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New Uniden Bearcat 680 CB Review

Discussion in 'CB and Export Equipment and Accessories' started by Moleculo, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    Here is the newest CB from Uniden, the Bearcat 680!

    [​IMG]

    This completely new CB was provided by Uniden, so here are some pictures of the radio while we're working on a full review. First, you can tell how small the width of the radio by comparing it to the full sized Uniden Grant LT:

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    Notice that the height of the radio is similar to the LT, but the width is much smaller. The large height allows the display to be large and very visible.

    Here is a side view of the 680 on top of the Grant LT. Notice how much shorter the new radio is, which is quite advantageous when trying to fit it into small vehicles:

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    Here's a view from top comparing the over all width and depth differences between the 680 and the full size Grant LT:

    [​IMG]



    Next, some inside shots. Here is one of the final PA transistor and output filter. The radio uses the familiar 2078 transistor:

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    Another, broader picture of the main board:

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    A picture of the squelch and meter adjustment:

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    Here is the back side of the front face circuit board:

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    This picture shows the 6 pin mic connector. The #1 pin is in the 7 O'Clock position; the labels make it farily obvious how to wire a different mic:

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    The rear of the radio is like any other typical CB:

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    This is the stock mic. It looks funny, but is very ergonomic:

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    From the side, you can see that the mic has a lip guard which lets you feel how far away to hold the mic:

    [​IMG]


    I've hooked up the radio and made a few contacts, so next up: initial thoughts on the performance of the radio!
    #1
  2. Happy_Hamer

    Happy_Hamer Administrator Staff Member

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    Great pictures, thanks Moleculo
    #2
  3. Happy_Hamer

    Happy_Hamer Administrator Staff Member

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    Do you know if a Service Manual is available yet?
    #3
  4. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm not sure, but I can ask. I would like to compare the schematic to the older radios to see what has changed.
    #4
  5. Se7en

    Se7en Well-Known Member

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    wow it looks very nice. im not sure about that Retro mic but... the radio looks like a winner!
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
    #5
  6. hotrod

    hotrod Well-Known Member

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    nice review. just curious why the 6 pin mic? seems strange. will a 4 pin to 6 pin
    adpator work with this
    #6
  7. UPMan

    UPMan Member

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    6-pin is for a future wireless microphone. A 6-4 Pin adapter is included in the box for other aftermarket microphones.
    #7
  8. hey UPMan .... any idea on when the ssb 980 version will be available ? or sent to moleculo for a review ? any idea on what its price will be ?

    thanks
    #8
  9. UPMan

    UPMan Member

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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.
    #9
  10. 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 :LOL:

    keep up the good work and thanks again (y)
    #10
  11. UPMan

    UPMan Member

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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.
    #11
  12. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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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?
    #12
  13. UPMan

    UPMan Member

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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.
    #13
  14. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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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:

    [​IMG]

    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.
    #14
  15. mackmobile43

    mackmobile43 Jock Supporter

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    Yeah but lip guards are still ghey.
    #15


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