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Kenwood & EF Johnson Forum - For discussion of land mobile radio products manufactured by Kenwood or EF Johnson. For discussion of Kenwood Amateur Radio Equipment, please use the Amateur Radio Equipment forum.

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Old 01-09-2018, 3:19 PM
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Default Kenwood radio's Pros and cons

I am completely new to Kenwood. Never owned one (or even used one) before. I was thinking about getting either a TK380 or a TK3180. Does anyone have any information to these radio's as well as pros and cons? Is there one radio I should get over the other? I would like to also have Fleetsync I think both of these have that feature. I intend to use it for Amateur radio so 450-490 bandwidth is ideal. Any help is appreciated.
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Old 01-09-2018, 3:37 PM
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Originally Posted by KD2LQG View Post
I am completely new to Kenwood. Never owned one (or even used one) before. I was thinking about getting either a TK380 or a TK3180. Does anyone have any information to these radio's as well as pros and cons? Is there one radio I should get over the other? I would like to also have Fleetsync I think both of these have that feature. I intend to use it for Amateur radio so 450-490 bandwidth is ideal. Any help is appreciated.
Buy new, the tk380 no longer made, parts are minimal.

tk-3180, still around but analog only, 512 chl, end of life soon.

Looking to go digital? Look at the nx3300. does either dmr or nxdn, plus analog and ltr., can do 1000 channels (option)
400 to 470 out of the box.

on the road, cant go knee deep but can point you correctly on kenwood.
.




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Old 01-09-2018, 4:43 PM
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Default Kenwood radio's Pros and cons

Analogue: TK-3180 Analogue/NXDN: NX-300. If you need DMR NX-3000


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Old 01-09-2018, 4:55 PM
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Analogue: TK-3180 Analogue/NXDN: NX-300. If you need DMR NX-3000


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Nx300 nearing end of life soon. Still available. Nx300g.

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Old 01-09-2018, 6:38 PM
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I agree. The TK-380 is an old radio. If cost isn't the issue, get the TK-3180. Newer model, more features, etc.
Pretty popular radios, and easy to program.

If you ever decide to add a mobile down the road, the software that programs the TK-3180 will also program the TK-8180 mobile (as well as the TK-2180 and TK-7180 VHF portable/mobile).
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Old 01-09-2018, 6:47 PM
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I have found some TK3180's that are cheaper than the TK380's so I will probably get the 3180. I would get an nx300 but they are too expensive and I don't really need all the features. Maybe if I can get a good deal on one.
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Old 01-09-2018, 7:45 PM
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Also what is the orange gasket at the bottom of the back of the radio's? Is it something special? I have noticed most sellers take a picture of that so its probably important.
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Old 01-09-2018, 8:26 PM
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That can be removed and option modules can be installed in there. You want to keep it in place, so knowing it's there is good.
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Old 01-09-2018, 8:35 PM
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Ah ok. Is there any particular module one should be interested in or is it just something not to mess with?
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Old 01-09-2018, 8:53 PM
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Originally Posted by KD2LQG View Post
I have found some TK3180's that are cheaper than the TK380's so I will probably get the 3180. I would get an nx300 but they are too expensive and I don't really need all the features. Maybe if I can get a good deal on one.

Yea, if you can find a TK-3180 for less than a TK-380, go for it. The TK-3180 is much more modern, and an all around better radio. Make sure you get hi Capacity batteries. While I do not own a TK-3180, I have read they are thirsty.


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Old 01-09-2018, 9:02 PM
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I've been a Motorola guy for a long time, but had reason to use a Kenwood on a daily basis at work. I was pleasantly surprised! I think it was an NX300.

