Kenwood TK-8180 UHF

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LukeB

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I have come across a UHF base antenna and I am potentially looking to get a UHF radio. I am trying to get a feel for these radios as someone told me about them. Unfortunately, I know very little about Kenwood so im looking to get some feedback on how owners feel about this radio. Pro's/Con's, etc. Roughly what they go for. I will most likely use this to receive and Im wondering if its worth getting this compared to a Motorola CDM radio. Some of the original specs of the Kenwood that I like is that you can scan more then 16 channels.

Thanks in advance.
 

fwradio

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For what it's worth, we have more than 2000 Kenwood TK880 mobiles in service, and about 500 TK8180 mobiles in service. We have about 400 CDM1550LS+ mobiles in service as well. Our technicians work on about 1 Kenwood per month, and about 5 of the Motorolas.
 

kg4uad

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Tk-8180 Uhf

I have come across a UHF base antenna and I am potentially looking to get a UHF radio. I am trying to get a feel for these radios as someone told me about them. Unfortunately, I know very little about Kenwood so im looking to get some feedback on how owners feel about this radio. Pro's/Con's, etc. Roughly what they go for. I will most likely use this to receive and Im wondering if its worth getting this compared to a Motorola CDM radio. Some of the original specs of the Kenwood that I like is that you can scan more then 16 channels.

Thanks in advance.
If scanning more than 16 channels at a time impresses you then you will definately love the 8180. I have the VHF version of this radio and as far as type accepted radios are concerned it is probably my favorite, my only regret is the fact that i am to impatient and couldnt wait for the 50 watt version to come out. Hence recommendation 1.: Im not sure what the UHF high power version is but go for a TK-8180H = high power i think its 40 or 45 watts. 1st generation 7180/8180's are 30watt models and although ive never really had an issue with duplex communication, there is alittle to be desired on the simplex side.

The radio also completely whips the motorola CDM models asses in terms of user friendliness. Dont take me as a motorola basher i am not, however the kenwood is effortless to navigate through, no zone list and scan list menus to setup and navigate. I have many radios and sometimes months go by before I desire to fire one up, the CDM was nightmarish for me because evertime i thought i had it down It would be a month or two and i would have to learn all the tricks again, the 7180/8180 is like riding a bike - once you do it once you will never forget its just to easy. for me thats priceless

Im also pretty sure that the 512 conventional channels capacity beats out the CDM series as well, not that you will need it, with dynamically allocated memory and multi zone scan options i can usually put everything for four surrounding counties in in less than 250 channels

Lets talk about the display for a minute, 7180/8180's display is much clearer and easier to read than the CDM's, I think that the CDM might give you more Characters in the display the characters are smaller and with the green backlight at noon on a sunny day ive found myself scrunching down in the seat to read the display. Kenwoods backlighting is amber and the characters are larger and bolder which help this out alot.

I have have seen 7180/8180's on e-bay going for anywhere from 250.00 to 450.00. 250.00 for a 30watt seems to me a good deal with 450.00 being for a high power unit. I think I paid around 450.00 for mine brand new with remote head kit and dtmf mic so id consider buying new if all you can find are units in the 400 and up range at least that way you will have the one year warranty. finding programming software should be no problem at all but this radio as well as its portable brother the 2180/3180 series are not and probably will never be "field" aka user programmable.

73's

kg4uad
 

LukeB

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Thanks for the review and feedback. I do know that moto's tend to be in the shops a little frequently but i havent had a problem to date (when I had CDM's).

Your input on the use of the radio helps a great deal. I have heard about these radio's and love that you can scan more then 16 channels. I feel this is a huge limitation with the moto's granted they aren't generally designed to be used as a scanner.

A few more questions: 1) Where do you get a programming cable and what do they cost? 2) How well do these radio's do on receive compared to the CDM's? 3) Does this radio do MDC encode/decode?

I forgot that this is a fairly important feature. If this radio does not do MDC, any recommendations as to which do?

Thanks again guys!
 
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kg4uad

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Thanks for the review and feedback. I do know that moto's tend to be in the shops a little frequently but i havent had a problem to date (when I had CDM's).

Your input on the use of the radio helps a great deal. I have heard about these radio's and love that you can scan more then 16 channels. I feel this is a huge limitation with the moto's granted they aren't generally designed to be used as a scanner.

A few more questions: 1) Where do you get a programming cable and what do they cost? 2) How well do these radio's do on receive compared to the CDM's? 3) Does this radio do MDC encode/decode?

I forgot that this is a fairly important feature. If this radio does not do MDC, any recommendations as to which do?

