Comparison of Cobra 2010 GTLW & 2000 GTL Back in the late 1980s, rumors were floating around that Uniden told Cobra that they would have to find a new manufacturer for their CB radio line. First came the Plus line of CBs. They were all Korean made low cost AM radios and sold through mass merchants as well as dealers. These radios performed OK but meter & channel display burnouts were common. I was waiting for a replacement sideband unit, but it never happened. I assume the Korean manufacturer wouldn't or couldn't design a SSB radio. After a few years I gave up looking for new Cobras to emerge. I figured that Cobra and Uniden came to a new agreement. If they did, it didn't last. Suddenly without warning dealers across the country were receiving Cobra 148 GTL radios that were imprinted Made In The Malaysia. They even copied the label Made In The Philippines replacing Philippines with Malaysia. It shows they were in clone mode by not omitting the word "The" before Malaysia. Uniden no longer makes Cobra CBs. Cobra has Ranger Communications Inc. (RCI) cloning the GTL mobiles and have dropped the 142 GTL base. The radios look exactly as the Uniden made originals on the outside but as with any clone there is something lost in the translation. Inside the component layout is identical but the Uniden made parts such as the filters and ICs are replaced with RCI or 3rd party replacements. The transmitters put out about the same as the originals but the receivers seem a little noisier and less selective. For many years the Cobra 2000 GTL was their flagship and the dream radio of many. It was a quality radio that worked as well as it looked. Features like the fine/coarse clarifier and 6 digit frequency counter made it a desirable out of band radio. Clarifier swing of 20KHz was easily controlled and monitored. The following is a list of the features that have changed between the Cobra 2000 GTL & 2010 GTLW: (+) Improved (=) Same (-) Worsened Cobra 2000 GTL Cobra 2010 GTLW Stock Mic + Power Desk Mic External Speaker - Internal Speaker Speaker 1 &2 Switch - 1 External Speaker Output Fine/Coarse Voice Lock (Clarifier) = Fine/Coarse Voice Lock (Clarifier) Sloped Front Panel + Straight Vertical Front Panel Brushed Aluminum/Chrome Front Panel - Dark Gray Front Panel Wood Grain Cover - Black Plastic/Vinyl Brushed Aluminum Knobs + Rubberized Black Clock/Timer - Clock Meters: 2 Back Lit - Meters: 2 White Background Front Lit Frequency Counter: 6 Digit - Frequency Counter: 5 Digit Channel Selector Switch - Channel Encoder Switch + Weather Alert & Channels My first experience with the 2010 was when they were first available. It wasn't a pleasant one. The radio had two severe problems. First the channel encoder knob didn't function properly. The channels would go up and down in the same rotation of the knob. The speed of rotation didn't have any effect. It would go up when you wanted to go down and vise versa. The second problem was on sideband. The audio was very distorted out of the box and after a tune up it was just as bad. The radio went back the same day. The second radio I tried months later showed improvement. The channel encoder worked almost all the time, I did notice it malfunctioned at slow speed rotation. The sideband audio was clean out of the box and better after tune up. The transmitter was off frequency about 240 Hz. This was common with the 2000 out of the box. Most operators have the radios peaked and clarifiers unlocked anyway. Every time the 2010 is plugged into the electrical outlet it lets out a screech for about a second. This is quite annoying if not startling. It happened in both evaluation units. It's the weather alert alarm. It comes out a separate speaker in the rear of the radio. It should get your attention if you ever use it. The power mic is weighted and is the best power mic Cobra has offered. I haven't found a Cobra power mic that I've liked. This one is acceptable although I'd swap it for a better feature. They have eliminated the external speaker. The internal speaker is OK but it doesn't have the sound or took of the 2000 speaker. There is only one jack for external speaker. This will be disturbing to may operators. If you want better sound I recommend the Uniden ESP-25 extension speaker the cost will be around $20.00 and it will give you excellent vocal response. The Fine & Coarse clarifier is unchanged. When unlocked it swings approximately from + 5Khz to - 15 KHz. It seems to work as well or better than the 2000. The traditional sloped panel is gone. Many won't miss the dust collecting ability of that feature. What I miss is the brushed aluminum and chrome front I find the, dark gray quite plain. And the two meters with the white background may be easy to read but stick out like a soar thumb. A light gray background would have been better. The knobs have a rubberized finish that makes them easy to turn without your fingers slipping. The controls have a smooth quality feel. The on/off timer and the wood grain cover have been eliminated. The conventional channel switch has been replaced with a channel encoder switch. This is nothing more than up/down buttons in a rotary switch form. Once the radio is unplugged the channel will come up on I no matter what channel was used last. The 2000 switch selected a particular code for the channel and it didn't mater if the power was turned off or disconnected. The real problem isn't in incorporating the encoder although if it's a poor quality encoder it may cause problems. It seems the CBs and 10 Meter radios that incorporate them aren't buffered properly to prevent the channels from going in the opposite direction of the turn of the knob. The weather alert feature can be useful. If there is a weather emergency announced on the weather channels, an alarm will sound and you can turn on the weather and listen to latest report. This feature works while your listening to your favorite CB channel. The last feature is the frequency counter. I think this was the key to the 2000's success, and could be the downfall of the 2010. A five digit counter will only give you 1 KHz resolution. That is you could be off almost 1KHz before the last digit of the counter would change. On sideband you could sound like a buzzing mosquito to someone that's on frequency and you wouldn't know it. The one benefit to this counter is that it will display extra channels. I would have gladly traded the desk mic for an extra digit. Surely Cobra would have made more profit that way. The mic was to make up for the external speaker. It does make the box bigger. It seams they lost sight of what will happen after operators get on the air with the 2010. It's the single most important thing that would make me want the older 2000. The following is a representation of a 6 digit frequency counter: 10MHz 1MHz 100KHz 10KHz 1KHz 100Hz 2 7. 8 0 5. 0 The main circuit board in the 2010 is the same that goes into the 148 except the PLL is a MB8734. The same chip that was in the 2000. To channel it replace the MB 8734 chip with a MB8719. The conversion should be about the same and yield the same channel compliment. The radio functions reasonably well and should being a cost reduced clone of the 2000. They reduced the cost in many areas mentioned earlier in this article. In addition they replaced the LED frequency and channel display with a single liquid crystal display (LCD). This is less expensive in itself, but also reduces the current requirement of the power supply. With the decreasing cost of technology I expected a lot more than Cobra is offering. In my opinion this is a radio that should have a list price of no more than $299.95. Cobra better hope that Uniden doesn't decide to come out with a Madison XL incorporating a 6 digit counter. Hmmm ... I bet that would be a hot item! © CBWI
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