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New Uniden Bearcat 680 CB Review

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  #9  
Old 11-14-2011, 12:10 PM
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Not really ready to talk about the 980 quite yet. It is not unusual for us to tweak features up to pretty late in the development process (for example, the Bearcat 880, which is a few months in front of the 980 in terms of its development track, had 3 interim firmware changes last week...but I think we are through tweaking on it). I'd also prefer not to set a public timeline (since it also isn't unusual for us to allow some slippage when we are early in the development process in order to get features correct).

We'd want to be sure that we've got the product nailed down pretty good before we start talking about it a whole lot. The information that is out there came from discussion points on presentations that were supposed to be confidential...and they include some significant differences from where we are right now with the products. This kind of leak hurt us a couple more ways: gave a false impression to our customer base (which has caused us to spend time correcting for misinformation), and gave an early "heads up" to our competition. So, we'll be a bit more careful about this in the future, but also be sure that when we do release information, it will be correct and straight from the source.

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  #10  
Old 11-14-2011, 12:22 PM
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sounds like y'all are working hard to get the bugs out before releasing it . and i understand wanting to keep mum about it till it's ready to go .

i have yet to hear a good sounding on frequency cobra 148 on air and galaxy seems to have issues with drifting on ssb also and some complain of noise . if you can overcome those problems and keep the audio clean and strong it will certianly chit in their (cobra , galaxy) corporate cornflakes

keep up the good work and thanks again

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  #11  
Old 11-14-2011, 01:46 PM
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Not a problem. We had a network outage for about an hour...so I spent the time shooting a quick 1-minute YouTube of the Bearcat 880 running through its demo mode. Will be on UnidenUpman's Channel - YouTube in (I hope) just a few minutes.

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  #12  
Old 11-14-2011, 02:08 PM
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I posted a link to the video in another thread, since this thread is about the 680. How do I put the 680 in demo mode?

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  #13  
Old 11-14-2011, 02:56 PM
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680 doesn't have a demo mode (but it also doesn't have all those cool colors...). Something we came up with late in the 880's tweak-out.

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  #14  
Old 11-15-2011, 10:23 PM
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Basic Features

Continuing with my review of this radio...

The basic functionality of this radio is very easy to use. It is a basic radio that will serve most casual users well. I envision 4x4 vehicles like Jeeps which have tight installation requirements will benefit most from a radio like this. The radio has a very large, easy to read, and bright display that make it very easy to see what is going on at a quick glance.

The 680 has all of the basic functions included in larger radios, although many of these functions are simplified into toggle buttons. In my opinion, this is a great approach for the casual user. Look closely at this pic that shows all of the button and knobs:



The only knobs are the On/Off/Volume and outer squelch on the left, and the channel knob on the right. Every other function is accomplished using the buttons at the bottom of the display. Below the S/RF meter and channel display, you can also see the function indicators that tell you what you have enabled. In the picture above, you can see that I've turned the RF gain toggle up (DX), the radio is in CB mode instead of PA), the Noise Limiter/Noise Blanker is on, and the Mic Gain is set to high. As you can tell, these indicators also pretty much describe the functionality of the radio. The 9/19 channel button and Dim/BRT buttons are fairly self explanatory.

The 680 has a built in "beep" function when you press buttons that is very loud. If I have one complaint about this radio, it's that there's no way to turn the beep off. The other beep function is on channel change. The radio beeps once when increasing the channel and twice rapidly when decreasing the channel. Again, I wish there was a way to turn this off, too.

Power & Modulation Tests

Although I no longer own an oscilloscope, I thought others might find some basic power measurement tests useful. I hooked the radio up to my Bird43P with a 50H element and a dummy load attached directly to the meter. My results show that the radio emits a carrier right at 4 watts with peak modulation using the High mic setting at 18 watts. Not bad at all for a stock radio.

On the Air

I spent some time talking to various stations tonight using the included stock mic. Every single station told me that the radio sounded clean with nice audio. I told them all that I was using this new radio with the stock mic and received nothing but compliments. Of course, there were a couple of stations that wanted to hear more brash audio, but in the end everyone was happy with how a stock radio sounded. A few were even a little surprised that I was using a bone stock radio with the the stock mic. This round of tests were performed at the home location on a base antenna.

Next up, testing in the mobile. My Jeep puts out a bit of ignition and alternator noise, so it will be interesting to see how well the built in ANL/NB works.

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  #15  
Old 11-16-2011, 05:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy_Hamer View Post
Great pictures, thanks Moleculo
Yeah but lip guards are still ghey.

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  #16  
Old 11-20-2011, 10:00 PM
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Installed in the Mobile

Today I installed the radio in my Jeep. For anyone familiar with Jeeps, you can appreciate the serious lack of room for radios. The Uniden 680 fits nicely in my chosen location which is right on top of the dash in the little tray. You can see in this picture where I placed it:



I like how the depth of the radio is much shorter than many of the other CBs on the market. In this side view of the installation, you can see how much room it takes on the dash:


Most other radios that I've installed in that location have the rear almost butting up against the windshield.

ANL/NB Works Good
While I've done a pretty good job over the years of reducing much of the noise generated by this Jeep, there is always a point at which you just need the radio's noise blanker to do its job. I still get a fair amount of ignition noise and I could hear it coming through the radio with the ANL/NB turned off. However, this radio's ANL/NB circuit just does a really good job at filtering it out.

After I finished installing the radio, I decided to go for a drive in the pouring rain. I really did appreciate the large display and knobs that let you see the channel and meter with just a quick glance. I also found that the preset LO/DX RF Gain settings work pretty well in a mobile. The skip was rolling really loud today, but putting the RF Gain in the Local mode resulted in a nice gain setting that helped pick out local stations and attenuate much of the distant ones.

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