Lucked out the other day and got my hands on a couple of NIB Dragon Delta Force radios. They closely resemble the S-45’s we used to get from Magnum and are a welcome change from the stuff we been seeing come across the bench. These were a popular radio in their day and I don’t know why we still don’t see them today because they have a good sound on transmit and a solid receiver. None of the AGC issues that a lot of the newer radios are plagued with. Discreet components so the motherboard looks like a bomb went off in it. Wires everywhere.
See what I mean.
Compared to the new SMD boards this is a jungle, but at least you can see where everything goes! Driver was a bipolar 2166 and surprised to see a pair of ERF 2030 mosfets as the final. Heat sink is substantial but it got too hot to put my hand on after 15 minutes on SSB with 30 watts. That’s too hot in my book. Probably need to to adjust the bias a bit. No idea when these were made but I am guessing they were part of the last batch produced probably 2014 or there abouts. For 3 years of sitting in an open warehouse in Singapore it fired up fine and smack on frequency. Solid grunty Delta Force audio..the kenwoods of CB radio. Magnum had them, Albrecht had them and so did Dragon..odd they did not get picked up by many companies like the Dragon 485/magnum 257/ smaller brother…Maybe it came on the scene at the end of the CB cycle…it sure was a popular radio down in Australia in its day…
I also found an Albrecht 7500 which is the new SMD version of the Delta Force made for the European market. Have not seen a lot of them about so snapped it up as well. A lot of changes inside, following a similar format to the Dragon 485H we looked at a while back.
Check out the board! ALBRECHT 7500. (new Version of Delta Force)
I can see why everybody is going SMD. The jungle is now a mowed and manicured lawn! Where did all the bits go? Now that is neat. But the way it works is kind of sucky..the extra digit everybody insisted they had to have to work on SSB doesn’t really do anything…just gets in the way..it is certainly not a 100hz step… more a 500khz step thing. Clarifier is still a clarifier and doesn’t change the display…One would think that they went to a lot of effort to design the new SMD board so why not go DDS and be done with it. Shit, even hobbyists and BITX is using DDS. I guess with the main market for this radio being the CB market in Europe it might have posed problems getting approvals. I don’t know why they just don’t sell it as a 10m ham radio and if people want to use it on CB so be it…Have not done much testing but the recieve seems clean and sharp but the transmit audio is the same as the Dragon 485H and I guess albrecht’s AE 5890EU. It is a tad thin. Robotic is the term I frequently hear reported back. For DX it is fine, I think perhaps a little narrow compared to the full bodied audio or the previous 485’s and 257’s before they changed the design and added a bunch of display colours and the silly sixth digit. Maybe we can add some extra depth with the echo controls. The font they are using doesn’t look as good either. I am sure a capacitor change in the audio chain somewhere would bring the audio depth back up but where does one start digging on these new SMD boards? Don’t get me wrong. Nothing wrong with the clarity. Just lacking a bit of depth. Falls behind the lincoln 2 and at6666 and Magnum one for tx audio quality in its present state. Hope they can change that when the next production run gets going, but somehow I doubt it. It is not the mic. It’s somewhere else. I used the same mic on all of the 4 radios we tested. This 7500 has a serious pedigree to live up to…it doesn’t quite reach the bar due to the TX audio. Other than that it is quite OK. Lost a memory, for some reason this 7500 only has 4 memories and probably some other shit I have yet to sort out. And at least it looks like a CB radio and the clarifier offset doesn’t remain when you change channels (talking At 5555 here) Delta force is better, but maybe I need to play with the 7500 some more….Runs cool..always a big plus in my book.
Side By Side. Delta Force and 7500
Some more user points on the 7500.
It does not have the swr meter function. No biggie for me..could have had a hi swr warning indicator or something instead. Receive is quite good. Crisp and clear. Quite sensitive. At least as good if not better than the Delta Force. Yellow backlit LCD screen is nice. Memories are a little weird. You can program in for the normal 40 channels but once you get out of the USA 40 channels to say 27415 then you have to input 4 new memories because the memories you input in the range of Ch 1 to ch 40 only work there. If you are on ch 41 then you can input and access memories from 24715 thru 29970. Memories one to four are totally different. What a strange way to make it work! admittedly there are a host of options as to which mode and then which country. I need to see what happens in Ham mode to see if the step works better. This radio is currently in code 4 from power on. There are several other power on modes selectable from shorting pins on the Main board. No soldering needed here thank goodness. Could possibly hook up a switch to toggle between the Ham mode and expanded CB mode pretty easily. But I hate radios with wires and stuff hanging off them so I won’t.
The step function. 2 modes, 500hz and default to 10khz. That’s it. Defaults after a few seconds. Scroll thru the 40ch bands by pushing the Ch9/ch19 button. there are a lot of them. A to J then U for 24mhz. 11 bands. Band E is the normal 40ch band. after ch 40 the ch read out goes to ch 41 but the frequency is 26565. What is going on there? None of the other bands do it. and in keeping with its CB roots the 500hz step can only move up or down in a 10khz circle. Round and round. Need to check how it works on the Ham bands. Hope it doesn’t do the same and hope the rest of the steps come into play. The Dragon 485H plays the same way.
Delta force has the standard 1khz, 10khz and 100khz steps from the step button.
Thin SSB audio on the 7500. Unlike the 485 the 7500 has an echo function. After a bit of on air testing we have the e-del at 8 oclock and e-vol at 9 and it seems to have fattened up the audio somewhat. Hmm…Worth a go for rag chewing. Mic gain about 2.30 because it does over-modulate if turned up full…I like that. means you can still fit a dynamic mic and it will have enough grunt to make it work. If we could make this 7500 work like an optima it would be a bit of all right. Time to test the ham functions.
More on the 7500 All the points above were made with the radio in code 4 from switch on. I changed the mode to the Ham mode and ho hum..it all worked as it should so why not try mode 3. Mode 3 is export free band mode baby, and that’s where it needs to be. Now we have us a radio. Clear screen, frequency only, no 40ch shit cluttering things up. It is good enough to have its own blog now and not an add on to the Delta Force! Scroll up and down from 24mhz to 29mhz with the 10khz default step. Takes a while but the step function gives you 50hz ,10khz ,100khz of 1mhz steps to speed things up as required. Put in any memory you want! Split and repeater functions appear to work. I am starting to like it!!