Ian Bellhouse investigates this interesting classic style CB radio.
I have recently bought a new Cobra 29 Ltd CB radio, first impressions out of the box are very good, the radio resembles the old Cobra 148 which I am sure everyone is familiar with and Cobra have kept the original looks and styling with a few modern tweaks.
The front of the radio is finished with the original silver panel and chrome banding, the radio is a similar size, with the added bonus of the microphone connection on the front panel rather than down the left side of the radio which gives much more ease for mobile mounting, and mobile operation without getting the microphone wire tangled up in your gear lever or seat covers handbag etc!
The front panel consists of an analogue “original style” signal meter, channel display in green LED form, channel selector, on/off switch with squelch, RF gain and Dyna Mic control, 5 position tone switch, dimmer, SWR Calibration and finally a UK & EU switch. These are all in the form of rotary knobs finished in chrome in the same design as the Cobra 148.
Across the top of the front panel between the signal meter and channel display are five switches which consist of the following from left to right: NB/ANL, ANL, OFF (3 position switch), CB/PA (2 position switch), Delta+, 0, Delta- (3 position switch), Ch19, Ch9, Normal (3 position switch), S/R, SWR, CAL (3 position switch). At the end of this row is the unique Cobra Sound Tracker button and above this are two LEDs, one for RX/TX (the usual Cobra twin green and red LED) and the next one is a red LED which illuminates when the sound tracker is in operation.
The rear panel only consists of the usual 3.5mm PA connection and extension speaker connection. The standard 3-pin cobra power lead connection and a SO239 antenna socket.
Visually the radio looks very impressive but with a price tag of £135 it should do!
The knobs and switches are very easily accessible and everything is easy to use without reading the handbook! The front panel is decorated with green lettering symbolising the various functions of buttons and switches which all looks very modern and attractive, as opposed to the dull black lettering of the old 148.
The microphone seems to be extremely large and bulky for my liking, especially as this is designed to be a mobile radio. I think Cobra could do some improvements to make this more user friendly for those using it in a vehicle. This radio has one very big plus point which I have not seen before and this is the nightwatch system – as it gets dark the front silver panel goes black and the knobs and writing on the fascia light up in green, this has to be the best mobile radio on the market for use in the dark as everything can be seen clearly and without dazzling the driver.
My first impressions of the radio in the RX mode was very good. There is plenty of audio from the internal speaker and everyone could be heard very clearly and from some distance on both UK and EU bands. With the Sound tracker system operating the harsh noise heard on the EU band (due to skip conditions) substantially disappeared but this seemed to effect the general tone quality of voices heard and my opinion was that I would rather hear the noise with the sound tracker disabled.
On air reports using the supplied microphone and standard 4 watts power output from the rig into a K-40 antenna were good. I received some 5-9 reports with good audio from the standard microphone apart from one person who said I was a little quiet. I also felt that the signal meter could do with a little tweak as it did not quite give an accurate reading but this was only a minor observation.
In general this radio is very good and I would prefer it to some of the competition, I do however believe that Cobra are trading on their past reputation hence the £135 price tag.
Many thanks to Ian Bellhouse for this review.
You can contact Ian at: firstname.lastname@example.org