Uniden BEARCAT 880 vs BEARCAT 980: Which Citizens Band Radio is Better for Truckers?


While the world is already shifting to a more advanced means of communication, some truckers still depend on CB radios to communicate. Short-distance communication among truckers is possible with a CB radio or a Citizens Band radio. You do not need a license to operate one. Therefore, almost anyone can use it for professional or personal use.

There are two main drawbacks to using CB radios which are its short communication distance and reliability and security. The distance it can only cover is no more than 25 miles which is short yet still functional. It is no wonder why some truckers rely on SSB CB radios. In this article, we are going to compare two SSB CB radios from Uniden – the BEARCAT 880 and 980. Both CB radios share a lot of similarities but only one of them can be the better SSB CB radio. We will find out which in this article.


Comparison Chart

Name Uniden BEARCAT 880 Uniden BEARCAT 980
Channel 40 40 AM/USB/LSB
Frequency Range CB: 26.965 – 27.405 MHz CB: 26.965 – 27.405 MHz

 WX: 162.400 – 162.550 MHz

Frequency Control PLL Synthesizer PLL Synthesizer
Antenna Impedance 50 ohms 50 ohms
Power Input 13.8VDC 13.8VDC
Current Drain TX: AM Full Modulation: 2.2A (max)

RX: At no signal: 650mA

TX: AM full modulation 2.2A (max.), SSB full power output 4A (max.)


 RX: At no signal: 650 mA

Transmitter Output Power 4 watts 4 watts
Hum and Noise Better than 40 dB Better than 40 dB
Receiver Sensitivity 0.5 µV 0.5 µV
Audio Output Power (max.) 5 watts 3 watts
Image Rejection 65dB 80 dB
Public Address Output Power at 10% Distortion 4 watts 2.5 watts
Product Size (W x D x H) 6.3 in. x 6.3 in. x 2.2 in. 7.25 in. x 7.5 in. x 2.25 in.
Weight 2.2 Pounds 2.2 Pounds
Included Accessories DC Power Cord


Microphone Hanger

Mounting Bracket

DC Power Cord

Noise Cancelling Microphone

Microphone Hanger

Mounting Bracket


Uniden BEARCAT 880 vs BEARCAT 980 – Similarities

40 Channel Operation

Uniden BEARCAT 880 and 980 are built to provide a peak power of 4 watts. This high peak power is only most common with high-end CB radios proving the capabilities of these CB radios. Moreover, both BEARCAT CB radios give you access to 40 channels. Some channels are extremely helpful, especially for people who are always on the road such as truckers. 

NOAA Weather Radio

Life on the road is never a safe place to be. There are a lot of hazards you can encounter, such as bad weather. Fortunately, both the BEARCAT 880 and 980 includes a weather alert for all truckers out there. The NOAA Weather Radio is included among the 40 channels you can access with the BEARCAT 880 and 980. You can listen to local NOAA weather radio live streams with these CB radios.

Size and Interface

Build and materials are virtually the same in both CB radios since both come from the same company. Size and weight are also close. The BEARCAT 980 is slightly larger at 7.5 x 7.6 x 2.25 inches in dimensions, while the BEARCAT 880 stands at only 6.3 x 6.3 inches and 2.2 inches thick. Their weights are equal at 2.2 pounds even when they have a slight difference in size. To interact with these CB radios, you are given buttons and dials partnered with a 7-color LCD panel. The buttons and dials are properly labeled and also backlit so you can control these even in dark environments.


Uniden BEARCAT 880 vs BEARCAT 980 – Differences


The main difference between these CB radios is in its modulation. One of them has a better overall audio quality due to the lesser amount of noise present.

Uniden BEARCAT 880

The Uniden BEARCAT 880 only uses AM or amplitude modulation. Experts say that an AM signal with a 0 dB signal to noise ratio can be impossible to listen to. The output audio is unintelligible and unrecognizable. However, many enthusiasts still choose AM over sideband modulation because a slight shift in transmitter and receiver frequencies will have virtually no effect on the received signal.

Uniden BEARCAT 980

Uniden BEARCAT 980 has both AM and SSB (both upper and lower sideband). The quality of the audio signal received with sideband modulation is day and night when the signal to noise ratio is set to 0 dB. You will have no problem with the audio signals as long as the transmitter and receiver are in the exact frequency. Otherwise, the quality will turn out bad (although to be fair, the audio is still comprehensible.)

The Winner Is- Uniden BEARCAT 980


Audio Power Output

Although both the BEARCAT 880 and 980 has a peak power output of 4 watts in their transmitters, the power output in their receivers and public address features are different.

Uniden BEARCAT 880

Since the BEARCAT 880 is released much earlier than the 980, one may think that it has lower audio power output. This is not the case, however. The BEARCAT 880 has a higher audio power output of 5 watts. Additionally, its public address feature can output 4 watts.

Uniden BEARCAT 980

The biggest weakness of the BEARCAT 980 is in this category. Both its audio power output and public address output are lower despite it being a more recent release. The audio output and public address output of the BEARCAT 980 are 3 watts and 2.5 watts, respectively.

The Winner Is- Uniden BEARCAT 880


Price Difference

At this point, the BEARCAT 880 and 980 are head-to-head. Both have a very similar feature set and specifications. However, when it comes to pricing, it is an entirely different story. 

Uniden BEARCAT 880

Being the older model, the Uniden BEARCAT 880 is cheaper than the 980. Although it shows its age in some respects, the performance you get from the BEARCAT 880 is still perfectly reasonable and usable. It still managed to gain some advantages despite its age.

Uniden BEARCAT 980

On the other hand, the Uniden BEARCAT 980 is significantly more expensive. The functionality between these CB radios is technically identical. But if you are looking for an SSB CB radio, only the BEARCAT 980 can suit your needs. However, BEARCAT 880 has a higher value proposition overall.

The Winner Is- Uniden BEARCAT 880


Pros and Cons

Uniden BEARCAT 880


  • For a lower price, you can still get that communication and weather alerts with the BEARCAT 880.
  • A difference in frequencies between the transmitter and receiver will have no impact on the received signal.
  • Power output in its receiver and public address is almost as twice as high as the 980.


  • It shows its age in its slow boot-up time.

Uniden BEARCAT 980


  • Its large and backlit display is perfectly readable even at night.
  • The BEARCAT 980 has both AM and SSB modulation for a clearer and crisper audio quality.
  • You can connect a wireless microphone via Bluetooth.


  • The Uniden BEARCAT 980 emits an annoying beep every time you press any button.


Final Verdict

Uniden BEARCAT 880 and 980 are two impressively designed CD radios for truckers and travel lovers out there. The only difference (aside from their prices, of course) you should genuinely consider is their modulation or SSB capability in particular. If you don’t care about SSB, then the cheaper BEARCAT 880 could be better for your needs. 


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Uniden Bearcat 880 vs 980