The Galaxy DX-959 has been around for a while now. It has a proven track record and has proved very popular with many CB users.
You can’t help but notice when you look at this radio that as well as an impressive array of features it has a particularly large meter. It is something that Galaxy radios have become known for, and allows easy, more accurate readings.
It is a multi-functional meter offering a Signal (S) Meter, power output modulation and also works as a built-in SWR meter. The latter is automatically calibrated negating the need to set it before you take your reading.
However, what we really want from a CB radio above anything else is a sensitive receiver and nice clear transmit with good modulation. This radio excels in all departments. It really is a serious piece of equipment.
Single Side Band (SSB)
The DX-959 is a multi-mode radio handling both AM and SSB. For those that are unfamiliar with SSB there can be some confusion with many labelling it as additional frequencies or channels. It is not, it's another mode you can use on the same frequencies. SSB works by suppressing the carrier signal and using just half the AM signal giving you two modes lower and upper sideband.
If you know what it is then you'll be happy that the DX-959 is equipped with SSB. If you are still a little confused then the very broad explanation is it offers less noise and you can typically talk a little further on sideband.
Other Features / Specs
It has more features than many radios out there. So much so that the volume and squelch are combined on a 2-part knob. Well the very large and easy-to-read meter is also partly responsible.
As well as the basics you'd expect on any radio like 40 channels, volume, squelch, and a signal meter there are a host of other cool stuff on this DX-959.
Built-in SWR meter
Although internal SWR meters in radios are known for not being as accurate and we always prefer to set up an antenna using a good quality external meter. However, having a built-in one is handy to keep an eye on things especially when CB radio antennas aren't necessarily a set and forget item. You do need to keep an eye on them and the reality is we don't tend to keep an SWR meter plugged in, especially when mobile.
5-digit Frequency Counter
Although the chanel display will prove the most useful a frequency counter comes into its own should you wish to modify the radio for additional frequencies.
Volume / Squelch
They have combined these into a two-part knob - Galaxy have had to to get all the features in!
Let's you listen to yourself while transmitting. Useful to test your mic volume.
This tone that is added to the end of each transmission lets the listen know you have finished speaking. You can turn it on and off by pushing the Mic Gain knob.
Galaxy Noise Filter (GNF)
Reduces noise to help with weak signals. It limits the amount of high-frequency noise. Note: this is for SSB only.
Automatic Noise Limiter (ANL)
Cuts out static and electric noise
Controls the volume of the microphone
Pull in weak signals although it is particularly useful when talking to someone very local - turning it down keeps just the very strongest signals reducing interference.
You can adjust the power output of the radio
Adjusts the brightness of the display. Pushing the button in turns it off completely. Handy when you are using the CB while mobile at night.
Sets the tone to either low, medium or high. Can also prove useful if there is a lot of static.
Used for tuning in stations on SSB
Modulation is very good, in fact you are likely to get compliments on how loud and clear you are - this is particularly true on AM.
Galaxy DX-959 Peak and Tune
Although against FCC rules to increase the power of any radio over 4 watts AM or 12 watts SSB, the DX-959 is relatively easy to modify and output quite a bit more than this (over 20 watts). A good tech will be able to get the best out of this radio.
If you also occasionally run a linear amplifier the variable power is really handy. This way you can turn the power down to suit the amplifier and turn it up again when you are running “barefoot”.
Negatives / Downsides
There aren't too many negatives to this radio at all. The control knobs could do with perhaps being higher quality and the two-part volume/squelch might prove fiddly for some. The main issue that will annoy some is the SSB drift when the radio is cold.
It is a quite large radio but only an issue if space is at a premium and if you are using it as a home base then it's unlikely to be a problem.
The Galaxy DX-959 has got a large following and with good reason. It's a great radio with just about every feature you could ever want.
It's great that this radio also features sideband and you'll certainly enjoy the long distance communication if that's your thing. However, AM is where this radio really excels. It has a lovely, clear receiver and the modulation is loud and clear.
It really is a fantastic radio with all the "goodies / toys" and they aren't just gimmicks either. It's all useful stuff that you'll value as a user.
The fact that is is relatively easy to get 20 watts of power out of them is a bonus for many although obviously that has the legal implications mentioned above.