The Cre 8900 has arrived and we have it on the bench. Plenty of reports and trials on this radio on the net so no need for me to repeat them all. It is a lot of radio in a compact package. A lot to like. this is more of a user-bility report other than an outline of what it can do. CB Magazine review shows you everything this radio does way better than I could ever do. Find them here: http://www.cbradiomagazine.com/CRE%208900%2010%20Meter%20SSB%20Export%20Radio.html
The first thing you need to know is how to get this radio from the 28-29.7mhz (10m) restriction it comes with; to 27mhz freeband. Commit ‘hold “Func + Emg” and turn on radio’ to memory. Write it down and stick it on top of the set. If you play with the programming aspects of this radio chances are you will need to know this! Once you have pressed the buttons and turned on the set release the buttons and rotate the ch selector and band 2 should show on the screen. Press and hold func for 3 secs. let it go and turn off the set. When you turn it on again it will be in freeband CB mode. You will find 6 bands of 40ch starting at 25.615 mhz through 28.305 mhz.
Standard out of the box the radio puts out about 18wPEP from its twin mosfet final PA. Not a lot but enough. Receive is OK and audio after we turned the mic gain up in software was clear and had a good strong average. The mic gain is 31 out of the box. You should increase it with the software to somewhere between 55 and the max of 63. To do this you need the cable and the software. The cable is specific to the Cre as it has a prolific USB to serial port adapter built in. Windows 7 found it OK but you will still need to tell the software which port the cable is on before it can communicate with the radio. No biggie but needs to be done.
This is very similar software to that used by the Anytone radios and probably the new Sryker SSB. If you can use those this is also a breeze but there are some quirks I have found.
A couple of things to watch with the software….
Always take a copy of the settings before you make any changes. Download the current data set and save it. If you find things have gone wrong and it ain’t working you can always reinstall that one. Having done that adjust the mic gain in the software (max it out to 63) and see if it can write to the radio.
I prefer to down load the data from the radio and work with that rather than start from scratch. Both ways work but I have had more success with using the radio’s data as a base. Once you start making changes save the changes repeatedly under different names. There are some things that cause this software and radio combination to hiccup and revert to 10m. Not sure exactly what they are but here are some guides. Radio version was 3.1 and soft ware was also 3.1. I was in band 2. The radio hiccuped and reverted to 10m (band1) if I tried to program any 28mhz frequencies over 28.305mhz. it also hiccuped when I tried to program 27.47750. as long as I stayed away from those things the upload to the radio went OK. I was able to program the 29.mhz repeater frequencies. Oddly enough when the radio burped and reverted to 10m band 1 mode, any frequencies I had programmed in above 28mhz were kept. Everything below 28mhz disapeared The upload seemed to go normally but you have to turn the radio off because it shows PC, and when it is turned on we would get the dreaded purple coloured screen and 28mhz band1. Changing the radio back to band 2 (func + emg on turn on) showed the original 25-28.305 bands. No trace of the programmed frequencies! There may be some other things that would cause this to happen so frequent saves under diff names will let you go back and find out what is causing the reset.
The set gets warm and actually quite hot under heavy SSB use so I assume it would get hotter under AM/FM usage. I have made no changes under the bonnet but Mike has his cranked up to 50w PEP and is looking for ways to add some metal in the radio to disapate the heat from the voltage regulators and audio chip on the Mic input side of the radio.
The radio has strong audio and drives amplifiers well..better than the AT-5555 in this respect. The Receive is a little noisy but conditions lately have been noisy. Handled strong signals a little better than the At-5555. I suspect still prone to splatter but I don’t have any! Clarifier works well but still retains the clarifier memory stuff of the at-5555. (what were they thinking of when they put that in??) Change the frequency with the clarifier from say 27555 down to 27550 and it will remain on 27.550 until you physically return 550 to 555 with the clarifier. So my advice is that if you want to work freeband and the zeros, program them in.
Good tip, press the clarifier button repeatedly to move the digits in the display. Play with this function and get the hang of it as it makes navigation pretty easy but remember you are only changing the frequency you were on and you only have +/- 10khz from the frequency you are on to work with. Best left at the 10hz use so it works as a clarifier.
The knobs are small and difficult to manipulate at times but the rig does work well and the backlighting is nice at night. real memories and real shift would be nice but you can sort of work your way around the limitations by programming them in where you want them. The small size and grunty output make this a keeper. I think most people would be pretty happy with the way this radio performs. It looks good and goes good.