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Uniden 980SSB / Personal Review & Thoughts

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Uniden 980SSB / Personal Review & Thoughts

Post by 231 » Saturday, 27 April 2013, 9:00 AM

Hello everyone,

I thought I'd post a quick review on this radio from a 'Sidebander's' viewpoint. For those of us who run strictly sideband (or considering SSB), my hope is it'll be helpful and informative from an operational standpoint. It's the first new CB I've bought in quite a number of years as there just isn't allot of them (especially FCC Type Approved) I've liked. But I was really wanting to try it out because over the years I've pretty much just stuck with either my Uniden Grant or Philly made Cobra 148GTL. Both of which I really like and have terrific receivers on both AM/SSB. Having the better quality older built Uniden type radios to compare it to, may be helpful to those considering it's purchase in the future. Unlike the other reviews on the web, my goal is just to share things I like and dislike about it, along with a general summary.

It's important to also share the radio has been tuned/aligned currently peaking about 13w PEP on SSB according to my Diawa meter, and using the stock mic (currently).

Dislikes:
- No channel (frequency) upgrade kit available yet
- Clarifier / Slider only 2-1/2 kc's (+/-) <for those of us who like to open up the clarifier>
- No way to shut off the beeping when changing channels or adjusting modes (which drives me nuts)
- RF Gain pretty much useless
- Talkback
- Noise Blanker not as effective as I expected

Likes:
- Very intuitive in programming
- Easy to use and luminous display
- Accurate S-Meter, SWR, and display
- Good audio reports on SSB
- Good receiver. Even compared to my $2,000 HF rig.
- Decent rejection of bleedover
- Radio size reasonable (about the size of a PC122 Uniden)
- Comes with adapter for mic

Overall Review Summary:
Overall I think for the suggested retail price it's a very good value. Especially for those wanting a more modern display at a reasonable price. While I don't personally mind the older analog displays with knobs, these are 'at a glance' type of radio and when driving, kinda' helpful. The only concern I have is folks getting to know the clarifier. It can be a little confusing with the course and fine adjustment. But it doesn't drift when cold, so it's nice having it stable. I don't think the clarifier(s) are nearly as sensitive as they should be either. But I'm also used to clarifiers with more slide capability, so a little spoiled on that. But for someone's first SSB radio, a very hard value to beat (IMHO) in that it's easy to dial folks in who are slightly off frequency. Especially if the person wants to stay with a 'FCC Type Approved' radio.

I've owned Export radios, and on sideband I can honestly say few have better than average transmit audio. I'd rate the audio on the 980SSB slightly above average as it's very clear without distortion and doesn't make people's ears bleed...even with the stock mic. While I didn't hook up my D104 to it, I'm sure the transmit audio can be improved with a power mic. I really wanted to just be able to use the stock mic with this radio though and give folks an idea of what to expect. On sideband, it's all about good audio...and this radio seems to deliver it. While not full body, it's very clear and easy to listen to. All too often guys sound crackly and/or forget to turn their mic gain down coming from AM settings. Or when the operator is trying to squeeze every last watt out of the radio/amplifier they can get. This radio seems to deliver the audio punch without sounding over driven. I will admit, I'm not used to having to turn the mic gain up on sideband and usually run them about half way up to deliver maximum wattage. Not so on this radio...at least how it's currently tuned.

Is it the Uniden Grant of yesteryear? No, but half the price of that rig when it was new over 20 years ago, too. Overall I'm very pleased with it's performance and value. It's not complicated to operate, and the receiver is very good...which is what I appreciate more about some radios over others. The weak signals on SSB are where it shines over some of the exports I think, and even with some interference copyable with most. And for a first SSB rig, a good choice.

While I don't claim to have mastered the radio, I don't feel the need to with this radio. It's fairly intuitive and probably as close to plug and play as I've used.

I hope folks find it helpful. Hope to catch you on the air.

231


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Re: Uniden 980SSB / Personal Review & Thoughts

Post by dirtyjob » Saturday, 27 April 2013, 10:32 AM

it has been reported that you can remove the dreaded beep by following this guys instructions:

I personally do not own this radio nor have i performed this mod so do with this info what you will.
the 100k resistor that mixes the beep into the audio (see picture). It is located immediately below Q217.

This is a tiny 0603 surface-mount part in a crowded area so don't try removing it if you haven't worked with SM parts before. Removing it silences the beep. Replacing it with a higher value should result in a quieter beep
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Re: Uniden 980SSB / Personal Review & Thoughts

Post by wi 544 » Saturday, 27 April 2013, 12:48 PM

the beep mod works great, I did it on my 5 yr old sons radio

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Re: Uniden 980SSB / Personal Review & Thoughts

Post by 1 ADAM 12 » Saturday, 27 April 2013, 12:56 PM

I know an older cb operator that wanted SSB...so he bought this radio. He really likes the radio but I have noticed that he is not great at using all the radio's different functions. He sort of gets lost in all the options and different screens. I have often wondered if a "simpler" radio like a Cobra 148 would have been easier for him to use.
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Re: Uniden 980SSB / Personal Review & Thoughts

Post by Hazelnut 7201 » Tuesday, 30 April 2013, 16:22 PM

I picked one up to put in my "Man-Van". I am not really a side-bander, there is only one other driver at work that has side band. But, hey you never know.
I agree on the RF Gain, 5 levels of RF Gain and 15 shaded of Red. Really, seams like the Vanity Police were asleep on the job.
I actually like the "comformation tone", these Indiana roads are not smooth and it seems like I always hit a bump when I reach down to change from Local to Distant.
I noticed that Mike at RAR is talking about them on his website and so I gave him a call. I now have another 980 on its way, he is going to turn down the comformation beep and look into the RF Gain ( I asked about 15 levels just like the colors, no promises but he thought it could be done).
Have a nice day.

