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Uniden Hybrid CB Radio + Scanner!

snerd

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Anyone looked at this new hybrid CB radio?! A CB + Scanner!


Uniden BearTracker 885 Hybrid CB Radio + Digital Scanner





 

KevinC

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Somewhere other than home :(
Announced in 2017, several other threads discussing it.

 

trentbob

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Well that's a tough one. I do not own one but I do remember when Paul introduced it in 2017. Personally for me with my background and experience it's not for me.

I'm trying to remember some of the pluses and negatives. No single Side Band, 2 antenna connections as for CB you're going to need an 11 meter antenna and for VHF UHF and 7 - 800 megahertz you would call for a tri-band scanner antenna.

It has a database that can be updated and it gets its frequencies from the database however the database is limited to fire police and DOT. In other words the service options are limited. I do not believe it has a readout of what you're hearing on the scanner.

I don't know how Dependable it is when it sets off an alert that law enforcement is nearby because it detects a frequency being activated from the input part of a system. I don't think the alarm going off would be always indicative that the police are nearby and I never understood that whole concept.

Even though it is Phase ll capable it of course does not have an SDR chip like the SDR radios so you most likely would encounter simulcast distortion secondary to LSM tdma phase II systems.

I'm basically going off the top of my head here because I remember being interested in it and quickly dismissed it but I would like to hear from anyone who actually owns one and ran it through the paces.
 

iMONITOR

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If the CB had SSB I'd probably buy a couple. I really don't understand why anyone still makes "AM" only CB's. Does it cost that much to include SSB?
 

redbeard

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I'm trying to remember some of the pluses and negatives. No single Side Band, 2 antenna connections as for CB you're going to need an 11 meter antenna and for VHF UHF and 7 - 800 megahertz you would call for a tri-band scanner antenna.

I don't know how Dependable it is when it sets off an alert that law enforcement is nearby because it detects a frequency being activated from the input part of a system. I don't think the alarm going off would be always indicative that the police are nearby and I never understood that whole concept.
If the CB had SSB I'd probably buy a couple. I really don't understand why anyone still makes "AM" only CB's. Does it cost that much to include SSB?
SSB is for hobbyists, not for the users this was designed for. This is meant for truckers and travelers, not hobbyists. Hobbyists would also want a better readout from the scanner side which this also lacks. For it's purpose it is sufficient. Every CB does not need sideband.

The beartracker feature works by listening to mobile repeater frequencies typically. These signals are either coming from a portable radio carried by an officer or the repeater mounted in the car. Both signals are typically never more than 5W and therefore if you can hear them they must be close. I've owned all of the various beartracker models and they work as expected.

Internally I understand it has a 325p2 handheld circuit board for the scanner so yes simulcast issues could exist. Perhaps the serial connector used to update the scanner also outputs serial data like the other models do and an external display could be used to enhance scanner usage.

As a hobbyist I wouldn't want this as my only CB/scanner but it would do well mounted up front in my RV for use while on the road. I'm already better equipped in the rear of the RV.
 

slowmover

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I have one (sold on it by a thread here with another truck driver using it). It’s been my default radio in a big truck since purchasing it in 2018.

It’s aimed solely at travelers, IMO. It’s adding value to monitoring CB radio all day to stay apprised of road problems.

From early 2020 it hasn’t had much use while I worked on near-continual changes to big truck radio systems. Other radios were more useful and that the needed Scanner antenna upgrade hasn’t been done.

The AM receiver “may” be a tad more sensitive than the one in my U-880. The scanner portion works well — given design limitations — and is helpful in metro areas with warnings/understanding road problems out ahead.

It runs warmer than my U-880 or U-980, and if installed in a hot location (without cool air circulation) has a tendency to lock onto one scanner output.

I run a West Mountain Radio CLEARSPEECH DSP Speaker in the big truck, and the difference between AM and Scanner feeds is amplified by that device. I wind up making small adjustments to favor one function or the other.

Being able to prioritize AM or Scan is great. Either/Or (versus a bit of both). Fits the need of the moment (the next 15-minutes = 13-miles).

A). I have better-performing radios (all AM/SSB minimum).
B). I could purchase a better, separate, scanner.
C). This approach would take a great deal more real estate plus separate audio & antenna systems where added difficulty with the U-885 is minimal in tossing out a windshield wire antenna + GPS locator.

