Production Year 1977
The Hallicrafters HCM-261 is a solid state 40 channel Citizen Band(CB) transceiver. The HCM-261 transceiver was intended for either mobile or base station use. The unit was supplied with a hand held microphone, mounting bracket and an in-line fuse on the power cables. The HCM-261 came packed with features for its time. These include a CB/PA switch, a ANL switch, a Squelch control, a three position RIT control, lighted S-meter and main dial, and a front panel meter that served double duty, it showed the relative signal strength of received stations and also informed the operator of the RF output power. There are two front panel indicator lights which inform the operator whether the unit is in receive or transmit mode. The loudspeaker which faces out towards the bottom of the unit is of the permanent magnet moving coil design. Received signals exit through a slotted section on the bottom of the unit. The transceiver is housed in a sturdy metal cabinet.
The operator controls along the front of the transceiver include two push button switches, three knobs, and one main tuning dial. The first switch at the upper left is the Citizen Band or Public Address selector switch. When this switch is in the outward position the transceiver is set for transmission on the citizen band. When the switched is pushed in, the audio from the microphone is directed to an external speaker which would be normally mounted behind the grill on the front of the automobile. This gave the operator the ability to talk with pedestrians near the automobile. The PA switch has also been known as the Public Announcer switch as well. The second switch on the front of the radio allows the operator to turn on or off the Automatic Noise Limiter(ANL) circuit which is used in an attempt to clip the noise voltage peaks generated by automotive and other electrical disturbances.
The control knob located on the bottom left hand corner is the On/Off and Volume control, followed by the Squelch control in the center, while at the right is a three position rotary Receiver Incremental Tuning(RIT) control. The RIT control allowed the operator to better tune in a station that was slightly off frequency. The large knob in the center of the front panel is the Channel selector or Main Tuning dial. The odd numbers on this dial are represented by dots along the outer edge of the dial while the even numbers are displayed. Due to the compact nature of the HCM-261, it is my guess that if all of the numbers were shown, it would have made reading the dial difficult especially while driving an automobile.
The signal meter is calibrated at the top with the digits one through nine above a blue section and the single designation S20 in the center of the red section. This area of the meter is used to indicate the relative signal strength of the received signal. Along the bottom of the meter it is calibrated with the digits one through five. This section of the meter is used only when transmitting and informs the operator of the RF wattage being produced by the transceiver. Located on the right edge of the face plate are two indicator lights, a red indicator light on the top and a green one below. These indicator lights are only lit when the transceiver is to be used for transmitting on the citizen band. Both of the lights are off when the transceiver is in the PA or Public Address mode. When the HCM-261 is in the receive mode, only the green indicator light is on. When the HCM-261 is transmitting, the green light is switched off and the red light is now on.
Across the front of the microphone is a metal sticker with the Hallicrafters name on it. The microphone should be held about one or two inches away from the operators mouth when transmitting. The coiled microphone cable is terminated with a 6 pin male connector.
The physical dimensions of the HCM-261 are 8 1/4 inches long by 7 5/16 inches wide by 2 1/4 inches high. This transceiver requires a 12 volt negative ground DC power source and has a maximum output power of 5 watts. This Hallicrafters HCM-261 was manufactured in Japan. The Hallicrafters company also produced a model HCM-260 that is identical to the transceiver featured on this web page except it only had 23 channels.