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Re: Uniden 980SSB / Personal Review & Thoughts

Post by 231 » Friday, 03 May 2013, 7:59 AM

Well, for the price I think it's a good value. The old 148's and Uniden Grants were over $200 new back in the 80's. Just a guess, but I'd say back in the late 80's the 980 would be roughly $100 new. Half the price.

I realize so much of it is the operator's preferences. Many coming from strictly AM may like some of the things it has...but I'd sure like the ability to choose. I appreciate you posting the mod to remove the beep. I'm going to leave it for now because more often than not I monitor frequencies and once things are set up, doesn't require much button pushing...or so has been the case so far. But it was one of the things that got under my skin pretty quick.

The older 148's are rock solid radios and still highly sought after. Whether or not a newer sideband operator would appreciate it's simplicity or not probably would be more in tune with how modified the radio is. A stock radio, perhaps. Start opening up the clarifier and doing a channel kit, things can get a little complicated for guys not understanding the RF spectrum, especially without a road-map. LOL

I didn't know Mike (RAR) was selling them. I would have called him too. I actually bought mine from a friend who bought it and then had some emergency come up and needed the money instead. So, I bought it off of him to help him out. I had been eye balling them for awhile and understand they've been out awhile. But in all honesty I've been so thrilled with my older 148's and Grant I just had no intention of buying a new radio again...until this came out. Figured I'd wait a bit at the very least. So the timing was pretty good I guess. I wanted a Type Approved radio though. I know allot of folks enjoy exports and there are a couple I like allot too. But these newer digital displayed radios (i.e. Cobra 29, etc.) I really like the looks of. The old Midland with the separation kit I liked too...but they sure didn't seem too reliable.

Hazelnut, your point is well taken on the making adjustments in a noisy environment...or while driving. I hadn't thought of that. This radio will be going in the mobile eventually.

Thanks for the replies guys.

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Re: Uniden 980SSB / Personal Review & Thoughts

Post by Sniper X » Friday, 03 May 2013, 8:29 AM

Being one how not only uses SSB a lot, but one who thinks almost any radio without it is half a radio, I REALLY want to get my hands on one and try it out before buying one. I love the size and the looks and have heard many stories about how great they are. However, I have an RCI2950, Cobra GTL200DX, Galaxy DX77HML, Cobra 146GTL yes a 14six, and a few other SSB radios that are great so really want something more modern for a commuter car I have that I have a 29 in now. but I hope they work as good as people say.

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Re: Uniden 980SSB / Personal Review & Thoughts

Post by Bulldog777 » Saturday, 26 October 2013, 9:11 AM

Nice write up 231! I had a few things done with mine. Fit well in the new 2013 Ford Fusion's! Did swap out the stock microphone for an Xtreme 2018. Using a Motorola 4003 external speaker and custom Sirio P5000 PL mobile antenna.

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Saturday, 26 October 2013, 12:29 PM

Here are the rest of the pictures!

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Motorola 4003 External Speaker

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Re: Uniden 980SSB / Personal Review & Thoughts

Post by silvereagle1 » Saturday, 26 October 2013, 12:10 PM

Nice looking set up and a good clean install. You'll enjoy that 980! been thinking on getting that antenna myself.
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Re: Uniden 980SSB / Personal Review & Thoughts

Post by 231 » Sunday, 27 October 2013, 6:42 AM

Agreed...clean set up. Looks like the 980SSB was meant to fit there. Sure makes it nice when they are mounted in a spot easy to get to and compliment the rest of the area. Nicely done!

231

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Re: Uniden 980SSB / Personal Review & Thoughts

Post by capt-woody » Sunday, 15 December 2013, 18:00 PM

Has anyone tried the Bluetooth wireless mic?

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Re: Uniden 980SSB / Personal Review & Thoughts

Post by silvereagle1 » Monday, 16 December 2013, 17:51 PM

I haven't used it but there is a video I believe on cbradiomagazine.com on the wireless mic.
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Re: Uniden 980SSB / Personal Review & Thoughts

Post by capt-woody » Saturday, 04 January 2014, 19:02 PM

The shop that I go to had a wireless mic set up on his and using it. It was pretty cool, lot of cool features. I tested it at about 30 yards away, worked well. He was in the process of trying to invent a conversion kit for other radios.

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Re: Uniden 980SSB / Personal Review & Thoughts

Post by sideshow138 » Monday, 31 March 2014, 11:54 AM

It sure looks like a nice radio installed in that console. That's the radio I'm looking to get for my vehicles. It will be playing leap frog from my Suburban to my 72 Super Beetle and eventually to my 58 Chevy Biscayne whenever that gets a motor and transmission. Hows the reach on that radio on regular cb channels?

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Re: Uniden 980SSB / Personal Review & Thoughts

Post by North GA 422 » Friday, 15 April 2016, 5:03 AM

I bought my Son one for his Birthday this year. He grew up watching me on CB's. He has always had a little 40 channel
(old one) in his car so, I help him upgrade he's still trying to get on his way in the world. We Installed it with a
Wilson 2000 on his car, and I was impressed I run a 146 gtl my self, the sound is much smother, maybe because mine
is quiet aged. We have it dead keying about 2w and a little help swinging about 55. Conditions good he is shooting
skip from GA. to West Coast. We did add a power mic. so I give it a Thumbs UP ( scale 1-5 this one 4.3).
Hope this helps
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