Thanks again guys!
Once again im not saying the CDM series are bad radios I think as far as "function" is concerned they are plenty tough, Ive never had a issue with mine (as far as dependability). I have not heard that CDM's need service or repair any more than the kenwoods. One note on this I will make is: Motorola has discontinued parts for many of their radios at this point - the "spectra" for instance is probably one of the best mobile radios ever made but motorola has seen fit to not support it and many others. Kenwood however supports every commercial and possibly amateur radio they have ever produced and will probably continue to do so.

Programming cables are easily available on ebay for around 9.00 bucks no need to get one specific to the 8180 as long as it is for kenwood and has the modular phone jack connector it will work, No R.I.B.'s needed.

MDC is not and will never be supported in a kenwood radio that is a motorola proprietary protocol. If you absolutely have to have it your stuck with motorola, aftermarket companies make a MDC option board that will plug right into the 8180's option port - however that provides you with MDC Encode only, to my knowledge it will not Decode a MDC I.D. which im sure is what you want. MDC might be widely used in your area but i assure you if listen all the time your gonna know who is transmitting and whats going on. Where im at Kenwoods Protocol "Fleet sync" is used and I played with it for awhile and got bored with it pretty quickly, its not as important as you might think. Take it from someone on the inside looking out, once you have it you wont really care and youll be stuck with a radio that wont really do what you want it to do.

One thing I didnt tell you was the "scan rate" of the 7180/8180 radios is superb! If your mainly using the radio to monitor as a scanner you would be very happy with this feature. As far as the "receive" sensitivity of the radio - its very good, im not gonna quote specs but it is as good if not better than radios that cost twice as much. The real diffrence in in the transmit audio. Kenwood has always had a more robust full fidelity audio than Motorola in my opinion. I think motorola manipulates there audio output with the intention of maximum intelligibility at a maximum range - well in my opinion it sounds compressed and like crap. I promise you I can tell the difference by just listening if a person is using a motorola or a kenwood radio from the fidelity alone.

Pound for pound the 7180/8180 is a better radio, its a tool to get the job done. The only thing I could ever ask for would be more high power output. If this radio was available in a 110 watt version I would buy it gladly and it would be the last conventional/ltr analog mobile I would need.

73's

kg4uad
 
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QUOTE"MDC is not and will never be supported in a kenwood radio that is a motorola proprietary protocol. If you absolutely have to have it your stuck with motorola, aftermarket companies make a MDC option board that will plug right into the 8180's option port - however that provides you with MDC Encode only, to my knowledge it will not Decode a MDC I.D. which im sure is what you want. MDC might be widely used in your area but i assure you if listen all the time your gonna know who is transmitting and whats going on. Where im at Kenwoods Protocol "Fleet sync" is used and I played with it for awhile and got bored with it pretty quickly, its not as important as you might think. Take it from someone on the inside looking out, once you have it you wont really care and youll be stuck with a radio that wont really do what you want it to do"

Motorola no longer controls MDC-1200 and it is open market as most Two-Way radios have it now.Your correct Kenwood will not ever have MDC-1200 as they have fleet sync.

I have had the 7180 its a great radio no problems at all.

I have used a CDM1250 I have had way to many problems with the cdm1250 they are really not worth the time and money.When I was shopping around to find a replacement for the CDM I tried a Icom F5061 and it worked great MDC-1200 and all the features of the CDM and more...........
 

LukeB

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I'll have to take a look at this radio. Does it scan all 512 channels? Roughly how much do they go for? Although the MDC is not a major selling point, I do like that it is available.
 

kg4uad

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Joined
Jan 31, 2004
Messages
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Location
Pickens, SC
QUOTE"MDC is not and will never be supported in a kenwood radio that is a motorola proprietary protocol. If you absolutely have to have it your stuck with motorola, aftermarket companies make a MDC option board that will plug right into the 8180's option port - however that provides you with MDC Encode only, to my knowledge it will not Decode a MDC I.D. which im sure is what you want. MDC might be widely used in your area but i assure you if listen all the time your gonna know who is transmitting and whats going on. Where im at Kenwoods Protocol "Fleet sync" is used and I played with it for awhile and got bored with it pretty quickly, its not as important as you might think. Take it from someone on the inside looking out, once you have it you wont really care and youll be stuck with a radio that wont really do what you want it to do"

Motorola no longer controls MDC-1200 and it is open market as most Two-Way radios have it now.Your correct Kenwood will not ever have MDC-1200 as they have fleet sync.

I have had the 7180 its a great radio no problems at all.

I have used a CDM1250 I have had way to many problems with the cdm1250 they are really not worth the time and money.When I was shopping around to find a replacement for the CDM I tried a Icom F5061 and it worked great MDC-1200 and all the features of the CDM and more...........
fireandems13669,

I checked out your website and noticed the Icom F5061 Mobile Radio, interesting especially for the price. I think this would be an acceptable equivalent to a 7180/8180. Does the UT-119H allow for "NEXDEN" operation? If so how much does the option board go for?

73's

kg4uad
 
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