Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB CB radio
After my post today about Signals Intelligence I received a few emails about what I thought was the best CB radio prepper’s could buy for a “buy once, cry once” scenario. Its my opinion the Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB CB radio is the best CB radio on the market today.
There are a number of opinions about CB radio and the more common experiences people have. I understand the issues with the “Bubba’s”. I hear them from Atlanta to LA from my station and they are mostly a bunch of vulgar illiterate fools running their mouths with illegal amplifiers.
And I have a hard time listening to them for any length of time because they really have no information I need for my local area. To a point that is my fault as well because I invest money in antennas over gear in the radio room.
CB can be a pain and I understand, but the whole reason to have one is a part of your communications layer. You need to be able to receive all of the commonly used frequencies in case of emergency. You don’t need to respond to anyone, but you need to have your ears open for any information available to you.
So, enough of why you need a CB
The advantage to this radio over all the rest on the market today comes from the stability the 980SSB has.
Simply put, the biggest problem most CB radios have is drifting off frequency. This causes the distorted voices and fluttering in and out of receivable limits.
In my experience with this radio, and with more than 1 year of use this doesn’t happen with the Uniden 980. Drifting off the frequency is something which I feel is unacceptable and I wont pay money for something that doesn’t work well, and I definitely wont recommend junk to anyone.
Online reviews say the same about this radio. They simply stay on the frequency you put them and don’t drift or float off . I hate when gear does what it wants too all on its own
The second advantage
This radio is capable of side band use over the entire 40 channels CB radio allows. Effectively this gives you 120 channels to use and monitor. At legal limit it also allows 12 watts of power with the side band and 12 watts is plenty with a good antenna.
Antennas make the difference between an operator and a Bubba.
The scan feature is pretty much standard. If you want to scan side band freqs you must first start in SSB mode, and you can only scan in the mode you are in. If you scan in USB, than the radio will scan all 40 channels ONLY on the Upper Side Band. The same with LSB or Lower Side Band.
Simplex is the same as well, so to scan all possible channels you need to switch mode manually between scans.
The SWR Meter and signal strength meter.
SWR is the trick to making a low powered radio perform at its best and the 980 has a built in meter which works very well. You want to tune your antenna to give the lowest possible SWR in the band over the entire spectrum. Its sounds harder than it is, suffice your antenna will come with instructions and mine required no tuning at all with an average SWR of 1.6 to 1.
Signal strength is used by most just to tell someone else they are coming in fine. But , if the smart operator builds themselves a beam antenna they can turn the antenna to the strongest signal and have a redneck direction finder. That can be useful to determine where the signal is coming from as well as listening to what intel you can get from the conversation.
A really good point I make is, most people cant shut up on the radio so listen to what you can learn through casual conversation, and adjust the amount of chatter your group transmits as needed.
The Uniden 980 SSB in use
I like this radio. I bought it for my radio room and also rigged a spare power cable in my truck so I can swap it out to use mobile if I need too. I have a mag mount antenna which works as well as I expected, but for real use a roof mounted full length antenna for the radio room was what I did. It allows the use of the 980 to its full potential.
SSB radios used to be a dime a dozen, but very few are on the market today vs the 1970″s when CB was in its hey day. SSB should be the only CB radios preppers should be buying, as they will allow monitoring across the full width of the CB radio frequency spectrum.
This radio is the one I bought after the hours of research I was able to do. It stays on the freq I put it on, I leave it running during monitoring in the shack, sometimes for hours. It has a good color adjustable face which is back lit for night use and all its functions are easy to find and use.
I believe the Uniden 980 SSB CB radio is the best CB on the market today for preppers
Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB CB radio