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Not my favorite CB, but...

WSAC829

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Joined
Jan 13, 2024
Messages
51
Location
Green Bay
I recently picked up a NIB Bear Tracker 885 CB/Scanner combo for a steal (half off suggested retail price) off of marketplace. Yeah i know it doesn't have NRC, SSB or FM, but i don't care. I wanted it for the p25 scanner capability, weather alerts, and bear tracker. I look at the CB part of this rig as an added bonus. It's there if i need it. Anyway, i removed the ashtray and made a custom mount. The radio just fit width-wise. Sadly i couldn't get it flush as there wasn't a lot of room behind the dash. At any rate, i like it. It's clean, and all wires are hidden.

ceebee.jpg
 

slowmover

Active Member
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Messages
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Fort Worth
I’ve enjoyed mine.


Bought back when released (circa 2013/14?)

If I was driving a metro region almost exclusively (occasional road trips), I’d still be using it assuming encryption hadn’t blanked usefulness.

IIRC, I used an Astatic 636L mic. Modded the stock mic (drilled it), but that wasn’t sufficient.

Today I’d try a K-PO MN-532 power mic. This radio series all need some umph.


What antenna are you using for the scanner? I didn’t upgrade that component. (5’ + for CB).

I much liked the zip code method of finding local traffic. I usually blanked ambulance services as Fire/Police covered what was necessary for driving. When things get busy (a wreck affecting more than one major road) is when it gets interesting. (Temporarily suspending Scan service until other drivers make clear what exits can be reached prior to the backup is better than changing priority, IMO).

It tends to run hot, so check that factor. It’s noticeably warmer than a U880 or 980 when operating on a hot day. If there’s a factor worrisome, this is it.

CB-wise the PRESIDENT Randy is an equivalent on the same systems. A nice match for a back-up.

This mount for a public services radio speaker across the carpet cuts some of the harshness. It’d be a quick & easy first step.

IMG_2378.jpeg
KL203 + West Mountain Radio CLEARSPEECH DSP Speaker are both aids needed, IMO, to hear and get heard when things are hot. (Search). The speaker is a little harder to dial for both services, so emphasize 11-M.

Great looking install!

.
 
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WSAC829

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Jan 13, 2024
Messages
51
Location
Green Bay
Thanks!

I did open the stock mic and removed one of the 2 "noise cancelling" pads. TX audio improved a LOT. I've looked at those K-PO mics, but i have piles of D104 m6b's laying around from 30 years ago. I might wire one up yet, but again the CB wasn't my main reason for buying this. I like the GPS ability of the scanner to automatically adjust to my current location, and i've found the bear tracker warning system to be fairly accurate. My "skip" shooting radios are in the garage hooked up to some "fire in the wire" for when i want to chew the fat on the good old citizens band. The ability to listen/talk to drivers on 19 while traveling is a nice bonus though. The radio pictured above it is my main mobile "chatter box" for VHF/UHF communications.

I also stayed with the stock scanner antenna. It's thin and easily hidden. I have it running to the back window and mounted with the stock suction cups. I did a 200 mile round trip this weekend, and it picked up stuff from 30-40 miles away without a hitch, so i may just stick with it.
 

slowmover

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Fort Worth
Thanks. U885 is not a panacea, it’s an ongoing experiment.

I ran it in the big truck where Scanner antenna on the windshield was adequate, but “just barely”.

Guess you’re a natural to pair it with this CB antenna:

Post in thread 'New President Randy FCC handheld/mobile CB'
New President Randy FCC handheld/mobile CB

My d104’s are “modern” (last 20 years). Usually fail to perform well even after some redneckery. Don't forget to try a BC-906W! Clipped to visor might be perfect. Even shirt pocket.

Since you’re conversant with the CB stuff let me re-emphasize the runs hot portion.

IMO, I may be imagining it, but my impression of AM performance was that it was slightly better than my U880/980 radios.

Speaker is the hardest part (sound quality differences between scanner & CB). There’s a point it becomes wearing. The audio reproduction satisfaction is vital to all-day use.

.
 
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WSAC829

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Jan 13, 2024
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Location
Green Bay
Yeah. i've heard that the newer d104's aren't nearly as good of quality as they once were. I have some of the originals from the early 90's. I wired one to another relic, a Texas Ranger 696F that i did the extra channel mod to as well as a quick retune. That old d104 on that radio makes the internal speaker rattle while i'm transmitting. She's a LOUD radio and my favorite for shooting skip.

I've read about the 885's running hot, but i must have a good one, or a newer production model where they fixed that issue. Mine was manufactured in 2021, and it does get warm after a few hours, but barely even noticeable. I originally had it wedged between the seats before i mounted it today. It barely got warm smashed in there, so i figured it was safe to give it a permanent home in the dash.

So far i've gotten good audio reports after the stock mic mod, and monitoring myself on another rig the 885 does sound pretty good. Clean strong audio. Not disappointed there. It wont rattle your speaker though like some of my other rigs.

In my limited use so far, the scanner receive audio does sound better (cleaner) than the CB receive audio, but neither is horrible.
 

slowmover

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Great! Glad to hear that.

HF vs VHF audio differences are nice for determining what one is hearing, but there CAN come a point in the day it’s tiresome. Anyone feels this way just needs to keep experimenting with audio solutions.

I didn’t use the BC906W, but now I’ll put one in the U885 case to try.

Let us know more in the future. This radio is something of an orphan, and shouldn’t be.

.
 

WSAC829

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Jan 13, 2024
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Location
Green Bay
Will do, and i agree. It's a neat hybrid. There are a few posts floating around on how to edit the database (which is almost identical to Sentinals database that i use for my BCD536HP) to enable or disable services, add your own custom freqs, etc. For instance i used that info to enable all law and fire TAC which is ignored by default. The scanner really came to life after that.
 

