Uniden BearTracker 885 Hybrid CB/Scanner Radio

TLDR;

The Uniden BearTracker 885 Hybrid is the CB you never knew you needed for over-landing, van-living, road-tripping, and truck-driving. Breaker 1-9! Breaker 1-9! Can I get a radio check? Is there a bear on my donkey? Stay informed of local weather, road conditions, and emergencies while both eyes are on the road.

Photo: Uniden

The Uniden BearTracker 885 Hybrid is built solid and built to last. I have it installed using a tilted “hump” mount on the transmission hump of my pickup truck. It is securely fastened has had no problems staying put.

I have it paired to a 4ft FireStik antenna using a stake-hole mount for my pickup truck bed. To lessen the stress on the antenna, I included a spring so the antenna will flex in places of low clearance.

The SWR on this radio in this setup is very good. I have no trouble getting out there and being heard. I also have great reception from other CB operators. I like to test my radio in West Memphis, AR. (Here’s a word of advice. West Memphis CB radio is the 4Chan of CB radio. If you have a weak constitution or are easily offended, please, by all means, drive through West Memphis with your radio on.)

Seriously though, West Memphis is home of the Channel 5 CB shop who can be heard for several miles on both sides of the Mississippi River. The interchange of I-55 and I-40 before entering Memphis is a hotspot for CB activity. Get your haircut, order some barbecue, and see what the “Real Deal” and “The Snowman” are selling on channel 3-6. Okay you might wanna steer clear of the last one, but for CB enthusiasts, there is a lot going on in West Memphis.

With all of that going on, you might be tempted to know where the fuzz or DOT are located. The Uniden BearTracker 885 Hybrid has you covered. It comes with an antenna that suctions to your windshield. This antenna covers the scanner frequencies for Police, Fire, EMS, DOT, and NOAA. Paired with the included GPS dongle, the unit is able to scan in real-time based on your location and find these services in your area automatically and tune to them. You don’t have to program anything! It really works too.

On a recent trip to Texas, I overheard a shooting in progress in Killeen, TX. I never did anything to the unit but turn on the Police scanner during my trip. I could hear police and EMS units working a wreck ahead on my way back through Dallas. I was able to know what was going on and drive accordingly simply by turning the unit on.

One thing I really like is that I went ahead and bought the Uniden BC906W Wireless CB Microphone and Speaker to go with the unit. This enabled me to put the coiled wire microphone away and also serves as an additional speaker for transmissions received. The value of this microphone is that my truck is uncluttered (relatively) and I am able to operate my radio from a distance.

I really like this unit.

What’s in the box

  • Uniden BearTracker 885 Hybrid Unit
  • Corded Microphone
  • Manual
  • Scanner Antenna
  • TF (MicroSD) Card
  • GPS Dongle
  • RJ-45 Cable (Connects GPS to Unit)
  • Power Wiring
  • Basic Mounting Bracket and Hardware

Specifications

  • Full-Featured 40-Channel CB Radio
  • Digital Trunktracking Scanner: Receive police, fire, ambulance, and DOT dispatch transmissions wherever you are in the US and Canada*
  • BearTracker Warning System: Legal alternative to Radar Detectors. Alerts you when nearby public safety transmissions are detected.
  • GPS Included: Allows the BearTracker 885 to automatically select nearby scanner channels to monitor.
  • Nationwide Scanner Database: Includes all known police/fire/ambulance/DOT channels in use in the USA and Canada*
  • Weekly Updates: Free updates keep the scanner database current so if an agency changes channels, you won’t be left behind.
  • Simple, distraction free operation: No need to program or select scanner channels.
  • Channel:
    • CB: 40 AM (4W)
    • Scanner: FM Only
  • Frequency Range:
    • CB : 26.965 ~ 27.405 MHz
    • SCN: 25 ~ 960 MHz
    • WX : 162.400 – 162.550 MHz
  • Frequency Display: Displays the MHz of the selected channel. Also displays menu options.
  • 7-Color LCD Display
  • Weather Alert
  • PA Function
  • Wireless Mic Compatible
  • Digital and Analog Police/Fire/Ambulance/DOT scanner
  • Scan system types include conventional analog, Motorola, LTR, EDACS, APCO P25 Phase I and Phase II
  • Includes VHF, UHF, 700/800 MHz
  • Quick avoid for unwanted channels
  • Individually select types of channels to receive
  • BearTracker Warning System
  • SWR Meter
  • Antenna System Check
  • CB/Scan priority audio selection
  • Mic and RF Gain
  • SQUELCH knob: Reduces background noise when there is no incoming signal
  • PTT: Push-to-Talk. Push microphone button.
  • S.MUTE|AVOID: Scanner Mute mutes the voice from incoming transmissions. AVOID lets you put channels on a temporary avoid list so the scanner will skip them

* Cannot receive encrypted or some proprietary types of digital systems.
** Some states restrict the use of scanners in vehicles. Please check your local state laws for any restrictions.

The Cons

There are a few things I want from this unit that are seemingly not present.

I am not aware of any DSC feature at this time. This may be something I missed in the details and might be a feature that’s included in the electronic management features of the radio, but I would like to have a Dynamic Squelch Control that is a button push on the unit’s face plate. It’s not a huge issue, but I did like that about my last Cobra radio.

I admit I haven’t spent enough time working with the NOAA weather capabilities of the radio, but I would love to see a weather alert system capability if there is one. I may have yet to understand or discover this feature, to be honest. I have only ever used the NOAA radio manually to listen. I have yet to hear any weather alerts come over the scanner while using the device. I live in Arkansas, so there are plenty of thunderstorms and tornado warnings this time of year that activates standard weather radios. I will research this further and update this article.

The BearTracker alert system is handy, but not a replacement for safe driving and a good radar detector. The system does work, but I would suggest only using it on long stretches of highway between towns. Any city with any density or population will trigger the alert steadily. The alarm only “listens” for the low power tone of emergency vehicles to detect their presence. In a city, there are dozens of vehicles pinging the radio. On the open highway, it is much better at distinguishing a police or emergency vehicle a couple of miles away from you. This feature is neat, but no replacement for radar detection where legal. It does remind you to slow down, so I can’t knock it completely.

Outfit Your Uniden BearTracker 885 Hybrid Rig Today!

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