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Mobile Questions - Kenwood vs. BTech GMRS-50X1

doovenator

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Have had my license a little over year but have yet to get any radios as I've had some DLR1020's to use in the meantime. Now some buddies I go off-roading with got their license and at least one has a Midland MXT275. I'd like to go with wide-band as it seems they do better with repeaters (from what I've read here), will this cause any issues with the narrow-band radios, either tx/rx between the two? I'm also not sure which Kenwood to get, or where to get besides Ebay, TK-8180 I've seen thrown around, and is the software hard to come by? (other radio recommendations welcome)
I also think I'd use my scanner antenna, currently mag mount but not opposed to permanently mount as I've done to my car already. My concern is should I "split" it to go the scanner and GMRS radio, or if I got a Kenwood or 50X1 they appear to have some sort of "scan" function, would that be good enough? Any insights would be appreciated, thanks for any comments.
 

mmckenna

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Have had my license a little over year but have yet to get any radios as I've had some DLR1020's to use in the meantime. Now some buddies I go off-roading with got their license and at least one has a Midland MXT275. I'd like to go with wide-band as it seems they do better with repeaters (from what I've read here),
If the GMRS repeaters you plan on using are wide band, then you'll benefit from a wide band capable radio. If the GMRS repeaters are narrow band (likely few/rare) then having a radio that does narrow would be a good idea. With the right setup, most commercial radios will do both.

will this cause any issues with the narrow-band radios, either tx/rx between the two?
If you are running wide on your radio and they are running narrow on theirs:
Your audio on their radios will sound distorted/over deviated.
Their audio on your radio will sound quite/under deviated.

But… Most commercial radios are capable of both narrow and wide.


I'm also not sure which Kenwood to get, or where to get besides Ebay, TK-8180 I've seen thrown around, and is the software hard to come by? (other radio recommendations welcome)
TK-8180 is a good choice. KPG-89 is inexpensive and easy to learn. Yeah, it's probably out there on the web if you look under the right rocks.

I also think I'd use my scanner antenna, currently mag mount but not opposed to permanently mount as I've done to my car already. My concern is should I "split" it to go the scanner and GMRS radio, or if I got a Kenwood or 50X1 they appear to have some sort of "scan" function, would that be good enough? Any insights would be appreciated, thanks for any comments.
You'll want two separate antennas. Yeah, you can combine them, but the diplexer will block out a big chunk of the UHF band from reaching your scanner.

The commercial radios will scan, but they often don't scan well. If scanning is your desire, stick with your scanner and a separate scanner antenna.
 

doovenator

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Thanks a bunch @mmckenna. I found this "kit" today browsing around, seems like a fair deal but not sure if all 3 radios listed (8180, 8360 or 8160) are part 95 compliant Refurbished Kenwood TK-8180/TK-8360/TK-8160 UHF Radio Kit. Says programming is included so then I wouldn't need the software (at least until later if I need to program in repeaters. The ones on eBay seem a bit more beat up and incomplete.
 

mmckenna

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Thanks a bunch @mmckenna. I found this "kit" today browsing around, seems like a fair deal but not sure if all 3 radios listed (8180, 8360 or 8160) are part 95 compliant Refurbished Kenwood TK-8180/TK-8360/TK-8160 UHF Radio Kit. Says programming is included so then I wouldn't need the software (at least until later if I need to program in repeaters. The ones on eBay seem a bit more beat up and incomplete.
There are a few UHF sub models for these radios and not all of them have Part 95 certification.
Generally, the lower power UHF in the higher split have Part 95 certification. Higher power and/or lower split models do not.

I'd be cautious, while the radios may look good, you still don't know what you are getting. $199 isn't a bad price, but it's not great, and it's pretty high for the lower tier models.

E-bay is always a risk, so buying from a shop is a good idea, especially if they do programming for you. You will eventually want to be able to make changes to your radios to tailor them to how you utilize them.
 

Shards

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Denver, CO
The only real advantage I see with the B-Tech which is actually practical is the ability to scan DPL tones, and really the only value to me insofar as that goes is for stations I just want to listen to, which may be FRS/GMRS or which may be LMR and not have to listen to every single station on whichever frequency. I don’t really find on the fly programming feasible… I live in a city, and one full of people I trust behind the wheel less than I’d trust… well, just about anything. So I’m not going to be fiddling with that while driving. If I’m sitting stationary, sure. But I really don’t travel a whole lot, and I know what my local repeaters are.
So, I prefer the Kenwood. One vehicle has a TK-8180H, and the other has a TK-8360-HU-K. Visually, they look very much alike.
Agree with the bit about being wary of EBay sellers.
 

mmckenna

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So, I prefer the Kenwood. One vehicle has a TK-8180H, and the other has a TK-8360-HU-K. Visually, they look very much alike.
If you really wanted to toe the line, the H models do not have Part 95 approval. Sure, unlikely anyone would notice or care, but putting that out there for clarity.

On the Kenwood UHF models:
High split + Low power (non-H models) = will have Part 95
Low split radios are not Part 95
High power radios (H models) are not Part 95
 
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