Other than having to familiarize myself with the radio, its nuances, and its inner workings, I would have no problem owning one.
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Old 01-09-2018, 9:08 PM
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Ah ok. Is there any particular module one should be interested in or is it just something not to mess with?
There are a few different modules that can be used (you can only install one)
VGS-1 is a voice storage/voice guide module.
Great if you need that stuff, but a pain if you don't. If you use the recording function, you need to assign a button for it. The voice guide thing is just annoying, or at least that was my experience with it after a week or so. I disabled it and not even sure which radio it's in anymore.

There are also encryption modules, ANI, man-down, vibration, etc. but you shouldn't need that.



The TK-3180 is produced in two frequency splits. Make sure you know which one you are getting:
TK-3180 K and K3 models: 450-520MHz
TK-3180 K2 and K4 models: 400-470MHz.

They RF boards are different, so get the correct one. I think they can be tricked into a few MHz outside the design, but do not expect a 450-520MHz radio to go all the way down to 440. Unless you specifically need to run on the UHF-T band, no need to get the K or K3 models. Those might be the "cheaper" ones you are seeing.

There are a lot of battery options. I'm running about 350 NX-410's, which are the same chassis radio but NXDN/800MHz. We haven't had any issues with batteries, in fact I'm running several KNB-33L's with 2011 date codes. I can usually get two full 8 hour days out of one battery, but I'm not transmitting much. Kenwood brand batteries are expensive, so after market would be a good option. We've had good results with PowerProducts.

If you do buy a new radio, I'd recommend getting a new antenna since you don't know for sure what the previous owner did to it. Don't buy the cheap ones off e-Bay or Amazon, they are often mass produced in China and don't always resonate where the seller claims. Get a genuine Kenwood antenna. For amateur radio use, KRA-27M3 is the correct model. 400-450 whip.
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Old 01-09-2018, 9:14 PM
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I've been a Motorola guy for a long time, but had reason to use a Kenwood on a daily basis at work. I was pleasantly surprised! I think it was an NX300.



Other than having to familiarize myself with the radio, its nuances, and its inner workings, I would have no problem owning one.

I use a NX-200 for amateur radio, I absolutely love it. You could not take it out of my hands.


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Old 01-09-2018, 9:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
There are a few different modules that can be used (you can only install one)
VGS-1 is a voice storage/voice guide module.
Great if you need that stuff, but a pain if you don't. If you use the recording function, you need to assign a button for it. The voice guide thing is just annoying, or at least that was my experience with it after a week or so. I disabled it and not even sure which radio it's in anymore.

There are also encryption modules, ANI, man-down, vibration, etc. but you shouldn't need that.



The TK-3180 is produced in two frequency splits. Make sure you know which one you are getting:
TK-3180 K and K3 models: 450-520MHz
TK-3180 K2 and K4 models: 400-470MHz.

They RF boards are different, so get the correct one. I think they can be tricked into a few MHz outside the design, but do not expect a 450-520MHz radio to go all the way down to 440. Unless you specifically need to run on the UHF-T band, no need to get the K or K3 models. Those might be the "cheaper" ones you are seeing.

There are a lot of battery options. I'm running about 350 NX-410's, which are the same chassis radio but NXDN/800MHz. We haven't had any issues with batteries, in fact I'm running several KNB-33L's with 2011 date codes. I can usually get two full 8 hour days out of one battery, but I'm not transmitting much. Kenwood brand batteries are expensive, so after market would be a good option. We've had good results with PowerProducts.

If you do buy a new radio, I'd recommend getting a new antenna since you don't know for sure what the previous owner did to it. Don't buy the cheap ones off e-Bay or Amazon, they are often mass produced in China and don't always resonate where the seller claims. Get a genuine Kenwood antenna. For amateur radio use, KRA-27M3 is the correct model. 400-450 whip.
Ok thank you. I have read that the 450 versions will go down to the 440 HAM band which I think should be ok. People haven't had problems using ham on the 450 versions. Heck I have my 450-527 HT1250 go down to the 440 just fine.
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Last edited by KD2LQG; 01-09-2018 at 11:12 PM.. Reason: Spelling
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