full output. These sets are available in 12 watt or 40 watt versions. The two are identical except the 40 watt once has been turned up. The output transistor in the earlier sets is almost impossible to find now and will cost you about 40 quid, although there is now a conversion to fit a different once. I recommend keeping the power turned down to about 10 watts when using FM so as not to over heat the output transistor and cause you unnecessary expense. This control is a rotary RF gain control on the HR2510 or 2600. The output power is not variable on these sets.

Moving to the other side of the front panel we have the mode knob giving CW, SSB, AM and FM. Then the SWR calibration knob. The LCD signal meter can also be switched to read output power, modulation and SWR. The meter is fairly inaccurate while reading signal strength and is very inaccurate in all the other options. Use an external SWR meter if you want to know what’s happening, don’t trust the internal once. Although the modulation setting is good for checking your mic is still working if there is ever any doubt.

Then there is nine push buttons. First in a mic gain button and on the Lincoln and 2830 we have the RF gain button, these are “set and forget” controls, rarely requiring use. on the HR2510 and 2600 the RF gain control is elsewhere so the RF gain button is used as a TX switch. This switches the radio onto transmit without having to press the PTT button on the mic. This should only be of use to morse code fans who might prefer not to use the pre-set once second break in time, and prefer to operate the TX manually. The indication button which cycles through the options on the signal meter. A dimmer to dull the LCD display backlight. A scan button which scans for an active channel, although it only scans within once band of 50 channels. A roger beep button to switch off that normally incredibly annoying end of transmission beep. Which, to be fair, is actually the nicest beep I’ve ever heard, short and a sensible volume. It’s a shame they weren’t all like this once, they would wear less on peoples nerves. Then there is a band button which cycles round the 50 channel groups and a frequency lock button to stop you accidentally retuning the rig when you don’t want to.

Next there is the button you will use most often. The span button. It selects the tuning step. Next to this is the channel up and down buttons, which, in my mind, is a bit of a failing of this radio. The main tuning knob will tune the digit which has the little dash under it. The dash is moved from 10Khz to 1Khz to 100hz steps by pressing the span button, and therefore any frequency can be tuned into, e.g. 28.456.7Mhz. But if you press the up channel button, it resets the frequency to the exact channel e.g. 28.460.0Mhz, which means you never tend to use the channel buttons unless you need to go to a “zero” frequency. The up and down buttons on the mic are the same. They do work well when it’s in its CB band and select the channels properly. Also when using the scan button the rig will only scan the exact channel, e.g. 28.460.0, 28.470.0Mhz etc, except when in the CB band when it will scan the 40 CB channels. There is a modification available, to change the channel buttons to tune in the same way as the main tuning knob, so don’t be surprised if yours doesn’t do this.

The HR2510 variant of the President Lincoln RadioIncidentally, this rig is capable of tuning almost exactly to UK-FM channels (well, 50hz away, which is plenty close enough for FM) and the channel number display is coincidentally the UKFM channel number plus 10. Eg, channel 19, 27.781.2Mhz will show 29. So you won’t get completely lost.

On the rear panel are the usual power in and antenna out sockets, plus a 9 pin white plastic multi-plug. This plug is very much misunderstood, especially since the manual does not adequately explain later changes in design. The earlier versions of this radio had no 3.5mm jack sockets fitted. The 9 pin plug has a wire link between pin 1 and 7 which connects the internal speaker. Also supplied with the radio is a 3.5mm jack socket on a flying lead. If you want to use an external speaker you must connect this “flying jack socket” onto pins 1 and 2, then removal of the link between pins 1 and 7 will disable the internal speaker. The “flying socket” can be connected to pins 4 and 5 to be used as a PA speaker and pins 8 and 9 to connect a CW key.

Later versions of the radio have a separate 3.5mm jack socket conventionally mounted in the rear panel for connection of an external speaker. Although the link between pins 1 and 7 still had to be fitted to allow the internal speaker to work. This allowed an external speaker and a CW key to be connected at the same time, as this was not possible with the earlier radios without modification. However, even though this change was implemented some years ago, the radios are still being supplied with instruction books for the early version. Hence the confusion.

The use of a multi-pin plug strikes me as an extremely complex means of saving fitting another 2 jack sockets and is particularly annoying to the second hand buyer who finds that the multi-plug or the flying jack plug is missing after closer inspection. You may find that if the multi-plug is missing that the wire link has been permanently soldered in so that the internal speaker will work. An external speaker or CW key could still be connected, but would then need to be permanently soldered in.

