by Gordon West WB6NOA

Standard Amateur Radio Products, Inc. P.O.Box48480, NilesIL60648 Tel. (312) 763-00B1 Price Class: $345

Lots of options in a small, small package.

Standard VHF and UHF transceivers are back, The "Standard" name may be new to you, but Standard Communications, a Division of Marantz Japan, Inc., has been building quality VHF and UHF ham, fandt and marine transceivers for over 25 years.

In fact, it was 22 years ago that this author introduced the ham community to the world's first Japanese-built, 2-meter, 5-channei, crystal-controlled handie-talkie. What a weekend to remember—everybody with a Motorola HT-220 thumbing their noses at this Japanese rig. Few hams felt that the 2-meter band would ever be popular, and even fewer professional radio operators dreamed that Japan could ever produce any type of equipment comparable to good oi1 U.S.A. gear.

How times have changed. Standard Communications Corporation in Salt Lake City, Utah still continues to be the leader in land mobile and marine VHF and UHF equipment, and weil-known entrepreneur Roger Wayman W9TYT heads up Standard Amateur Radio Products in Niles, Illinois. The Standard line originally re-debuted under the Heath label; now Roger has brought back the VHF and UHF hand-held, mobile, and base units under the Standard label.

Just as Advertised

The Standard C168A (the "A" stands for the "American" version) 2-meter handheld is advertised as the "world's smallest full-keyboard handheld." Smaller than some of the other brand-new micro series 2-meter hand-helds? Yes, it is. Yet this scated-down si2e handheld still possesses all of the features found on targer equipment plus reasonably sized, rubberized keypad buttons for soft-touch commands.

The 2-meter set comes with a Jong-life, 700 mA battery pack, and a little overnight wail charger that lights a red LED when it's plugged into the pack. The wall charger feeds the battery direct, so If you're dealing with a reasonably full battery, you can run the unit and charge the battery at the same time. It's about "push" when it comes to getting the battery charged with the unit on, but turn the unit off and by daybreak your pack will have a ful! head of steam.

Controls include volume, squefch, remote mike and ear jacks, along with the BNC connector for the antenna and a frequency and channel-changing knob. They have a nice rubberized feel to them, and they're far enough apart to make knob-twirling a breeze. I also liked the recessed LED that glows red on transmit, and green with open-squeich activity. This is handy when a radio goes off at a hamfest—you can look down and see whether or not it's yours.

The LCD display on the front is small, like all other pint-sized handhelds, but it's completely readable at an obiique angle, if you hold your head Just right, you can also read it with polarized sunglasses, too!

Audio, Power Usage, and Heat

Audio output was tested at 200 mWP which is okay for normal operation, and about "standard" for other small handheids, The speaker gave us reasonable audio output, and its full fidelity made listening to the recovered audio pleasant, There are other handholds with slightly louder audio output, but the audio tends to be a bit tinnyT and at low volume not as pleasant as the Standard audio. But in a crowd, sharp, tinny audio output is sometimes desirable.

Standard has a variety of headsets and speaker microphones to take care of operating in a crowd. Two different models of headsets let you walk around in a crowd and look like a goon—but for good, solid communications, the goon-took is really one of the best ways to go to hear and be heard.

One interesting feature allows you to remote the battery via a curly cord down to your

Photo B. The 40- or 200- memory-channel board simply plugs into the bottom of the HT. The memory is always retained.

belt, and you wear the actual transceiver on your shouider. This gets that antenna up out of your gut, and makes you look like a New York cop with great sounding audio right next to your ear, it also gives you the capabilities of complete control of your handheld at eye level.

If you plug your Standard C168A into 12 volts, you can get a little over 5 watts out of the antenna jack- This is a good way to boost your power for mobile use for a quick conversation, Real quick.

Anytime you run a micro-sized portable at 5 watts, it's going to get real hot fast off of 12 volts. Real hot, and real fast—after about four minutes of key-down. But Standard did its homework, and the power output begins to fold back, protecting the output transistor from thermal meltdown.

Selectivity and rejection of out-of-band pager, weather, and taxi cab calls, was judged adequate. On an outside antenna, it gave us a few more squawks than some larger hand-helds with (probably) more band pass circuitry in the RF section. But with its reasonable selectivity, the Standard 2-meter handheld turns out to be a dandy AM/FM full-sensitivity scanner from the air band at 115 MHz to FM narrow band frequencies to 175 MHz, And for those of you who are members of the Civil Air Patrol, MARS, or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, word has it that modification capabilities for transmit are available WITH PROPER CREDENTIALS,

The Standard also contains alt those neat bells and whistles that not many hams use, but every ham wants—such as DTMF paging, DTMF group calls, tone burst for European repeaters, and seven different types of scan,

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