Kenwood TH-K20A and Yaesu FT-270R for Railroads

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Hello everyone. I am a railfan from Michigan. I have a cheap Baifeng with a Diamond SRJ77CA antenna and I'm just not impressed. From reading many forums, I find it true that bad radio + good antenna still = bad radio

I am hearing amazing rave ratings of the Kenwood TH-K20A and the Yaesu FT-270R. Both around the same price. I plan on using a roof mounted Traintenna and a Diamond SRH77CA or Comet SMA 24 for mobile portable uses.

Can someone pitch in?
 

k6cpo

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Both would probably work equally well for scanning the AAR frequencies. Until the railroads all go digital (whenever that might be.) Then you'd have to find something else. However, there are scanners out there for less money than you'd spend on wither the Kenwood or the Yaesu.
 

cmdrwill

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I would stick with the 1/4 wave, 18", antenna on the roof, and the stock antenna on the Kenwood TH-K20A and the Yaesu FT-270R. Save your money I have not seen that much improvement with the Comet or Diamond antennas.

I use my old Motorola HT1000 to monitor railroad radio traffic.
 

cbehr91

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Kenwood would be the hotter receiver. I don't think the TH-K20A does the splinter channels but that's not a huge issue. Like the previous post indicated, quarter wave antennas are much more magnet mount friendly (unless you're punching a hole -- "whole" different story).

For a portable antenna, I have some tuned duck for 160 mHz. I think it's Larsen brand. They are good. So are Laird and Smiley. The Comet and Diamond antennas are tuned for the 2m ham band which is a bit below the rail band. Why would you not have something tuned for what you're listening to?

Happy scanning.
 
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Kenwood would be the hotter receiver. I don't think the TH-K20A does the splinter channels but that's not a huge issue. Like the previous post indicated, quarter wave antennas are much more magnet mount friendly (unless you're punching a hole -- "whole" different story).

For a portable antenna, I have some tuned duck for 160 mHz. I think it's Larsen brand. They are good. So are Laird and Smiley. The Comet and Diamond antennas are tuned for the 2m ham band which is a bit below the rail band. Why would you not have something tuned for what you're listening to?

Happy scanning.

I've been told by many the Yaesu is a great radio for railroad scanning. Do you have any personal experience with the Kenwood, and if not, are you sure that it is going to be good?

Also, since I mentioned only two models, is there anything better than the Yaesu or Kenwood in 160Mhz in the same price range?
 

cbehr91

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I have a Kenwood mobile (TM-281A), and it's excellent. Pretty much the best non-NXDN radio out there. I don't personally have experience with the specific Kenwood you're looking at, but I have played around with the commercial Kenwood handhelds the railroad use and the common consensus among the folks that use them is the Kenwoods have the best receivers (between them and ICOM).

In the same price range the ICOM V80 would be about the only other thing to consider, which I used to have and it too was an excellent radio. To confuse you more I also used to have a Yaesu FT270 and it was a good unit too. Has a bigger speaker and display than the ICOM plus a backlit keypad which the ICOM doesn't have but I hated the SMA connector on the Yaesu. Just depends on what features you want. All have about the same sensitivity (within .02uv of each other, which is essentially nothing). None of the amateur handhelds currently available do NXDN or the splinter channels (160.5475, etc.), but that's not a big deal.

Kenwood/ICOM/Yaesu all make excellent products. But like Ford vs. Chevy, Pepsi vs. Coke or PC vs. Mac, some people like one brands' features more than others.
 

Mike-KC8OWL

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I use one of my Kenwood TH-K20a handhelds as a rail scanner almost exclusively and it works great for the job. It is easy to carry, easy to program on the fly, and sounds very good too. In the event I need or want to use a 2m repeater I have all my local repeaters programmed as well - just not part of the scan list.

Mike KC8OWL
 
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