When you’re on the road, being able to keep in touch with other drivers is helpful. You can learn about weather conditions and emergency situations. The UNIDEN Bearcat 980 lets you communicate without worrying about cell towers or spotty WiFi.
The UNIDEN Bearcat 980 is a good CB radio to use in a vehicle. If your job requires you to be on the road, a CB radio is a helpful tool to supplement your mobile phone. It works where cell phones don’t as CB radios only need radio waves to keep in touch with other CB radio users. This CB radio sets itself apart from others because of several useful features.
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Specs and Features of the UNIDEN Bearcat 980
Let’s take an in-depth look at UNIDEN Bearcat 980:
- Dimensions: 2.25 x 7.25 x 7.5 inches
- Weight: 2.2 pounds
- Emergency Channels: 9 and 19
- Seven NOAA Weather Channels
- Channels: 40 FCC approved channels
- Volume/Squelch Control and Clarifier
- RF Gain Control
- PA Switch
- ANL and Noise Blanker
- Channel Indicator
- Large LCD Channel Indicator
- Laser Etched Keys
- Back-lit Panel
- Digital S/RF/CAL/SWR Meter
- Dimmer Switch
- Microphone 4-Position Control
- Extra-long mic cord
- Ergonomically designed microphone
- 6-pin-to-4-pin adaptor
- Memory scan
- Two-year manufacturer’s warranty
The UNIDEN Bearcat 980 comes with everything you need to install it in your vehicle. It has the radio, a 6-pin microphone and a 6-pin-to-4-pin adaptor. It also has a power cord, mounting bracket and hardware, and the microphone hanger. The Bearcat 980 is small, measuring 2.25 x 7.25 x 7.5 inches without the knobs and jacks. It weighs 2.2 pounds, making installation easy.
The CB radio has backlit text, knobs, and buttons. They are easy to see and the perfect size to manipulate. It has an intuitive design with no learning curve; what you see is what you get with the UNIDEN Bearcat 980. The LCD panel is significant, and the information is easy to see
The LCD panel is also backlit, making it easy to read during day and night driving. The LCD panel comes in the typical black and white, but you can choose from other colors, like red, purple, green, or blue. You can also dim the LCD, which separates this CB radio from others on the market. UNIDEN took the user experience into account when designing this model.
The one big complaint about his model is the quality of the mic. It looks great, but it doesn’t feel substantial when holding it. The sound quality is good, but the device is noticeably made of plastic, not durable metal.
Sound Quality and Performance
The UNIDEN Bearcat 980 has an SSB and AM radio that delivers an output of 10 watts, with a peak of 15 watts. The CB uses 4 watts. These are typical watts for these types of radios.
When it comes to reception, the Bearcat stands apart from other CB radios. You will hear everything you want to hear with clarity and volume. It is not oversensitive, and the filters remove all of the noises that have given CB radios a bad name in the past. If there is substantial interference in an area, you might hear some of it, but it won’t overwhelm the radio.
This radio also comes with an automatic noise limiter that reduces outside sounds. It also has a noise blanker that reduces internal noises from your vehicle’s ignition system. These features make using a CB radio tolerable. Without them, transmissions would be nearly impossible to hear.
The UNIDEN Bearcat 980 comes with seven NOAA channels so you can stay up-to-date on all weather conditions. Along with the seven weather channels are 40 regular CB channels.
While reception is outstanding on this radio, the microphone doesn’t deliver as well. It does function, but not at the same quality as the incoming sound. The microphone has a noise-cancelling feature, but it still doesn’t make up for the quality of the including mic. You can connect the radio to Bluetooth wireless mic.
To make up for the weak microphone, some users have replaced it with a wireless one or another UNIDEN mic by using the 6-pin-to-4-pin adaptor. But, if you don’t use the microphone often, the standard option does get the job done.
The radio also has PA capability as well as radio diagnostics. It also has a digital SWR meter that shows how well the power travels through the antenna. Radios need these for efficiency when sending and receiving messages.
When you want to talk to people who are far away, this technology is a must. But, most CB radios do not have SSB technology. The side-band allows for more bandwidth usage. The SSB actually uses less bandwidth, which lets you send and receive more. It uses the upper and lower bandwidths, so you get more channels and increased efficiency.
The SSB on the UNIDEN Bearcat has stability, which also separates this radio from other brands and models. You don’t have to fidget with the clarifier to get the channels you want and the sound quality you need. The SSB sound quality and stability are on par with more expensive makes and models.
Just remember that your listeners need to have SSB technology to hear and communicate with you. The SSB technology lets you communicate with people who are three times farther away than people who have a typical CB radio.
Features of the Best Mobile CB Radios
The UNIDEN Bearcat is a mobile CB radio. This differs from other CB radio styles, as it is usually mounted on the dash or near the floor of a vehicle. Other CB radios are portable handheld models like walkie-talkies; or base radios, which are typically used in homes or offices.
A typical mobile CB radio is lightweight because it has to be attached to a vehicle. They have external speakers, so you can listen to your vehicle’s sound system without it pausing to play the CB. They also have corded handsets that you can use to speak to other CB radio users. The cords are coiled to extend and retract as needed.
In the past, CB radios were noisy. Today’s radios come with automatic noise limiters and sound filters that keep the sound waves at quieter levels. Some will also use a clarifier to perfect frequency tuning. They also have noise blankers to eliminate unwanted sounds from other vehicles, and hi-cut filters to remove unnecessary high frequencies.
CB radios also have new high-tech features. Several come with Bluetooth, which allows you to connect your mobile phone to them. Some come with GPS for emergency purposes. They also have LED lights and back-lit faces so you can use them in the dark. Some also have dimmers, so you are not distracted by the lights while driving at night.
One of the most popular new features on CB radios is the connection to NOAA weather broadcasts. With this feature, CB radio users can have 24/7 weather access. Some CB radios will automatically tune to the NOAA channel when there are nearby weather emergencies.
The speakers and microphones have also come a long way since their heyday in the 1970s. One of the new features is the dynamic mic, which automatically modulates the volume on loud or soft voices. Many CB radios also have external speaker jacks that you can connect to dashboard speakers for better sound quality.
High-end CB radios have a few other features. One is the roger beep that audibly beeps when you release the microphone, so your listeners know when you have finished speaking. Another high-end feature is the single-sideband (SSB) operation that lets you use more watts of output power to communicate with listeners who are farther away.
The UNIDEN Bearcat 980 is a quality CB radio. The SSB features let you communicate with people who are farther away. The sound quality of the CB and SSB radios are some of the best in the industry. When you consider the affordable price, this is a top buy.
The size of the radio makes it easy to install in nearly any vehicle. The LCD panel is one of the best in the industry, as it is large and easy to read. Being able to customize the light colors is a feature that separates the Bearcat from other radios. The backlit keys and knobs mean you can use them in any lighting situation.
If it weren’t for the standard microphone, this would be a favorite CB radio. Fortunately, you can easily replace the microphone with another UNIDEN model, even a wireless one with Bluetooth capability. The beep is another flaw, but if you don’t change the channel often, then it isn’t a big deal. Overall, if you are in the market for a CB radio, this new model from UNIDEN delivers.
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