In use, the radio performed well. I always got good reports on my transmitted audio. Eight years ago I thought that the receive performance was just fine, but now after being used to modern Kenwood’s and such I see why the set gets a slagging for poor receive performance. But if you compare any cheaper radio with the best available its never going to seem good. All I can say is that if you’re used to operating CBs rather than expensive amateur gear, you’ll be perfectly happy with it.

A slight glitch worth looking out for is the transmitted audio goes wonky if the battery voltage drops. I noticed this while using it on 10m band with a rather large linear. The linear was taking over 20 amps and causing my vehicles battery voltage to drop a few volts. I started getting reports like “what’s happened, I cant make out a word”. Starting the car was enough to restore the voltage to normal and cure the problem. It only took a drop to 11 volts to cause problems, normally a radio would still be working (if a little dim) at 9 or 10 volts. I also got the same problem if the SWR went above about 2.5 to 1. These are not really problems, just something to watch out for.

This set is quite obviously intended for CB use by the fact it has the FCC or CEPT CB channels included in the set after “expanding”. But because of its continuous tuning and 100Hz minimum tuning step it is quite a capable 10m amateur band mobile and I have used them as such for many years.

There are fancier sets available, but if you want a 10 or 11m mobile set, you could do a lot worse than pick up a second hand Lincoln, especially since the introduction of newer rigs means that the Lincoln is cheap and plentiful. Just make sure to check it out before you buy, if that final output transistor is gone, it’ll be half the cost of the radio to fix it.

Reviewed by Axle Jack

This rig was tested in Australia where expanded 10m rigs are legal to possess if the owner is licensed for 10m operation.

Additional note

I have received some mail claiming that because I mention the Lincoln can be used to transmit on 27 and 28Mhz, that I am somehow encouraging illegal pirate use of the 10m amateur band. This was never my intention. I would like to state clearly that the frequencies from 28 to 29.7Mhz are an amateur band and should NOT be used unless you possess the appropriate amateur radio license to allow HF use in your country.

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About Transmission1 64 Articles
Simon is the founder and owner of the TM1 website. Since 1999 he has provided the online community with a place to meet up with like minded radio enthusiasts and discuss projects relating to the hobby and a large number of equipment reviews and resources totally free of charge.

22 Comments

  1. im quite pleased with your run down of the radio i can relate to the little problems it has iv had the 2830″2510″n’2950 when i got an astatic tear drop on the 2950 it seemed to open new windows on the dx side ever since on my cb radios iv allways put an astatic on thay knock spots off anything apart from hf mics my last hf was a kenwood ts440s mc60 mic the qualaty was out of this world i use a 3900 for mobile and my ts440s at home iv had for 15yrs and people keep mithering for me to sell it too them iv owned a few icoms 101zd but the ts440s has been by far the perfect radio for my useage i swl but pirate on 11mt band worked all over the world on home brew antenas ie a qubical quad built out of garden caine had a few teething problems with the tuneing with it being 15mt high i could’nt get to the tuneing stub so mannaged by cutting 6inch a time off the ladder line then the coax just to trim itup iv been a cber since1978 still enjoying what dx ther is when we get a lift my clame to fame was working broom australia at 11-15am on christmass day got qsl i have 137 comfirmed counterys thats my story 73s mate take care’chow chow

  2. The Lincoln for DXing barefoot cannot be beat by anyother CB mobile out their
    I presently own a 2980 a 2950 and my Lincoln out performs bolth.
    That said, I love the sound of the 2950 the best. Lincoln has better ears, better rejection ,
    and flat out does the 2950. ( barefoot ). An amp makes the diff in transmitt only.
    The 500 Texas star brought my signal up 1 1/2 db @ 80 miles compared to being barefoot.
    Can’t talk that far on my 2950 set at same dead key watts.
    And that’s on AM at night !!! Love all three of these Radio’s
    Thanx. Ron

  3. I am happy to read the opinions of other hams about President Lincoln (UNIDEN 2630) Havn’t used it for years and now,m when testingg the audio (RX) is very distorted. Sorry to say, but i was not able to download the SERVICE MANUAL. Can anybody hepl me (either tell me where to download or better send files -actually only the circuit diagrammes- to my box DL7VFM@web.de looking forward to …73 Achim

  4. Achim,the Lincoln manual can be downloaded from the Rigpix website database (i think) for free.
    I downloaded one a few months ago,but unfortunatly cant find it now (damn).
    I hope this helps.
    26SY77

  5. i hav a lincoln,,,bac in the day they wer considered crap (1988-1990) but now considered really gud,i hav to say i do love mine,great little set,and does out perform alot of the newer stuff about,ther u go i hav had my say,,an old radio,stil about,an im glad..

