Customer Reviews: Uniden BEARCAT 880 Bearcat CB Radio with 7 Color Display Backlighting
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Style: UNNBEARCAT880|Change
Price:$99.69+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on May 23, 2005
I had bought this radio at a Radio Shack store in town when we went to visit my dad in Indiana last Christmas. I had only bought it because my old Radio Shack cb I have had for about 8 1/2 years had died on me on the way there. I Bought the 520Xl and hooked it up to my SWR meter with my 3 ft Firestik antenna with magnet mount I had on the back, and right off, i never had to make an adjustment at all, because I had a SWR reading between 1:0 and 1:5. I used this radio on the way back, and was able to reach people up to 5 miles away, which was great! unfortunatly on the way back, I had to take my antenna off because everytime a semi passed us on the road, it would blow my antenna off the truck. When I got home, I took my CB to a cb shop near by and had it peaked and tuned, so now it gets 14 watts out instead of 7, and I can talk over 15-20 miles on a clear day. I did however switch antennas to a K40 3 ft antenna with adjustable sleeve that I had for years, and it works about the same. Get the radio, get you a good quality antenna like Firestik, K40, Wilson, or another good name brand. If you know somebody who can do it, get it peaked and tune, or take it to a cb shop and have them do it, and you will get somebody surely everytime you talk. Well worth the money, sorry about rambling on, but I felt if I shared experiences, it would help.

One more thing is that I know 4 truck drivers that have this CB in their trucks over a big Cobra, and they love the size and availability of the radio.

Get the Uniden 520xl, get a quality antenna, get a peak and tune if availble, and get talking!! You won't regret it.

I hope to talk to some of you soon. If you are ever on I-24 between Exit 110-121, give me a call and see if my radio is on. My handle is Hoosier in the South.
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on May 6, 2002
This is a very nice CB in a small package. It installed under the dash and did not get in the way. Do not be misled by the compact size and low price. The final output power of the Uniden Pro520xl is four watts, the maximum allowed by the FCC for CB radios. All CB radios are rated at a maximum four watts, including the larger more expensive models. With the larger more expensive radios you only get more features, such as analog meters and fancy lights that you cannot see while driving anyway. The trade off is that the larger radios are much more difficult to install in late model cars, SUVs and trucks.
The pro 520xl features subdued modern styling and does not look like a left over from the 1970s. The controls are conviently located and easy to use while driving. A draw back, however, was the short microphone cord that took some getting used to. If you buy this or any other CB radio, do not use a "cel-phone" style glass mounted antenna. The glue on antennas look good but are very poor performers without exception. If you must use a glass mounted antenna, do not key up the microphone. The high SWR and electrical inefficiency may very well damage your new radio.
The Uniden Pro520xl, hooked up to a properly installed three foot Firestick II antenna had a 1.5:1 SWR on channels 1, 20 and 40 right out of the box. If you want to find out just how useful a CB radio can be on vacation or during the morning commute, purchase the Pro520xl.
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on July 3, 2013
Before purchasing this CB radio consider the following:
This is a modern 11 meter SSB CB radio designed for use in North America, not a 10 meter export radio. The radio chassis uses surface mount technology, you are not going to poke around in there with your Weller soldering gun and big ole screwdriver and make things work "gooder".
Forty channel sideband mobile radios built in the good old days would cost you close to double the price of what this radio is being sold for today.

I purchased this radio to be used in multiple cars with a mag mount antenna.
That means the radio is held in place to the center arm rest with a bungie cord and gets power from the lighter plug. It worked well during my vacation. The noise blanker did an excellent job of keeping auto electronics noise out of the receiver, where an older radio's noise blanker could not keep the noise out of its receiver in the same cars. I received good audio and signal reports from everyone I spoke with, using a D-104 hand microphone and the 6 pin to 4 pin adaptor that came with the radio. The factory mike is not up to the job. The radio came from the factory only producing 3.5 watts AM into a dummy load. Google is your friend. I came up with the info needed to adjust the correct pot to have the radio create up to 5 watts on AM. I didn't fool around with the SSB side. I'm not concerned about extra channels or unlocking the clarifier on a radio used in a vehicle, so I did not pursue those aspects or modification. The weather alert works very well. It is NOT a SAME code based weather alert, If NWS sends out the tone for ANY county the weather alert will trigger. Out of the box the radio beeps at you any time you press a button or twist any knob. That, to me, is very annoying. There are two youtube videos that show you how to carefully remove a SME resistor to turn off ALL the beeps to the point you can just barely hear them in a quiet environment. There is no frequency drifting on SSB. Compared to older radios, this one weighs very little and the 7"x7" size may fit where others do not fit. To summarize, this is not a flame thrower radio. It is a decently built 40 channel sideband CB radio that does the job for a reasonable price. If you need "more" than this you should look to other resources.
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on September 18, 2012
This new uniden 40 channel cb ssb mobile radio is no doubt a winner except for the annoying beeping when performing functions as simple as changing channels . Radio output was down 2 watts on am and 6 watts on ssb as others have mentioned. We easily found the 2 pots inside the radio to adjust both power levels am to 4 watts and ssb to 12 watts . I will give it a 8 out of 10 and is a definite keeper .I now have plans to purchase another just to keep in the house sometime after xmas 2012 .

