Kenwood TM-281A - 30 Day GigaParts Warranty - No Manufacturer Warranty



Out of stock

Used & Open-Box: from $129.29

This item has been discontinued. We are unable to accept backorders.

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Customer Reviews

Great 2 meter radio
Review by Buck
I won this TM-281A radio about 6-8 years ago.

This radio appears to be defying my Kenwood Curse. I have owned a dozen Kenwoods, purchased new, that have all died prematurely.

This radio has been working both as a base and as a mobile from day one. It is still in excellent condition and transmits 63 watts according to my power meter.

The only "damage" to the radio is the outer sleeve of the mic cord at the head of the mic. It split a few days ago. The inside wires were very strong and in excellent shape so I just taped it up and keep using it.

The only negative thing I have to say about this radio is that there is no low power setting. It operates at 25 watts and 65 watts... nothing less!

I looked into lowering the low power setting and found it too complicated for me to want to tackle it, so I leave it at 25 watts.

For a mobile, I rarely want anything lower than 20 watts, so it is great for mobile. I run it on low power and have a little boost when I need it on the fringes.

As a base, 25 watts is generally over-kill, but it is what it is.

The radio is very easy to program, but don't use CHIRP. I found that sometimes, but not all times, when I program it with CHIRP, I have weird issues with the radio that affect manually programming it or using some simplex frequencies. However, when I use the MCP-1A software (free) from Kenwood, to read the radio settings and then reload the radio, it fixes the issues. So, using CHIRP is not the end of the radio.

Programming is super simple. Just plug in the programming cable and load download the settings from the radio, make the edits and upload it back. No setting the radio into clone mode or messing with the menu. The programming cable plugs into the mic port.

It is great for scanning, too. It can scan all memories that are not locked out or it can scan all memories in a given bank. Each bank is a segment of 20 memories. I program all my local favorites and simplex frequencies in the first 20 and I programmed all of the two-meter pairs and MURS frequencies in the other 80 memories. Where there are repeaters I can hit locally, or when I am out of area, I just add the tone settings and names to the frequencies.

My favorite part of this radio is the Weather Alert in it. You can enter the frequency of the NOAA weather broadcast station for your area in the WX channel and turn on alerts. When alerts are on, the weather channel is silent. If an alert goes off, the radio immediately jumps to the WX channel and opens it up so you can hear it. When it is done, you just need to turn the channel selector and it is silenced again.

Unlike the Yaesu weather alert system, this radio does not interfere with normal operations in any way unless an alert sounds. It only monitors the weather channel you program into it. This limits false alarms from waking you up in the middle of the night because propagation is open and an alarm goes off three states away.

When it comes to a 2 meter only FM radio, I don't know of any radio that could be better.

I am also fond of the front-facing speaker. I do not have to add an external speaker to hear it well in my car. It does have a speaker jack but I never have to use it.

For a basic 2-meter radio, this is my favorite. If it had a 5-watt power setting, I would use it in a go-box for EMCOMM and other remote communications.

Another thing I like about the mic cord is that it has RJ-45 connectors on both ends. It only costs $5-7 to replace the cord and no soldering needed! Just plug and play.

This radio also has two IF frequencies so if it has a birdie on one frequency, it can be removed by changing the IF for that memory.

It is an overall, great 2 meter FM radio!
Superb Radio
Review by Vince
I just purchased my third Kenwood TM-281A: One as my primary in the shack, another as a back-up and go-bag radio, and the third as my truck mobile. The front speaker is very clear, and audio reports via repeaters and simplex have all been super. The controls are intuitive, programming via Chirp is a breeze, and doing so manually takes just a bit of practice. Once you get rolling, it becomes second nature on the mic keypad.

Just a superb 2 meter rig. If you're considering this Kenwood, just do it!
An Amazing little radio
Review by bradley
I just bought my third one. Each of my work rigs gets one. Reliable, dependable, and they work really well.
You should stop reading reviews right now and just buy it.
Very Good Mobile
Review by W9JTC
Owned this radio for over 2 years. The receive audio from the front speaker is very clear. The transmit is very good. A keeper.
Kenwood is a great radio
Review by William
Gigaparts was very good with service and shipping.

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