  6. on the lincoln is it normal when you are on chan 40 the channel indecator reads 39 this is the same on all channels above 22 i think

  7. I think the President Lincoln is one of the best mobile transceivers i have ever owned.Mine died a few yrs ago and i’m on the look out for another one.I have a RCI 2950 at the mo but on performance i prefer the Lincoln.

    73s,All.

    • I have a lincoln new in the box , If you want it you can have it for $350.00 .I have had it out of the box and hooked it up just to trie it out .It is a very nice radio .I put it back in the box the same way it came out .But if you want it I can take some pics of it and e-mail them to you..(RD)

    • hello handy I have a President Lincoln Mark 1 which I’m selling because I’m going abroad to live I have had it for many years it works absolutely great there is a lot of other gay with it as well as always antenna cables taglines and a 500 watt which needs slight attention you will have to bid me on this as I don’t know the current value of a second hand 1 pretty good condition works well when you plug it in my name is Dave you can get me on the email address as left on here if you are interested thanks

  8. Nice rigs with continuous tuning, decent output power and solidly built, although expensive in there day and still command a high price now.
    Alternative would be the Anytone/mass variety, with more coverage and power output and cheaper brand new than a 20 year old Lincoln, although theses models do not have continuous tuning.
    Best alternative would be a ranger 2950dx these can be picked up for a ton, have continuous tuning and 12 meter capability, but at the end of the day the Lincoln is a cb radio through and through and a rarther expensive one if you spend most of your time on the uk40.
    20 years ago i loved my Lincoln and used it every day, worked the world and talked locally all the time, but today it would just sit there picking very little up on the uk40 like all the other rigs.
    Don’t let nostalgia get in the way of buying a radio or you will be sorely dissapointed, remember it’s 2012 and most communications now take place over the internet and mobile phones, cb is a niche hobby with small numbers using it.
    Don’t let your heart rule your head, we live in hard times, so pay low prices and don’t be tempted to put another tenner on that lincoln, because if you don’t like it you will be out of pocket when you come to sell it, remember completed listings on ebay are not what they seem,most stuff get’s relisted if it’s in an auction and sells for much less the second time around

  9. hi can anyone please send me a pic of the mike wireing inside the radio lincoln has mine has come of in the radio
    thank u

  10. estimados amigos busco los transistores finales de la presiden lincoln cb 27 pues no los encuentro por aqui por valencia espaƱa espero noticias en breve

  11. Be very careful when buying a Lincoln, most of them have been round the block had screwdriver experts inside them, controls worn out IE power control jumps to full power if just moved, Squelches pack up ,the VFO (CHANNEL CHANGE) skips frequency when turned, the final has been replaced with a cheap 1969 transistor with the seller saying its a 10w version, I buy and sell quiet a few of them and rarely do I get one that does not need repairing.

  12. Any please, what is the reason of bad modulation on the lincoln 1 radio, i use computer power supply 12v 18 amps, and report is allways 39, any one?

  13. I owned a 2nd Gen RCI2950 and loved it. I had the DX100 kit which was made by RFUnlimted just like the todays RFX150 but it used bipolar MRF455 transistors. It made the RCI-2950 plus that on the back simply huge and limited the vehicles it could be used in. In fact I owned it from 1991 to 2000-ish.

    It was stolen and I replaced it with one of the last Production President Lincolns sold with the MRF455 final. The MRF455 final combined with the smaller footprint where huge selling points at the time.

    I love the SSB performance. I love the size and power output. The quality of the parts, the quality of the boards. It was not a perfect design for sure but it sure was a great design for it’s time. I do not think anything since in the Export radio/cb-radio world has been built as well.

    People complain that it has low level modulation and that the stock mic sucked and AM audio was only ok. I have never had anyone say anything other then positive things about how it sounded on air. The only thing that annoyed people or gave away that it was a President Lincoln was the accidental use of the roger beep.

    I would not sell mine for anything. I only used mine about 3 years then put it back in the box. I get it out of the box every 2 years or so and power it up for about a week then put it back in the box.

    I do wish it had continuous tuning or that the carrot could be moved to each digit instead of bands.

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