*PRODUCT REVIEW* Midland Alan 121 CB

“Beep, Beep, Beep!” 

That was the first sound I heard when the new Midland Alan 121 transceiver landed on the table of my radio shack.  

I’d just collected it from my friend Marcus at Neuner and returned home – dying to see if this new transceiver was going to be something the masses would desire – or perhaps share as many flaws as the recently reviewed Kenji rig.

This was already a Mark II version of the Midland Alan 121 rig as the first ones released here had a long pause between the microphone key in and the meter moving to signify transmit.  

This was changed and so 19.4.2007 (last year) was the day the new ones hit the shelves of the shops.

In the Box

Of course, all the normal things are there…  A multi-language manual that shows where and when the bands can be used; there is a mounting bracket, a hand held mic with up/down on the top and the usual bracket, a fitted power lead, and a small guide on how and where to fit the radio.

The radio in itself is not hard to use, just a simple volume and squelch knob and on the lower right hand side there is a push button up/down with AM/FM, as well as a last channel recall (LCR) button.  That’s it!

On the back of the Midland Alan 121 is the socket for the antenna and external S-meter.  

The enclosed S-meter is digital and goes along the top from left to right on the display and it seems sometimes to be a little on the lazy side.  

What always interests me is where the frequency coverage is showed and this one shows 25-30 MHz on a radio that has 80 channels in fact.  Nice touch, that!

Ease of use

Like some of the other radios that are around at the moment, the Midland Alan 121 is a simple, no frills radio.  

It has nothing extra that can clutter the smallness of the radio but still allows the user some no frills action on the air.  

As a multi-EU norm radio it covers all the usual suspects of bands: D, D2, D3, I, I2, PL with the UK/CEPT also selectable.  

Selection is made when you turn on the radio with the up/down pressed.  

When this stops flashing, you select the band you like and either wait around 4 seconds or key the PTT and the band is selected and ready to use.

Along with these bands, there are the usual ‘hidden’ features that include PX, RU, SW and AU that allow the radio to make some other legal standards in the 30 MHz band and other places.

A couple of other interesting things to note with the Midland Alan 121…  There is a way to internally select frequency instead of a channel display.  

So, instead of 19 you see 27.78125 on the display.  

For some of the export features then, this is a useful feature.  

But, unless you want to open the radio and lose the warranty immediately, then this is not for you.

Like the President Walker transceiver, someone in a suit and tie that does not use the radio decided to design them and sell them fitted with an annoying bleep that sounds with each feature that you select.

It’s loud, shrills and is not at all something that you would like to have when you are sat at home in the evening while DX’ing.

I really don’t see why manufacturers do this and then tell you “this is a great feature!”

Surely, a great feature is when it is selectable, or indeed when there is something more useful instead.

In my opinion, this is not a feature – it is a drawback.  On this note, a good radio can so quickly become average when something that sounds like a 1980’s Space Invader sound is part of it.

On the Air

On the air the Midland Alan 121 is good.  The modulation is superb, loud, sharp, and strong.  

This is what you need when either driving along or are sat at home and on the air.  

There is a small delay when TX is pressed, although this is a lot less than the earlier versions when it was over 1 second at the minimum.

The Receive is sharp also.  The speaker generates a loud amount of voice so it can be heard over the noises that generate from computers and the like these days.  

I used it for monitoring gateways on the channels and it performed wonderfully well.  

Sharing the same mic wiring as the President Emperor range of 6 pin, this also makes it nice and easy to change over a mic…should the need arise.

I tested on mine the Maas 2020 Turbo Echo microphone.  

This worked really well, but you need to turn the volume of the mic almost to minimum, otherwise it distorts the sound and will shake the ears of the people who are receiving you on the air.  Having said that, there isn’t any need for different mics or other items to add, as this radio really delivers a strong audio on both FM and AM modes.

(Please note that I’m in a country where AM is allowed to be used).

Luckily, there were some strong sporadic conditions recently, so thanks, amongst others, to Mick ‘Greenfingers’, Kurt ‘Grease Monkey’, ‘Tiny Tim’ in Essex and Andrea in Bath for the help and the reports given.


The Midland Alan 121 is a radio that has a whole new lease of life.  

Its looks are not new or revolutionary; it is something like the DNT Formula 1, but on the inside there is a whole new board, software, and mounted components, and all are rOHs compliant.  

There is an excellent way to make new frequencies available and different colour back lights also.

Really, this is a radio that leaves other rigs like the Kenji and Intek M110 Plus sitting in the shadows because, inside, there is a big heart beating.  

Where the others were let down by build and design issues this Midland Alan 121 was not a Maxon manufactured radio, and made in China – not Thailand – and you know, it shows!

The Kenji rig had poor ends to the internal board, traces of solder here and there, and looked like it was soldered with an iron 30 cm wide.  

In contrast, the 121 is smart, clean and polished.  As a normal user you do not look around inside – that is a reality – but for the review all angles are covered.

Hit or Miss

The radio build quality is excellent, ease of use and performance are excellent too with no complaints at all.  

Indeed, the radio will fit into the smallest of places or sit in the glove box of a car maybe.  

It has some nice options although some of these will not be all explored, and sure this radio has had something many recent radios have not had – and this is care in the making.  

The let down is the loud bleep on all the button presses so maybe ear plugs should be purchased at the same time.

by 13DA007 Simon