First of the new Optimas under test

The Radio now goes down to 24.5 mhz in 5khz steps and up to 29.995mhz

We are going to have to change the fan layout to increase metal on heatsink. Fan is automatic

 

One of the tidiest chasis out there in the world of 10m radios.

New Optima has arrived and we began putting it through its paces.

Power is 14w AM carier, 47w FM and 48watts PEP SSB out of the box.

First looks:  Need to get rid of the yellow display and change ot for white. Runs too hot in the tropics. Some memory issues with retaining mode and offset data need to be addressed. RX clean TX good. Lots of punch on SSB.
It works much the same as your normal Dragon 485H or magnum 257, Albrecht, Alan radios with a few significant changes.
Firstly everthing works as though it is in the 10m mode so we get the shift and the 100, 10 and 1khz steps everywhere. No more of the silly 40ch bands. This radio is open from 24.5 all the way to 29.995 with all features. Another huge improvement is the channel selector now steps in 5khz instead of 10khz hops. if you only use this radio on the normal 40ch CB then you won’t appreciate this change but for 10m and freeband operators the 5khz steps means much easier navigation when checking the band. with 10kc steps it was always a few keystrokes to change from 27500 to 27555 because you had to step in  1khz to move from the zero to the five and then move to the required frequency. A lot of button pushes. Totally eliminated with the 5khz steps. Ok, If you only work CB the fact that you have to make two channel steps to change channel due to the 10khz channel spacing might be a drag. We feel the ease on the other frequency out weighs this by far. Still maintains the 5 memories and the scan and the last channel recall. The memory on this radio does not go away if you turn off the power for a couple of days. Memories are held in non volatile eprom and remain till you change them. Operators of the other types will recall turning on the radio after it has sat unpowered for a few days to see it default to ch 09 in the FM mode and then have to remember the buttons to push to bring up a frequency and redo all the memories. That does not happen here.
To navigate around quickly just press the call button and the radio will move up 1mhz. Smoooooth.
But the work is not finished yet. We still can’t release it till it meets our specs fully. We have memory issues. The mode is not retained in the memory. Shift is not retained and LCR also does not retain the mode. Power is good but we feel the heatsink needs more meat and the fan’s mode of turning on is not quite right. It runs too hot for my liking but the fan was not coming on like t should either so we should get that ironed out quite easily. The channel guard filters were not fitted to this radio so don’t know how much improvement we will see with it installed but the RX did seem quite robust and clear. However to fully test the receive we need to use it on a noisy band with strong signals as well as a quiet band with low signals. I hope we have a good trade off here re sensitivity and selectivity. More testing but so far nothing negative to report. At least the main design criteria have been achieved
 
expanded coverage to 12m
50w output
5khz steps
10m features retained on all frequences
 
Price?
I expect this radio to be under US$300 plus shipping. For those interested in ordering please let me know. The price of shipping has continued to rise so if many requests from overseas I will hold stock in Singapore or Hong Kong and ship direct from there to save money.
 
More to come as we (ab) use the radio. Have not spent a lot of time testing the tx audio so hope conditions are good this weekend for some AB tests with similar radios over dx paths.
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2 Responses to First of the new Optimas under test

  1. Larry Merchant says:

    Let me know how it turns out looking for alot of punch in audio trans clearity on trans and less white noise on receive

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