President Lincoln II Version 3 gets it right
When I first tested the new Lincoln II I was pretty impressed with the radio. It seemed to have similar software menu systems to the CRE 8900 and Anytone 5555 radios but it had a more finished layout and the features and functions seemed to be more refined. However, it wasn’t without fault.
The main complaint from users when the radio was released were issues with the receive. Some operators were experiencing a pronounced warble when receiving SSB stations and the receive also was a bit noisy. The S meter also was doing some jumping around and didn’t seem very accurate.
In my testing I didn’t experience the same level of warble but it was noticeable and I also had the S meter issues.
President was made aware of the issues and issued a technical fix almost immediately and offered to fix all of the original radios at local service centers. A change was made at the factory and Version II of the radio was born. Once my radio was upgraded (the fixes were SMT parts and not for the faint of heart), I found that the part changes did the trick and the difference was noticeable as the radio now had a much better receiver. I found in mobile testing that it immediately made it easier to hear DX stations (although it had worked pretty well previously).
The fixes didn’t seem to have any effect on transmit or any other functions that I tested.
Version 3 was released shortly thereafter and President made more changes and improvements to the Lincoln II.
I put the Version 3 radio up against my Version 1 (with factory fixes which effectively turned it into a Version II) and had them receiving side by side. At the end of the testing I couldn’t really see any noticeable difference between the version 2 and version 3 models. I then tested transmit and recorded the audio and again I couldn’t see any noticeable difference. Output power was almost identical and audio levels were on par.
I contacted President regarding the changes from Version 2 to Version 3 and they responded that they didn’t want to make the changes public. The changes from Version 1 to Version 2 were fairly public so I don’t really know the reason for the secrecy unless there wasn’t a whole lot done, or they are trying to keep copy cat knock offs in China from doing the same fixes?
In any case the improvements of V3 over V2 are fairly minor and I would guess they probably fall into the refinement category. Could we see a version 4? Perhaps, but I am not picky enough at this point to be asking for it.
The CW crowd might still be complaining as there have been reports that using this radio for CW exposed some faults, making it usable but buggy. While they may throw off some I think we have to remember who they were targeting with this radio (it has echo and roger beeps).
While version 1 definitely needed some work to bring the radio up to par I would put the Version 2 and 3 into the distinction of being good radios with the same positive qualities that have made the RCI 2950 DX a success. It has good receive, good transmit audio, plenty of power to make contacts, and a bunch of software features that we’ve come to expect on the newer radios.
The Lincoln II still isn’t going to compare to most ham radios, and in comparisons against the original 1980’s President Lincoln I’m not sure the radio necessarily has better receive qualities. These newer radios (all of the similar versions I have tested) have receivers that are more noisy than my ham radios or my older exports. But while I find the noise noticeable it hasn’t hindered my ability to make contacts or hear far off DX stations and the newer radios are offering features and power in a compact size I would have loved to have had 20 years ago.
So at this point I feel comfortable recommending the Version 2 and Version 3 President Lincoln II’s and I think most operators would find the radios fun to use and a pleasure to operate. They are on par with the later Anytone 5555 versions, the CRE 8900 (or better since my CRE 8900 kicked the bucket), and I find the Lincoln II one of the easiest to use radios out of all the newer export radios using this type of software.
With the Maxlog M8800 version 8 now released, the Anytone AT-6666 on the market, the Maxlog M8900 in the works, and some new radios from Magnum coming in the future, at the very least the serious CB users will have a lot of new radios to choose from. I’m sure we’ll continue to see multiple versions of each of them as operators voice their opinions and the manufacturers respond.