This is the Tram D-201/201A, A supreme top of the line radio from the Tram/Diamond corporation. Where the Browning Golden Eagle was considered the "Cadillac" of CB radios, the Tram D201 was the "Lincoln Town Car".  This radio was truly at the top of the CB line, and had a price tag to match. At a retail price of over $750 in 1970's dollars, this was not the rig for most people, especially those of us living on paper route money. The D201 was a 23 channel radio, while the D201A was the 40 channel version.  Other than number of channels, they were virtually identical in appearance and features. There were also a few different production versions of each model made during the product's life. The original D201 was first made in the early 70's, was point-point hand wired in America, and used primarily tubes, although some oscillator and support circuits were solid state. Later versions of the D201 (and 201A) utilized PC circuit boards and were assembled in Mexico.

The D201 came loaded with many features.  Besides the usual features of  Volume, Squelch, Channel selection, Clarifier, Mode selector, and R.F Gain & Mic Gain controls, this radio also included a built-in SWR function with calibration control, and an adjustable noise limiter.  An interesting and innovative feature was the inclusion of not only a receiver tone control, but also a separate transmit tone control which allowed the careful tailoring of the audio characteristics of the radio to match practically any mic and voice.  Also included was a continuously variable manual receiver tuner.  The range of the manual tuner extended beyond the normal legal channels and allowed for some interesting operator options including split frequency operation.  Rounding out the list of features includes a large easy to read S/RF/SWR meter, a modulation indicator light and a receiver spot.  The early point-wired versions of the D201 also came with a VOX, which allowed "hands free" talking. The radio originally shipped with an un-amplified Astatic D-104 which mated well with the radio.

Performance-wise, this radio really shined. Transmit audio was, in a word, awesome. It had that warm "tube sound" that just couldn't be duplicated or beat by common transistorized radios. The receiver performance was also exceptional as it had both great sensitivity and adjacent channel rejection as well.  The D201A was also most likely the only 40 channel radio, that I'm aware of, which still used straight crystal synthesis, over a PLL circuit.  A common modification involved converting the manual receiver tuner to also operate the transmitter, allowing for synchronized "sliding" similar to that found with an external  VFO.  There were other popular modifications that could be applied as well.  Besides the aforementioned VFO mod, there were also mods for power, and also expanding the range of the clarifier. 

Because of the high price that this radio commanded, there naturally were very few in my local area. Storm Queen was rumored to have had one shortly before her departure from the radio scene. Dennis (not Dennis the Menace) also had one.

A mint condition D201 still commands a premium price on the collector's circuit.  The original point-wired version seems to be the most sought after. Recently, I was lucky enough to add this piece of CB legend to my collection with the unexpected acquisition of two "needy" D201's from E-Bay. Read about my restoration project here.

 

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