I had always wanted to take a look at the emperor and as luck would have it I picked up a couple on EBAY a while back and today it was time to have a look at them. Both were a little rough on the outside and one had no lights but they both fired up so I was able to have a play.
It has a good sized LCD and quite a few functions and I was interested to see how they had integrated it all. As a radio it sounded about the same as any other radio we have looked at. On air reports were fine and power out 27w PEP on the sidebands. It had plenty of receive audio. Volume control did not have to be moved much. Stable. Did notice any drift on warm up.
Knob layout is strange. Different to most radios with the Off/On and Squealch to the right of the clarifier which was located in the middle. No RF or mic gain knobs. the RF is on a switch and the Mic Gain is on a button to the left. Takes a bit of getting used to to but looks neat and tidy. The Mode control is on a knob above the mic plug.
There are 3 different steps to tune with from the SPAN switch. 10khz/1khz/100hz. A line appears under the digit that will be changed from the channel selector/VFO. if you press one of the channel keys or the up/down on the microphone the frequency will change by 10khz. if you are on 27.355 then it will go to the zero first then up in 10khz steps. Not much use to scanning the CB frequencies because it will always default to the zeros and not the fives where the CB channels sit. To scan the CB channels you need to use the channel selector as it will jump up or down 10khz and remain on what ever khz setting you have. 5khz, 2khz or 10 khz. I guess the channel buttons were there for a reason but I can’t see for what. Easier to turn the knob.
Memories. programming the memories is a bit of a nightmare and once you are in the memory mode that’s where you stay. One of the problems for freebanders would be the fact that the mode is not put into memory, just the frequency. The mode is on a knob so a bit difficult to change. And you can’t work split either. It is not like the Albrechts, maagnums and optima when you recall the memory (complete with mode) you can scroll up and down from it. here you can’t. You are stuck in mem mode until you back out of it and then you are back to where you were when you went into the memory mode. Cumbersome to say the least.
So while it looks nice and sounds nice it doesn’t handle nicely. I would get rid of the SWR circuit, put the mode control on a switch so mode can be kept in memory, rearrange the knobs and add dual controls so one could fit in the Mic gain and RF gain controls, add 5khz to the span feature and sort out the memories a little better. I miss the 5khz steps when in freeband mode. having to scroll up in 1khz steps is tedious. I do like the 100hz steps and would like to see more steps in the span function. The heatsink is a fine size and covers half the rear. Good to see. Most CB/freeband sets I see today are inadequately cooled in my opinion.
Lots of stuff going on inside the radio. Boards everywhere. It is pretty full in there.
An 80w optima in the TS5010 case with a few more memories and the sixth (and seventh) digits working off the clarifier, ability to work split and show the tx frequency, The on/off /volume control where the mode control now is, the RIT next to the VFO, and each button assigned to a memory would be rather wonderful. Add to the mix retractable feet or a stand to make it sit on the desk at a nice angle. a fan on the back, a 100w PA and an SMD board taking up half the room. Awesome!