Generally speaking, when somebody asks ‘can a CB radio pick up police’ the answer is no. This is because the police (and other emergency services for that matter) tend not to broadcast on CB radio. They may use Channel 9 on occasion but, in most cases, they will stick to other options. This means that for many people who want to listen in on police broadcasts, they can buy a separate police scanner.
There is one unit that will do both – meet the Uniden BearTracker 885, a hybrid CB Radio/Police Scanner. It is the only CB radio on the market which also operates as a police scanner. We figured we would give it a review. It may be the best option for you!
How The Police Scanner Works
Unlike other scanners, you won’t have access to the frequencies that you are listening to. Instead, you will just press the button for the scanner and you will hear the emergency service broadcasts that the radio has found. Operating the scanner will not cut off the CB functionality. Both of the functions will operate alongside each other.
The whole unit will work on GPS. The unit has been ‘pre-programmed’ with broadcast stations for emergency services throughout the United States. It will automatically search for frequencies based upon what it has been programmed to search for. You will need to regularly update the scanner to ensure that the frequency list is up to date. If you don’t, then the scanner will probably miss most things.
The downside is that you are going to need to have two antennas. You can’t use the scanner and the CB function on the same antenna. This does add a bit of extra cost to the unit, but it will be nowhere near as much as if you were buying a separate scanner for your vehicle. There is a small antenna included for the scanner, but it is terrible and you will probably want to buy a different one to mount to the top of your vehicle.
Yes. An actual police scanner is probably going to have a bit more functionality than this. However, most people don’t need an actual police scanner. They just want something that will alert them if there is an emergency in the local area.
Full Function CB Radio
Of course, the Uniden BearTracker 885 isn’t just a police scanner. It is also a full-function CB radio. You will have complete access to all 40 CB radio stations, and it is dreadfully simple to flick between them too. As you can probably guess, this means that the BearTracker contains all the functionality of your standard CB radio.
Honestly, even if you didn’t plan to use the police scanner function, you still have a decent CB radio here. It offers sublime sound quality, and it is incredibly well built.
Built To Last
If you have never encountered a Uniden product before, then you are in for a treat. Their products are ‘built to last’.
The second you whip this out of the box, you know that you are going to get something that will last you a long time. The casing is virtually indestructible. All of the cables are niche and thick. The control knobs are smooth, yet firm.
If you keep your Uniden BearTracker 885 up to date with the latest software, then we see no reason why this is not something that can last you years and years. Although, obviously, keeping it up to date with the software means that you need to rely on Uniden’s long term support. If they drop that, then the scanner becomes pretty useless.
Easy To Use
This is one of those rare CB radios that you could operate without even opening up the manual. Every button on the panel is clearly labeled. You will be flicking through the channels like a pro in next-to-no time at all.
One of our favorite things about this radio is the display. It boasts 7 colors, which makes it really simple to read and really differentiate between the different aspects of the screen. We were getting pretty tired of digital displays which were just one or two colors. They are hard to read, particularly if you are taking a quick glance at it every so often.
Considering all of the features that Uniden have managed to pack into this, it is surprisingly easy to get it mounted and set-up too. The size is a little bit bigger than your standard CB radio, but that is perfectly justifiable.
Superior Sound Quality
We aren’t talking about the incoming transmissions here, although they are still fantastic. We are talking about outgoing transmissions.
The microphone included with the Uniden BearTracker 885 is probably one of the best ‘stock’ microphones we have ever seen. It is beautifully made, and it feels great in your hands. The microphone has also been designed with noise-canceling technology in mind. This means that any transmissions that you send out from your Uniden BearTracker 885 should be received nice and clearly. Basically, communication is going to be so much easier.
Most people will see this as a downside of the Uniden BearTracker 885. It is a very costly unit, particularly when you compare it to other CB radios.
However, we do see the price as justified. It is a combined CB radio and police scanner. It has a lot of features built into it. A GPS unit to run the scanner, for one. This kit is something that would cost you a lot of cash if you decided to purchase it separately.
Yes, it is harder to justify the cost if you weren’t interested in picking up a police scanner. However, if you wanted one of those too, then this is pretty much a no brainer.
If you want to minimize the amount of equipment that you have in your vehicle, then the Uniden BearTracker 885 may be just the ticket. Sure, it has a couple of downsides, but it is the only way that you are going to get a police scanner rolled into a CB radio.