Boating January 1999 SG-2020 Review by Ken Englert
SGC-2020 SSB Radio
VHFs on your boat are like credit cards in your wallet. They’re handy to have, but they definitely have their limits. Sure, within about 25 miles of shore you can’t beat a VHF to chat, catch the weather or send an alert—but travel beyond that and you’ve reached static-only territory.
That’s when it’s time to reach for your single-sideband radio, unless you’re still scrounging around for cash to afford these pricey units or looking for the console space to fit another sizable piece of equipment. The SGC-2020 doesn’t cause either problem and it covers the full marine frequency range of 1.8 to 30 MHz and allows you to talk hundred of miles from shore.
No space hog at 2.75" high, 6" wIde and 7.25" deep, at first glance this radio looks more like a VHF. With its small size, you’re getting less power at 20 watts versus the 150 watts that most SSBs deliver. But, you do have control of range and current draw. Even if you jack it up to the 20-watt maximum, you’re barely exceeding a 3-amp current draw, so there’s little worry of battery drainage, even with frequent use when anchored at a mooring for the weekend. And an optional battery pack working on 10 ‘0" batteries serves as backup power that’s equivalent to a 12 AH capacity. That’s enough power to send out several emergency messages if your boat’s batteries are dead.
Regardless of the lower wattage, the device still keeps the talk lines open for the angler on the long-distance hunt or the cruiser escaping the VHF radio-safety zone. And it presents a backlit LCD display, a bar graph meter to indicate power output and receive signal strength, a 40-channel memory storage and a rotary channel selector. Trust me, at $675 (antenna coupler extra), it extends your communications without overextending your wallet.
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