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Old 11-17-2014, 4:23 PM
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 2
Post Looking for feedback to decide between 3 VHF radios.


I'm new to posting here, but have been reading through numerous posts, gleaning all kinds of information.

I am trying to decide between 3 VHF transceivers:

Kenwood TK-7180 (likely the H model which is 50w), Icom IC-F5061 or Relm RM800A.

I currently use the TK-7180K at work and love almost everything about the radio. It is also so feature packed that I don't see myself "outgrowing" it until I feel a need for digital. The TK-7180 scans the nicest out of any radio I have used so far.

I have limited exposure to Icom, except for programming my g/f's IC-F121 for her and brief testing. I find it functional and love the programming interface, but it is "clunky" feeling compared to the Kenwood in operation. The Icom only outshines the Kenwood in transmit power 50w vs. 30w.

I also currenlty have a Relm RMV-25 installed in my car and like certain things about it, but except for the per channel squelch, I feel it has nothing to offer that even holds a candle to any of my 3 possible upgrades. I also find the scanning on the RMV-25, ineffective as it seems to constantly stop on a channel with interference.

I actually hope to sell my 2 Relm RMV-25's to finance my upgrade, as much as I like these rugged little radios. The one thing that made me consider getting rid of them was the scarcity of accessories, the relative rarity of them and the almost complete lack of forum support and user base.

These are the reasons that I have listed my 3 upgrades in current order of preference. The Kenwood seems like the perfect radio, albeit the most expensive. It is also the most common and best supported. The Icom is a little cheaper and seems to give similar bang for the buck, but not having used a newer Icom I am a little hesitant. The Relm comes in last because of lack of support, but it seems to be very close to the Kenwood in features and quality execution. I will likely be mounting with separation kit, if DIN install is not feasible, so I lean towards the first two on that front, because I know these kits are readily available.

If any of you have experience with any of these 3, I would love your opinions and reflections on which you prefer and why.

Sorry for the long-winded post.


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Old 11-17-2014, 11:18 PM
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This topic may wind up being one of those Ford vs. Chevy type deals, and who likes what may largely depend on brand loyalty.

I have nothing to say about the Relm model-no experience.

I take care of a hand full of 7180s (dash mount only). However, we have only had them a couple of years and I have never used one myself for work. Unfortunately I can't tell you much about them. I can tell you we've had no problems with them so far. Software is easy.

Regarding the 5061/6061 series, I take care of about 3 dozen of them (mostly remote mounts, but a few dash mount setups), and have been buying them for 7-8 years or so. Outstanding radios in my opinion. Never once had a problem with them. Never once had a breakdown or broken accessory. I have a 6061 in my work truck, and I wouldn't trade it for anything comparable. Software is easy, scanning options are great.

Most of our use of these radios is primitive, and not a lot of the higher tier or more complex features of the radios are used.

For whatever it's worth, the 5061/6061 series is likely my favorite mobile VHF/UHF model to buy for conventional analog use. It's my radio of choice to buy for the people I support, unless money is a factor or I only need a lower tier model.

I suggest you contact Tom with Red Dog Radios with further questions about these radios. He sells Kenwood and Icom, as well as Vertex and a few other brands. Outstanding customer service, and he takes ownership in his work and in every sale. Red Dog Radios

Good luck.
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Old 11-18-2014, 12:07 AM
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Location: WTVLCA01DS0
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I'm a big Kenwood fan, so my preference would be the 7180. KRK-10 will let you do a remote head mount, which can be really helpful in a lot of mobile installs. I prefer the Kenwood microphones, too.
If you ever decide to go digital, the NX-700 and the TK-5220 are all built off the same chassis. The NX-700 will give you analog and NXDN/NexEdge. The TK-5220 will give you analog and P25. Any of the three will use the same accessories, including the KRK-10, microphones and programming cable. I've got about 50 of the NX-900's at work on my system. 800MHz, but same chassis as the 7180. They are in all kinds of vehicles, including garbage trucks, heavy equipment and police cars, haven't had one issue yet.

