President Jackson SSB rig

(silver front 1982)

President Jackson 'sidebander' (silver front CB radio circa 1982)

Back in the days of 'naughty' (illegal) SSB operation in the early 80's I managed to secure a President AR144 (mid-band only) SSB radio and seriously considered a President Grant (3 band) SSB rig (funds didn't allow!). At the time though the ultimate if you were not looking at a NATO 2000 or Cobra 148 would have been the original 'silver-fronted' 5 band President Jackson offering FM/AM/USB/LSB from 26.065MHz all the way up to 28.305MHz with switchable 'Alpha' channels, 10kc shift with clarifier and switchable 'President beep' to signify end of transmission! All in all a bit of a beast and now getting fairly rare though the later 'black fronted' Jackson's are still about (my old mate Mike in Jersey still has one)! This one was found at a 'Troc Puce' in Brittany for just a few Euros along with a mobile aerial but in non-transmitting condition and with inoperable meter but did receive pretty well.

The time had finally come for the old Jacko' to be repaired and get it working properly again. It was a toss up between getting the HyGain V working or the President and both were sent off to James M1APC in Cornwall for his assessment and recommendations.

Sadly the HGV was too far gone to warrant repair but happily the President was a viable proposition and was finally ready for collection in time for Christmas 2018 on a trip to Cornwall.

I am most grateful to James for all of his hard work and to quote from his email at the time:

"The Jackson is finally up and running.

The main issue was someone in the past had fitted a wire from the 13.8V terminal on the power switch to the 8V rail. This had caused several issues within the regulator circuits, the PLL, VCO and cooked the signal meter. Simply put 13V was leaking all over the radio which fried most of the more sensitive circuits.

There was seven individual issues, I'd fix one stage to find the next stage faulty and so on. Needless to say I spent a hell of a long time on it in between other jobs.

Anyway it's all working well now and if you look after it should give you years of service.

Regulator and all Zenner repairs

PLL and VCO issues repaired

New meter and misc wiring issues

Full realignment"

Unfortunately the original President microphone is playing up but not too much of an issue as I have the Turner JM+2/U ready for re-use on the President.

"Back to normality right enough.. What an effort!!

President Jackson sent into the shack with TRX not locking on frequency and the PLL stage had melted wax all over the inside of the case.. Very weird!!..

After looking over the set I eventually found a lot of dry joints and couple of swollen electrolytic caps which I removed. Live testing proved that there was 13V on the 8V rail all over the PCB including the TX RX switching circuit, roger beep, PLL and VCO stages and signal meter. On further inspection I found that some loony had ran a red wire from the power switch to the 8V rail. I removed that and the radio choked into some sort of life. I could hear static but no lock on RX and no TX switching. The regulator and the zenner diodes had been cooked causing a low voltage of only 4V on the 8V rail. After replacing the faulty components the 8V was present again, but the PLL was still not locking. I found that the 13V had also killed the PLL IC which once replaced the radio was locking on receive. I ran some further tests to find the TX switching transistor had popped. Once replaced the radio was able to transmit again. I replaced the meter and tidied up the poor wiring on the 4 way switching PCB.

Moving on I let the set warm up and went through a full realignment.

She's up and running and ready to go home.

Job Done! Finally :)"

So its nice to get the old thing back and working a treat; though there lies a tale!! When I got the Jackson back the top end and low end channels weren't working so had to go back to James' at Christmas for a couple of additional caps to be replaced. When I arrived there with a boot full of Christmas presents, suitcases and clothes I opened the boot lid to get the radio out to drop it off and 'woosh - clatter' it literally 'dropped off', straight out onto the road! Well they obviously built these things tough back in the day as not even a dent and everything (other than the required repair) working fine!

So it is that the President is now back in pride of place amongst the other rigs in the shack and receiving and transmitting well with the now re-wired Turner JM+2/U power microphone (obtained from the bay for a 'good price' - yes I know it's been re-painted and whilst not totally authentic I quite like how it looks!), and connected to the modern Sigma IV replacement! The rig receives well but the replacement Cobra meter seems a little lazy but no matter, a new lease of life and hopefully some fun to be had if the sunspots ever sort themselves out!

So this is the spiritual successor to my old President AR144 from back in the 80's but oh so much more capable and now in fully working condition again. I've been tempted on occasion by Cobra's/Superstar's/NATO's, replacements for the Hy-Gain V and even (latterly) the modern 10m/expandable equivalent radios (the Galaxy range look good but the top dog DX98VHP 200w 320 channel (A to H) unit is hideously expensive ($600?!), similarly the '19" rack mount' equivalent Galaxy Saturn or Ranger RCI-2995DX (oh my!!) look good and would sit magnificently in any shack but again $$$$$$! But now this is up and running there's really not the want or the need any more (especially with the amateur rigs available!) to look elsewhere (for the time being anyway!). My AR144 was of course 'mid-band only' (26.965-27.405MHz on AM/USB/LSB and only a clarifier to play with) whilst the Hy-Gain V had Lo-Mid-Hi; the President Jackson is a real challenger to a well spec'd (dare I say modified) Cobra 148GTL having five bands (A to E = 200 channels plus 'alphas', thats 'LoLo-Lo-Mid-Hi-HiHi') running from 26.065MHz all the way up to 28.305MHz (oops!), with the +10KHz switch for the 'alpha' channels and of course a fully variable 10kc shift so if you have the time to spend it covers the whole of the frequency range without 'holes'. Always worth keeping a printed out frequency chart to hand though, especially with so many present day 11m operators stating frequency when they QSY from the calling channel (52 Hi / 27.555MHz).