This radio is the replacement for the earlier compact CB that Cobra used to produce. It has 4 preset channels, weather band, dual watch (a feature that allows one to scan between two different channels), scan (to scan all channels), instant 9 and 19,key-lock (to keep you from accidentally changing the channel while flailing around in the twisties), and Sound Tracker technology (which reduces static). The housing is basic CB black but the entire piece feels solid and well-made. The Push-to-talk button and channel-up/channel-down buttons are covered in rubber on the side of the hand unit and all other buttons are rubber as well. It's a bit larger than a typical CB handset, but that's to be expected, as the brain of the radio is in the handset. The cord is of the coiled type and looks like it would stretch to 10 ft. or so. And, nicest of all, the LCD is lighted for night use. Overall, a really nice unit.
Installation was a breeze. I read the instructions a half-dozen times, per my usual routine. I then went out to the car and proceeded to find a way to run the wires. Man, this was a breeze. I tweaked a coat hanger and fished it through the driver's side tunnel between the trunk and cockpit. I then attached the wire for the off-brand magnetic antenna I had purchased and pulled it through to the cockpit. I was anticipating putting the CB under the dash, so this is why the antenna is where it is. When we did Mike's car we put it on the pax side. Much nicer install on that side. Anywho, after fishing the antenna wire through I assumed the position so familiar to those that have been under the dash of a Miata. Face blood-red and feet resting on the Hard Dog, I came to the conclusion that there was no way I was going to remain in this position any longer. So I clambered out of the car and went to the pax side, pulling the carpet up behind the pax seat and deciding that I was going to put the connector box (which provides the power to the handset) behind the seat, next to the computer. Removing the spare tire, I fished the wires through the pax tunnel and connected the red wire to the battery and the black wire to the power antenna. I then drilled a couple of holes in the vertical panel behind the pax, making sure that the connecter wire for the handset would reach almost to the edge of the carpet, next to the console. Bolting the whole shebang down and attaching the handset and antenna wire, I was ready to rock, after unscrewing the console and hiding the antenna wire underneath it as it passed from the driver's side to pax side. Total install time: 30 minutes and no bloody knuckles or off-color words. Total time on Mike's car, the second of the day: 20 minutes in bare feet with the top up, watching the skies as yet another one of those Tennessee gully-washers was looming on the horizon. All buttoned up and ready to run.
Mike and I had a blast at Deal's Gap yesterday with the radios. They reach about 3 miles or so, over hill and dale, until you get in the land of blind curves and switchback turns. Sometimes it is difficult to remember to push directly on the PTT button, as there is a sweet spot where the button clicks on. Weather channel is nice to have, as is the dual-scan. I haven't set the presets so can't report on them. Squelch is pretty sensitive and does what it is supposed to. Sound-tracker is awesome. When two or more Sound Tracker radios are "corresponding" the resulting clartity is quite good. The speaker is sensitive to overload, so do a radio check. Get a buddy to talk to you, take the sound to where the speaker starts getting buzzy, then back it down a notch. I can hear the radio pretty well, even at extra-legal speeds or 6500 rpm, whichever comes first. The only thing to remember with the radio is to make sure that you turn it off when you shut the car down, as the power is always live when hooked directly to the battery. I store mine behind the pax seat in the map pocket when not in use. This product is highly recommended. I bought mine from Sound Radio Products in Lake Stevens, WA, for a little over $140, with a basic antenna and 2-day shipping. Locally, the radio was much more expensive and it was on national backorder. Sound Radio Products said they had already sold 3 to Miata owners that day and that their distributor had all the radios left in the US of A, of which there were about 200 or so. In-stock units at SRP numbered about 20. This is a mom-and-pop company with great service. 90% of their business is internet.
|Back to Product Reviews||10 February, 2001|