BearTracker 885 v Whistler WS1010:
Despite all the latest advancements in smartphone technology, essential services like police, fire departments, and other public safety agencies still use two-way radio communication. And if you want to keep tabs on all of their activities, you’ll need a radio scanner, also known as a police scanner.
Radio scanners can pick up communication transmissions from many different services besides the police and fire department, such as ambulances, the NOAA, aircraft, public events, and so on. With a proper scanner, you can listen in to all frequencies in your nearby location and stay up to date with what’s going on.
This can be very beneficial if you’re planning a road trip and want to receive the latest information on the safety and the weather in your area. It’s also a great way to pick up what’s happening around you, since not everything makes it on the news.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at two of the leading radio scanners on the market. And although they are quite different from one another, which we’ll discuss below, they are both excellent options for their specific use and price range.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right into it!
Whistler WS1010 Review
The Whistler WS1010 is an affordable analog scanner that’s easy to carry around wherever you go. That’s because it’s handheld and powered by rechargeable AA batteries. The good news, though, is that it can also be powered by a 12v car power adapter or used with just the AC adapter.
It also has an ergonomic design similar to a walkie-talkie. With a backlit LCD screen, you can also use it with ease even in low light situations. All the buttons can be locked via the Key Lock function, so you can avoid accidentally changing channels while using it on the go.
With the Whistler WS1010, you can listen in to 25,000 conventional transmissions, from FM radio bands and fire/police departments, to marine, air, ham, and weather frequencies. You can find all of these through a quick search button, so there’s no need to go through complicated programming. If you do wish to program it, though, you can do it using your PC and a third-party software. That way, you can back up data, update the database, and program all your frequencies.
If you have some specific frequencies that you listen to most, you can also save them into the scanner for easy access later on. The scanner has a 200 channel memory bank, divided into 10 separate storage banks for easier classification.
Other great features include the Skywarn storm spotter, which gives you instant access to local storm spotter networks. With it, you can closely follow storm conditions as soon as they happen and not wait to hear reports about it on the news.
“Very happy with this scanner. It covers the range of frequencies as indicated but does perform better with the use of an outside antenna rather than the rubber ducky. The included package of accessories is quite impressive! Audio is very good & programming is made easy by reading the Guide carefully. Overall a very worthwhile purchase.” – Keneke
- Easy to use
- Simple programming
- Good audio
- 200 channel memory
- Rubber duck antenna
BearTracker 885 Review
The BearTracker 885 is made by Uniden, the world’s most known radio scanner manufacturer. They constantly make good quality radios, and this one is no exception.
This one is a two-in-one radio, consisting of a CB radio and a police scanner. It functions primarily as a CB radio, with which you can open a communication channel between you and other users.
The scanner feature of the radio works just alongside the CB radio – you don’t need to switch around between different modes, just push a button and you’re good to go. You’ll have access to all the public safety channels while still having your CB channels active.
Besides the CB feature, the BearTracker 885 is quite different from the Whistler radio above in that it is a digital scanner, rather than an analog one. The main difference is that digital scanners have better reception and better sound, as well as the ability to pick up digital signals. Digital signals are becoming the norm lately, so if the public services where you live have switched to digital, you’ll need a digital scanner to listen in.
As for the other features, the BearTracker 885 has an included GPS that knows your precise location and automatically selects nearby channels for monitoring. It also has a fully loaded database with all the US and Canada channels that you can easily update on a weekly basis.
The included microphone has a noise-cancelling feature as well, so it will enhance your transmissions even in noisy environments.
“Not too many people run CBs in my area, but when they do, it works strongly. The scanner is nice when I am bored and want to listen in on the police bands. It is nice that the scanner changes automatically with the GPS so that I can drive and listen without having to tune in specific frequencies. The beartracker alert is handy when traveling away from civilization, but goes off too much in town (as expected). Really like this setup! I would buy this again!” – Trekhead
- Two-in-one radio
- GPS included
- Noise-cancelling microphone
- Easy to use
- Free weekly updates
- Not great audio quality
The Verdict – Which one’s the best radio scanner?
In a direct comparison, the BearTracker 885 from Uniden is clearly the superior scanner. But things are not as simple as that. Depending on your use, you could find the Whistler WS1010 much more useful – if you require handheld use and simple operation for analog signals only.
Overall, they’re both pretty good options in their respective price-range and intended use. But if you’re looking for a more advanced radio scanner with an included CB radio, the BearTracker is your go-to choice. And that is our recommendation, always go for the best, and the BearTracker is definitely the best.