outdoors hunting camping SHTF GMRS radio communications antenna battery electronics scanners digital computer software hardware laptop iPad iPhone eBay music radio
.

 
County Comm   GP-5/SSB
Handheld Receiver
AM, FM, SW, USB, LSB
 ~1.7 to 30 MHz
 
 REVIEW
 

 
Note: This is a Receiver only, not a Transceiver.
 
County Comm
 
Last week I took possession of a CountyComm GP-5/SSB.  This totally portable AM, FM, SSB receiver covers the entire spectrum from 150kHz to 30MHz with very impressive performance.
 
Located in Sunnyvale, CA, they are a designer and supplier of select products for local, state and federal agencies. Excess inventories are sold to the general public.
 
 
In the Box
 
In the box along with the receiver, I found:
-  a clip on belt clip
-  padded carry pouch with belt loop
-  a set of ear buds
-  SW wire antenna
-  AM ferrite directional bar antenna
-  User Manual   (HERE)


The Technical Side
 
The GP-5/SSB was upgraded from a SiLabs Si 4734 to a Si 4735. The SiLabs chip is an SDR with a 22 bit ADC which virtually eliminates overload.

Being a discrete time architecture allows it to consume only a fraction of the power of an analog equivalent radio. I believe this is the first hand held fully self contained SDR receiver with SSB on the market.
 

SSB Filtering
 
The GP-5/SSB implements true USB and LSB filters and a product detector, just like a full size HF receiver.  This is accomplished by utilizing the DSP built into the SiLabs chip.

Unlike other portable SW radio with SSB, the GP-5/SSB does not use a BFO for SSB detection.  A typical BFO copies both sidebands and requires tedious adjustments to get the good clean audio. These filters also work extremely well on CW.
 
 
About the Radio
 
The receivers physical size may only be 2 x 6 x 3/4" and weight in at only 4.4oz without the batteries, but the size is deceiving. The GP-5/SSB is a quality receiver that packs a lot of technology in a compact package.  Although its appearance resembles it's predecessors, the GP-5/DSP and Tecsun PL-360, that's were the similarity ends.
 
USB / LSB (CW) with 10, 20, and 50Hz fine tuning was added along with expanding the frequency range 2300-21950 to a full 1710-29999 kHz. This breaks down the barriers for hams, SWLs and survivalists that want full range and operating modes in one small package.


Antennas
 
There are three antenna included with the radio. 
 
- The 18" telescopic antenna performs extremely well for its limited size.
- The 13 ft. flexible wire antenna is included for field operation. One end has
a slide clip that attaches to the telescoping antenna. The other end sports a plastic clip for attaching to a branch or post.
- A directional ferrite antenna is included that plugs directly into the top of the receiver specifically for MW AM band reception. 

Note: There may be a temptation to plug an external antenna into the jack on the top, but this is for the ferrite broadcast antenna only. An external antenna needs to be attached to the telescoping whip.
 
 
Performance
 
Do not under estimate the receiver's sensitivity with just the 18" telescoping antenna. I use the radio in my computer room and listen to the local nets and ham radio chatter in the evening. The selectivity is also excellent. I found the audio to be very clear, but as expected, not a lot of bass from the 1.5" speaker.  With stereo headphones the sound quality is improved.

When in the SSB mode, the tuning is enhanced by allowing you to shift direction from the main frequency in either 10Hz, 20Hz or 50Hz increments. I use mine to also receive CW, and this is an extremely welcomed addition. For SSB use I have mine set at 20Hz, but it's nice to know the flexibility is there.


Band Selection

Band selection is accomplished by pressing the  SW   buttons. When in SSB mode,  ten ham bands (10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 24, 30, 40, 80, 160) are selected. In the AM mode, there are 15 SW bands (11, 13, 15, 16, 19, 22, 25, 31, 41, 49, 60, 75, 90, 120). When changing bands, the receiver stores the last frequency selected, so your last selected frequency is right there when you return.
 
There are 450 memories. (100 AM, 100 FM, 250 SW), with an additional 100 memories for temporary scanning storage.  If your travels take you to a different location, a one second press of the FM button and 15 seconds later, every FM broadcast station in range is stored in the temporary memory.
 

Display
 
Unlike many small receivers, the backlit LCD is a large, clear 1 x 1.5" in size.  Along with the standard readout, the display shows both Signal Strength and the S/N Ratio, the true strength indicator. Time and current temperature are also shown, as well as Alarms and Timers.
 

Click to enlarge
 
Battery Life
 
The battery life is projected to be 225 hrs on one set of alkaline batteries. I've been using mine every evening for over a week and the display shows that I still have 2/3 of the battery life remaining.
 
The side of the GP-5/SSB has a mini USB port that allows you to charge NiMH batteries using your PC's USB port.
 



For technical assistance and group purchases, contact:
     Ed Fong  WB6IQN at  408-245-8210 (PST)
     or email Ed at  edsantennas@gmail.com

The GP-5 / SSB is available from:
     County Comm  -   WEBSITE 
     Universal Radio -  WEBSITE

Conclusion

This is not your typical portable Shortwave receiver, but a state of the art SDR with full frequency range and true USB/LSB filters.

Whether your requirements are for EmComm, survival kit, or you're a ham that can't leave his rig behind when on vacation, this impressive handheld receiver is definitely worth considering.



TOP of PAGE
 
Miklor Home
 
Miklor