Someone might say it doesn’t do either function all that well and he’d be right. But unless the operator is prepared to go to QUITE a bit more trouble — and expense — the $400 I paid comes into perspective:

Real-time CB + Scan Monitor for the road in a compact package as used. (One is not using unrelated Scan abilities: the road has eternal priority).

This year I’m going to move the U-980 to being the back-up radio in my pickup and put the U-885 back into the big truck.
The main radio is SSB-capable as that’s not hobbyist for me. I can also toss the U-885 out on the dash and run it Scanner-only.

A CB Radio is primarily a business tool (risk reduction) — and I bought the U-885 with fuel card points — my value for money-spent is different than that for a commuter. (I run the radio 10-12/hrs per day about 300-days per year.)

A CB isn’t an acquisition for passivity. Requires the ABILITY to elicit accurate information (5-Paragraph Order). Action, with real-time consequences.

The scanner adds to the on-air problem-solving.

How does it work: I may be on one Interstate in a major metro and hear FIRE dispatched to a road accident on a different Interstate — a route I’ve been planning to use.

1)
Now I have to key up and ask (using specifics given me) if drivers coming the opposite direction are aware of this (did it exist ten minutes ago)?

2). Confusion is going to rear it’s head as many drivers have their radio turned low — have heard me —and are now asking what’s up AND WHERE?

3). I need to know the age of that accident (current status) as to back-up, what lane is getting past,.; what’s the nature of the delay at present (ten minutes ago). Police may have arrived and are requesting fuel spill clean-up. Nothing big, SOP.

4). If the scanner is telling me that police, fire and EMT are being dispatched in the same time frame I know the accident is both new AND serious injury. In which case I may divert entirely from that route to a longer way past. (Etc)

— The decision-tree grows from here. How to communicate with other drivers by asking for observers. What alternatives are viable? Alerting other drivers to the hazard and what may be the better alternative. Even a discussion of a few minutes brings quite few others into itself. With savvy locals, the rest of us get good bearings about choices.

Knowing this dynamic is “what” created the U-885.

.
 
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TailGator911

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Before I bought my current RV, a Winnebago Via, I had a Coachmen that was plagued with problems. Electric shorts, leaks, shoddy carpentry, etc. I bought the 885 and installed it just before a trip to Orlando, FL and was very disappointed with the performance of both the CB and the scanner and the RV. I sold the 885 to a trucker friend of mine for half the price when I returned from that trip, and I traded in the Coachmen for the Winnebago. IMHO, Uniden should stick to scanners and forget about CBs. (and Coachmen should forget about RVs) I have never talked to anyone who gave praise to Uniden CB radios. The 885 tried, but could not cut it for me.
 

slowmover

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There’s not a better value in CB Radio than the UNIDEN 980 AM/SSB unit. One shouldn’t ever default it to less.

A PRESIDENT McKinley is a worthwhile step up for not much more.

And motorhome owners aren’t willing — in my experience of 50+ years of using RVs for camping — to do the work to have a VG CB Radio System (neither are most truck drivers). For those that do, it was far easier 30+ years ago.

An all-purpose scanner just isn’t that useful while going down the road. As in my above post it is accessory and only then with FIRE, POLICE & EMT (DOT is included). Fattens the margin of being able to make the right decision.

In my tow vehicle I might make that decision to use a separate scanner in the cockpit. As I could then return it to its permanent home in the travel trailer once parked.

Commuter & Vacationer aren’t under the time/distance constraints of truck-driving. Have far more options.

Limited use (need) tells the story.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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As far as the BearTracker Warning System feature, does anyone have a nationwide frequency list of mobile extenders in use?
 

TailGator911

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I think that after using scanners with all the bells and whistles and features such as the SDS100 or even some earlier scanners, the 885 scanner seemed anemic. I thought the CB was weak on a Firestik mounted on top of the RV, so I switched out to my Galaxy and confirmed it. Both radios on the same Firestik, the Galaxy blew the 885 away. Not the antenna. I have since installed my old truck Galaxy and it's all good. Maybe I just got a lemon, I don't know.
 

trentbob

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As far as the BearTracker Warning System feature, does anyone have a nationwide frequency list of mobile extenders in use?
I tried looking that up and couldn't find anything but there are some threads on RR. Old threads. I can't imagine the list would be as long as it was in the past?
 
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