TThe TRC-459 was one of the last "BIG" rigs to hit the market in the early 80's. It had a lot of great features, but like many RS rigs - not easy to modify. Let's look at the technical points first:
Like many radios of that time, the analog meter was replaced with 3 linear LED meters (Signal Strength, RF output, and SWR). It also had an LED clock which could display regular or military time. More specs:
As you can see by the picture, this rig is stylish, and looks similar to the SBE Console VI. While many functions are similar these radios ARE different and have different PLL chips (the SBE VI uses a NDC40013/M58476 PLL chip, while the TRC-459 uses the LC7113 chip which is found, I believe, only in one other radio - the TRC-480 am/ssb mobile companion to the 459). I found the TRC-459 very easy to use, and it's low profile allowed me to squeak it in on top of another rig on my bench, while still allowing me to see the time and channel displays. The microphone uses the familiar RS "DIN" connector, which works just as well as any other, but I seem to find it harder to wire other microphones to this type connector due to the close placement of the pins.
Receive audio was good, and the Tone control was a definite plus, and I received nice TX audio reports as well. The only downsides I found were:
1. Not easy to modify. While it's nice to have a "stock" rig, it's also nice to have an unlocked clarifier.
2. Adjacent channel rejection on SSB was only average (as compared to my model of comparison, the Stoner Pro 40). Once again, if you live in a rural area, of someplace NOT near a major freeway, this isn't much of an issue.
The Realistic TRC-459 is a nice radio to operate within the 40ch. spectrum (nicer in places less visited by Truckers). Modification can be done via the PLL (risky on this one) or kits are known to be available. It should make a fine addition to your collection or, for everyday 40ch. use!