The Uniden Bearcat 980 is the only current Uniden CB radio with SSB operation. It features a large, easy to read illuminated control panel for easy use in all lighting conditions and comes with a newly designed microphone with a ergonomic pistol grip. This is a great looking radio. I'm a big fan of the digital controls and displays on the newer radios coming out. This one is no exception. I noticed right away the controls feel more solid than some others, namely the Cobra® 29LX. The 6 pin microphone plug was a little off putting until I found the 4 pin to 6 pin adapter in the box. Good move by Uniden there. One feature that popped out at me was the channel scan. Probably not that exciting for most people, but I do get a lot of requests for a CB radio with that feature and not many of them have it.
Uniden Bearcat BC980 Features:
- 40 Channel operation
- Dynamic squelch control
- Mic gain HI/LO button
- RF gain control
- Frequency Counter
- Noise canceling mic with extra long cord
- 4-6 pin adapter available
- Channel indicator
- Instant channel 9/19
- PA/CB switch
- Large digital S/RF/CAL/SWR meter
- Backlit control knobs/buttons
- SSB USB/LSB
- Delta tune
- Radio diagnostics
- ANL/Noise Blanking
- 7 color display options
- Easy to read laser etched keys
- Enhanced graphics
- Variable talk back
- Dimmer switch day/night
- NOAA weather channels
- Memory Scan
- Antenna/RF/Voltage indicator
- Wireless mic compatible
- Dual Clarifier (Course/Fine)
What is in the box:
- Uniden Bearcat BC980 SSB CB Radio
- 6 pin CB Microphone
- 6 pin to 4 pin Microphone adapter
- Power cord
- Mounting bracket and hardware
- Microphone hanger
- Size: 2.25" H x 7.25" W x 7.5" D (without knobs and jacks)
- This is a standard sized radio. It will install without difficulty in most vehicles that have some room.
- The power cord for this radio is detachable for easy routing.
- This CB radio includes a mounting bracket with two 5mm thumb screws for mounting. Need replacement knobs? Check out the AUDX2.
- Looking for a replacement radio bracket? Check out the CB74.
Tuning Your Antenna - Calibrate Standing Wave Ratio (SWR) for the BC980SSB:
Check and calibrate the SWR to ensure your antenna system is properly tuned. This will help to optimize the performance of the antenna system and ensure that you won't potentially damage your radio by operating with high SWR.
1. Connect the antenna.
2. Turn Channel Selector to set the channel to channel 40.
3. Press S/RF/CAL/SWR to CAL. Press and hold the PTT button and rotate the control knob until the bar meter aligns with CAL.
4. Press S/RF/CAL/SWR to SWR. Transmit (key the mic) and note the SWR reading.
5. Turn Channel Selector to set the channel to channel 1 and repeat steps 3 and 4.
6. Based on the SWR readings, adjust the antenna/s accordingly.
- If the reading on channel 1 is higher than the reading on channel 40, your antenna system is too short and you need to lengthen your antenna system.
- For example: If the SWR meter reading on channel 1 is 2.6 and the reading on channel 40 is 1.3, your antenna is too short. Possible solutions include adding a spring or quick disconnect, raising the antenna, getting a longer coax (and just make sure to store any excess coax in a figure eight style, about a foot in length, and loosely bound in the center), or re-positioning the antenna.
- Alternatively, if the reading on channel 40 is higher than channel 1, your antenna system is too long and you need to shorten your antenna system.
- For example: If the SWR meter reading on channel 1 is 1.2 and the reading on channel 40 is 2.3, you'll need to shorten the antenna to get better efficiency. You can do that by turning the tuning tip or the adjusting ring, or you can take the antenna mast out and trim it about 1/8 inch, and place it back firmly against the coil. Remember, it's easier to cut a little more off the antenna than to have to add some length (remember the barber who cut your hair too short?).
If any adjustments are needed, they should be made in small increments. Re-check after each adjustment. Be sure to have all components on the antenna when testing, including the tip/cap if there is one.
If you have already optimized your current antenna setup (similar readings on Channel 1 and 40) and you still want to improve your SWR readings, you can try a different antenna, a different mounting location, or, if you are setting up a dual antenna system, try utilizing only one of the antennas instead of both. Sometimes, you will get better performance from using one antenna instead of two.
- See SWR Range Explanations below. The lower the reading, the better your CB radio will perform. The goal is to set the antenna to the lowest SWR readings possible, evenly across the 40 channels- for example, the reading on channel 1 and 40 at the same at 1.5. By having the SWR readings match on channel 1 and 40, your radio will perform well on any of the channels within the 40 channel bandwidth. If they do not match, adjusting the antenna is advised.
- IMPORTANT: If the meter reading is in the red zone, indicating HIGH SWR readings, DO NOT operate the CB. You could potentially damage your radio.
The goal is to achieve similar SWR readings on channel 1 and channel 40 that are within an acceptable SWR range.
SWR Range Explanations:
SWR 1.0-1.5: The ideal range! If your SWR is under 1.5, you're in great shape. If you're at 1.5 and really, really want to drop down to closer to 1 it's likely possible to do with addition tuning, different equipment or a different mounting location. But the drop from 1.5 to 1.0 won't make a substantial increase in performance. It's not nearly as noticeable as, say, going from 2.0 down to 1.5.
SWR 1.5 - 1.9: There's room for improvement, but SWR in this range should still provide adequate performance. Occasionally, due to installations or vehicle variables, it's impossible to get SWR lower than than this. You should try to get it lower, but performance should still be acceptable in this range. If you've tuned the antenna, SWR in this range is likely an issue of a less-than-ideal mounting location for your vehicle and/or an antenna that isn't ideal for the mounting location. To troubleshoot, see this article on problematic CB antenna mounting locations.
SWR 2.0 - 2.4: While not good, this likely won't damage your radio with casual use. However, you should definitely try to improve it if you can. SWR in this range is usually caused by a poor antenna mounting location and/or a poor choice of equipment for your specific vehicle. To troubleshoot, you'll likely need to move the mounting location and/or use a more suitable antenna. It's by no means a good tuning job, but will function if you've exhausted all other troubleshooting possibilities.
SWR 2.5 - 2.9: Performance in this range will be noticeably decreased, and you might even damage your radio if you transmit frequently and for extended periods. We advise you not to operate your radio in this range. SWR in this range is usually caused by a poor mounting location and/or a poor choice of equipment for your specific vehicle. To troubleshoot, you'll likely need to move the mounting location and/or use a more suitable antenna.
SWR 3.0+: Performance will be severely affected, and you're likely to damage your radio with extended transmission use. You SHOULD NOT transmit with your CB at SWR levels above 3.0. If your SWR needle swings all the way to the right (off the charts) when getting your 3.0+ readings, you almost certainly have a major installation problem. This is almost always the result of a poor ground or incorrectly assembled stud, but on rare occasions can indicate a faulty coax, antenna, or incorrectly attached SWR meter.
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