by Spitfire, 441
The Regency CR-142 was my first acquisition for the Classic Radio Roundup. I have owned this rig now for about one year. As talk of starting the Classic Radio Roundup got going, I only had one rig at the time that would just barely fit the definition of a classic radio. That radio being the Realistic TRC-441. Most of my CB radio activities since 1981 were done using the TRC-441, In which I will review later.
That being said, I went Ebaying for a 23 channel base radio. I didnít want to spend a lot of money to get into the club. There are so many radios to choose from, and anyone who regularly shops Ebay knows that most of the high end radios of the day still command a premium price. I didnít want to get into any bidding wars. While perusing Ebay, I stumbled upon the CR-142. This rig must have been a very popular rig in the day, as there were quite a few available to choose from on Ebay. I compared the available ones for a while, watched their prices, and decided it would make a good choice. I know Regency to be a big and familiar name in radio gear. Everything from scanners, CBís, to commercial two-way radios. So I landed one, said to be in working condition and clean shape, for $15 plus shipping.
The radio arrived and was as advertised. A little bit of Windex and it cleaned up nicely, with its chrome trim looking very shiny. I found out quickly that I needed to wire up a power microphone for it. The stock mike which came with it was just that. The microphone was very flat sounding without any audio punch. I suppose it would have been acceptable back in the days before everyone ran high power and "swing kits". The only power mike I had on hand not wired "Cobra", was a Diesel echo mike. This rig has a similar four pin configuration, but not wired to the "Cobra" standard. Yes, I know it is almost a cardinal sin to run echo on a classic rig. However with the echo off and the gain up about three quarters of the way and the mike gain on the radio up half way, I got very favorable reports. That also left me room to "jake" things up when needed. The more I used the radio, and compared it to the TRC-441, the more I felt that the CR-142 could use a receiver tune up. The transmit power and audio performed as they should. Nothing was needed to be done there. So it was back to Ebay, again. Seems I spend quite a bit of time there, this time it was for a Samís Photofact for the radio. Once I had that, I then proceeded to tune up the front end of the radio and check the "S" meter for linearity. Things went very well and I am very pleased with the rig. The radio performs well for the price.
Now for the test bench numbers as found by me, not manufacturers claims:
Sensitivity: .18uV for 10db S+N/N
Adjacent channel selectivity: better than 55db @ 10Khz.
IF: 1st 10.7 Mhz, 2nd 455khz.
AM Power: 3.5 watts with forward swing.
AM Modulation: 100+%
2nd harmonic suppression: -45db+
Other spurious emissions: -50dbc.
The rig stands up well in crowded band conditions and has a very good receive. The ANL works fairly well under most atmospheric noise as well as quieting the hash I get due to the RFI from the wifeís bedroom TV set. I also like the performance of the "S" meter. It's very linear all the way through its range. It also seems to be very accurate on the power output scale, as well as sporting a modulation scale, selectable by the MOD/R.F. switch. I like the design of the meter. Itís bigger than some of the meters I have been used to seeing on previous radios I have owned. These rigs were mostly mobile which almost always had too small of a meter. The CR-142's meter is well lit and has a unique silver background. Other controls are the PA/CB switch as well as the ANL, and R.F./MOD switches. Variable controls consist of a Mike Gain and, of course, the Volume, Squelch and a Delta Tune. One odd thing to note about the Squelch; when I first received the radio, I had the squelch set fully counterclockwise and couldnít hear a thing. Wow, I thought, here we go, another dud from Ebay. Well it turns out that the squelch works completely opposite from any other radio I have ever had. Fully clockwise on the squelch is open! The radio has pretty good sound quality on receive also. Not quite the full audio as I have found on my tube rigs, nor as nice as my SBE Trinidad, but decent nonetheless. It needs a little more emphasis on the lower frequency end and it would be just right. The physical size of the rig is a good, with nice chrome plating on the speaker grill and trim, with the rest being a flat black. It is identical in appearance to my CR-123B, but thatís where all similarity ends. The 123B has SSB capability, while the CR-142 is strictly an AM-only radio. Do you think that maybe the "CR" stands for classic radio? Next to my Trinidad this one comes close to being an ideal daily user. At some point I would like to pick up another D104 to wire up to it as I believe hand mikes were meant for mobile use. Maybe the wife will let me do some more Ebaying for Christmas........