I used to use a lot of Icom, and I really like their radios. I had an IC-221 I used on GMRS and 70cm for a long time, nice radio. I've got IC-121 sitting at work. Only issue I've ever really had with Icom was the stock microphones. If I ever purchased anymore of them, I'd spend the extra money for the upgraded microphone. I had a couple of PTT buttons fail on the microphones, and a few mic cases crack. Personal experience only, others seem to be happy with them. While not the same model, I had 3 Icom IC-320's sitting in a dispatch center powered on for 10 years straight without issue. Only used as receivers, but fine radios.

I can't speak about Relm, never owned any, but I agree with you about the lack of support.

I think either the Kenwood or Icom would be just fine.
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Old 11-28-2014, 12:49 PM
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I absolutely love my Relm RM800! I have the VHF version (RMV800). It has so so so so many features on it! It also has 256 zones, of 512 channels.. That's a lot of channels if you do the math, MDC, Quick Call 2, CTCSS/DCS (PL/DPL), you can FPP them from the front if it's set up in the software!

I agree with you though on the lack of support on the Relm stuff, but I've emailed Relm Support more than one time, and they've been really really helpful and nice about it. I've even sent my radio in for $80 to get fixed. When I get the money I'm hoping to get a new mic for it, and also the Remote Separation Kit. I got my cable for it on eBay for fairly cheap.. And the software is super cheap! Hopefully this does help you a little bit, to decide. If you do get one, feel free to PM me on here, and I'll try to help you out the best I can.

Here's a little "demo" I did on mine :
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Old 12-09-2014, 9:07 PM
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 2
Thumbs up

Thanks so much for the feedback. Sorry I've been swamped with work, so kept forgetting to reply. But I did read each response as they came in and value the opinions and experiences. I think I am still leaning the same way, but then again, I wouldn't be that surprised if I had to eventually find a home for one of each, so I can experiment with their differences. I guess I am on the right track no matter which way I decide as all 3 seem to have their fans.

Thanks again.

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Old 12-12-2014, 7:20 PM
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Location: The land of broken calculators.
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You do get what you pay for so if your budget allows for the kenwood, if all you want is an analog radio, I'd go for the 7180. That's not to say the 5061 is a bad radio because it's not.
If you think you'll eventually need to upgrade for NXDN then the icom is the way to go.
They're very comparable but the icoms run hot, even on low power if you're going to use them for extended, long transmissions. They will actually go into fail safe mode. The kenwoods seem to have much better cooling. But at least the icom puts their heatsink on the top with a non-stick teflon coating so you can at least use it as a griddle and cook a steak on top of it while you TX.
Aside from that, there's some other minor annoyances.

From my observations, right now on the second hand market, the 7180s are more plentiful and cheaper than the 5061s are. But if you're buying new, they will come in more expensive.

I don't know anything about relm. Never even seen one in person.
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Old 06-19-2018, 4:45 PM
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Location: Gilbert, Arizona
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Have had my Relm RMV25 mounted on my ATV. It's exposed to all kinds of weather. Been riding when it's hot, cold, raining, and when I go camping it stays right there on the quad. Only thing I do to protect it is but a plastic bag over it when raining. Still works great after 8 years of this treatment. Have one in my truck and several friends also have one. No complaints...
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Old 06-19-2018, 5:09 PM
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Lowestoft - UK
Posts: 350

When I first started in business radio in 1980, I went Icom, after a short spell with Motorola, and over the years my experience was excellent, About 7 years ago, I bought a large amount of Kenwood, after having other non-radio Kenwood products. I've now got lots of Kenwood analogue and digital radios, plus a few repeaters. Comparing the Icons with the Kenwoods now, I also think the Icons are a bit clunky - squarer, more chunky and everything kind of military and business like. The kenwoods are more 'designed' - does that make sense.

In practice, however, both have been just as reliable - I think I just changed my taste in design. n' comment on the other brand - not something I've ever heard of in the UK.
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Old 06-22-2018, 12:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 507

The Icom has the best receiver which is the most important spec in a world now full of interference sources and splinter frequencies
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icom ic f-5061, kenwood, kenwood tk-7180, relm, relm rm800a

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