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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Kenwood TR-50 Help


Reviews Summary for Kenwood TR-50
Kenwood TR-50 Reviews: 2 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: 1.2GHz 1W portable FM transceiver
Product is not in production.
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K7VO Rating: 5/5 Jul 4, 2006 23:53 Send this review to a friend
Great old 23cm FM portable -- lots of fun  Time owned: more than 12 months
The previous reviewer gave a good description of this radio: it's lots of fun. The receiver holds up well when used with an external antenna. I've used it with a full sized F9FT yagi and a little Shimizu SA-231 7 el. quad (see my review) to pick up extra points and multipliers in VHF/UHF contests when I haven't had 23cm SSB capability. Heck, last year in Cincinnati I even worked someone during a contest on the supplied rubber duckie from my hilltop location. The TR-50 has very nice sounding received audio and gets good transmitted audio reports as well, both simplex and through repeaters.

The PB-16 NiCad packs will all be dead by now unless they've been rebuilt, which fortunately isn't hard to do. The options and accessories are nearly impossible to find. I was lucky enough to find a new from old stock TU-6 tone encoder board, which is the same one used in the TH-21AT, TH-31AT, and TH-41AT handhelds. It's a single channel board programmed by soldering tiny little jumpers so it isn't exactly easy to change PL tones. If you live in an area with few (or no) 23cm repeaters that's fine. It probably wouldn't cut it in places like California which have many repeaters with different tones.

Repeater offset is fixed at 20MHz on this rig. That's the standard in Japan and it was the standard here in the U.S. until the mid '80s. The SCRRBA, in their infinite lack of wisdom (may they be forever cursed) decided they didn't want manufacturers dictating the split and convinced the ARRL to go with a 12MHz offset bandplan. That move stifled growth of 23cm in the U.S. and caused Kenwood and Yaesu to stop importing gear for quite a while. We never did see Kenwood or Yaesu 23cm repeaters in this country, did we? Icom continued to sell rigs and repeaters hard coded for 20MHz split. The net result is that outside of Southern California there are a mix of 20MHz split and 12MHz split repeaters where there are repeaters at all. That severely limits the usefulness of the TR-50 in southern California and anywhere else with significant numbers of 12MHz split repeaters. On this radio only memory M5 can handle an "odd" split. In VFO mode or in any of the first four memories it's simplex, 20MHz split, or you are just plain out of luck. In northeastern Wisconsin, where we have exactly one repeater on the band (the only one in the state, BTW) this limitation isn't a problem.

The output power of this radio is just 1W. Kenwood did make a matching 10W amp that makes hen's teeth look common. I've never found one. I also never found the carry case or the mounting bracket on the used market anywhere and I have been looking.

Despite all these limitations the rig works extremely well, it's cute, and for those of us in the hinterlands it can do a great job. For those who have multiple 23cm repeaters in their metro areas a newer 10W rig with programmable split makes much more sense. Also be aware that these rigs can fetch collectors' prices as they are fairly rare. If you do see one at a good price and it meets your needs you really can't go wrong with a TR-50 in terms of performance. It sure is fun to actually work people during contests on simplex, too.
 
N6PEQ Rating: 5/5 Nov 18, 2004 16:18 Send this review to a friend
Fun Rig !!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The TR-50 is an older rig from the mid 1980's. It provides 1 watt output on 1200 MHz FM using either a 12 volt power supply, 9 "AA" batteries or the PB-16 rechargeable battery pack. It has 4 memories that can be programmed with simplex frequencies, and one memory channel for a repeater frequency. Although this is an older rig, it is a lot of fun. It has plenty of "coolness" factor. It comes with a shoulder strap for when hiking around with the rig. Plus the angle of the antenna can be adjusted, so as to optimize the performance if using the rig on a table top or when carrying it with the shoulder strap. It has a battery meter which is a very nice feature. All in all, it is not necessarily "high tech", but it is a blast to use. Hope to work you on 1294.500 MHz next time I'm up on a hill top playing radio! Best 73's, Dan N6PEQ (n6peq@dxer.com)
 


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