Top critical review
32 people found this helpful
on September 19, 2014
I picked mine in September 2014. My initial review gave 5 stars, but my Bearcat 980 stopped transmitting after 6 1/2 months. I've used CB radios for close to 40 years, so I'm pretty familiar with what's out there. I take good care of mine. My closet has a small warehouse of about 30 different CB radios accumulated over time and put to use in various applications - mostly camping and boating. An additional CB radio was not needed, but I got too good a deal to pass this one up...or so I thought.
The Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB mobile has an amazing number of features. The built in SWR meter and mic gain alone will save you $100.00 in additional components that you otherwise would have to buy. The best part is that they really work! I tweaked the mic gain adjustment and regularly got compliments on the audio quality of my transmission using just the stock microphone. There's no need for an amplified mic.
Other features include talk back, SWR warning, PA, RF gain, scan, weather channels, bright/dim control, color selection for your read outs, noise limiter/noise blanker, diagnostics (voltage in and RF out), etc. It has so many features, I'm was reluctant to use it in the car. I'd be so busy playing with all of the features that I could easily take my eyes off the road. Its short life span was spent exclusively as a base.
On the down side, the radio only put out 3 watts instead of the legal limit of 4 watts on AM. Similarly, it put out about 10.6 watts instead of the allowable 12 in SSB mode. The below-specs output seems to be a common problem with new radios. On the other hand, the tolerances on this unit were great. It was consistently right on frequency. Other high profile manufacturers have problems with their radios drifting off frequency. Not Uniden. In the big picture, I was willing to live with the 3 watt output and enjoy everything else this unit did right.
Unfortunately, my Bearcat 980 died an early death. It stopped transmitting after 6 1/2 months. Uniden requires that warranty repair be initiated by the seller. My seller ignored my requests and simply did not respond. Amazon stepped up to the plate and refunded me my money with no non-sense.
Amazon is now selling these for $105.00. That would be a steal for a single side band radio, but I have seen too many reports on various radio websites about Uniden Bearcat 980 failures. Considering the reliability issues that are coming to light, I'm going to pass on replacing this one - even at the bargain price Amazon is now offering them at.
I now using a 23 year old Cobra 148GTL in the spot where I previously had the Uniden Bearcat 980. The 148 GTL sits next to a 34 year old Realistic Navaho TRC 490 SSB base. My Uniden Bearcat 980 experience confirms for me that they don't make CB radios like they used to.