We was very happy to find that the sideband frequencies were aligned properly at the factory on lsb and usb.
I left the radio on for 48 hours to burn it in and there was no drifting period on sideband. The receiver was very quiet and when needed the noise blanker took out any noise . We easily heard a station on 38 lsb 50 miles away on our base antenna at the house for those wanting to try sideband at home.
While trying to talk locally in the midwest we had several stations in california commenting about the transmit audio quality of this 4 lb radio .Yes it is very light weight and will be a easy install in the car.

Below is a added plus in my book ........

Having the 7 noaa weather channels will be a plus on long trips to keep track of changing weather conditions on vacations with the weather alert function .We took a vacation trip to Wyoming last year and ran right into bad weather up in the high country of NW Nebraska 80+ mph winds . Had we had the weather warnings we could have avoided the 2 lane highway and stayed on the major I 80 interstate instead we was 50 miles up the road in the middle of no where before we seen what was headed right at us.
!!!If you want a radio that can be modified for extra illegal channels This is not your radio !!!
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on August 22, 2003
The Pro520XL has been mounted in my Jeep now for several years. It has been exposed the elements and has taken a beating off road and has never had a problem.
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on March 23, 2012
I installed it today and it works great. SWR on channel 20 is 1.2, very nice. I don't know how far I am pulling in but my power meter shows 4 watts going out, very satisfied. The ANR works very nicely, although I wired it directly so I shouldn't be pulling any "dirty" power through it. Not sure how mic is because I haven't used it yet. Very compact but quite hefty, very pleased that it doesn't feel like a plastic "toy". I bought the Uniden Bearcat external speaker and it is loud and clear. I don't know about the internal speaker because I installed it in my dash.

Items used in conjunction with this cb is as follows: Uniden Bearcat External Speaker, Astatic SWR/Power/Field Strength Meter, 18' Firestik Cable, 5' Firestik II Antenna (black).

*EDIT February 4th 2013*

I had a request to add some pictures today, so after I added them I figured I would go ahead and post an update since I have had this almost a year. I am still very satisfied with this CB. I have had no issues with it at all, and still pick up people loud and clear. I will say that if someone is serious about using it all the time I would invest in a better MIC though, this one is a bit lacking, and it feels "chincy", but for me it works well enough. I bought this mostly for when I travel 8 hours to visit my parents. Listening to truckers yammer on the highway is more entertaining at times than any radio station.

There is no static from the knobs while turning between stations, nor any "pops", it is very quiet. It picks up quick enough to where you can "roll through" the channels and it will still send out the audio when someone is on the channel.

All in all, if I could do it over I would still pick this unit, I like the size, the lack of chrome, and the simplicity.
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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.
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on May 7, 2014
Display changes color to match interior lighting. Loud and clear on AM and SSB. SSB is right on frequency. Sounds good through stock speaker. Weather alert works perfectly and weather reception is excellent. Scans favorite or all channels. Great features and built in swr meter.
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on December 29, 2010
I have nothing bad to say about this radio except for the mic which is really really tiny, which is very hard to hold and key up normally. This radio boast excellent receive, and great modulation, amazing for a such small radio. Please, don't even think about comparing this radio to a Cobra 19DX-IV radio, it is not a comparison - UNIDEN PRO520XL will completely destroy the Cobra and ask for seconds.

It is very sturdy, and the case is metal. Knobs and switches although may be small, feels very tight and crisp. When you turn the channel, you know you're changing it with solid clicks. Green LED display is nice and bright, and so does the LED meter.

You can easily modify the final for unbelievable modulation such as the 2SC1969 FET final that are commonly used on older radios such as the UNIDEN Grant XL or the Cobra 148 GTL. But make sure you don't get the counterfit but the genuine ones. Counterfits are mostly sold on eBay and noticeably different than the original ones made by NEC. I easily tune this radio to output from stock 4W to about 7W, and with the FET conversion, close to 18-20 W. I can easily talk to people 20 miles away or more with it, incredible.

Radio is tiny compared to the radios such as Galaxy "DX" series or older UNIDEN/Cobra chassis. You can fit this radio even the tightest crevices in the car or truck. Speaker is mounted on the bottom cover just like the older radios.

A big plus: ANL, yes this radio has Automatic Noise Limiter AND RF gain control for filtering out environmental noise and to make the receive ultra quiet.

This radio, has a good enough filter that you can use cigarette ligher adaptor plug for power, you'll still get nice audio output. If you can wire it directly to the battery, it would be even better.

Now for the mic, I didn't like it so I switched it out to a regular sized mic. I also added a talkback using 100 ohm resistor and added the swtich on the right side on the lower cover.

If only UNIDEN would please put SSB on these radios, it would be awesome. Somehow, I feel left out just having the AM/40 channels. Please please put SSB on UNIDEN radios again.

But if you just need 40 channel, small, good modulating radio that is built like tank, get the UNIDEN PRO520XL, you'll be glad that you did.
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on May 17, 2010
I was looking for a "Good" CB and I wanted a small one to fit easily inside my 4x4. It was the perfect size and right after hooking it up worked flawlessly! My first radio check with it still inside my garage I was talking to some one almost 3 miles away. Pulled it out of the garage and was able to talk to my son over 4 miles away. I am also very happy with the speaker quality...clear and loud. So I would highly recommend this CB to anyone looking for a Great priced and compact CB.
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