Trucker700

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Joined
Jun 24, 2017
Messages
283
What you are hearing on the scanner side is narrow FM audio. So it will tend to sound better than the AM audio of the CB side. Good radio with reasonable features. The only real downside is the display can be hard to see in bright light. But, looking at where you have it mounted, that may not be a problem. If you ever decide to upgrade the scanner antenna, Larsen makes a nice mobile scanner antenna that works well with the 885. You can even get a coax cable with a BNC connector on one end for the radio and a regular pl259 on the other end to connect to a regular CB antenna mount. Lots of options to improve reception. But, it sounds like you have it working pretty good now.
Even though I no longer use my 885, I still have one. I might put it in my pickup one of these days.
James
 

slowmover

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Fort Worth
Will do, and i agree. It's a neat hybrid. There are a few posts floating around on how to edit the database (which is almost identical to Sentinals database that i use for my BCD536HP) to enable or disable services, add your own custom freqs, etc. For instance i used that info to enable all law and fire TAC which is ignored by default. The scanner really came to life after that.

Wow! Seriously good help for any user!

.
 

slowmover

Active Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2020
Messages
2,350
Location
Fort Worth
What you are hearing on the scanner side is narrow FM audio. So it will tend to sound better than the AM audio of the CB side. Good radio with reasonable features. The only real downside is the display can be hard to see in bright light. But, looking at where you have it mounted, that may not be a problem. If you ever decide to upgrade the scanner antenna, Larsen makes a nice mobile scanner antenna that works well with the 885. You can even get a coax cable with a BNC connector on one end for the radio and a regular pl259 on the other end to connect to a regular CB antenna mount. Lots of options to improve reception. But, it sounds like you have it working pretty good now.
Even though I no longer use my 885, I still have one. I might put it in my pickup one of these days.
James

An ongoing experiment!

Intenna + Bearcat Cordless Mic combo sounds great (to me) for a stealthy metro set-up. No external antennas. (One on eBay for $35 today).




Change to The Big Road set-up (external antennas) for those cross-country jaunts. Re-connect the KES-5 & KL203.

.
 
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slowmover

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The 885 was aimed at truck drivers where that may be less desirable . . but I’d want to try it in a familiar metro across the days & weeks of the seasons.

One comment about 885 is that it’s not best CB nor scanner. Sounds like the bridge can be built where Town use is distinct from Country use via changes like this plus (2) antenna set-ups.

No question that stuck in a backup from a wreck are drivers wondering, “how much longer”? Might be able help answer that.

Thx!
 
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slowmover

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From L3 link:

“I found that not knowing which agency I was listening to wasn't a big deal. Since I traveled the same areas weekly, I got to where I could tell pretty well what agency I was listening to because the content of their conversation tended to give them away. And if it was a traffic stop and they gave dispatch a mile marker — and it was on the highway I was on — I got to see & ID them that way.

I found that listening to Police & EMS gave me real-time info on traffic accidents and road conditions along my route. The 885 kept me informed many times and I avoided getting hung up in a big backup for hours. I could reroute and not lose time. “


1). Familiarity with a region biggest boon to use. (Already have a visual or mental map of the region).

2). Becoming adept at re-route is a follow-on skill to develop. (Depending on other devices becomes self-defeating percentage-wise; atlas necessary).

3). Confirmation of re-route potential problems where CB come in. (How to get locals to respond).

4). Failure to use CB means one can re-route himself into an even worse traffic delay. (A 1-hr delay turns into 2.25-hrs as too many are ahead of you doing same thing, same way).

My use was from Texas over to East Coast, primarily. Varying levels of familiarity. Depending on the state, not always an alternative to the Interstate.

After a major Gulf storm always a lot of scanner activity. A distraction. IH-10 might be bungled-up, so IH-20 carrying all sorts of non-standard traffic. CB much superior at this point.

There’s a population-density correlation where Scan near metro — and CB between metros — is in effect.

.
 
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Gumball928

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Joined
Dec 24, 2022
Messages
25
I have used a variety of mics, and the two that I like the best are Ranger 198, and the Astatic 575-M6.
Both are power mics, the Astatic has adjustment for both tone and volume.
For me, far better than anything else.

Just my $.02 . . . . . . ;)
 

WSAC829

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2024
Messages
51
Location
Green Bay
So just an update. I didn't like the stock wire antenna suction cupped to my window, so i bought one of these and one of these. I'm now using these splitters/adapters so the scanner can share the car stereo AM/FM antenna. It works much better than i thought it would. I thought about adding another external antenna, but i already have a Sirius/XM antenna, AM/FM antenna, hood mounted CB antenna, and hood mounted VHF/UHF antenna. I didn't feel like adding yet another.
452107922.jpeg
 

WSAC829

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Jan 13, 2024
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Green Bay
I’ve only had this AM/FM antenna setup going for 2 days now, but yes, it is much better than the stock wire antenna (which i had pretty good results with honestly). P25 coming in solid, even from another city 28 miles south of me. Standard VHF like County Rescue is crystal clear, and i even heard the Flight for Life helicopter in mid flight amazingly well. No complaints here.
 

redbeard

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One comment about 885 is that it’s not best CB nor scanner.
Performance wise, I expect the CB side to work as well as an 880 and the scanner side as well as a BCD325P2 as that is my understanding of what is inside it. The user interface and the programming is where things aren't quite on-par and that's mostly just a compromise to bring the two together in a package that's easy to use for the non-enthusiast.

I will pick one up eventually when I find a good deal on one. It will be perfect up front in my RV while the more exciting stuff lives in the back for while at camp.
 
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