Pros: Highly portable, excellent quality, great value!
Cons: May pick up noise from alternators and spark plugs.
As an avid off roader, I've been looking for a quality portable CB radio for years.
Due to the fact that I sometimes work in a high theft area, I am very reluctant to put in any permanent radio into any of my off road vehicles.
After reading some web reviews of the Cherokee AH-27F (http://www.epinions.com/pr-Cherokee_Cherokee_AH-27F_2-way_Radio), I found out that the Midland 75-822 is basically the same radio, and is readily available in Phoenix.
I went out and purchased this radio with a glass mount Midland 18-258 antenna (http://www.midlandradio.com/details.asp?pid=177&cat=CB+Antennas). After installation of the antenna to my rear window of my truck, I proceeded to open an inspect the contents of the Midland 75-822.
The contents of the box are pretty typical. Included are:
- the Radio
- two battery packs, one for rechargeable batteries, one for alkalines
- an AC Adapter
- a removable antenna with a BNC adapter
- and a car kit adapter.
The car kit adapter is quite unique, and is one of the main reasons why I purchased this radio. It clips on to the radio where the battery pack normally resides, and provides 12 volt power (via a cigarette adapter) as well as an antenna connection through a SO-239 connector. Most antennas terminate in a PL-259 connector, and will mate up perfectly with the Midland antenna connector.
This car kit places the radio in the same category as the Cobra C75WXST (portable and all-in-one) without the specialized connector and power box that the Cobra requires.
Installing the Midland Radio (Car Kit install)
Installation is simple (and this assumes you have a CB antenna already set and installed in your vehicle, along with the antenna tested with an SWR meter).
- Find an empty cigarette lighter plug.
- Plug in the car kit lighter plug into the empty socket
- Attach the antenna's PL-259 connector to the car kit's SO-239 connector
- Installation complete!
Using the Midland 75-822
The controls on the radio are simple and easy to use. You have:
- Volume and On/Off dial (top)
- Squelch (top)
- Channel Up/Down (side)
- Transmit key (side)
- Backlight button
- Channel 9/19 priority button
- Channel Scan
- Low Power select
- NOAA weather channel select
You simply turn the volume dial on, set the squelch dial to where you don't hear static, and go.
The radio transmission quality is very good. Using the abovementioned glass mount antenna, I was able to achieve a 4 mile near line of sight communication with another vehicle (which used a Galaxy DX-919 and a Wilson 1000 Magnetic Mount antenna). Talking with a base station (Antron A99 antenna with a Cherokee base station radio), I was able to be heard about 7 miles away before dropping off completely.
Voice quality and modulation is good. It operates as expected from an all in one unit.
The only bad thing noted (and it's a real minor issue) is that it picks up quite a bit of electrical noise. A noise filter has corrected the issue, but was not included with the radio.
Other cool items of note
This radio has some other neat features, including:
- Automatically going into battery save mode after 30 seconds of no audio or keying
- The rubber duck antenna can be removed when using the car kit. All RF is redirected to the antenna connector on the car kit.
- Scanning is fast, and locks onto a signal consistently that's clear, with some level of noise discrimination.
I highly recommend this radio! It's small, portable, and easily configured to a wide variety of situations, from a near permanent install to a movable option that can go from car to car.
As I find out about more stuff, I'll add it here.
4/21/05 - It's been mentioned that I should comment about the LCD screen. It's something I zoned out on in the review.
The LCD screen is adequate. You're able to see immediately the channel, the signal strength, and whether you're on low power transmit or the radio went into power save mode.
Backlighting is okay. It's dual sidelit (lamps on the right and left sides), and in complete darkness, it's decently visible. In partial lighting, it's contrast should be better, but it's still adequate enough to be read.